Lucca Ginsburg's Czernowitz Ramblings

Lucca Ginsburg  joined Czernowitz-L in December of 2003 and has taken to posting  vignettes about her life in Czernowitz . I found these very engaging, and so decided (with her permission, of course) to capture them for myself and the website -- it seemed shameful to just let them evaporate into cyberspace.  Without regard to subject or thread, they will appear on this page, more or less in the order posted. As well,  when there are posted responses that add to the flavour of the dialogue, I would hope to post those here as well. For myself, and I presume for others who were born outside of eastern Europe but have Czernowitz roots, these short, short stories serve to fill in many blanks.

Lucca recently published an autobiography, with a section related to her life in Czernowitz. Information about the book "A Reason Why" is available at:

Jerome Schatten - keeper of the Czernowitz-L webpage  (December 2003)

14 Dec. 2003 --  First Post

I  would like to ask you, who come from my native city, whether you have also noticed that Czernowitz people are somehow divided into two groups:

The first group of people saying that they simply MUST go back there at least once, to walk again the familiar streets, to visit the parks and look up certain buildings - simply to close the circle

The second group will claim:  "What for? I don't know anybody there,  it was there that all our troubles started, the city is in a state of, no, I will rather go to the French Riviera.."

Strangely enough I have never met anyone from Czernowitz who would say:  "To go back?" Oh well, I can take it or leave it!"

Incidentally I myself DID go back, but I will tell you about this another time..

19 Dec. 2003  --  Friedmann's Restaurant

On the second day of Hannukah in 1959 my father saw an elderly man sitting alone on a bench in front of the Haifa Municipality.
He looked familiar, so my father approached and after a better look at him, he asked:  "Aren't you Mr. Meshulam Friedmann of the Friedmann Vegetarian Restaurant in tbe Russischen Gasse in Czernowitz?  "Yes, I am!" said the man. "So why are you sitting here outside in the cold?"

Mr. Friedmann told my father that he lived with his son and daughter-in-law who had a small boy in a very small apartment.  It often got very crowded. Truth was that his daughter-in-law  was not delighted about his constant presence, and there were often arguments between the couple. Mr. Friedmann told my father that he tries his best to be out of the house as much as possible.

Do you remember the Friedmann Restaurant? Do you remember the vegetable soups, the pirogen, the Totsch, the luscious  cakes? This restaurant was a landmark in all of the Bucovina.

Anyway, my father invited Mr. Friedmann to come along to our house for lunch, which he did. In the course of further talk, Mr. F. said he would like some other living quarters, and it so happened that a single man rented out a room of his flat in our house.
Mr. Friedmann moved in the same day.

He became a member of our family. We celebrated all holidays together, and I...have a recipe book of some very luscious cakes which were offered at the Friedmann restaurant. Of course he himself never worked in the kitchen, but he still remembered how certain cakes were made. I also have many photos of him, he was such a pleasant looking man. In fact he had one son, Salo Friedmann living in New York, married to a cousin of my mother's, and he had another son living with his wife in Nazareth.
Sometimes...own children are not the answer. He adopted our family, or rather we adopted him until the day he got very ill and passed away.

21 Dec. 2003

David Glynn responded to the above:


You seem to have been correct in describing Friedmann's as a landmark in the

I mentioned your story to my mother Erica.  She reminisced about how in her
childhood she would sit in the open at Friedmann's during the summer, and
eat wild strawberries and sour cream...

And my aunt Franzi (who had married young and gone to live in Poland) said:
"Friedmann's!  My father always used to eat there when my mother was
visiting me in Warsaw."


21 Dec. 2003 -- Meisler School in Czernowitz

One of the members of the group asked the other day if someone can give details as to the location of the Meisler School. I will try.
When entering the Landhausgasse from the Hauptstrasse and walking along until the end of the street, one reaches the last building, which is the corner house of Landhausgasse and Nikolausgasse. It was (is) a plain, unadorned building, a rarity among the many proud Baroque buildings of Czernowitz.

We had such happy childhoods there, we were taught by a superb team of teachers, and in addition to Rumanian and German, most of us had a working knowledge of French by the time we were 10 years old. We were taught, at a young age, the correct approach to study which we put to good use in later life.

Visiting Czernowitz again after many, many years, my friend Anita and I walked along the Landhausgasse in order to take a look at our school. We found it. Practically unchanged. The only thing which was strange...the entrance, the door through which we had entered the school each day, ....had disappeared. We walked around the building again and again and found no way  through which one could enter it!

"Maybe one goes in through the roof!" joked my friend....  Checking again and again we found a small door from the Nikolausgasse, hardly noticeable. We finally walked in and looked around. So changed, so neglected, it seemed another place altogether and no soul around except for a hungry cat.

Anita and I walked out again. Silent, sad and disappointed. But what did we really expect?

24 Dec. 2003 -- Recipies from Friedmann's Restaurant: Schmettentorte

With special attention to Madelon who asked for Czernowitz / Friedmann recipes:

As an experiment, tell a Czernowitzer the word "Schmettentorte" his face! Ok, here goes:

You knead a dough consisting of:
300 gr., flour
200 gr. butter
150 gr. sugar 1 egg, a bit of vanilla sugar or vanilla extract, a few drops of lemon juice.

Let it harden somewhat, then cut it into three (my mother used to cut it into 5 and made 5 layers, but I am lazy and like to simplify things).

Thin each portion out with a rolling pin, and fit it into a round baking pan. Bake them separately. Watch the color, when it becomes light brown, so kind of golden, wait a while and then remove it from the pan carefully . Now if it breaks, don't panic, just fit the pieces together the filling will cover all sins.

For the filling you need:
About 300 gr. walnuts, "gemalen" how in heaven's name do you say "gemalen in English? You see, I DO have a problem with translation) and slightly roasted. Watch it when you roast them, I burned the whole batch once or twice.

Add the roasted walnuts to half a liter of sour cream (or more if you like. No low fat!) sweeten the whole thing according to taste, add again vanilla extract.

Now spread a third of this mixture on the first layer, cover it with the second layer, spread again, and finally cover the whole cake with the sour cream mixture. I usually leave a bit of the roasted walnuts to decorate the upper layer.

Now: NOT right away into the fridge, the cake's got to sit for a while, so that the sour cream seeps into the layers. Let's say
a couple of hours or so.

So this is the classic of all classic cakes from the Bucovina. More to follow.

27 Dec. 2003 --  AVisit to the Czernowitz Cemetery

When I returned to Czernowitz after so many decades, I visited the cemetery there with a picture of my grandmother's grave who died and was buried there in 1931. The photo was supposed to help me find her grave, but when I faced the destruction and the complete state of neglect there, I knew that I did not have a chance. The name of my grandmother: Malka Weisinger.

While I stood there sad and helpless, a man approached me and said: The tomb stones right in front, which means the once located in the front rows, can still be seen and identified. What you are looking for....I greatly doubt that you will be able to locate this grave!

The man who talked to me turned out to be Mathias Zwilling, who had shared a school bench with me in the Meisler School. I remembered him as a pale and delicate child, very spoiled, or rather very protected by his mother who was a pediatrician. He had a photo  in his pocket of the children of the 4th grade, the kind of photo which is taken at the end of the school year of pupils together with  teachers. He always hoped to find former school friends, just like I did - do.  Anyway, this photo marked the end of  4 elemtary school years, as well as the end of our carefree childhood.

It was the memorable year of 1940. Mathias never left Czernowitz. He finished his studies and became an engineer, and now, as a pensioner, he tried to exist on 10 dollars a month. He told me furthermore that he tutored some children in math and physics,
thus trying to improve his income, but the demand for private lessons [sometimes] exists , and sometimes doesn't.

Back in Israel we corresponded for a while, but then one day I was notified of his death. I mourned him as well as his sad and wasted life.

Getting back to the initial subject, do you think there is a way to find my grandmother's tomb?  Her's was a sturdy and upright headstone. She died when I was one year old.

28 Dec. 2003 -- Our Language

To my friends from Czernowitz who still speak "Czernowitzer Deutsch"...
Did you ever notice that our German is like no other German in the world? It's got a special flavor, special intonations, and no matter how one tries to disguise it...this will never work!.

I myself worked in a German office here for 8 years, and this greatly improved on my strange German syntax and pronounciation.. Yet, my boss said once to me: "Your 95%".   "And what about the remaining 5%?"
"This is...pure Czernowitzerisch!" he replied.

My husband and I talked German to our children. They got it right, they sounded as if they would have been born in the Bucovina.

At the beginning of his studies in Germany, my son complained bitterly: "It's NOT  mach zu die Tuer! It should be mach die Tuer zu!  What in heaven's name do you think you are teaching me?"

After 8 years of study in Germany, I still enjoy catching a bit of Czernowitz in his speech!

10 Jan. 2004 -- From the Ghetto

Did you ever have a dream which was so vivid that when you wake up reality has receded?

A few nights ago I dreamt again of the ghetto in Czernowitz. Those dreams come from time to time and concentrate on a single or maybe two scenes from that time. That dream brought me back to the age of 11, when I found myself surrounded in our own home by countless people I had never seen before.

The Czernowitz jews were then chased out of their homes and had to enter a restricted area, a ghetto. Our house was the last within that restricted area, and my parents had opened our home to many strangers.  There were about 40 people staying in our 3-room apartment. It was terribly crowded, people slept on blankets on the floor, the bathroom was always occupied and two primusses (have you ever seen those primitive cooking utensils?) stood on my shining black concert piano. People had to cook in order to eat.

Rumors started to go around that we will soon be deported to Transnistria.

Silvia, the beautiful blonde daughter of our neighbors, has had a boyfriend for the last 3 years and she cried: "If we go, I want to go with him! We want to get married now!!"  Silvia's father went down to look for a Rabbi. He soon brought an old bearded man who asked:  "Where is the couple? I have only half an hour's time, I have a brith milah at 10 o'clock!"

"Just let me put on a dress, begged Silvia who wore a housecoat!"   "No, no, insisted the Rabbi, it's got to be now, this minute! I've got to run!! You people set up a huppah, let four of you hold up a blanket!"

So Silvia got married in her housecoat. Nevertheless she glowed. A bride glows, no matter what she wears!

But few stories have happy endings. I heard much later that this couple divorced, she remarried and moved with her new husband to Canada.

I wonder if she is still alive...

Memories intrude into our dreams... and we are not always happy about them!

Tragedy is Relative -- 19 Jan. 2004

Tragedy is of course relative and during World War II so many bad things happened to good people!
Thus, looking back at this sad day in my childhood, and comparing it to other calamities, it moves into the right proportion, which means - the realization that this mishap was minor.

I was about 14 or 15 years old when this happened. It was the second invasion of the red army into our city. One of my most priced possession - if not really the most priced - was my piano. I was no great pianist, I played a bit of classical etudes, sonatinas, light Beethoven, Bach, Schubert. Being at romantic age, I played fashionable romantic music, often moving myself to tears...

One day a Russian officer entered our house and approached my piano directly: "This", he said to me and my mother, "comes now with me! You have played enough, now it's my children's turn to play! Here, I pay you for it!"

He threw a few rubles on our table.  Two soldiers came into our house and carried the piano away.  The whole action had not taken more than a few minutes. The corner where my piano had stood was suddenly empty and I broke out in tears.
The officer, maybe moved just a bit, said to me:  "We live across the street, whenever you feel like playing you may come and play at our house!"

Homesick for my piano, I accepted his offer.  Only once.  After coming back home I had a terrible itch on both hands. Our neighbor, a doctor, looked at my hands and diagnosed: "scabies! Where did you get this? What did you touch?"

In addition to having lost my piano, I had also acquired a shameful disease, one caused by dirt and neglect.

One more memory from troubled times....

19 Jan. 2004

Mariette Gutherz responded to the above:

Thanks for sharing this sad story, Lucca.

As a child the unfairness is particulary hard to understand.  I will always remember this other story my father told me when I was six.   He was 14 and lived in Czernowitz:

"One day, at school, I was asked, I think it was on a physics problem. I did it right and the teacher told me that I deserved '100/100 '  but [he said], since you are a Jew I can only give you '49/100'."

I came back home that day, crying, saying to my father:  "It's not fair", and my father said:  "It's over,  you cannot go to that high school, anymore."

I just add, as you said before:  comparing it to other calamities, it moves into the right proportion, which  means - the realization that this mishap was minor.


Disenchantment  --  01 Feb. 2004

A very old wisdom claims that one should never go back. Not to a place, or to a person, or to a situation which has been cherished in the past. Things may have changed so much!

And if things have not changed...  the one seeking them has certainly undergone some change.
Going back to my hometown after nearly half a century was such a mixed feelings experience!  I remember the tremendous excitement I felt in the bus, after a long, long ride, when we finally entered Czernowitz and I recognized the Neuweltgasse, which the bus was slowly climbing up. This is not a very steep street, but in the course of time it became in bad need of repairs, and our modern bus had trouble avoiding the many holes.

The Tcheremosh hotel. A modern building, lots of space, marble and glass.   "There is no hot water!" I was warned by a co-traveller.  But what does it matter? I celebrated the reunion with the city in which I was born,  so why should a cold shower upset me?  Next day...  there was no water at all. Neither hot, nor cold. But nothing could interfere with my elation of being back. husband and I walked along the Herrengasse and he said:  "Let's step into a cafe, I feel like a cup of coffee and a piece of cake!"  We stepped into a cafe and ordered. The coffee was miserable, but we've tasted this kind at other times in other places. The "sweet" however was completely unedible. It tasted like flour mixed with water and some vanilla. It was undescribably bad. After the first taste of it, we left it standing.

A young woman entered the Cafe, she seemed not older than 16, or 17, maybe more, who could tell, she was so completely emaciated and dressed in rags. She saw the two plates on our table and she fell upon them. Like a hungry animal. She swallowed and swallowed while my husband and I watched  in complete horror.

Is this the life people lead now in the city which I had so loved?

Disenchantment is too mild a word for what we felt then...


01 Feb. 2004

Mimi Taylor responded to the above:

Actually I should say 'Czernowitz last summer', As most of you know, Ivisited Czernowitz then and later sent a long letter about my experiencesto the whole list. Six month later, I am less emotional about the whole experience and while I agree that the city has changed a lot since 1945, probably even more since 1940, I am still very glad I visited the city of my birth and childhood, so much so, that if all goes well, I'll go again this summer. Physical conditions have improved since Lucca's visit, I had hot and cold water at all times and the food was quite good everywhere.

So, those of you who contemplate a visit, do not be discouraged,


02 Feb. 2004

Lucca replied:

Dear Mimi,
you have no idea how much I enjoyed and was fascinated by your detailed report on your Bukovina visit, I actually had tears in my  eyes, the subject being so personal and so near to my heart....Of course I printed it out - and several copies - to distribute among friends who are not on the internet....

I am pleased that you have found conditions improved during your visit, our own stay in Czernowitz, although very emotional, was at the same time quite depressing. While listening to the gipsy musicians playing the well-known music which we once loved and still do, I could not help but wonder whether these musicians have enough to eat. As an animal lover, my heart ached
for the many homeless and hungry dogs on the street. And last but not least, I could not imagine how Matthias Zwilling, who is mentioned in your letter, makes ends meet with 10 dollars a month. By the way, I do have a copy of the video film of Mrs. Zuckermann and Matthias Zwilling, who went to school with me.

We also talked to Dr. Joseph Burg, who, coincidentally, lives in the house right next to the building where I grew up. Again and again he was asked why he never left Czernowitz for a better life, the reason remains a bit unclear, but there were rumors that he could not leave a sick daughter behind. I don't know how true this is/was.

My husband is no longer alive, this trip was one of the last generous gestures he did for me. Aside from being already incapacitated by Parkinson at that time, he also never had the urge to go back - although he had spent his first 20 years in Czernowitz, carefree and beautiful years. He undertook this trip for me....

I am looking forward to your visit here, I have so much material which may interest you, a beautiful album photographed by a professional photographer who was along on our trip, booklets, maps, video films...

I am still under the impression of your letter, and will be for some time to come.

Thank you,

A Bit Of Personal History -- 15 Feb. 2004

I have a very bad relationship with dates and figures in general, but endeavoring to pass on information, I look things up from time to time...

After the beginning of World War II against the Red Army, German units in cooperation with the Rumanian army, entered Czernowitz. This was precisely on 5th July 1941.

The years that followed were hard to say the least. We were practically ruled by Nazi's. My mother sewed on yellow stars on coats  and blouses and whatever we had to wear. There was a curfew, no jew allowed after 5 o'clock on the streets of the city. Children did not go to school, nor did we have any books available for further education. Homes remained in the dark after nightfall, lest a ray of light would be seen from the outside...

One day I looked out from the window of our second floor apartment and saw my father on the street on his way home. A German soldier accosted him, they exchanged a few words, then the soldier pulled out a gun and shot at my father. I started to scream which brought my mother to the window. We nearly jumped out when common sense won out, and we ran down the 2 floors to the street. My father as well as the soldier had disappeared. The street was full of blood, my father's.

An onlooker told us that he had seen an army car drive off. My mother and I ran to the German Commando, located then at the famous hotel "Schwarzer Adler" in the hope to find out what happened, but we were not admitted inside. We spent the whole night in front of that building when finally at 5 o'clock in the morning my father was led out by 2 Germans. He had bandages on his head, hands and feet and was deathly pale.

The Germans brought a car around, we all stepped in and started to ride home. "Don't mention this to anyone, said one of the Germans, it was just a... mistake!"

My father was badly wounded and plagued by nightmares all the rest of his life. While inside the Commando, it was openly discussed whether he should be killed or not. One German officer took pity on him.

My father's right hand was incapacitated for the rest of his life and it was lucky that he was left-handed, otherwise he would never practice his profession as a dentist again..

Those were terrible years. We were completely cut off from the outer world, no newspapers, no radio (strictly forbidden) no telephone, no mail. We did not even know about the concentration camps abroad, and what was happening to family members and friends! In a way, we were helpless prisoners. Food was scarce, the winters were brutal, our future one big interrogation mark...

This period reached its end in 1944, precisely on 22.3. when the Red Army returned to Czernowitz. I will tell about this at a later date. Memories are so painful, they almost cause physical hurt!


Bukovina and Language -- 16 Feb. 2004

Many years ago my late husband and I visited Heidelberg. We anticipated the romance of this old university town, known to us from books, music and poetry. What we found was a place invaded by countless tourists from all over the world. Disappointed we settled down in a Cafe for coffee and cake.

At a table next to us sat a grey-haired and bearded elderly man, smoking his pipe. After a while he addressed us in German
"Sorry to bother you, but I hear you speak German! I am a professor of philology, now retired. I pride myself in being able to place accents and now I am trying to figure out where you come from!"

"We were born in Rumania!" said my husband. The professor looked at us incomprehendingly: "But you talk German!"
"Yes, because the part of Rumania where we were born used to belong to Austria, and German in our mother-tongue!"

"Do they still speak German there?"
"No, the Bucovina, our homeland, was occupied by the Russian Army and right now it belongs to Ukraina!"
"Shouldn't you be speaking Rumanian, Russian or Ukrainean then?"

A young woman, an American tourist, spotted "TIME" magazine on our table and approached us: "Please could I have your magazine for a moment? I haven't seen a printed English word for the last two weeks, I just look at it and return it to you!"
"You may have it, I said to her, keep it, we are through with it!"

The old professor spoke again: "Your English is perfect, where did you get that?"
I smiled at him and explained: "We have lived in many different places since World War II!"
"Will you go back to Rumania,Russia/Ukraina now?"
"No. We live in Israel for many years and Israel is our home now!"

The professor smoked his pipe silently. Somehow he could not fathom  our relationship to homelands and language ...

The coffee we had ordered was acceptable. The cakes had looked much better than they had tasted.
We got up and left the Cafe.


History -- 20 Feb. 2004

German troupes in strong collaboration with local Rumanians, ruled our city from 5th July 1941 up to 22nd March 1944.
The war against Russia had started. In Poland the situation for the jewish people became desperate and many refugees arrived illegally to Czernowitz and her surroundings. This was done at great risk, because as soon as the polish jews were caught, they were immediately sent back to Poland where - in most cases - they were imprisoned or just killed.

My grandfather lived in a house which stood by itself, surrounded by a bit of garden and a yard. He had no neighbors. Once very late at night, there was a knock on his door, he opened it just a bit and saw three young men standing there. They looked exhausted and hardly able to stand on their feet.

-"We are Polish students and we've been running for days now, we had no food, no sleep and as we looked into your window, we saw a bearded jew who may be wiiling to help. Please help us, at least let us stay for a short while and have a rest! My grandfather let them into the house, gave them some food, whatever was available. At the same time he knew that if the Germans would find those young men, it would be their end as well as the end of the one who is harboring them.

Nevertheless, my grandfather could not send them away. His was a dark house with many corners, a garret and a small cellar. The boys hid where they could. No one, not my parents, my aunts and uncles knew they were there...

The oldest of them, his name was David, said to my grandfather: "You will soon have the same bad time like we had in Poland. You must prepare as good as you can!"
-"How can I prepare?"

-"We wil help you. We will expand the small cellar and transform it into a shelter. We will dig there only at night and as quiet as possible. Such a shelter was called in Poland a "Skhron!" When real danger comes, you will call your family and we will all go
underground until the Germans have left the city. At that time there were rumors that the Russians will be back, but the Germans would never leave our city without causing it maximum damage.

The three boys dug and dug and the small cellar became a shelter for 15 people at least. On the critical day - and jews always know when a crticial day arrives - my grandfather called us, my aunt, uncle, cousin, some close friends, and we all went underground.

David grabbed a piece of wood and covered the hole and the ladder which we had climbed down. There is much to tell about the few days and nights which we spent there, there was also much to learn about human nature! We had only one small petroleum lamp and I sat next to it and wrote what is happening.

"Stop it, said my mother, you'll ruin your eyes with this light!" So..isn't it strange that up to now I don't need glasses? Not for
reading, looking, TV watching, my eyes have remained very young.

I don't know how we knew that all was over, but suddenly we were allowed to leave the hole. we emerged to sunlight, to fresh air and to a completely changed city. Many buildings were still up in flames, also our magnificent temple, a great work of architecture.

There were rumors that our Rabbi, Dr. Mark, burned to death inside, but this was not true. The Rabbi was killed along with 450 other jews, right next to the river Bruth. We visited this mass grave during our stay in Czernowitz...Red flags were waving, Russian military musiccame from different directions, this was such a drastic change the sense of a new but would it be a better beginning?

I will give an answer, or rather answers, next time!

Please have a nice Shabat all of you!


The Springs I used to know.....  23 March 2004

This year my own personal spring is one of tragedy and trying not to delve too much, I force myself to bring back to mind the careless  springs of my childhood and early youth.

Czernowitz in spring was pure magic. Perhaps other European cities were not less magical at this time of the year, but I did not know any other cities. Czernowitz was my home for 16 years, and isn't it strange that the early years of our lives seem the longest when we look back?

The weeks before Easter coincided with spring cleaning all over the world, but cleaning a Jewish home just before Pessach in Czernowitz, was a major undertaking. Close to the Seder Night, my strictly religious grandfather walked through the house with a candle, searching for the "chametz" which had to be removed. I was fascinated by this slow and meticulous tour through the rooms and the surroundings.

Spring brought sunshine and exhilaration. As already mentioned, cars were very scarce those years before the war, but there were two lines for electric trams, one going up, the other down in a straight line from the "Volksgarten" to the railway station. Sometime in May we finally dared to pack bathing suits and boarded the tram going down until we reached our beloved river Pruth. The water was often much too cold still, moreover only few of us knew how to swim then, but we enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine after the cold winter.

Bucovina winters were really very cold. Before the war, we had no problem filling our cellars with wood in anticipation of the cold weather. Peasants riding in horse-drawn carriages brought wood to our homes, the price of which was reasonable.  Our apartments were equipped with tiled stoves, the color of the tiles matching the one of the walls. Various members of our family always tried to grab a place with one's back to such a stove, the warmth was so comforting.

And then, I remember the days when heating was no longer necessary, my mother opened all windows wide to the air which was permeated with the intoxicating scent of lilac...I can hardly believe it, but I haven't seen or smelled lilac since the age of sixteen!

High Heels and Cobblestones  --  29 March 2004

Did you ever notice on photos and pictures which you've seen of Czernowitz that most of our city's streets were "cobbled"? Little fiendish squares surrounded by narrow strips of earth which were meant to challenge the ladies who insisted on wearing high heels...

I was so thrilled to get my first pair of not even very high-heeled  shoes at the age of 15 as a present from my grand-father for Pessach. Immediately I became a not very talented balancing artist, wobbling  to the left and to the right and wondering how my mother and my aunts could do it, while I could never take my eyes off the street watching every step I was taking!  Looking at old photos, I smile because I know the exact reason for the pained expression on my face, I simply never got the hang of moving ahead in those slippers!

But then came the day we left Czernowitz and all of Europe and moved on to much more sophisticated asphalt. I suppose I forgot those cobbles until one day I met them again while visiting Amsterdam, and I greeted them like old friends, or enemies as it were, whose every corner was a separate and exciting scene, and again I had one of my frequent and private little battles with homesickness.

Hi Lucca,

A[s a] boy in Czernowitz I was fortunate not to have to wear high heels, but Iremember the problems encountered by those ladies who used them. As a matterof fact when i was there last spring it became clear  that the only roads that did not deteriorate through the different occupations and change of authorities where those made by the Austrians until the first World War. Also you can still see on some streets the sewer steel covers of same origin. Anything made of asphalt had to be redone several times (or left to its fate in peace).

The Viennese ladies complained about their wiener Pflaster, meaning exactly those cobbled stones that are so difficult to walk on. After some distance made by foot you feel the road under your heels, even without high ones.

Distances in Czernowitz of course, looked much shorter after all those years and I enjoyed every stone I could remember, hated this new asphalt that now substitutes the former stone cover. But it is still there, and also in a few other places in eastern Europe - fighting a lost battle against progress.

Greatings to you and all other readers,

Berti Glaubach