[Cz-L] Interethnic relations in Czernowitz

From: Miriam Taylor <mirtaylo_at_indiana.edu>
Date: Thu, 10 Jul 2008 23:54:48 -0400
To: Czernowitz Genealogy and History <czernowitz-l_at_list.cornell.edu>, Bruce Reisch <bir_at_nysaes.cornell.edu>, HARDY BREIER <HARDY3_at_bezeqint.net>, Andy Halmay <venivici.andy_at_gmail.com>, Cornel Fleming <cornel.fleming_at_virgin.net>
Reply-to: Miriam Taylor <mirtaylo_at_indiana.edu>

I doubt that any of us has done thorough research on the nature
of interethnic relations in Czernowitz. We have acquired whatever
opinions we have on this subject, from our experiences, the tales
of our parents and from books and articles.

Depending on our individual experiences, we are therefore likely
to have different views on this subject.

 From what I remember and have gathered from reading, the various ethnic
and religious groups, lived at peace which each other, neighborhoods
and schools were not segregated. Individual people were generally judged
by their merits, rather than by their ethnic or religious affiliation.
Life and work brought people together and bonds of appreciation and respect
were created. During WW2, there were a number of non-Jews who assisted
my parents, even though, it was dangerous for them to do so.

In 2003 I visited the village of Klivodyn and found a woman who warmly
remembered my great-grandfather, who had died in 1932. She also
remembered his sons, some of his daughters in law and grandsons.
I doubt she would have remembered as many details, had they not had
cordial relations.

Yet, the various ethnic groups kept separate. They each had their own
cultural and social institutions. Sometime their political aims were at
odds. The Ukrainians and the Jews had been against the annexation
of the northern Bukowina by Romania. The Romanian minority was in favor.
After the re-annexation of the northern Bukowina by Romania in 1941,
the Ukrainian minority complained to the Germans that they were being
discriminated against by the Romanians.

Such was the ethnic segregation, that few people became friends
with those of a different ethnic background and even far fewer
Entered into mixed marriages. So, no American style melting pot.
Socially, Education, wealth and social standing, were at least
as important as ethnic or religious background.
Ethnic groups, each had their reputations, justified or not.
Epitaphs, were not hurled at people, but used to explain a person's
behavior. Meaning that there was no overt discord, but quiet prejudice.

 From my experience the Yiddish epitaphs were equally likely to be used
against a Jew coming from a certain country as against a Gentile.
Often we used them about ourselves. For instance:
Only during WW2, did I hear the epitaph "Parsheve Szid" used by a Ukrainian
against a Jew, but the same term was used reasonably frequently by members
of my family to describe individual Jews of whom they strongly disapproved.

Utopia - it was not. Isaiah' vision of the end of the days - it also was
not. For it's time, was it better than many places? YES
Do we think of it with nostalgia? Also YES.

Should we use those epitaphs now? Certainly not.

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Received on 2008-07-11 03:54:48

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