From the 2006 Reunion Group
Czernowitz Reminiscenses - Part 1
From: Gabriele Weissmann
Date: Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:21 pm
Subject: Re: [Cz-L] Norman Manea
Miriam Taylor schrieb:
> Dear Czernowitzers,
> Yesterday I went to a lecture which was to be given by Norman
> Czernowitz author who writes in Romanian and currently lives in
> Norman Manea, did not give the lecture, he was absent because of
> but his lecture was read, and I learned that he was born in either
> 1936, his first language was Romanian, he and his parents were in
> Transnistria during the war and when they returned in 1944 he went
> Russian school in Czernowitz.
> Can anyone explain, or does anyone know, why a Czernowitzer born
> time would have spoken Romanian as his mother tongue? It was my
> that we only spoke Romanian when we absolutely had to.
> I think that some in this group are the same age as Norman Manea
> went to the Russian school, does anyone remember him?
> Another item in the lecture which drew my attention was Norman
> assertion that he was annoyed when some of his writings in
> were included in a book published in Israel under the name "Jewish
> in Romania", apparently he did not want to be considered a Jewish
> Does anyone have more information or comments on this subject?
> All the best,
Yes, I hope the comments are welcome.
Just for correctness - we have acted in the film "Dieses Jahr in
Czernowitz", in which Norman Manea also "starred". We have also read
some of his books,
one of his latest is named in English "His mother's ghost" and was
published in recent years. Manea was _not_ born in Czernowitz, but in
Falticeni, his mother was a Czernowitzer, but they lived in Suceava he
likes to be associated with Czernowitz because of Celan, etc. He does
not like to be called a "Jewish" author, yet, when asked what
Jewishness remains in a Jew who is not religious, nor zionist, nor knows
the language of the Talmud, he replied without hesitation "a lot"
He lived a long time in ROMANIA (present spelling) and was not
particularly "Jewish" - and yet, he always was, and is, in search
his Jewish roots, in need to feel his "roots". He was born in
went to a Russian school still in Transnistria.
Manea speaks Romanian because he grew up later, after the war, in
Romania, and lived there until he left in 1986, it is his literary
language, but his German is
also fairly good.
D- 14057 Berlin
From: VBDA <vbda@...>
Date: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:39 pm
Subject: Re: [czernowitz2006] Re:
[Cz-L] Norman Manea
Being labeled a "Jewish writer" was one way to marginalize a writer in
Norman was subjected to a great deal of pressure from the communist as
post communist Romanian officials. From censorship to name calling,
dwarf of Jerusalem", "White House lackey", and of course the label "he
is just a
Jewish writer" he has seen it all. Only recently, fifteen years after
of communism, the Romanian public discovers in him the greatest
writer of Romanian language.
His latest book, " The Hooligan's return", is a must read for anybody
to understand the past and the present of Romania (Czernowtz was part
of Romaniatill 1941)
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Dr.Alexander Raviv"
Yesterday I got at the Consular Office in Haifa my Ukrainian
a reduced fee reserved for Ukrainians. Somebody had told me that if I
showed them the copy of my Birth Certificate that I had taken out in
1946 before leaving Czernowitz (the language it is written in is of
course Ukrainian) I shall be recognized by the Consular Office issuing
visas here as Ukrainian. And it worked. But maybe they are not wrong,
It is true that I was born in Czernowitz under Rumanian rule. (It
even happened in a maternity hospital called "Sanatoriul Mihai" named
after Prince Mihai who later became Mihai the First, King of Rumania)
as the offspring of a German-speaking Jewish family. But, as I was
told later on, some Ukrainian -speaking nurses were also rushing about
in the corridors the hospital.
It is also true that my grandfather and my grandmother spoke
with each other, and sometimes with their sons and daughters (one of
whom was my mother) German. And that their sons and daughters spoke
mainly German among themselves. But the little house adjoining my
grandfather's was inhabited by a Ukrainian whose name was Vorobczuk,
so it is not unreasonable to speculate that Mr. Vorobczuk with his
kins spoke Ukrainian. Though you can never know! Proof: Vitsia !
Vitsia was the name of my grandmother's young maid who was also
Ukrainian and who was like a daughter in my grandparents' household.
Vitsia spoke Yiddish fluently and after she got married to a Jewish
boy, a hairdresser by profession, whose language was Yiddish, she went
on speaking Yiddish in her newly-established home. So why not Mr.
When I began to go to school - this happened in Bucharest, the
capital of Rumania, where my parents settled when I was one and a half
years old - the teaching language was of course Rumanian, and as this
was a Jewish school we also began learning Hebrew as a "foreign
But the straying away (or estrangement) from the Ukrainian
and culture didn't last long. When, following the Ribbentrop-Molotov
treaty, Northern Bukovina with its capital Czernowitz was annexed in
the summer of 1940 to the Soviet Union and my parents decided to go
back to their native country, I became a citizen, though very young (I
was barely eight years old), but a proud citizen of the Soviet
Socialist Ukrainian Republic.
On their return to Czernowitz my parents sent me to a Ukrainian
school where I had to re-do "Class Two" which I had already completed
in Bucharest, but in Rumanian. For many years I wondered why my
parents sent me to a Ukrainian school while there was a Jewish school
in town with Yiddish as the teaching language, a school that counted
among its pupils a good portion (both quantitatively and
qualitatively) of the Jewish youth of the town. Till I found the
answer when I visited Czernowitz six years ago: the Ukrainian school
my parents sent me to was simply not far away from where we lived
then, and so I could reach it without my parents having to accompany
me. Ironically the impressive building (one of the highlights of the
town's architecture and a recognized historical sight) houses now the
Rumanian highschool of Czernowitz, destined for the Rumanian minority
of the town and its surroundings and named after the Rumanian national
poet Mihai Eminescu (another Mihai !)
My studies at the Ukrainian school and my Ukrainian citizenship,
however, weren't blessed with longevity; this doesn't mean that my
agitated ties with the Ukraine came to a complete standstill. Far from
it! But they continued not in a very happy vein, one must say.
As all those who are reading this probably know, not many months
after the beginning of Operation "Barbarossa" the Jewish population of
Bukovina were deported to the Ukraine, more accurately to that part of
the Ukraine between the rivers Dniester and Bug which just a few weeks
after the attack on the Soviet Union was occupied by the
Rumanians who annexed the territory to their kingdom and
The four war years I passed in the Ukraine, three (almost) in the
Rumanian Ukraine, one year, after our liberation by the Red Army and
our return to Czernowitz, in the Ukrainian Ukraine. Aye, Czernowitz
and the Czernowitzers had again become Ukrainian, Norther Bukovina
having again been integrated into the Soviet Union and its population
having again become citizens of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Back in Czernowitz, however, unlike four years before, I didn't
register in a Ukrainian school, but in a Jewish school with Yiddish as
the teaching language (incidentally housed in the same historic
building which had housed the Ukrainian elementary school to which my
parents had decided to send me when we arrived from Bucharest). Now I
had to study not less than three foreign languages, in fact four, as
for many of the Jewish children of Czernowitz, myself included,
Yiddish as a written language was also like a foreign language.The
other three were: Ukrainian, Russian and English. But it is rather
doubtful if in the curriculum the Ukrainian language figured as a
Yet, this Ukrainian chapter also came to an end pretty soon.
mean: it was not just the study of Ukrainian that came to an end, but
something much bigger - my formal belonging to the Ukrainian people
and to the Ukrainian civil community.
And this is how things came to pass.
About a year after the end of the Second World War Iosif
Vissarionovitch Stalin decided to let the Jewish citizens of Bukovina
go. To go where ? Well, to cross the border to Rumania and to become
refugees. His purpose in so doing, according to some, was to increase
the number of Jewish refugees who would press against the gates of
Eretz Israel, with its Yishuv that was fighting Britain, which in
those days was still great. And indeed, not long after the
establishment of the State of Israel the writer of these lines became
also one of those who pressed against the gates of Eretz Israel, now
Medinat Israel. And on the last day of the year 1948 he made his aliah
and became a citizen of the newborn State.
Thus, thought I, the curtain fell for good on my tortuous ties
the Ukraine, with the Ukrainian Culture, with the Ukrainian
Language.That's what I naively thought till yesterday, when the
Ukrainian Consulate recognized me as Ukrainian and issued my Ukrainian
visa at a reduced fee. If this is their verdict I accept it and I
publicly announce, with my head high and my back erect: I am a proud
If no other profit will grow from these reminiscences of mine to
their readers, they may at least draw the attention of some of the
readers to the possibility of getting their Ukrainian visa at a
I also feel gratified at the thought that these reminiscences
have given, even if somewhat belatedly, a little more substance to my
very succint Personal Introduction,
(Message 293 on the list), for which I felt a little guilty.
And I also want to thank the readers for their attention.
--- In email@example.com, Miriam Taylor
Miriam (Mimi) Taylor <mirtaylo@...>
> I also feel gratified at the thought that these reminiscences
> given, even if somewhat belatedly, a little more substance to my
> Personal Introduction,
> (Message 293 on the list), for which I felt a little guilty.
> And I also want to thank the readers for their attention.
> Alexander Raviv
Thank you for your reminiscences, another piece of the puzzle,
another piece of our childhood. We now know of three of us who after the
war, went to the Yiddish school. Arthur and I were one month in first
and one year in second. We too learned Ukrainian as a second language.
me too, it was the third alphabet.
For those who do not know Czernowitz, the school is located on Strada
Cel Mare - Siebenburgerstrasse just north of the Volksgarten, but on the
east side of the street. On the 1941 map it is number 52.
I would like to take this opportunity to ask all to send their, or their
families' addresses in Czernowitz to Berti Glaubach <berti@...>
Berti has offered to mark the addresses on a map and bring it to
A fost o data, c'a nici o data, si daca nu s'a fi fost nu s'a fi
All the best,
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Dr.A.Raviv"
I want to congratulate you for having reminded the
Participants (myself included) that there were Ukrainians
who helped Jews during the war, and that not all the
Ukrainians are antisemites. Not only for the sake of truth,
but if we remember this we shall feel much better during
our stay in the Ukraine.
You are right: adopting an attitude of superiority may
arouse antisemitic feelings.
N.B. As Alex's wife I am following with great interest what's
going on on the web of the Reunion,
although I will not
(to my regret) participate at it.
Now I have a question: Did
you,Mimi, or anybody else who
reads these lines go to Henka and Ety's
(1942-44)? I myself was one of the
little ones - my name
was Renee Teiler and at the time we
lived on Neuweltgasse
corner of Josephsgasse.
Best wishes and Pesakh Sameakh
Subject: Czernowitz reminiscences
Miriam (Mimi) Taylor <mirtaylo@...>
> Dear Mimi,
> I want to congratulate you for having reminded the
> Participants (myself included) that there were Ukrainians
> who helped Jews during the war, and that not all the
> Ukrainians are antisemites. Not only for the sake of truth,
> but if we remember this we shall feel much better during
> our stay in the Ukraine.
> You are right: adopting an attitude of superiority may
> arouse antisemitic feelings.
> N.B. As Alex's wife I am following with great interest what's
> going on on the web of the Reunion,
although I will not
> (to my regret) participate at it.
> Now I have a question: Did you,Mimi,
or anybody else who
> reads these lines go to Henka and Ety's
> (1942-44)? I myself was one of the little
ones - my name
> was Renee Teiler and at the time we lived
> corner of Josephsgasse.
> Best wishes and Pesakh Sameakh
I am very glad to meet another Czernowitzer.
My Czernowitz name was Reifer and my Mother's maiden name was Steinmetz.
It seems you and I are the same age, but as one of the less important
consequences of the war, I did not go to Kindergarten. I lived very
to you on the Schmiedgasse (Strada Cronicarul Neculcea) and had there
been the war, the two of us would probably have gone to the same school.
Did you too, go to the Yiddish school after the liberation?
Do you, or anyone else remember the entrance of the Russian troops in
of 1944? It was a sunny day and not cold for that time of year. They
down the Siebenburgerstrasse in open trucks and when they saw children
the crowd, they yelled "malchik" or " dyevushka" and threw candy. How
happy we were to see them! And now it is 62 years later.
That year there was "Shmira" - Matzah shmurah for Passover.
--- In email@example.com, AJS1PRES@... wrote:
I would like to add a little to what Mimi said. I am not a very
religious Jew. I go to synagogue mostly on the holidays. However, twice
in my life I wore a kippa continuously. First for three weeks when I
visited Israel in 1987, and again last May when i visited Czernowitz. I
did this as a tribute to my ancestors, and to show the population there
that Jews have returned.
Though I noticed some curious looks, not once was I approached
I feel threatened. It was one of the best parrts of my trip; that I
could be a Jew here in Czernowitz, as easily as I could in Israel.
While I am not promoting this type of activity for everyone, as a
great man once said: "It couldn't hurt".
The real point is that this wonderful journey you are embarking
a wonderful opportunity to show the natives, that this city is so
special, that decades and decades, possibly generations might separate
us, nevertheless we return. We share the pride of the natives of today,
as our ancestors once did.
Your actions will have an effect on the future of the Jewish
in Czernowitz as surely as our ancestors did.
Rosnerch@... wrote: From: Rosnerch@...
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 09:23:53 EDT
Subject: Re: Proud Ukrainian
I don't know why, but I'm unable to compose or reply to messages
our Cz2006Yahoo site: I just get the "From" and "To" fields in the
window, but it's impossible to write a message. Anyway, if you find
this message interesting, please forward it to the group.
So, further to your message about being a proud Ukrainian, here
some additional information:
1) When I first went to the civilian archives at the Cz-er
in September 2003, I had to show my French ID before I could ask for
my and my mother’s birth certificates - I was born there August
1941. To my great surprise, I was issued an Ukrainian ID-card (I
believe that’s what it is), but bearing no picture. I still have it
and carry it with me whenever I’m in Ukraine
2) Your reference about Ukrainians who spoke Yiddish is
my father’s youngest sister (my aunt) married a guy called Titus (we
called him “Titsiu”) Worobciuk (approximate spelling) who spoke
perfectly Yiddish! I don’t know if this is a frequent name over
there, but it’s an interesting coincidence. I do not remember him
(although I have some pictures where he appears); all I know is that
he was a “very good guy” according to my parents. I believe my
aunt divorced after the war, maybe early fifties, and immigrated to
the US (where she married another guy called Blaiwais) and later to
Israel where she died a few years ago. As for Titsiu, I understand he
stayed in Bucarest after the divorce and is certainly dead by now.
From: alon <alonltd2@...>
Date: Sat Mar 4, 2006 12:48 pm
Subject: our flight tickets
I have just returned from a visit at my grandfather's. He lives on his
in Bnei-Brak and has recently turned 92 years old. I showed him our
tickets (Aerosvit have no electronic tickets, they produce those
ones with coupons) to Cz. He looked at them and said how unbelievable
moving it is for him, to see that a journey which took him almost
(including the stay in Cyprus) is going to take my father and I only
hours. Cannot help not being excited; wanted to share that with you.