The story of Max Zuckerman(n) [Brown] as told by Warren Brown, including a happy ending to a family research project....

When I was in grade 6 in 1982, we were assigned to do a “History and Geography” research project on one of our grandparents. I chose to do mine about Romania, based on what I knew about Zaida. When I brought my notes and books to his house in Oakville during one visit, and told him all about my project and what I’d learned about Romania, much to all of our shock, he began to tell his story. I clearly remember him sitting in his big chair and starting to talk (maybe after a few drinks), and then seeing my mom walk behind the doorway leading to the kitchen and start quickly writing down some notes. After about five minutes, Thelma walked into the living room from the front foyer, holding a small tape recorder in her hand, and leaned up against the wall. Within a few seconds, Zaida looked up and saw what she was doing and immediately stopped speaking. That was only the second, and last time he ever told his (partial) story. Before this, any information about Zaida had come from one conversation he had with Adela back in the 1960s. Once again, his story was cut short when Thelma came home, and he stopped talking. He later refused to elaborate on anything he had mentioned, and didn’t speak of it again for almost twenty years. Unfortunately, both sets of notes were misplaced, and the information on them became somewhat legendary. Recently, my mom found the original notes, and I decided to type them up to give each of the children a copy.

As it was my original project which brought this all about, I decided to do a little more work. Based on the sketchy notes, I have done a lot of research and added a few corrections, revisions and comments to my mom’s original notes to give a better idea of what he was talking about. Most significantly, I found the name and location of his town, which is important for putting his story into a geographical and cultural context. For the sake of simplicity, I’ve called Zaida “Max” throughout. This part of the story ends with his arrival in Oakville in 1912. This is the only authenticated story about Zaida. I hope everyone can add any new material, so we can bring the entire story from 1912-1983 together for posterity.

Warren Brown
March 2004

The story of Max Brown is mysterious and contradictory from the very start. His date of birth was always known to be January 1, 1895, and this is also the date written down in the 1982 notes. We can be sure that January 1 is simply a made up date for someone who doesn’t know their date of birth. However, Adela insists Max said he was born in 1893. If Max and Becky were married in 1922, and she was sixteen at the time, and there was a thirteen year difference between them as Max also claimed, then in fact he was most likely born in 1893.

What we do now know for sure, is that Max was born in the town of Oprischeny (as it is written in German, or Oprişeni, in Romanian, and Опришени or Opryseny in Ukrainian), in the region of Sereth (Siret), in the province of Bukovina, in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (see map). Today, Bukovina is divided between Ukraine and Romania, and the town of Oprischeny sits exactly on the modern border. Although we have always been told he came from Romania, the town actually sits today on the Ukrainian side of the border. However, at the time Max lived there, the town was made up almost entirely of ethnic Romanians. Max, in fact never lived in Romania. Bukovina was not taken over by Romania until WWI, a few years after Max left. Amazingly, the town sat on the extreme eastern portion of the Austrian Empire, only about 4 kilometers from the border (at that time) with Romania. The Jews who lived on the other side of the border, in Romania or Russia, were in a completely different world.

The name Oprischeny probably derives from opryszki, which means bandits, or in Ukranian, fortified military bastion. Oprischeny is first mentioned in 1428 as present from Bojer Brill to the Moldovita monastery. In 1774, 22 families lived there. In 1869 243 houses with 1,300 people were registered. In 1890 1,602 people, mainly Romanian farmers, lived there. According to a 1930 census, the town of Oprischeny is listed as having 1,801 people. Max recalled it as being a town of about 2,000 people when he left in 1910. This further helped to verify this was the right village. According to Max there were only five Jewish families living in the town.

Alternate spellings of the village are: Opriszeny, Opriszeni, Oprischenj, Opresan, Opreschen, Opreschany, Oprischany. In Ruthenian it is called Pancir. Interestingly, the “Opr” in Oprischeny means oak tree according to one source, but I have not be able to confirm this claim. There was an old story which now may hold water, that Max moved to Oakville because that was the name of his birthplace.

The nearest village to them, less than a mile away, was an entirely German speaking one, probably a former Tartar colony, called Tereblecea. It too had a few Jewish families. The closest town with any significant Jewish population was the town of Terescheni (Taraseni), which was about 5 kilometers away. The town probably had a few hundred Jews living there out of a population of 1,200. The nearest town of any significance was Sereth (Siret), the regional market town, which had a population of 7,800, of which 3,200 were Jews. The town of Sereth was about 10 kilometers away. The capital, and only city in Bukovina, was Czernowitz. The city had a population in 1910 of 85,000, of which about a third were Jews. The town was only about 25 kilometers (16 miles) away. It is interesting because although he lived in a tiny village (not even a shtetl), with almost no Jews, the city of Czernowitz was only a few hours ride by horse and buggy or train, and he we can only imagine the family went there on occasion. At the time, Czernowitz was a very modern, progressive city, very “Austrian” in its culture, architecture and fashion. Locals referred to it as “Little Vienna” (see pictures). While Oprischeny and Czernowitz are today in the Ukraine, Sereth is located in Romania.

Until 1775, what became Bukovina was part of the Ottoman Empire. From 1775 to 1918, Bukovina was the easternmost crown land of the Austrian Empire. Bukovina, which means “Land of Beech Trees” was known for its forests, rivers and hills, was bounded to the east by Moldavia (Romania) and Bessarabia (Russia), to the south by Romania, to the west by Transylvania and Hungary, and to the north by Galicia. It covered an area of around 10,000 km², which is about twice the size of Prince Edward Island. In 1918 Bukovina was taken over by Romania, and after 1945, was divided between the USSR and Romania.

Unlike its neighbouring provinces, such as the Romanian provinces of Walachia and Moldavia, and Russian Bessarabia, Bukovina developed in a very modern, Western fashion. Bukovina (in the 19th century) never suffered from the extreme oppression and anti-Semitism that the Romanian and Russian provinces had suffered under. Once Bukovina (and Transylvania) came under Romania occupation, they too were now subjected to these oppressive measures.

In 1900 the population of Bukovina was 40% Ruthenian (Ukrainian), 35 % Romanian, 13% were Jews, and the remainder was composed of Germans, Poles, Hungarians, Russians and Armenians. The official language of the administration, of the law-courts, and of instruction in schools was German. Religiously, about 70% of the population belonged to the Greek Orthodox Church. The province was known for its greatly mixed ethnic population, and how peacefully they coexisted.

The Jewish population of Bukovina expanded greatly from only 7,726 Jews out of a total population of 371,000 (3%) in 1830. By 1880 there were 67,418 Jews in Bukovina out of a total population of 571,000 (12%). By the time Max left in 1910, there were 102,900 Jews (13%) in Bukovina, the highest figure for any Austrian crown land. The Jews of Bukovina were second in number only to the Greek Orthodox religious community. In Czernowitz, the Jews comprised a third of the population and were the largest religious group in the city.

This increase in Jewish population in Bukovina is attributed to the immigration of Jews from Galicia, Russia (Basarabia), and Romania (Moldova). This was due to the economic success of the Jewish community, their almost complete emancipation and their high cultural level. In contrast to the first half of the 19th century when there were great restrictions on where Jews could live, in the second half of the century, the Jewish demographic was greatly changed with increased freedom of movement.

Max said his father was born in Bukovina, but his family had originally come from Russia. As Russia then (see 1900 map of Europe) was only a few kilometres away from Oprischeny, it is entirely possible that his family originated very close to the area, and moved across the border to Austria in the mid 1800s when Jews were granted rights there. For example, a list of taxpayers in Gorodenka, Ukraine in 1780 shows many men with the last name Zuckerman(n). Gorodenka is 30 miles north-west of Czernowitz, in Galicia, close to Russian Bessarabia.

Of the Jewish population of Austria, about 75% lived in Galicia, and about 5% in Bukovina. In 1880, there were only 11 villages in Bukovina that had no Jewish inhabitants. In the villages, Jewish farmers gradually disappeared as they took up professions in the cities. There was only one Jewish village, Terescheny (near Oprischeny), where there were 50 Jewish farm families.

Scattered throughout Bukovina there were Jewish landowners who worked farms of 1 to 2 acres. Bukovina was very rural and had only around a dozen towns with a population over 1,000, and only six villages with over 1,000 Jews. Around 1880, Czernowitz had 45, 000 people (15,000 Jews), (by 1910 this had increased to 30,000 Jews, and in 1940 to 43,000), Sereth had 7, 000 people (3, 000 Jews), and Styrojenitz had 5,000 people (1,600 Jews). In 1948, (after WWII) there were 5,112 Jews in the Sereth region.

Because of the Jews, the region that was really Romanian and Ruthenian (Ukranian), became “Germanized,” because they used German as well as Yiddish in their everyday speech. The Jews also cooperated politically with the German speaking government, who in these decades were still liberally oriented. There was a very high level of assimilation among Bukovinian Jews, especially in the larger towns.

Max’s family name was Zuckerman (though most likely spelled in the German form, Zuckermann, with a double n. His Hebrew name was Mordechai, but his given name was Markus (or Marcus), and this is what his family called him. Interestingly, Markus seems to be a very common first name among Bukovenian Jews.

Markus (Mordechai) Zuckermann’s father’s name was Aaron Zuckerman, according to Margo’s notes, but Avrum according to Adela. Avrum seems the right name, as Max’s first son, Albert was named Avrum, after his grandfather. In fact, after Max and Becky sat shiva for Albert, Max wanted his first grandson, Joel, to be named Avrum in his place. The interesting part is that Max would only name his son after his father if his father had died. As Albert was born in 1925(?), and it seems Max was in contact with his family until at least 1930 if not later, that he knew his father had died in the interim. This is not impossible, as he could possibly have been killed during the First World War.

Avrum Zuckermann came from Bukovina (though Max didn’t specify where exactly), but his family had come originally from Russia. He worked as an interpreter at the courts, and he spoke many languages. Put into the context of the time and place, it seems a very practical job. The languages he must have spoken were Russian, Romanian, German, Yiddish, Polish and Hungarian. We also know Max spoke many languages fluently. We can assume the courts were in the capital of Czernowitz, to which Avrum may have traveled each day. Max stated his father was also a farmer and liked riding horses.

After searching through Czernowitz school records, I found an Aron (Adolf) Zuckermann, who graduated grade 8 (fourteen years old), in 1883 from the Ober-Gymnasiums in Czernowitz. This means this Aron Zuckermann was born in 1869. This would make him 26 when Max, second oldest child in the family, was born,. He is the only person with that name listed as attending the school from 1850-1890. We know his father was born in Bukovina, and most probably in the region where he lived in Oprischeny, and near where his wife came from in Czernowitz. Could this be his father or uncle?

Max’s mother’s name was Toba (Toby) Blum, and came from the capital city of Czernowitz. Blum is a common name in Czernowitz, and if there are any relatives around today, it would most likely come from the Blums of Czernowitz. There are records of Blums in the local cemetery, school records, businesses as well as immigration records. This also lends weight to the idea that Max would have traveled regularly to the capital to visit family. Toba Blum came from a small family that had originally come from Bucharest, today the capital of Romania.

Max was the second oldest child, among 11-12 brothers and sisters. When he left, there were five boys and five girls, as some of his siblings had died. In 1895, records show for every 1000 Jewish births, 27 children were born dead. The only names of the siblings Max mentioned are a brother named Jossel (Yossel- from Yosef), and the youngest two, Avram and Toba, who were twins. There is an interesting discrepancy here, as Max told Adela his parents, not the twins, were names Avram and Toba. This may account for Margo’s notes, as to why he calls his mother and sister by the same name. Adela’s notes show the listing of all the brothers and sisters in order of age. There are two more girls listed there, Liddy and Shoshanna. Therefore Aaron most likely would have been the name of a brother. Max told a story of how one day, someone came into the family store and saw one of the twins, and said it was the most beautiful baby. The next day the child died, from the “eyan ha-ra”. We all know how superstitious both Max and Becky were, using red string as amulets to keep the “eyan ha-ra” away. Max’s older brother had joined the Austrian army sometime before 1910.

A funny fact, that in 1895, out of every 1,000 Jewish births, 700 were illegitimate. This can be attributed to the fact that Jewish ritual marriages were not recognized by the state.

Other names in the online records are those of Moses and Golde Zuckermann who lived in Kupka, and owned a restaurant in 1909. This is only two villages directly west of Oprischeny. Could this be Max’s uncle?
There was a Feivel Zuckermann who attended grade 1 in 1909 in Sereth (ie. Born 1903). A new listing of the Jewish cemetery in Czernowitz shows several people named Zuckermann.

There was a German documentary made in 1999 about a 90 year old woman born in Czernowitz (in 1909) named Rosa Zuckermann, who survived both world wars, and still lived in the town. The film is called Herr Zwilling und Frau Zuckermann. Whether or not they are related, it is interesting that when Markus Zuckermann passed through Czernowitz in 1910, Rosa was there too. I obtained a copy of the film through the Goethe Institute. From the film I learned her husband’s name was Martin Zuckermann, and he had a sister named Rudolphine Zuckermann.

Max’s family had a family store in town that sold groceries, tobacco, wool, etc. Max recalled someone in the store who once called Max a dirty Jew and his father knocked the guy out. In general, all accounts show the Jews had great relations with the other inhabitants of the villages and towns, at least until the occupation of Bukovina by Romania. In fact, entirely Romanian or Ruthenian communities often elected Jews as their mayors. The Jews of the region were very prominent in politics, education, medicine, law and commerce.

The revolution year of 1848 led to the constitution of 1849 granting all Jews in the monarchy equal rights. Bukovina was separated from Galicia and made it an autonomous duchy whose internal affairs was regulated by a Diet or Regional Parliament. These would be the courts where Avrum Zuckermann worked. The constitution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire of 1867 concerning the general rights of citizens finally removed all restrictions from the Jews.

There apparently was a small shul in the town of Oprischeny, on the property of a neighbour. Jews from surrounding towns walked 4-5 miles to come to that shul. The names of these towns surrounding Oprischeny are: Starcea, Tereblecea, Slobozia-Berlinti, Cerepcauti, Poiani, Garbauti, and Stanesti (de Sus, and de Jos). Interestingly, the 1910 map and modern maps do not show the exact same locations for the towns. The name of the owner of the land and building where the shul was located in Oprischeny, was named “Paris”, according to the original notes.

Despite the sketchy details, we can be sure that Oprischeny is in fact the right town. The only information Max gave us on the town was it’s name, population, and the name of one other family.

Records show Abraham Pariser was born in 1877 in “Oprischeni”. He led the Kultusgemeinde (Jewish community) of neighboring Sereth for many years. He was the son of the renowned Talmud-scholar Salomon Pariser. This would explain why the Jews from surrounding villages came to Max’s small village shul. Salomon must be the one who led the shul services Max attended. Abraham Pariser attended the Oberrealschule (high school) in Czernowitz and the Handelshochschule (trade-academy) in Prague. He was active in significant positions in the bank system in Sereth from 1900 until WWII, aside from which he held various community offices through the years. He was Kultuspresident and Vice-Mayor of the city. When he died in 1947, his huge funeral showed his great popularity in the town.

Other records from Sereth show Julius Pariser, born in “Opriszeny, Bukovina” studied at the Kaiser Franz Josef Gymnasium in Sereth. He graduated in 1908, at the age of 18, which means he was born in 1890, and therefore must have known Max, or at least his older brother very well. Other records corroborate that Dr. Julius Pariser practiced medicine in Jerusalem. His brother Martin Pariser also moved to Israel, and lived in Tel-Aviv.

From this list I found a third of the name of another family from Oprischeny. Max Wiedner of Oprischeny, graduated 1911 in Medicine, at age 22 (therefore born 1889). Leon Rolec of Oprischeny, who was probably not from one of the five Jewish families in the village, attended the Gymnasium as well. He graduated in 1914 at age 22, which means he was born in 1892, making him just a few years older than Max.

The list shows students at the Sereth Gymnasium as coming not only from Sereth, but from dozens of towns around Bukovina, as well as from Galicia, including Josef Jurman from Terescheny, born 1885. Other genealogical records show a Nikolaus Hackmann of Oprishceny. Adam Sauer is listed on as born in Oprischeny 1858.

Elsewhere I found a list of “Tolerated Jewish Farmers in the Bukowina” in 1808, a time when there were still great restrictions on Jews owning land or having certain professions in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Among the list was Juda Grosser of “Oprischeni”. Here then is another Jewish family of the village.

Max’s family were religious Jews, who kept kosher and dovened. It is noteworthy that at the time in Bukovina, there was a large and acrimonious split between the traditional and the “Enlightened” Jews, who favoured German culture. Ironically, the leader of the Enlightened Jews, and the major Jewish philanthropist of the region, was named Markus Zucker.

The family received their (Jewish) education from what Max called a “melamed”, a woman who came in to their town from the city (either Sereth or Czernowitz) to teach.

Other than the “Pariser Shul”, in Oprischeny, in Sereth there was a Temple, and 4 public and 4 private prayer houses. Sereth had its own rabbi. In Storozynetz, another regional city, (see map) lived 4,832 Jews in 1910, out of a population of over 10,000 inhabitants (48%), among them Ruthenians (Ukranian), Romanians, Germans and Poles. In the Storozynetz District, there were more than 40 small rural communities with several Jewish families living in each. It seems it was quite common in Bukovina for towns to sustain just a few Jewish families, like in Oprischeny.

Czernowitz had one Temple, one synagogue and 28 private prayer houses.
The chief rabbi and educator in those years was Rabbi Igal, who led the Czernowitz synagogue. It is interesting that he was a student and follower of the great scholar Samuel David Luzzatto, whom he studied with in Padua, Italy.

During the years Max lived in Bukovina, were the years of the development of Zionism. Both Sereth and Czernowitz had a great number of Zionist organizations, including Hasmonea, Poalei-Zion, and Maccabea. It is worthy to mention that Shalom Aleichem (1859-1916) visited Sereth and presented a series of speeches there, probably during Max’s time there.
Rabbi Igal met the famous “proto-Zionist” leader Perez Smolenskin, who visited Romania in 1874 and who stopped in Czernowitz. In 1900, Theodor Herzl met leaders for discussion of the political situation in Bukovina. Three years earlier, Dr. Meir Avner had been elected to lead three Bukovina representative to the first Zionist Congress in Basel. In Bukovina, the Zionist movement did not include organisations devoted to settlement and emigration to Israel like in Eastern Europe, but rather to Jewish nationalism.

We don’t know of the Zuckerman’s Zionist leanings, but when Max decided to emigrate, and he chose Canada. The Jews of Bukovina were spared the riots and violent anti-Semitic disturbances that plagued the Jews of neighbouring regions and countries. It is therefore not surprising that they did not join in the mass emigration of Jews from Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Century. Max stated that the impending army call-up, and the fact that he was a pacifist, was the actual reason he left his Bukovina. Max never served in the Austrian army. He was given a two year army grace. He had to leave before he was 17, or else he would have to serve in the army. There were call ups at age 17, 19 and 21 for physical exams. It therefore makes sense that Max would have left at the age of 17, which again would confirm he was in fact born in 1893, if he left in 1910.

At the time, Bukovina was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the Emperor (Kaiser) was Franz-Josef. Max liked Franz-Josef, because he granted equal rights. This is consistent with the how Franz-Josef is viewed by historians, known for being very well liked by the many ethnic and national minorities of his empire.

Franz-Josef was a member of the Habsburg family, and was crowned Emperor of Austria in 1848 at age 18. By the time Max left in 1910, Franz-Josef would be in the 62nd year of his reign. He reigned until his death in 1916. His once huge Habsburg Empire was crumbling during this time, and Franz-Josef was determined to hold on to the last strongholds in the Balkans and Serbia. He had lost major wars and territory to France (1848) and Prussia (1866). There was obvious trouble during Max’s lifetime as well, when Franz-Josef’s brother was executed, his son, Crown Prince Rudolph, committed suicide followed by his wife's assassination, and most famously, his nephew and new heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, would be assassinated by Serbian nationalists in 1914 in Sarajevo. This event led to the outbreak of the First World War, and the Austrian army going to battle four years after Max left the Empire.

The Jews in Bukovina were very loyal to the Kaiser and the Empire, and supported his entering the First World War.

In the years before the outbreak of the war, Max must have made many trips to Czernowitz. It would be in a cosmopolitan setting like Czernowitz, that Canada would have publicly advertised free land for immigrants to Canada. The very influential Minster of the Interior, Clifford Sifton, led the push to draw new immigrants to Canada (particularly the West). Massive numbers of pamphlets in several languages flooded Europe. Canadian exhibits were mounted at fairs, exhibitions, and public displays, while articles were inserted in foreign newspapers.

Here is an interesting quote Sifton made when describing what he looked for in the ideal settler, in response to criticism that his policies were ruining the British character of Canada:
“When I speak of quality I have in mind something that is quite different from what is in the mind of the average writer or speaker upon the question of immigration. I think that a stalwart peasant in a sheepskin coat, born on the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, with a stout wife and a half-dozen children, is good quality.”

Jews, along with Italians, Blacks, Orientals and urban Englishmen were discouraged from being targeted for immigration, as he felt they would make bad farmers.
Max left Oprischeny in the beginning of April 1910. Contrary to many stories, he was in contact with his family in Bukovina while he was in Canada. He continued for some time to send money back to his family. He eventually stopped sending money to them, and the correspondences stopped and he lost all contact with his family. We can assume he stopped sending money when he got married and began to support a family, but that wasn’t for at least ten years, or after World War I. Also surprisingly, he left his home by horse and wagon, with the family accompanying him to the train. He took the train (certainly from Czernowitz) into Austria (Vienna), and from there into Germany, most likely departing from Hamburg which was the second busiest emigration port in Europe, or nearby Bremen, Germany which was the busiest port, and handled about 30% of all emigrant traffic. He did in fact leave Germany on a cattle boat. Immigration records from the time show this was not an urban legend, but was quite a common way for poor immigrants to arrive in North America from Europe. Personal records of immigrants tell different stories of cattle boats. Some say it was a boat that had brought cattle to Europe and was returning to Canada. Others say the passenger ships had cattle in steerage, and 3rd class passengers stayed in steerage with the cattle. Others say they were converted old cattle ships, now used for cheap transport. The Struma is the most famous example of a former cattle boat carrying Romanian immigrants. The boat travelled to Palestine, fleeing the Nazis, where it was sunk, killing all the refugees aboard.
During his entire journey from Bukovina to Canada, Max pretended to be Christian. One month after leaving Oprischeny, Max arrived in Halifax on May 10, 1910, when he was approximately fifteen years of age, according to his account. Immigrants were required to have at least $25 in cash when they landed in Halifax (according to records from 1911). That would equate to over two hundred of today's dollars.

Max was able to enter Canada with a false passport. The name on his false passport was Markus Braun (or Brun). From here we get our family name Brown, which is Braun in German. Surprisingly, his first name on the passport was real. The name Braun was a Jewish surname as well. While at the docks in Halifax, his one bag with all his belongings, his tefillin and his photographs, was stolen.

Max landed in Canada at an interesting time. Only a few days before his arrival, King Edward VII of England (and Canada), son of Queen Victoria, died. At the time, Canada was still a Dominion in the commonwealth, decades away from the autonomy and sovereignty granted in 1931 by the Statute of Westminster. On May 10, a Tuesday, there was a national day of mourning with flags flying at half-mast. The mayor of Halifax read the proclamation of King George V. The federal government at the time was led by Sir Wilfred Laurier, who had been in power since 1896. All schools and government establishments and institutions were closed (We can only wonder what was happening at the immigration offices?).

Max immigrated during a period of one of the greatest demographic changes in history. In Canada, 1913 saw the largest ever number of new immigrants, when over 400,000 newcomers arrived on Canadian soil.

In fact, Ukrainians (the collective name applied to Slavs from regions of the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires) were by far the largest group to immigrate to Canada from eastern and central Europe in these years. Between 1891, when the first wave of Ukrainian immigrants came to Canada, and the outbreak of the First World War, approximately 170,000 Ukrainians immigrated to Canada, attracted by the offer of free land.

For the most part, these Ukrainian newcomers were small farmers and labourers from Galicia and Bukovina (both of which were provinces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) most of whom were fleeing oppressive economic conditions. Most of these immigrants however were not Jews, and most continued west after landing in Halifax, settling the prairies in the brand new provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The massive number of immigrants led to the Immigration Act of 1910. The very year Max arrived, the government was given the authority to exclude "immigrants belonging to any race deemed unsuited to the climate or requirements of Canada." The Act also strengthened the government's power to deport any individuals it thought necessary.

From Halifax, Max went to Montreal. He spent only a couple of weeks in Montreal before going to Toronto. He found work in a can making factory on King Street, making $6.25 a week. In 1910, the average production worker in Canada took home only $417 in annual wages. If Max worked 52 weeks a year, with no vacation/sick days off during the year, he would earn $325 a year, or only about ¾ or the average wage.

In Toronto, he first saw Rebecca Victoria (Becky) Tobias, when she was only six years old. If this recollection is correct, he would have been 19 at the time, and in Canada already for a few years.

Max says he never liked Toronto and left after a short time. He apparently went to northern Ontario to work in the logging industry. He may have worked there for as long as two years, because he arrived in Oakville in 1912. At the time he was the only Jew living there. He got a job working in the local basket making factory. He made return trips to Toronto, and attended the Romanian (Romanishe) Shul. Here Max met Becky’s Buba. She told Becky this is the man she had to marry. Although Becky had her eye on a red-headed boy (this would explain her lifetime fascination with red-headed dolls), the other younger sisters couldn’t marry until Becky was married off.

Although Becky lived in Toronto, and was born in Montreal, her family was a very prominent rabbinical family from the city of Iasi (Jassy) in Moldavia, Romania, the province to the south-east of Bukovina. Interestingly, there is another town named Opriseni, just a few kilometers east of Iasi.

Here is the end of the story of Max’s immigration, and the beginning of the story of the life of Max and Becky and their children in Oakville.

However, what happened in Bukovina after Max left, notably during the two world wars? What could have happened to his family?

The cities and towns of Bukovina almost died out during the 1914-1918 war. All able-bodied men were drafted into military service. In the summer of 1916, after the Russian offensive and the collapse of the Austrian Front, families fled out of fear of the invasion. Only a very few remained in their homes. Those in the rural areas (like Oprischeny) came into the towns for protection. Eventually even those in towns fled to the western sections of the Empire, most commonly Vienna, and Moravia (Czech). About two thirds of the population fled west, and after the war, less than half of those refugees returned.

By 1918 most houses in Bukovina were destroyed or had become uninhabitable ruins. We can be sure Oprischeny was destroyed, as the Russian army advanced from Czernowitz to Sereth via Tereblecea, and therefore the road also passed Oprischeny.

People who returned home after 1918 found none of their belongings and were dependent on philanthropy to survive. The Austrian Empire was dissolved, and because Romania left the Central Powers in 1916 and joined up with the Allied Forces, at the end of the war in 1918, it was rewarded by receiving three regions of the defeated Empire. Bukovina became part of Romania, located in the north central part of the country, with Moldavia on its eastern border. It was also rewarded by receiving administration of Russian Bessarabia.

Until 1919, the Jews in Sereth and Czernowitz regions, as in the whole Empire enjoyed rights, guaranteed by the laws of the state. At the end of the war, the Romanian military occupied Bukovina and the Jews very quickly lost their rights. Small merchants became the victims of decrees issued overnight. Their interpretation and implementation depended the arbitrariness of the Romanian officials. Doctors and lawyers lost their jobs. The rural Jews were compelled to leave their property. The measures against Jews reached their peak just before the outbreak of the Second World War. Jews, who had possessed Austrian citizenship, became stateless and were often shipped over the border.

Romanian records show the new political and territorial divisions of the country based on their land acquisitions in 1918. Here is the entry for Oprischeny:
Locality ... Opriseni ... County ... Radauti... Department ... Siret ... Judicial District ... Siret ... Post Office ... Tereblecea ... Railroad Station ... Slobozia (3)… Distance to Department Seat... 32km.
Here they claim the distance from Oprischeny to Sereth is 32km not 10km.

German troops occupied Romania by October of 1940 and Romania joined the German side of the war. At the same time, the Russians were moving westward into Bessarabia and reclaiming land they once ruled.

Nazi records show plans for the relocation of ethnic Germans as agreed upon between the Soviets and the Germans. These Germans, living in Bessarabia and Bukovina, were transported westward into the German Reich. This work would be carried out mainly by the German SS in 1940. There is a great irony that the SS was deporting Germans by train from Bukovina a year before they began to deport the Jews. The records show:
From the Czernowitz area: the Terebleschtie railway station (blue dot on 1910 map). 1,708 Germans transported. 1,613 from Terebleschtie (i.e. the entire town). Among the other towns, one person from Oprischeny was transferred, a town listed as six kilometres from the train station at Terebleschtie.

In June, 1941, the city was evacuated by the Soviets, and by October, all the Jews (over 50,000) were confined to a small ghetto, while thousands were also deported to Siberia. The Germans arrived on July 5.

In 1941, the Czernowitz Jews were concentrated in a ghetto, and all their property was confiscated. On an order of the German rulers from Bucharest in July 1941, the Jews of Bukovina were loaded in cattle-wagons and evicted to Kalafat. The survivors, over 30,000 Jews, were ultimately deported to Transnistria (Ukraine), where 60-80% perished due to illnesses and hunger. Many of the remaining Jews were murdered by Rumanian soldiers during their retreat from Bukovina and by incited Rumanian peasants. They were shot and their corpses thrown into a ditch. These victims from the Sereth region were buried eventually in the Sereth Cemetery in a common grave, with tombstone and common inscription. In October, 1943, restrictions on Jewish movement were abolished, and the quick liberation by Soviet forces in early 1944 saved the 15,000 Jews remaining in Czernowitz. Despite these atrocities, Bukovinian and Romanian Jews had the highest survival rate in Europe.

A wooden tablet in the Synagogue of Sereth, which still stands today, has the names of more than 700 Jews who died. It is certain that no community inhabited by Jews was spared. After the war, the town of Storozynetz was just a pile of rubble. Just ten Jewish families still lived there -some who survived in Storozynetz or in the Transnistria death camps. A list of Bukovinian Jews who died at Transnistria includes the names of several Blums.

Still, at least 50,000 Bukovinian Jews returned to the towns after the war. Over the next decade, most of these families found their way to Israel. It is very possible that members of the Zuckerman family emigrated to Israel in the 1950s. Lists of Zuckermans in Israel (of which only sons of Max’s brothers would be listed as such), are very numerous. There is no way at present of knowing if any of these came from Bukovina.

In any event, I found the following interesting piece of information. The famous author, Martin Gilbert in his book “Atlas of the Holocaust”, lists all the Jews of the Bukowina on the eve of WW II. Czernowitz had 43,000, Sereth had 2,120, and Toraceni (Tarascheni) as 58 Jews. Villages with as few as 4 Jews are listed, but Oprischeny is not listed at all.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, a Jewish Cultural Society has been formed in Czernowitz (today called Chernivtsi, Ukraine) for the new community of 3,000, and to protect the historical Jewish places. There is even a Jewish school with 150 students (mostly of mixed families), and a synagogue with a rabbi.

Following some leads, I spoke with a woman named Rita Hollinger, who lives in Israel. She is the representative of Bukovina Jewish World Union - Sereth. Her maiden name is Kraft, a common name in Sereth records. She gave some interesting information. She said all men from Sereth and the surrounding villages went into military service in 1914. Her mother took all the children to Vienna, and returned after the war in 1918. This seems to be a common practice as all families fled to the western parts of Austria. Rita was born in Sereth in 1925. The former Jews of Sereth have written a book in Hebrew called “Sereth Shelanu”, or Our Sereth, of which I now have a copy. She mentioned firstly, that the pronunciation of the town is O-prish-SHEYN-ee, and Max’s family name would have been pronounced Tzukerman. There was one remaining Jew in Sereth who died in 2002. During the Nazi invasion, Rita was sent to the Jurin ghetto with Abraham Pariser, and his sons. The sons returned to Sereth after the war, before moving to Israel. She also led me to the apparently only living grandchild of Abraham Pariser.

I spoke with Karol (Katriel) Pariser. He was born in Czernowitz, to Abraham’s son Zeev (Wolf) Wilhelm Pariser. He was one of five boys and one girl born to Abraham Pariser. Three of the boys were Martin (Moju), Zeev Wilhem (Wili), and Max and the girl was named Gina. Katriel told me his grandfather left Oprischeny and went to Sereth when he got married. We can assume he got married in his early 20s, so he would have left Oprischeny when Max was still young. Katriel did not know of anyone named Zuckerman. He and everyone else had no recollection of Julius Pariser, born in Oprischeny, and educated in Sereth.

Rita also gave me the name of Feiwisch Herman, who was one of the writers of Our Sereth. He told me that there was nobody named Zuckerman in Sereth (in the 1930s), and there were no Jews at all from Oprischeny who came to Sereth. They would most likely have gone to the city of Czernowitz. He did tell me of the reference in the book to a Hugo Zuckermann. He was a writer, and a student with Abraham Pariser in Czernowitz. Hugo Zuckermann died in the First World War.

Also in the book, it says that Sereth was the commercial and administrative centre for twenty surrounding villages. Included in the list is Opriseni. Also mentioned is a 1930 (Romanian) census, which shows a Jewish population of 15 in Opriseni (57 in the neighbouring Treblecea). There is also a list of the names appearing on the memorial wall in the Holon cemetery (a suburb of Tel Aviv), of the victims from Sereth who died in Transnistria. Among the names is Babzi and Shmuel Zuckerman.

Feiwish also passed me along to Haim (Karl) Reicher. He was born in 1924 in Sereth. He in fact was in Oprischeny. While fleeing the invading Russian army at the end of WWII, he was captured just outside his hometown of Sereth, and imprisoned in the local town, Oprischeny. He spent two nights there, and said there is nothing to say about the town. He said that no Jews from Oprischeny came to Sereth.

I then tried calling the Czernowitz representative of the Buvovina Jewish World Union to see if they had any information about Oprischeny or the Zuckermans. Andi Rosengarden had never heard of the town, or anybody with that name from the city. He then led me to the headquarters, and the president, Jula Weiner. The Bukovina World Jews Union, based in Tel Aviv has an office with a library full of books on Jews in Bukovina. They also publish a monthly newspaper in German. They agreed to publish my search, and have claimed they have had great success this way. So we may hear news in the future {ad published in May 2004 edition}. He also mentioned that Toronto had a Jewish Bukovinian Society for decades, but has recently ceased to exist. He did tell me the name of a family from Czernowitz who live at Bayview and Steeles.

After contacting Yad VaShem in Jerusalem, they did a search of their database for any names of victims from Opriseni. Only those names will appear when a family member has filled out a Page of Testimony and submitted it to Yad Vashem. The database came up with the following names:
Fisel Glenzer (Glanzer), born in 1883 in Cacia?, Bukovina, place of residence Opriseni, Bukovina, married to Bella Glanzer (maiden name Kroner), born in Opriseni, children Yosef and Frada. Fisel, Yosef and Frada died in Krizhopol, Vinnista, Ukraine in 1942. (This was a Ghetto 100km from Vinnista). Bella died in the Ukraine in 1943. Frada was 17 (born 1925) and Yosef was 15 (born 1927). Fisel was an upholsterer by profession. Their nationality is listed as “Czernowitz”. The information was submitted in 1956 by Mordechai Glantzer, son of Fisel. Mordechai Glantzer also submitted a page for Wolf Glanzer, son of Fisel and Berta (Shneider), born in 1906 in Opriseni, lived in Opriseni. Wolf was a salesman by profession, and married to Chaya Glanzer. They had a daughter Malka, who died at age 8 in the Ukraine in 1942 (born 1934). Wolf died in Mogilev Podolski, Vinntsa, Ukraine in 1943. (This was a transit camp for expelled Bukovinian Jews).

A separate page was submitted for Isaac Weissbrod, born 1907 in Opriseni, resident of Mihaileni, Dorohoi, Moldavia, died 1941 in Mohilev Pololsk, Vinnitsa, Ukraine.

We therefore now know three more names of the Oprischeny Jews, Glanzer, Kroner, and Weissbrod, to go with Zuckermann, Pariser, Wider, and Grosser.

From these records, I looked for the name Glanzer in Israel, and found there were very few, so I tried calling some. I spoke with Esther Glanzer, who I found out is the widow of Zvi Glanzer, son of Mordechai Glanzer, who filled out the forms. She said that while she was born in Israel, she remembers her husband mentioning the village of Oprischeny. He also gave video testimony to Yad Va’shem. She then gave me the name of Raphael Tadmor, who was Mordechai Glanzer’s stepson. He was born in Czernowitz in 1936 and moved to Israel in 1946. He explained that the Jews of Czernowitz who came under Soviet rule following the war fled across the border to Romania, as the Soviets did not allow emigration, but Romania did. He also said that any of the generation who grew up in Oprischeny had died. He said he would check with an aunt of his for any other information. He said that Gusta (Marco) Glanzer was actually born in Opriseni in 1928, moved to Czernowitz at age six, and then at age 16 (1945) moved to Israel after the war. She however has absolutely no recollection of Opriseni or any other family that came from there.

Through a tip, a called the Jewish Agency in Israel which has a Bureau of Missing Relatives to see if they have any Zuckerman’s on record who emigrated from Oprischeny. Unfortunately, the department was recently closed, and all records were transferred to the Central Zionist Archives. I sent a query by mail, but they said because of the volume of requests, it would be up to a year to receive an answer.

I then decided to try a different route, instead of Jews who had left the region, I’d see if there were any non-Jewish families who had lived there for generations, who might remember the Zuckermann family.
Through the Chernivtsy (Chernowitz) synagogue, I contacted the local Jewish aid society, Shushana-Hesed. They forwarded my request by mail to the town, and waited for a response, which seems not to be coming.
60445 с. Опришени
Глибоцького району
Чернівецької області

I then seemed to catch a break. I found an article on the web from a Bucharest newspaper that wrote a story, in Romanian, about the village of Opriseni. From the article I took a few of the old family names mentioned, such as Biletchi, Birau, and Pitul, and hoped I could somehow contact them. Through international directory assistance, I actually got the phone numbers.

With the help of someone from the Toronto Russian Jewish Community Centre, we called the modern village of Opryseny. This is what we found out -
After trying a few numbers, we finally spoke with Rodina Dmitrienvna, because in addition to Ukrainian, she speaks Russian, Romanian and French, and teaches languages at the school. She told us a little bit about the village today, which has a population of 2,000, which is the same population as a hundred years ago when Zaida was born there. The village is very small, as addresses do not include house numbers, and everyone in the village knows everybody else. She was very proud Opryseny, as a picturesque and hospitable place. She said the town is 585 years old, and was according to legend, first settled by Polish soldiers who encamped there, as Oprizh in Polish means army encampment. After World War II, Ukraine actually changed the name of the village to Dubovka, and the town just a few years ago, decided to change it back to its historical name. When I enquired if the Opr in the name may mean oak, she said no, but interestingly, Dub in Dubova does means oak tree in Ukrainian.

She mentioned that all families live in houses, there is a village church, shops, and a “cultural center” for any and all gatherings. The village is surrounded by forests, and there are two rivers flowing through the village, the Kotivetz and the Oprishanka.

I enquired if she knew of the Zuckerman family. She asked her father, who was born in 1927, but he had no recollection of the name. The family spoke Romanian to each other, which shows even after fifty years in Ukraine, they hold on to their Romanian ethnicity. She also pointed out they are less than five kilometres from the Romanian border. Rodina immediately said the Zuckermans must be a Jewish family. However, anti-Semitism can’t be that bad, as she invited all of the descendents of one of their own native sons, to come and visit the village, take pictures and meet the locals. She extended the invitation five more times.

She then offered to ask around the village elders to see if anyone remembers the Zuckerman family. She also gave us the number of the town hall, which holds all the records, and may hold old birth records.

A final note not yet cleared up. I came across what might be the most concrete piece of evidence of Max’s family. GenAmi, a French Jewish genealogical website lists every Jewish emigrant who passed through Brussels on their way to their new countries. Under the listing I found this amazing entry:
ZUCKERMANN (Opriseni* 1897/Stryy 1909/Hamburg 1900)

I wrote to the site owner asking for information about what this exactly means (is 1897 the date of birth or arrival in Brussels), and after many follow ups, never received a response. Is this concrete evidence that one of Max’s siblings emigrated without his knowledge?

Hopefully in the future a few more details from these sources will come through and clarify even more about the Zuckermans’ time in Bukovina.

Note: When researching, there are other towns by the name Opriseni in modern Romania, near the town of Falticeni, and also an Opriseni in Romania just east of Iasi on the Moldavian border.

An incredible resource, with many helpful fellow researchers is

Here are some other good sites I found:

Max Brown - Original Notes
Info written down by Margo 1982
-from Opreshena town in Bukovena
-a pop. of about 2000 people
-5 Jewish families lived there
-family name was Zuckerman
-they had/there was? a vegetable stand in town
- there were 11-12 children in the family
-he was the 2nd oldest child
-when he left there were 5 boys and 5 (?) girls
-his brothers and sisters, but some died
-his mother’s family came from Bucharest
-he never served in the army
-was given 2 years army grace
-he left with a false passport
-why did he lose contact with family?
-he stopped sending money to them and correspondence stopped
-left by horse and wagon
-the family took him to the train
-he took the train into Austria, Germany
-from Germany he went to Halifax, arrived May 10, 1910
-he was approx. 15 years old
-he had to be out before 17 or else had to serve in the army
-were called up at 17, 19, 21 years for army physical exams, therefore he left
-came over on a cattle boat with a false passport with name Marcus Brun
-his real name is Marcus and his family called him Marcus
-Hebrew name is Mordechai
-went from Halifax to Montreal
-youngest brother named Avrum, was a twin to Toba
-also a younger brother Yossel
-his mother’s name was Toba (Toby)
-her maiden name was Bloom
-mother came from capital city of Bukovina called Czernowitz
-mother from a small family
-they had a little shul in their rown on the property of a neighbour
-Jews from surrounding towns walked 4-5 miles to come to that shul
-name of owner of land and building where shul was located was called Paris
-they were religious Jews, were kosher, dovened
-a Melamed taught them, a woman from the city
-Franz Joseph was the ruler at the time, and the area was controlled by Austria
-Bukovina was part of Austria then
-his father’s name was Aaron
-father was born in Bukovina
-his paternal grandfather was from Russia
-his father was an interpreter at the courts, spoke many languages
-father also was a farmer
-he rode horses, liked horses
-had a family store – groceries, tobacco, wool, etc.
-someone in the store called him a dirty Jew, and his father knocked him out
-liked Franz-Joseph, granted equal rights
-spent a couple of weeks in Montreal, then went to Toronto
-worked in a can making place on King Street for $6.25 a week
-first saw Becky at 6 years old
-first Jew in Oakville in 1912
-never liked Toronto
-he pretended to be Christian when leaving and the whole time on the boat over
-was born January 1, 1895
-it took one month from leaving the home town to arriving in Halifax

Below: Text of e-mail regarding Warren's search for Zuckerman family


Thank you to all who helped with my research, and those who visited my site
over the past week (  Briefly, my
grandfather immigrated alone to Canada in 1910, and never spoke of his
family or homeland.  As far as we knew, any family we had, wherever that may
be, would have been killed in the Shoah.  I recently found some lost
documents that gave me some ideas for some leads to try and research my
grandfather and where he came from.  After the latest edition of Die Stimme,
the newspaper of the Bukovina Jews World Union was published, someone in
Rishon LeZion, Israel, saw the ad I had placed looking for anyone who had
information about the Zuckerman family from the small village of Opriseni.
This  person showed it to a neighbour whose maiden name was Zuckerman.  She
called me, and after an amazing conversation, it has been absolutely
confirmed that her father and my father's father were brothers.  It is the
first time in 95 years two Zuckermans have been in touch!!!  It seems a
shame now that after my grandfather left Bukovina in 1910, he didn't know he
has a brother who was alive in Romania until 1985 (my grandfather died in
1983).  We are now exchanging photos of the brothers, and telling stories
about how similar they are.  Alice Zuckerman was in tears, saying she had
been hoping her whole life to find her lost uncle, who she had heard stories
about.  Alice's father (and herself) were the only members of the family to
survive the Shoah in Transnistria.  I will now be in touch with my new
cousins (in fact her son, my second cousin moved last year to Vancouver,
Canada).  I am now arranging a surprise party for all of my aunts and
uncles, where I'll call and introduce them to their long lost first cousin.

Warren Brown
Toronto, Canada
researching (and finding) ZUCKERMAN, from Opriseni

Updated - June 19th 2004:

A few days after completing this and presenting this project to the family, we called back to Rodika (not Rodina) in Opriseni. She said she asked around, and there was someone in the village who remembers a family named Zuckerman from the town, but they were deported to Pridnestrovie (ie. Transnistria). She would forward the details in a letter.

Within a week, I received another phone call. A woman in Israel said a relative of hers had seen my ad in the paper published by the Bukovina Jews World Union, "Die Stimme", and had sent it to her. She had been crying and in complete shock. She said her family name was Zuckerman, and her father had been born in Oprischeny. I asked what her grandmother's name was, and when she said Taube, there was no doubt this was the lost relative that had always been the ultimate goal of the research. Alice Zuckerman is the daughter of Avraham Zuckerman, Max's little brother.

Avraham Zuckermann was born in 1901 in Oprischeny. In fact, the family didspell the their name with two NNs at the end. However, once in Romania under the communists, they switched it to one N, dropping the German spelling. Max said in 1982 that his youngest brother's name was Avraham, who was a twin to Toba. He was right that Avraham was his brother's name, and not in fact his father's name, but he was in fact a twin, probably with Libby as Alice remembers. However, she did not die young. Avraham would have been nine years old when Max last saw him. During World War One, Avraham was drafted into the Austrian army, like the oldest son in the family. What became of the oldest son is unknown, as Alice never knew of any brothers. The one
exception of course, were the stories she had always heard about a brother, unnamed, who had left for Canada before the war. From that time on, Avraham knew nothing of what became of his brother. Max however said that he had written letters back home for some period of time. We don't know what happened to the family during the war, but they were living in Opriseni, Romania after the war. Avraham moved to Czernowitz and married Rosa Ostfeldin 1925. In 1929 Alice Zuckermann was born.

She remembers having five aunts. The oldest was nicknamed Pupa. Her real name is not known. She was called Pupa, because of her looks. Pupa means doll. She married a cousin Moishe Zuckermann, so her married name was also Zuckerman. This shows importantly that there were other Zuckermans in Czernowitz that were relatives, possibly the children of Aaron Zuckerman's brothers. Another sister was Libby, not Liddy as written in the story. Another was Rosa. Rosa is remembered for being extremely beautiful. She was also known for working in a bank, which for the time was extremely unusual. Another sister's name was Rachel (RaKH-el). Two of the five sisters were married, but had no children, and three of the sisters lived together in the family house in Oprischeny. This is a little strange, as they would have been in their 30s by the time the Second World War started.

Alice remembers going to stay at the Zuckerman family home with the three unmarried sisters in Oprischeny, during her summer holidays from school in Czernowitz. She recalls it as a magical time, staying in a quiet village, in a big country house, surrounded by beautiful nature, and a large garden around the home. As well, the sisters maintained a small factory for producing butter. Although they now lived in Romania, they continued to speak together in their native tongue, German.

Alice recalls her family as being traditional, rather than religious. They went to synagogue for the major holidays, and kept kosher. This changed after the war. Nazism and Communism led to the loss of any tradition.
However, unlike the Soviet Union, synagogues were allowed in Romania. Avraham Zuckerman owned a restaurant in Czernowitz (at this time Cernauti, Romania), outside the downtown, near the airport. The family lived on Transylvania Street. Their home was torn down decades ago, and replaced by block apartments.

During the war, the Zuckermans, along with the other Jews of Czernowitz were deported from the city's ghetto to Transnistria. Alice and her family were sent to Murafa in Transnistria, the aunts from Oprischeny were sent to Yodinitz in Transnistria.

The three sisters were still living in Oprischeny in 1941, when they were all sent to a different part of Transnistria. After the war, Avraham searched for his five sisters. He was told by those who were with them that all had died. Unlike some concentration camps, Transnistria was a region with a few cities into which all of the Jews from Bukovina were crammed, after marching there on foot. Most died not from organized murder, but through malnutrition, disease and cold. Many were buried in organized plots. One man, named Drucker, took it upon himself to keep an organized list of each person buried. Recently this list was uncovered at Yad Vashem, and it may possibly show where Max and Avraham's sisters are buried. Because only two sisters were married and they had no children, it seems there is no chance at finding any other first cousins. However, Alice is unaware of any brother's other than her father, and "the one who moved to Canada". However, Max said there were five boys at the time he left in 1910.

After the war the Jews who returned from Transnistria to Czernowitz were allowed to flee across the border to Romania. The only remaining Zuckermans found there way to Ploisti (Ploy-EST), a city 60 km due north of Bucharest. In Ploisti, Alice met George Manoiu, and they married. Alice taught languages and studied at the university in Bucharest.

Although we have always assumed Max's family perished during the Holocaust, knowing now that our cousins and aunts and uncles either survived or were killed during the Holocaust will certainly change our personal association with those historical events and Yom Hashoah each year. I asked Alice why she had never filled out pages of testimony for her aunts, and she said she had always thought about it, but just never did. Had she filled out the forms, I could have reached her directly at the beginning of my research, or other family members who were in Israel ten or fifteen years ago and were looking up names at Yad Vashem would have found out about their family, both those killed and those living. We have decided now to submit their names so others in the future may find their names, and to honour their memory.

A few years before he died, an elderly Avraham Zuckerman decided to take a final trip to his homeland. He boarded a bus which took him first to Siret, Romania. There he visited his mother Taube's grave. This answers the question of where the Jews of Oprischeny were buried. Alice however, does not recall her father mentioning Aaron Zuckerman's grave being there. We do know that Taube died very young, at age 47. We can assume that would be somewhere around 1917 (assuming Max was born around 1893, and he was the second oldest, and women married usually had children around 20), possibly due to fighting or food shortages in the war. We don't know when Aaron Zuckerman died, but Alice is sure he had died before she was born in 1929.
It is entirely possible he had remarried in this time.

After visiting his mother's, and possibly his father's, grave in Siret, Romania, Avraham then continued his journey across the border into the Ukraine to Czernowitz and Oprischeny. In the town he found one old man who remembered him from forty years before, and called him in Yiddish 'Avramale'

Avraham Zuckerman died in Ploisti on December 27, 1985 and is buried there. What a shame the two brothers lived another 75 years and didn't know where the other was.

The strange question still remains, of why Max named his first son the same as a brother who was still living. It seems logical to assume that Max would not have named his first son after a brother who was alive, especially since he said other brothers had died before he emigrated. Therefore, since his brother (Alice's father) was named Avraham, and so was Max's first son, this was probably the name of their grandfather, Aharon's father. However, since Max named his first daughter Taube after his mother, and his second son after his father, he must have been in contact with his family up to that point. Alice knows her grandfather died before she was born (1929), and if Albert (Avraham) and Aaron were born in 1925 and 1930, Max must have been in touch with his family in those years to be informed that his father had died in the interim, between 1925 and 1929. This is at least fifteen to twenty years after he emigrated, and only ten years before the outbreak of the Second World War.

With the fall of Ceausescu and the Communists in Romania in 1989, Alice and her husband and two children moved to Israel. Today Alice and George Manoiu live in Rishon Lezion, outside of Tel Aviv. Her daughter Daniela (born 1962) lives in Rishon Lezion also, with her husband and daughter, also named Alice (born 1994). Her son Radu Manor, born 1969 (who changed his name to make itsound Hebrew), moved to Vancouver in 2002, where he lives with his wife Laura (also born in Romania and moved to Israel), and their son (born 1996)
and daughter (born 2000). Alice was even in Canada in 2003, never knowing her family was here.

When I sent Alice a picture of Max by email, she said they most certainly were related - the eyes, the hair, but especially the forehead! The main difference was that Max had a nicer nose, not so Jewish! Alice said she would describe Avraham's personality as "an actor", he loved to dance and laugh, and to be around people, always making strange jokes and acting a little bit eccentric. Just like his big brother.

Unfortunately, there are no pictures of any of the other Zuckermans, as everything they owned was lost during the Holocaust.

Now it is definite that Max's name was Mordechai ben Aharon Halevi.

I asked Alice what she remembers Avraham saying about Max. He never actually told any stories about him. All he knew was that his brother had left for Canada when he was a young boy, age 9. After that he never heard anything from him. He did often wonder what had become of him. It was only after the Holocaust when it was confirmed that his family had all been killed, that he decided to turn to the Red Cross who were helping reunite families torn apart by the war. He told them of a brother who had moved to Canada, his only remaining relative, and he needed to find him. Avraham was a little shocked when the Red Cross came back with an answer, there was no Marcus Zuckerman of Opriseni in Canada. He could never understand why they couldn't locate him, and gave up hope of ever having family again. He had never known the story of Marcus Zuckerman becoming Max Brown.