RE: [Cz-L] "A Shtetl in the Caribbean"

From: Irene Fishler <>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2014 23:10:18 +0200
To: "'Saraf, Oren'" <>, "'czernowitz-L'" <>
Reply-To: Irene Fishler <>

Great story !

Oren, can you please tell us when did this happen? What year?

I guess, we all have some people in our families who landed in Latin

Most did not leave written testimonies about their adventurous journey.


-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Saraf, Oren
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 9:59 AM
To: czernowitz-L
Subject: RE: [Cz-L] "A Shtetl in the Caribbean", a Roadmovie Documentary...

The discussion about the Bukovina community in Curacao reminded me the
Odyssey my family had from Romania to Ecuador.
Here is a quote from our cousin Arthur Fischler memoirs, the trip from Rio
to Guayaquil :

We left Rio, prior informing the family that we were finally departing for
Guayaquil and that we would arrive two days later.

The flight - on a big plane - was pleasant and we landed in Trinidad, where
we had to change planes. We arrived in a huge airport! It was really big!
But there was no other plane to continue our trip, any people, or anything
at all. We got off the plane and just stood there on the tarmac of this
enormous airport until the military police arrived. They, in a very educated
manner, spoke to us in English (which none of us understood) and we spoke
French or German to them (which none of them understood). They put is in
their vehicle and took us to the airport, where we continued speaking "at"
each other without understanding anything.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that some friends of ours had immigrated to
Trinidad before the war. I looked them up in the phone book and I actually
found one of them. We spoke with him and he told the police officer that he
was coming to the airport to straighten out the mess. He was so happy that
he arrived at the airport with two cars full of people from Gurahumora!!

The mess got straightened out and they took us to a hotel in Port-o-Prince
where we stayed for two entire weeks. We met all of our countrymen from GH,
their families, their friends, and naturally, the island of Trinidad.
Presently, I remember very little about this beautiful island. I was
impressed by the fact most of the population was either black or Hindu. In
fact, these were the first Indians from India I had ever seen. They had nice
stores with things from India which I had never seen before. I remember that
some trees with some very strange fruit grew in the hotel garden. I did not
know what they were and I did not dare try the fruit on my own. Afterward I
was told these are tasty fruit and that they are called "mango" and
presently, our mangoes (although quite different from those in the Caribbean
islands) are my favorite fruit and we have two beautiful mango trees in our

We had a good time in Trinidad and after a few days we went to the airport,
prior having sent a cable to Guayaquil informing of our departure from
Trinidad and our imminent arrival in Guayaquil on the following day.

At the airport we were informed that there were no direct flights to
Guayaquil and that "our plane" was only flying to ... Curacao! (What a
bummer! When we left Paris, we wanted to go west and we went south. Now that
we wanted to go south, they were sending us north!) But we got on the plane
bravely and arrived in Curacao. Someone remembered that Uncle Jose had a
Marvin watch agent there, who distributed them. We called him and he came
immediately and left us in a good hotel and ... that's the last we saw of
him! After getting set-up in the hotel, we went (we were always in a
group)on the street. We had not even walked some 10 meters, when a
gentleman, from far away, started yelling in the direction of my Uncle
Josef, "Hey, aren't you Hellwing from Bukovina?" He was a classmate
("Mitschueler" in German) of my uncle and they had not seen each other for
over 30 years, but he had immediately recognized him. We spoke for a long
time and he told us of other relatives that lived in Curacao, for example,
the Wijnitzer family. When my grandmother heard the name, she jumped for joy
and told us that it must be some nephews of hers that had immigrated many
years ago. Unfortunately, they were on a trip.

Many years thereafter, Inge and I went to Curacao. I met three of the
brothers who were distant cousins. And, to top it all off, the youngest was
married to a girl from GH, who when seeing me, greeted me with, "How are
you, my teacher?" I had actually been her teacher (together with Natzy and
Burschi) when Jewish children were not allowed to go to state schools.

After they had met us, we were all invited and we got a good sightseeing
tour of the island. What impressed us the most, of course, was the Jewish
synagogue, which is the oldest in the American continent and despite being
300 years old, is in perfect conditions. It is a Sephardic temple and it has
a sand floor. The temple is beautiful and the Torahs are kept in very ornate
silver boxes, which are also beautiful. We also were very impressed by the
cleanliness of the island and the honesty of its people.

We spent some 10 or 12 days in Curacao and we were able to get tickets,
rather seats for Guayaquil.


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Received on 2014-10-31 14:40:32

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