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[Page 81]


48°17' / 26°08'

Translation of chapter
“Bojan” from Volume II:

Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina

Edited by: Hugo Gold

As told by: Max Rendel, Caracas Venezuela

Published in Tel Aviv, 1962

Translated by:

Jerome Silverbush z”l

This is a translation of the chapter “Bojan”, Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina
{History of the Jews in the Bukovina} Edited by: Dr. Hugo Gold,
As told by: Max Rendel, Caracas Venezuela, Published in Tel Aviv, 1962

Editors Introduction

The historian collects the available material, examines it critically and places stone upon stone to complete his work. The use of this classical method, was not possible in our case. The work of destruction was complete. With the people who were murdered, or perished in Transnistrien, with the burned houses, with the destroyed public buildings vanished all the archives and various records. Only a few survivors could report over what was and how it was lost forever. Even rarer are the documents and pictures that remained in the hands of individuals. What was created in this way was to be sure a torso, but the only way to tell the contemporary world and the world to come about the lost past. Of the people who once created, only the names remain for us. These at least should be torn from oblivion.


The little city Bojan which was situated on the train line from Chernivtsi to Nowosielitza was home to a small but lively Jewish community. In 1817 there were Jewish farmers there. In the years 1839 to 1842 several Jewish families settled there (see volume I, p. 88). According to the census of 1880 781 of the 5227 inhabitants of Bojan were Jewish (14.9%) (see volume I, p. 46). In 1860, Bojan established its own Jewish community and in 1873 this community had 200 members. Since the beginning of the 19th century the town was the seat of the “Wonder Rabbi” Jizchak Friedmann, who after the death of his father the Wonder Rabbi of Sadagura, left the succession to his younger brother and moved to Bojan where he founded a new branch of the Sadagura Rabbinic dynasty. His numerous followers (Chassidim) spent the high holidays at his court, which provided a favorable opportunity to conduct business.

Before World War I, the economy grew continually. Agriculture blossomed thanks to the diligence of the Jewish estate owners Motio Gottesmann and Schmiel Metsch. The deputy mayor was Abraham Retter. His representative was Dr. Nathan Feuerstein. The pharmacists were the Jews Gottesmann and Mag. Benedikt Sternberg. There was one Jewish school in the town that was supported by the Baron Hirsch endowment. The school was directed by the teacher Ephraim Seidmann. Judge Bogen was employed in the District Court. The Jewish teacher Berta Schecht-Zuflucht taught at the Romanian elementary school.

Herr H. Metsch (Naharia) tells us about a well known “original” from Bojan, “Chajiml den Meshuggenen” (Chajiml the deranged or crazy one). This man, once a successful businessman, was ruined by poor business deals and excessive drinking and ended up taking his “pension” from the Bojan rabbi. He got his food at the charity kitchen and slept in the prayer house. The students of the town who spent their summer vacations at home, would not be denied the pleasure of buying a few drinks for the fellow which encouraged him to supply “gems of wisdom.” This proved that he really wasn't meschugge, for the life knowledge he imparted remained in the minds of the younger generation.

In 1914, the community which had separated itself from the Sadagura Jewish community in 1860, counted 2573 souls of whom, 272 were tax payers. The head of the community was Hersch Rappaport. The members of the executive committee were Dr. Nathan Feuerstein, Motio Gottesmann, L. Klinger, J. Sonnenblum, Simon Baltuch, Isaak Retter, Israel Margulies, Ephraim Seidner (secretary), Mottel Markus, Moses Barbasch, Abraham Isaak Schneider and Mechel Schaechter. The rabbi was Isser Sternhell. At the head of the organization, “Ahavath Zion, was H. Margulies, the Talmud Torah was lead by J. Margulies. The community income was 18, 112 Kronen, the expenses 25,758 Kronen. There was a synagogue and 4 prayerhouses in the town. The Cantor was David Schaechter. The religion teacher was Moses Rosenblatt. The Gottesmann, Kellmer, Metsch, Meidler, Ritter, Rendel and Schaechter families were among the most respected in the town.

Bojan was destroyed during the First World War. The reconstruction of the town was a drawn out affair Rabbi Izchak Friedmann died during the war His successor was his son Raw Nuchem Muniu, who, after the war moved to Chernivtsi. His sons Ahron and Mottale died in Transnistrien.

As told by Max Rendel, Caracas, Venezuela

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