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[Pages III to XVIII]


Yizkor Book of Our Birth-Place

 

BENDERY

&

HER HOLY CONGREGATION

Editor: Dina Ginton

 

 

The Committee of the Inmortalization* at New-York are:

President: A. Furman, L. Garfield, D. Carmel J.Y. Fain

Tel-Aviv 1975

 

Bendery

An invitation to view our city before World War II

 

IN MEMORY OF MY GRANDSON GIL CARMEL
WHO DIED AS A SOLDIER IN THE ISRAELI ARMY

 

By David Carmel

The sign at our railroad-station read Bendery II, the “y” at the end indicating the plural form of the name of our city. We had one more railroad-station, on the outskirts of our city, which had been the original and only station when the city was still small (probably still under the Turks). Not far from this old station the Turks had built a fortress surrounded by canals and hills. When the canals were filled with water, no enemy could penetrate the fortress.

 

The entrance to the fortress at Bendery

 

In 1812, after the Russians drove the Turks out, the city started to develop and expand, and quickly became prosperous. It had then become an important railroad-center, with a depot employing many workers in its shops, and it was then that a new station was built and named Bendery II.

Chaim-Leib Gorenstein (father of Joe), was the man who did the contracting work for the depot. In 1918, during the uprising of the Russian railroad-workers against the Rumanian occupation of Besarabia, Chaim-Leib nursed the wounded workers.

The trains were running from a northern town called Ungeni, close to the Rumanian border and the city of Yassi, through the Bessarabian capital city Kishinev on to Bendery, and further on, over a long iron bridge on the Dniestre River, to the city of Odessa. Those desiring to travel to the Southern part of Bessarabia had to take the train running from Bendery to the town of Reni, close to the Rumanian city of Galatz.

To the east, south and west of the railroad lay vast stretches of wheat and farmland, reachable only by horse and oxen-drawn vehicles.

The city was surrounded by Moldavian and German settlements in the north; Moldavian and Mallo-Russian in the south and west. To the east run the Dniestre River, which has its source in the Carpathian Mountains and flows downstream to the Black Sea.

All along the Dniestre River, on both of its banks, spread vineyards and orchards, whose fruit and produce used to be brought into our city as early as three o'clock in the morning. The entire marketplace and its surrounding streets would then become jammed with the farmers' vehicles, filled with seasonal fruits and other produce. Some farmers used to bring in lambs, pigs, chickens, ducks, geese and pigeons. Jewish merchants would be there to meet them and bargains would be quickly reached, at prices prevailing from year to year, and varying only according to quality. The fruits would be packed in large straw baskets by professional packers and shipped to many distant cities in the country by freight trains.

 

The Dneistre River

 

Among the fruit merchants were Kornfeld (the father of Jean Bidnick), Levi Davidovich (the father of Zvi, Chabiba, the writer Rivka Davidit, and Aaron Davidi, Professor at the University of Tel-Aviv and former Commander of the Israeli Paratroopers), Chaim Capusta, Joseph Goldman (the father of Naum, Assistant Chief of the Police of Tel Aviv, killed by a bomb by subversives, Abram, Lily, Aniuta, Rivka and Mania), and Tevya (the cantor) Schachnovsky, the grandfather of Lia Gendelman-Segal.

The favourable natural conditions: the climate, the black earth, the seasonal rains, the warm sunshine in daytime combined with cool nights, in addition to the love and care that the local farmer and his entire family put into their labors, produced fruits and vegetables with a taste unmatched elsewhere in the world.

The grain would be packed and then shipped, sometimes by freight trains, but mostly in deep barges on the Dniestre, and up the river all the way to the Austrian border. The longshormen carrying the 200 lb-sacks on their shoulders, were known as the “Banibakes”, the descendants of the Turks. The agents expediting at the Varnitza Port were Hersh Goldins and Avremel Weisser, who also had a lumber yard. His manager in the lumber business was Mordechai-Itzil Averbuch, the father of Clara Steinmetz.

 

The passenger and freight steamboats owned by Yassky Brothers at Bendery

 


* Note from the Coordinator: There were a good number of typos, grammatical errors in the original book - they have not been changed. return

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