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Translations by Moshe Devere

Yehuda Leib (Aryeh) Kostiner's Story

 

On the roads of Ukraine

It was the Shabbat for blessing the new month of Marḥeshvan. We left at dawn from where we slept. I think it was a deserted barn. Among those walking, I recall people from Schotz: R. Leibish Heller, a respectable personage, a Sadigora ḥassid along with his son Yisrael hyd and his family; Ḥaim Boiman; Baruch Schaechter; my father Shlomo, along with our entire family; my uncle Leibish Hazenfertz with his 4- and 5-year-old children. Obviously, these infants could not walk far. So, their father would walk one kilometer with the baggage on his back holding a child; put the child down and walk back a kilometer and return with the other child.

 

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Yehudah Leib Kostiner

 

Toward evening, we arrived at Lucinetz. We were distributed among the houses. Some among the residents of the place and some remained in the ruins. We were lucky to find some closed in ruin with a roof. We found there a dying man. He passed away during the night. It was a Jew from the previous convoy.

The next morning, we got up to pray before continuing our journey. Rabbi Lubitz Leibish Heller, a weak old man, wrapped himself in a tallit, removed the tefillin from their bag, collapsed, fell to the ground and died.

Meanwhile, Romanian gendarmes came to take us out on the field to continue on the journey. My mother, Miriam Kostiner, a vigorous and courageous woman, went out to the field where the Romanian officer overseeing the shipment stood, and to ask permission to bury the dead. The officer turned to my mother. “What do you want,

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Jewess?” My mother replied, “A family member, a respected person, has died and we ask permission to remain here for his burial.” The officer hesitated, so my mother again addressed him, “After all, you are a human being too. Please consider us.” “Okay,” he decided. “Who are you talking about?” My mother replied, “All those in that ruin, my family.”

“All right,” he replied. My mother protested, “But they'll be coming to deport us!”

He agreed and sent gendarmes to keep us from being deported. A run-around began looking for the local Ḥevra Kadisha (burial society) people. They were finally found, and they came and took R. Leibish for burial. In advance, they made the Ḥevra Kadisha promise to also bury the unknown person. They took R. Leibish and promised to come back for the unknown dead man. Meanwhile, it began raining, and an hour passed and the members of the Ḥevra Kadisha did not return. Someone volunteered to call them, but they were very busy. In the evening, one of the Ḥevra Kadisha showed up with a stretcher and asked if someone would help him. My brother Neḥemiah, a young man of 18, volunteered. Meanwhile, it got dark and the rain would not stop falling. Without regard to that, my brother picked up the stretcher with the man and they brought the dead man to burial.

With us was a Jew from Zhadova, Moshe Laufer, was his name. An energetic person who spoke Ukrainian. When we arrived in a village called Zagorai, a very poor one, Moshe Laufer bribed the village head and he gave instructions to the villagers to bring the deportees into their homes. Some were housed in an abandoned school building and some were housed among the villagers. I do not remember how long we were there until my uncle Aaron Kostiner, who was then in Djurin, found out about our place. He sent a gentile with a horse and wagon to get us out. That is how we got to Murafa, where the community leader, Naḥum Bacal, agreed to accept us.

 

Passover in Murafa

We lived in a ruin with half a wall breached. My mother, with the help of the well-remembered Mrs. Clara Lerner, plugged up the breach. They did not have any bricks, only mud and straw to enable turning the ruin into a kind of place to live in. The first Passover arrived. There was a shortage in potatoes because of the freezing winter, and there was no money either. My parents could sell something, bought flour, prepared the neighbor's oven and baked matzot. There was no thinking about wine or everything else. What was plentiful was the horseradish we found in a deserted field and brought home. But we recited the Haggadah and sang all the songs. Later on in the evening, when we opened the door to welcome Elijah the Prophet, we found many local villagers outside our door listening in wonder how the Jews with so little means could still hold a Seder!

 

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Meir Kostiner's Story

About Schotz and its people

As I sit writing my story, I see I am being avenged for being on the team of editors for this book. What shall I write? All the “juicy” stories have already been written by others. I will therefore focus on a completely personal angle, on the story of our family. About the family, Schotz and its people.

 

Schotz 1: before the deportation

On the 16th of the month of Sivan 5687 (1927) in the city of Rădăuţi, my grandparents, Mordechai Yehoshua and Heniya Orenstein, from the bride's side, and Avraham Alter and Susia Costiner on the groom's side, led their daughter Jetti and their son Neḥemiah, my parents, to the marriage canopy. Of course, I was not present at this event, but I read about it in the ketubah (marriage contract) that I found among my late father's papers and kept with me to this day.

 

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Jetti and Neḥemiah Kostiner

 

In my memory, Grandpa Mordechai Yehoshua, whose nickname was Mottele, is pictured as a man with a white beard, with a kippah (skullcap) on his head, sitting in the synagogue, studying Gemara and reading the weekly Torah portion, “twice in Hebrew and once in translation.” Grandpa Alter was also always immersed in the Scriptures and also wrote his notes on his studies.

On Saturday afternoons, all the children who lived in Schotz

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with their spouses and grandchildren gathered at Grandma Susia's house for a respectful and delightful visit. My childhood was in a warm and supportive home and mostly educational. Educated for values, manners and studies. My father, Neḥemiah, a grain merchant, was active in Mizraḥi. He was a Torah reader and a prayer leader and always taught me. In arithmetic, for example, to this day I add and multiply in Yiddish, my native language, before using Romanian from school. He taught me the prayers and their meaning as I accompanied him to Rabbi Ḥaim Hager's synagogue. Later in Transnistria, I learned from him the theory of survival when I accompanied him in activities for achieving our survival. My mother Jetti, an educated woman, housewife, cared for the family's welfare and raised her two sons.

My younger brother Ḥaim Naḥman Aryeh (named after the national poet H.N. Bialik, who died that year) was born when I was four years old. My mother was active in WIZO and OSE organizations. In her turn, she organized a “Tea Club” at our home. At this club, members of these organizations gathered once a week, and over a cup of tea and refreshments, heard lectures and held discussions about Eretz Israel and the activities of their organization.

My parents had a wide circle of friends in Schotz. I will mention the Hermann family: Dr. Artzio (Aharon) Hermann, who was also our family doctor; his sister Rosa is married to Yosef Fischler; a second sister, Tina, is married to Yosef Landman, who was said to have studied Rambam when not everyone dared. Among the friends were the Joseph and Berta Flick family, owners of a tavern and restaurant where I often enjoyed juicy kebabs. The Itzik Schwarz family were close neighbors when we lived in a rental on Petro Rersh Street with Moshe and Mina Marianne.

As the leitmotif in my childhood and in my youth, was my parents' concern for studies in general, and Hebrew and Judaism in particular, which accompanied us. They arranged for private lessons at home. I was taught by Teachers Carten and Gottlieb, and in the years after Transnistria, I studied with Teacher Weissbuch with his son, my friend, Simcha. Even in the ghetto in Murafa, the local butcher, an amputee, prepared me for my Bar Mitzvah. By the time I was deported, I had completed four elementary grade classes and a first year of high school.

 

Schotz 2: Pictures from the Transnistria deportation

On the deportation train: Save us please. For your own sake our God, save us please.

Friday, Intermediate Days of Sukkot 5702. At the Burdujeni train station, we are crammed into a freight car with our baggage, and our journey begins to an unknown and foreboding direction. Night. In a terribly overcrowded carriage, the wheels play monotonously on the train tracks. Darkness, silence. Everyone is immersed in their thoughts. In one corner, someone lights a candle, and out of the darkness

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comes the sweet voice of Berl Druckman, a neighbor to the house we had just left. Save us please. For your own sake our God (he pronounced the Name), save us please. To this day, this memory gives me the shivers.

 

In the Mogilev barracks; doorstep to the death march

Mogilev, the barracks where the deportees were gathered for the Convoy; the death march. We, Mother, my brother and I are standing by the exit gate to the city with our bundles of things that we could take from home. Father went into town to rent a wagon to transport the baggage. We were part of a group of people from Schotz that a Romanian officer allowed, for a bribe, to leave the barracks for the city thus, be saved from the death Convoy.

The funders of the bribes and the group's organizers were Zuniu (Avraham Aryeh) Kempfer and Berl (Bernhard) Rudich, two wealthy Schotz merchants who later died in Murafa. Itzik Schwarz obm helped us to be included in the group. He was a family friend, who died at a ripe old age in Kiryat Shmuel.

And just as everyone is standing waiting to leave, a Romanian soldier comes at us with a baton and a stick. He strikes at everyone who gets in his way and drives us to the Convoy.

I remember myself with a rustic backpack in hand and only an old camp-stove to be discarded. Next to me is my mother wearing a coat and galoshes on her shoes, holding my seven-year-old brother in her hand, taking a beating and moving toward the exit to the Convoy. If we had gone out to Convoy like that in the rain, without water and food and without Father, we would have perished in a brief time. And miraculously, he suddenly came out of nowhere. A few minutes later, which seemed to us to be an eternity, the Romanian officer appeared and pounced on the soldier with a rebuke of, “Ce-ai facut nenorocitule (What did you do stupid)!?” The beating stopped, things calmed down. We waited for the wagons and left for Mogilev.

 

Father in Varvarovka work camp

From Mogilev to the Murafa ghetto. First to an apartment owned by Shmil Ellinson, a local Jew; then we moved to a new “palace.” We lived in a 15 m² room that used to be a store, and became a multi-use one for us: A store (we sold flour), kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom for no less than six people: My parents, two children, and my maternal grandparents.

All in all, you could say that relatively we did not suffer from disease and hunger. However, the hardest time I remembered was when they took Father to the Varvarovka labor camp. The gendarmes, in cooperation with the leaders of the Jewish Community, organized a trap by inviting residents

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to exchange their so-called ID cards. After selection, some of were set free and there remained those who were supposed to be sent to the work camp. Coming from Schotz did not do my father any good. So, after my mother tried from morning onward to get everyone who could help, hoping to get Father released, these efforts did not help and Dad was sent to Varvarovka.

During the months that Father was in the labor camp, I was selling cigarettes, matches, newspaper and such. This was the source of the family's survival. My younger brother helped me in this “business”. The worst thing was not knowing about Father's fate. People who returned from the camp brought with them unbearably tough news about terrible living conditions, hard labor in harsh winter conditions, and executions by hanging. I found myself, the breadwinner at 14, trying to hide all this news from the rest of the family. A few months later, Dad bribed some foreman with his gold teeth that he had extracted, and returned to Murafa and this terrible suffering ceased.

 

Schotz 3: the return from Transnistria

When we returned from Transnistria, I wanted to engage in business like the other boys, but my parents determined that studying was more important. My father toiled alone to support the household, and I was sewn a pair of trousers from a dyed kitchen towel and I began completing classes at the famous Jewish High School of Schotz. Many hundreds, perhaps more, young Jews, completed their education there and made up the school years lost during the war. Ḥaim Schwarz obm, the school secretary, surely knew how many.

The school's principals and teachers have already been written about. I would like only to mention Ziggy (Gil) Rohrlich, who besides being a French teacher was also the living spirit for advancing the school. He organized activities for the graduating class to get firewood in the winter.

I also remember the literary trial he organized at Schotz's Central Cinema, before an audience that filled the hall to the brim. Ziggy Rohrlich presided over the “tribunal.” Simcha Weissbuch accused Shabtai Zvi of being a false messiah and selfish. I was the defense council. I barely got a verdict of extenuating circumstances. Both of us were in the seventh grade (graduating class).

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Lala and Meir Kostiner (1947)

 

Alongside studying and perhaps even giving it a higher priority, I was active in the “Zionist Youth” movement. Here I also fell in love with a graceful girl with two blond braids named Lala Genzler and we became engaged. At one point, I even wanted to stop school and fulfill the pioneering ideal, but again, under pressure from my parents, I graduated from school.

 

The training [farm] that changed my [life's] course

After receiving a high school diploma, I went to the training farm with a few other friends from the Schotz ken: My girlfriend Lala, Santa Altman, Janio (Yaakov) Fuhrer, and later, my good friend Yehudah Tennenhaus joined. We began the training in Ţeţchea in the Oradea region with A Company of the Scout Organization, an elite organization of our movement. We worked in a factory manufacturing fireproof bricks. Lala milked the branch's cow and took care of the Angora rabbits. I am reminded of the juicy taste of a ripe tomato that a hungry pioneer picked in the branch's vegetable garden. After A Company left for Eretz [Israel], we moved to Aiud from Ţ?eţche to prepare for emigrating to Eretz [Israel], with B Company.

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Members of C company of the Scout Organization; Meir Costiner is wearing a hat

 

One cloudless day in Aiud, when we were about to emigrate, my life path changed for the next few years. At a meeting held standing at the “Co-op” (a joint clothing warehouse for all the pioneers) in the presence of Akiva London, a member of the movement's main leadership and Rebecca Berkowitz, the branch leader, I was informed that the movement had decided that I was staying behind to counsel the organization's C Company. All my claims about me being with a fiancée, about the strong desire to emigrate to Eretz [Israel], did not help, and I had to stay.

C Company organized nicely, moved from Aiud to Braşov, where the Communist authorities began pressuring us. We were forced to leave the building where we lived. After a few more moves to Ploieşti, Vama and then Bucharest, C Company was dispersed because of the prohibition by the authorities of any Zionist activity.

 

Schotz 4: Toward Eretz [Israel]

I returned to Schotz. I got a job as a teacher, and in 1951, my dear fiancée, Lala, became my wife. In 1955, our eldest, Henrietta, was born. Today, Dr. Henrietta Ackerman is a supervisor in the Ministry of Education. I also began a correspondence course at the Bucharest Polytechnicum and waited closely בכליון עיניים for the desired permit to emigrate to Eretz [Israel]. My brother Arie also studied at Iaşi and received certification in mechanical engineering.

It was only about 12 years after that meeting at the “Co-op” in Aiud, in 1960, that I emigrated to Israel

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with my family. Coming with us were my wife's parents, the late Yitzchak Isaac and Berta Genzler. Her brother Israel (Zuniu) (who passed away in 2006) also emigrated with his family. Two or three months later, my father and brother also emigrated. Unfortunately, my mother remained in the cemetery in Schotz. She fought cancer for ten years until in 1959, the disease overwhelmed her.

We were absorbed relatively quickly in Israel. Family and friends greeted us warmly. I graduated from the Technion and started working. By our strenuous efforts, Lala and I together rebuilt our home. We had our son Yotam, today Yotam Yakir, because in the heat of the Lebanon War when he was an army radio (Galei Zahal) reporter, the name Yakir sounded more “Hebrew” than Kostiner.

Father passed away at a ripe old age in Haifa but got to hug two great-grandchildren.

Today, in retrospect, we thank God for our accomplishments, happy in our lot, and enjoying the profits: our grandchildren Gilead, Boaz, Noga and Itamar and are proud of them.

 

Shoshana (Radia Altman) Caesari's Story

About Schotz and its people

My sister Santa Carmes (Altman) and I began our lives in Suceava in the same manner. We were born five years apart to Gusta Altman (née Meltzer of Ilieşti) and David Altman (from Solca).

Life went by regularly: a stay-at-home mother aided by a full-time housekeeper. Once a month a washerwoman came to wash and iron. Dad ran a wholesale beer marketing business that was a branch of the Rădăuţi Brewery. We lived at 39 Petru Rareş Street, in a house owned by our parents. I attended Aunt Isolis' kindergarten as I believe, did all the Jewish children in Suceava.

On weekends, we went out to see and be seen on the main street and, of course, at the Volksgarten. We ate grilled meat at Wagner's restaurant and cakes at the other Wagner's basement pastry shop.

The good life ended for us in October 1941. Although the war had begun two years earlier, the children did not feel it so much until Sukkot, 1941. Father returned home from the synagogue and said that by order of the authorities, all the synagogues were closed.

We were deported to Transnistria along with all the residents of Suceava. We came back from there happy that fate was not cruel to our family unit and we were together; mother, father, and two daughters. I was 9 and Santa was 14. Santa became active in a Zionist movement, the Zionist Youth, and I went with her to the “Trainees” group.

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Santa immigrated to Israel in 1947 and also stayed in Cyprus. I stayed at home, an only child and a spoiled one. My best friends were Mimi Hollinger and Sidi Koerner, may she live long, Margalit Marcus and others. Together, we tried to restore the joys of youth and forget the years of suffering.

My parents were Zionists from way back. So, as soon as we could, we emigrated to Israel in 1950. We were reunited with my sister Santa, who in the meantime joined the police and was a police officer in Haifa Port. Of course, we went through the hardships of new immigrants: from the Atlit transit camp; I was put into the “Nitzanim” Youth Aliyah institution, where I stayed for a year. As soon as my parents received the long-awaited housing, I returned to the family and studied at an evening school in order to work during the day. In the first few years of the country, we were happy to be in Israel. We did not receive any support or help, nor did we ask for any, and we were happy with the little that we had.

I enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and served in the Navy until my wedding day to Michael Caesari in March 1955. We moved to the Tel-Aviv area. I graduated and worked in educating the younger generation for 28 years. My husband, Michael Caesari also completed his studies and ran an independent accounting firm.

We have an only child, Dori, 45 years old, who is married to Wendy. They live in the United States.

In recent years, after we both retired, we spend a lot of our time flying to the United States and Canada. After a brief attempt to live abroad, we are back home, but of course, we will continue our trips as long as our strength holds up.

 

David Klinger-Smotrici's Story

I arrived in Schotz at age 4 and lived there until I was 17 when I left in 1932.

In the mornings, I went to the state school, and in the afternoon, I studied in the Talmud Torah. My teachers in Talmud Torah were: Carten, Gruenseit, Feinstein and Miller. The president of the Talmud Torah was Avigdor Nussbrauch.

One of my best friends was Moshe Weissbrot, today in Hadera. I would do all kinds of pranks with him, mainly to Teacher Gruenseit, who was bad-tempered, as Cohanim (priests) usually are. I also remember that I was chosen as a child to greet Rabbi Meshulam Roth when he came to Schotz and passed through the Talmud Torah on the way to his Installation at the Great Synagogue.

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On Saturdays and holidays, I prayed at Rabbi Moishele Hager's [stieble]. Etched in my memory is one of Rabbi Lau who served in Schotz in the 1920s when he recited the hallel (Prayer of Praise), especially the section “Israel Trust in the Lord”. The joy on Simchat Torah at R. Moishele's was something above and beyond the usual.

At age 9, I joined the Shomer Hadati (the Religious Guard) movement in Schotz. It was a religious youth movement originating from Poland. The head of the movement in Schotz was Koppel Zwibel. I served in the Romanian Army in 1938, first as a cavalry soldier, and then I was sent to a labor camp (because “Jew = Communist”) and but I managed to slip away from there.

My sister Deborah emigrated to Eretz [Israel] from Shotz in 1934. That same year, Ḥaim Wagner emigrated to Eretz [Israel] and married my sister.

 

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David Klinger

 

On November 11, 1940, my Aliyah route began. I was among 126 Zionist activists who arrived on a small ship to Istanbul. Among the immigrants were Dr. Sami Singer, the MP for Bucharest; his brother, Carol Singer. The head of our group, Hashomer Hadati (The Religious Guard), was Eliezer Riegler of Schotz and Traian Weissman. From Istanbul on the Ḥanna, owned by the Gottesman family from Czernowitz, we sailed in a convoy of 14 ships to Port Said. At sea we were shelled by the Italians, but thank Heavens we were not damaged. On Shabbat, November 16, 1940, my birthday, we arrived in Haifa. All the immigrants disembarked to the shore except for us Sabbath observers. We only disembarked the next day and were housed in the Immigrant House in Bat Galim. The first meeting in Israel was with Yosef Ḥaim

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Klueger, who came from Schotz. His first question was “What's up in the Schotz?” and introduced me to the humor of the Land of Israel. He supposedly updated me that in Eretz [Israel] there are only ten months. I was amazed! The explanation was that there is no month of Iyyar (Ihr in Yiddish is you in the second person and since in everyday Hebrew you do not speak use the respectful manner, in the second person; so, there is no Iyyar, or Ihr). And there is no month of Tevet (sounding like toivos {favors} that sounds similar in Yiddish) and there are no favors in Eretz [Israel].

From Bat Galim, I got to Netanya on behalf of the movement to the Hapoel Mizraḥi branch, which also served as a synagogue, a food court, and a lodging house for members of the movement. Food cost 6 Grush per day, and the bed was on one of the benches. First, I worked a temporary job at City Hall for 6 Grush a day and then in a British soldiers' sanatorium for a daily salary three times higher; 18 Grush.

In 1942, I enlisted in the English Coast Guard. We were 90 guys, and we served at guard posts along the shore. We were also assigned 5 girls for kitchen duty. One of them eventually became my wife. I was released in 1943 and transferred to the Aliyah B immigrant camp in Atlit on behalf of the Jewish Agency. The Agency appointed me to liaison with the British police. I remember that on one ship (in 1945) there were immigrants from Schotz: Ḥaim Hecht, Freier, the Kretzner family. Also among them was the late Moshe Yossel Kretzner, who fell in the War of Independence. During World War II, the immigrants were released from the camp according to the Certificates allocated by the English. I remember an interesting episode in 1945: there were 231 immigrants in the camp, including ten immigrants from Iraq and Syria, and the English intended to return them to their country of origin, which, for them, it was a death sentence. At Haganah headquarters on Jerusalem Street in Haifa, it was decided to remove all but 23 of the immigrants from the camp, who, according to the Haganah Information Service, were collaborators with the Nazis. On behalf of the Haganah, it was decided that I would be in charge inside the camp, while outside, Yitzchak Rabin handled the operation on behalf of the Palmach. Five Palmach members were inserted into the camp as Hebrew teachers. Some preliminary operations were undertaken in preparation. Staff and clerical workers were sent home. Haganah members monkeyed with the firing pins of the rifles carried by Arab guards who patrolled between the fences, while I arranged for an alibi from the camp doctor. The day after the operation, the English discovered that 208 immigrants (out of the 231) had been stolen. They learned little more after an investigation by the Atlit police.

Later on, I moved from the Jewish Agency to ZIM, where I worked for many years in various senior positions.

Verbal testimony written by Meir Kostiner

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Ḥayya Croitoru's Story

I was born in Ilişeşti to Shaya Sarah (Sally) Schaechter. They passed away in Israel in 1989 and 1991.

I got kicked out of school in Ilişeşti , first grade, for racist reasons.

We moved to Suceava in 1940. In 1941, we were deported to Transnistria, where I lived with my parents and brothers in Murafa together with Rosa Haber, my father's sister and her husband Shmil, as well as with Itzik and Ḥaim Glickman, my mother's brother. Their children live in Israel. After returning from Transnistria in 1945, I completed my high school studies, and then at the Polytechnica in Iaşi, in chemical engineering.

I emigrated to Israel in 1976, together with my husband Simon Croitoru of Dorohoi. We have three boys born in Suceava: Meir, Andy, and Rafael. Meir is a dentist and studied in Iaşi, Romania, married to Maya (née Selig of Suceava). Andy is an electrical engineer, a graduate of the Technion with a master's degree and is married to Ludmila, a biologist, who was born in Bălţi. Raphael also has a master's degree from the Technion; married to Daniela from Iaşi, a dentist by profession.

My late brother Avram was also born in Ilişeşti, studied chemistry at Iaşi, and lived in Suceava until emigrating to Israel in 1975. He lives in Nahariya with his wife Litzy (who was born in Transnistria and perished in a car accident in Germany). They have three children, Shirley and Beatrice (Rabit), who were born in Suceava and son Shmuel, who was born in Israel. My brother passed away in 1989 after a heart attack.

Translated and adapted from Romanian by Simcha Weissbuch

 

Sarah Krell's Story

About her husband Zvi Krell obm

Zvi Yiddell Krell was born to Moḥlah and Yitzchak (HaCohen) on February 17, 1915 in Suceava. At the time (World War I), his father was serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army and only heard second-hand about the birth of his firstborn. The father did not return from the battlefield. He was declared Missing [In Action]. So, Zvi grew up with his mother and grandmother (the father's mother) without knowing his father. Only later, with the birth of his first grandson, Zvi was granted that the name of his missing father to be given to his grandson.

He spent his childhood in Suceava, where he graduated from elementary school and continued his high-school studies in Czernowitz, where he also began his studies at the university. He was also forced to leave this institution.

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He wandered to Prague and from there to Eretz Israel in 1935. His forsaken mother remained at home and later perished in the Transnistria exile. Zvi never forgave himself all his life for leaving his mother in exile. He expressed his revenge on the Nazis even before the establishment of the Jewish Brigade. He enlisted in the British Navy to fight and avenge his mother.

Even in Eretz Israel, Zvi underwent many incarnations. It began with living in Haifa, moving to a kibbutz in the coastal area, where his love of the sea flourished (he was there among the founders of the fishing industry) and later joined the PalYam (underground Navy company) and thus enlisted in the British Navy in 1939, and later was among the founders of our Navy.

In 1936, with an address sent to him by his mother from abroad, Zvi arrived in Petah Tikva, to the Hilsenrat family home, and after years of acquaintance, he married me, in 1943. Together, we built our home in Petah Tikva, where our only daughter Rani was born. It is where our daughter established her home and where our three grandchildren were also born. For decades, Zvi was the owner of a bookstore, the largest in the city. I am the principal of a school and the two of us gather joy from our family: our daughter, now Dr. Rani Golan, and her husband, Dr. Dan Golan; the eldest grandson is an engineer (now a lieutenant colonel in the Navy). The second is a jurist, and the third is a doctoral student in psychology. Zvi also got to marry two of the grandchildren and become godfather of his firstborn great-grandchild. Zvi Krell passed away in 1998 at 83.

One of the most beautiful chapters in Zvi's life was the strong relationship with friends from his childhood in Suceava. Every year, on Independence Day, a group of six families meet: The families of Dr. Weitman, Gronich, Scherzer, Altman and Heller (sometimes the Alter Cohen family joins in) come together with the Krell family for the holiday. When they were young, the get-together took place in the outdoors. But as the group got older, Zvi Krell's home in Petah Tikva became a home for everyone who was or knew “Schotz”. The stories about the city life and its Jews flowed like water. The women in the group, none of whom were born in “Schotz,” used to laugh and say, “Schotz, the metropolis of Bucovina!”

New immigrants from Suceava and those who came to visit Israel used to call the house the Krell House. This is how Dr. Ostfeld, the Karten family, and many more, came. And it is interesting that the second generation of all these families also formed social bonds and the mutual visits to various joyful events and delighted our hearts. Naturally, the generation is declining. But the name “Schotz” will also be remembered by the younger generation, and thus will continue, at least into the next generation, the dynasty with all the stories, jokes and description of community life as heard and transmitted by Zvi Krell and his friends.

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Santa Krams's Story

I am Santa Carmes née Altman. I was born in Suceava to Gusta and David Altman.

My mother, the late Gusta, was born in “Ilişeşti” in 1908, to the extensive Schmelzer family, which dealt with raising and trading cattle on a large scale. My mother was one of the three daughters in a family with ten children. One brother, Yaakov, with his wife and daughter, perished in Transnistria, another brother died from the suffering there.

 

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Santa (Altman) and Dov Krams

 

In this village, there was a small Jewish community that followed the rules of traditional Judaism. They had a synagogue, and they employed a [ritual] slaughterer. However, my mother's family, were given both a modern and traditional education.

The father, David Altman, was born in Solca in 1902 to a modern family of intellectuals. My grandfather had an ordination for the Rabbinate, but he did not deal in that. My father was one of five sons who, after their mother's death at a young age, each went his own way and raised their families. One son, Dr. Bernard Altman, and his daughter Sigrid, died in Transnistria.

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Gusta and David Altman, obm

 

Our family lived in Suceava until 1941. Our relationship with our Jewish and non-Jewish neighbors was good and peaceful. My father worked for a beverage marketing company and was also a Zionist activist. My mother was active in WIZO and other Zionist organizations. She was also the pillar of the Jewish Children's Health Organization “OSE”. Our family's Zionist ambition was to emigrate to Eretz Israel. So, most of the education that my sister and I received also included the study of the Hebrew language. In kindergarten, we learned the love of the Land of Israel and sang all the children's songs that were also sung by the children in Eretz [Israel].

On October 9, 1941, unannounced, we were removed from our home and deported to Transnistria, on a long and arduous journey including in the notorious hell of Atachi, Mogilev, etc. We arrived with our whole extended family, with my mother's brother, to Murafa, a town in the Shargorod Prefect. We lived there under inhumane conditions. Fortunately, our family remained intact despite hunger, sickness, and other troubles.

After a while, my father got a job at the butter factory, and this was an important support for our existence. My mother began baking and marketing cakes to add to the family's income. Despite all this, my mother made sure that I would learn something. With the help of a neighbor who was a teacher from Czernowitz, I learned some math, chemistry and physics that helped me later on.

In May 1944, after the liberation by the Red Army, we made our way home, despite all the difficulties associated with it. The Russian authorities did not understand us

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very much, did not want to let us move to the southern region of Bucovina, which was occupied and not liberated as was the northern part. With the help of relatives, we had in Czernowitz and especially “bribes,” we left, arriving back at our home, which was partly destroyed.

After a short time, I began studying at the Jewish School founded by Dr. Levy and then run by Mr. Shulman, a teacher who came to our city from Czernowitz. During my studies, I became active in the “Zionist Youth” movement, according to our family's aspirations and as the family pioneer.

In 1947, after completing my matriculation exams, I went to the training farm before Aliyah to Israel. We left Romania in December of that year, but the English seized our ship, which was one of the two largest Pan ships (Atzma'ut and Kibbutz Galuyot). Altogether we were 15,000 people, men, women, youth and children, but they did not let us continue and moved us to quarantine camps in Cyprus.

After ten months in the camps, I arrived in Israel in 1948, after the establishment of the State of Israel. The War of Independence was in full swing. Since then, I have lived in Haifa, served for three years in the Israel Police force in Haifa Port, and then worked in the private sector.

My parents and also my sister Radia (Shoshana) arrived in Israel in 1950. After a while, my parents bought a housing apartment in Kiryat Yam, where we all lived together, until 1955, when I married Dov (Bokor) Krams, also one of the Zionist Youth veterans. We had two brilliant children: Ra'anan and Razeale and six lovely grandchildren.

We endeavor to spend as much time as possible with volunteer work for the greater good, visiting with the grandchildren, etc.

My father died here prematurely, because of a serious illness he contracted in Transnistria. My mother died of cancer after reaching 80 years. Both are buried in the Ḥof Hacarmel Cemetery. Blessed be their memory.

 

Poldi Kern's Story

I was born in 1919 to Bernhard and Olga Kern in Suceava. I also had a brother, Dr. Sali Kern. My father had a haberdashery and a shoe store on the main street.

I attended elementary school and then the Ştefan Cel Mare High School in Suceava.

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Both my parents passed away, and so did my brother, who died in France.

We were deported to Transnistria in 1941, where we remained until the end of the war. In May 1944, I returned with my wife Margit (née Ber from Câmpulung) to Suceava. I worked there in several positions until we immigrated to Israel with my son Rami and daughter Batya. We lived in Herzliya.

My wife passed away in 1996.

Translated from German by Simcha Weissbuch

 

Anna Koerner's Story

I was born in Suceava in 1908 to Rachel and Yosef Merdinger. We lived on Chatata Street. I had two brothers and three sisters. Leon died in Transnistria; Emanuel studied chemistry in Italy before the war. He was with us in Transnistria and went to the United States after the war. There he served as a professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago. Lottie Clear is now 91, and lives in the United States. Mina Gold, now 88 years old, is also currently in the United States. Clara Hirsch has passed away. I live intermittently in Chicago and Florida.

In my youth, I learned to be a seamstress. I married Berl Koerner in 1933. Together, we set up a shop for men's and ladies' tailoring. We lived in a rental at Hermann Beiner's house, on the main street, then called Rajela Ferdinand and later on, The Street of the Republic. Our Jewish neighbors were Dr. Rauch, and families Ziering, Tennenhaus, Weiner, Hopfmayer, and Schapira. Among our friends were families Weiner, Hollinger, Dermer, Klueger, Koenig, and Kolber families.

Our doctor at first was Dr. Tarter, then Dr. Hoch and Dr. Schaeffer. We shopped at Kolber's, Gensler's, and, of course, the local market. Our entertainment was visiting the cinema and hiking in the central garden (Volksgarten).

I raised two children: Dr. Sasha Koerner, a surgeon in Chicago, and Sadie Neumann, a chemical engineer in Chicago.

In 1940, we left Suceava for Czernowitz because they wanted to recruit my husband for hard labor. We hoped for a good life with the Russians. Of course, our disappointment was great. From Czernowitz we were deported to Transnistria-Mogilev. Thanks to the resourcefulness of my brother Emanuel, who was entrusted to care for and produce alcohol at a distillery in Bronice near Mogilev, we all survived. Although we were exiled for a while to Scazinetz, where we met Frizi Herzberg of Suceava, but we returned to Bronice.

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We returned to Czernowitz in 1944; stayed there until 1946, and from there we returned to Suceava. We re-opened the tailor shop, worked hard, and sent the children to school.

My brother Emanuel took my daughter Sadie to the United States in 1961. We left Suceava and emigrated to the United States in 1965. But it was not until 1972 that Sasha could leave.

A humorous episode: In 1970, I flew to Romania to see my son and went to Vatra Dornei for the baths, as a tourist. I was properly served as a tourist; no waiting in line and good and quick treatments. Rita Vizhnopolsky-Popic was also staying there. She belonged to the Aliyah {md: sic! typo for הגלית: deported} of the residents before the war and later served as the principal of the Girls' High School. She was married to one of the high-ranking officers in Securitata, while his father sat in a kind of basement repairing shoes. And it turns out that a tourist is preferred to receive good and quick care, while Rita Popic was waiting in line and angry.

Written by Shoshana Caesari from word of mouth.

 

Dr. Sasha Koerner's Story

I was born in Suceava in 1939 to Anna and Berel Koerner, who earned their livelihood in tailoring. I have an older sister, Sadie Schwarz-Neumann. I was exiled to Transnistria in 1941 when I was two years old. I lost my two maternal grandparents in Transnistria, as well as an uncle (Mother's brother). My grandfather, Yosef Merdinger, had undergone prostate surgery in a hospital in Suceava four days before the deportation. Despite his condition, he was taken out of the hospital by the authorities, exiled to Transnistria, and died in Mogilev immediately from the start for lack of medical treatment. My grandmother Rachel was put in a Convoy even before her husband died. On the way, a Ukrainian coveted the coat she was wearing. He murdered her by striking her with a wooden stick in the head and taking her coat. I do not know exactly where this happened because my parents and I stayed behind in Mogilev and heard about Grandmother's fate from other Suceava people who were in the same Convoy and saw the criminal act.

After our return, I lived in Suceava on the main street. I completed high-school studies and graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in Iaşi. In 1970 {md: mother says 1972}, I emigrated to the United States and lived in Chicago, where I underwent a re-internship as a surgeon.

I am married to Daniela (from Osoi) Koenig, born in Czernowitz, who lived in Suceava after the war and considers herself belonging to Suceava. We have two sons: Paul Koerner (a doctor, born in Suceava in 1965) and Richard Koerner.

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In 1963, my parents moved to the United States. My mother now lives in Florida. My mother-in-law, Anna Koenig, born in Czernowitz, lived all the years after World War II in Suceava, where she had many relatives and friends. Finally, I remember fondly the Hebrew kindergarten under the direction of Mrs. Isolis, most of whose students now live in Israel.

Translated from Romanian by Yehudah Tennenhaus

 

Idit (Edith Feller) Reuveni's Story; Die Kleine Feller

I am Edith, the only daughter of Berta (née Schloim) and Shulem Feller. I was born on May 18, 1935, and as much as my memory allows me to remember, we had a peaceful and comfortable life until the rise of the Fascists. I remember the extended family, uncles, aunts and their offspring as a cohesive unit, supportive, loving and caring for each other. I do not know a date, but I remember my father being taken hostage, along with other Jews. He was imprisoned in the Great Synagogue. I went with my mother to visit him and saw him in the synagogue courtyard. The pain I felt when I saw him locked up, I cannot erase until my last day!

 

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The Feller Family. Edith Feller (later, Reuveni) is standing on the right

[Page 573]

He was released after a while. Of course, others came to take his place. On one October day in October 1941, a drummer appeared on our street, informing all Jews, to gather at a certain time to get to the train in Burdujeni that would take us to an uncertain destination.

Of course, we planned to leave the house. My father buried a box with jewelry inside the basement. I mention this because the gentiles who worked for us knew about this box. They did not touch it as long as our lives went along in an orderly manner. When we returned from Transnistria, we found our house destroyed. Turns out one of our employees bought the house from city hall and destroyed it to find the jewelry box. He was sure the box was in one of the walls of the house.

My father went to the mayor to complain about the demolition of the house. The mayor was very generous (at the time). He suggested to Father to go to the street with the villas, find a villa he liked most, and receive it in compensation. Of course, Father settled for Mr. Dickman's house where we lived, only paying of rent.

Transnistria: I was six at the time of the deportation. Here is what I remember: From the moment we were informed of the departure of the house and that we could take with us only very few things that would last us for three days, the panic began. My mother took an evening dress, which she tried to exchange for a liter of milk while I was sick. The Ukrainians refused to buy the dress because it was full of 'holes.' This is where I got ahead of myself. So, Transnistria: We arrived at Atachi on the Dniester River after many hardships that we all underwent.

I remember to this day the slaughter the soldiers carried out on us. All night they were toying with taking the men to the banks of the river, shooting them, again and again. There were many people who were “just” injured and then returned to the place where we women and children stayed. The blood, the screams, the crying, the fear, and the horror were unbearable! They took us from Atachi on foot into the Ukraine. On the way, whoever fell got a bullet in the head. They did not bury the dead.

There was rain, hail, wind and freezing cold and indeed, I had frozen. They proposed to my mother to leave me behind so as not to burden her. She got hysterical and then her older brother Berl-Leib saved me by taking off my frozen clothes that stuck to my body and wrapped me in his fur coat. My uncle sickened with pneumonia and died and I have been bearing that [the guilt] ever since. One soldier turned to someone in our convoy and said they were taking us to a place where they would not give us food until we were dead. They simply did not have supplies for us, and the goal is to starve us to death. If we want to be saved, he will help us on the condition that we give him money and jewelry.

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An argument broke out among us; who was for and who was against it. Of course, it was terribly painful to say goodbye to the family who would not go with that soldier out of the consideration that he would take what little was left and kill us. My parents agreed with most of my mother's family. My father's sister, Mirza, her husband Moshe Kreisel, and their daughter, was also named Edith (after the same grandmother), continued their journey with the Convoy. Nobody survived! Edith obm, was only 5 years old.

All the people who were walking with the same soldier entered the forest, and shortly thereafter we saw the lights of a kolkhoz. He explained to us he had to shoot in the air because he promised his friends he would kill us. The man did not hurt us. He fired in the air. We kept walking towards the lights and we came to Zagorai. This is where I remember a lot of funerals. Among others, my uncles Berel-Leib and Julius Schloim were buried in the same grave.

Berel-Leib was the eldest of seven brothers and sisters. Julius was the youngest. Berl-Leib was married to Haya-Sarah Feller (my father's sister) and they have two sons, Ezekiel (Karl) and Yisrael (Isio). They also had a daughter named Rezi obm. Berel-Leib, Haya-Sarah and their daughter Rezi perished there. Ezekiel and Israel immigrated to Israel with the Transnistria children. Julius was married to Blanca (née Fogle) from Brodina. Their daughter Ruth, a beautiful girl, the pride of the family, now lives in Jerusalem married to engineer Rudolf Shor of Baku and has a daughter, son and grandchildren.

Now comes the explanation of Die kleine Feller. In the 1950s, in Israel, when I met with Schotz people, people did not remember or did not recognize me. I would always greet someone familiar and introduce myself, but almost always they did not exactly know how to place me among the Schotzer. So I found a ploy: “Do you remember Rut Schloim? I'm her cousin!” Then there would come a call of recognition, “Ah! Die kleine Feller!” I have to clarify that Die kleine Feller was four days older than Ruthie... And an adult! And now, let us return to our sad story.

From Zagorai we wandered to Murafa, Shargorod, Copaigorod, Mogilev, and at some point we reached Fiodorovka and then to Iefimovka. In one of these places, there was a type of farm together with an agricultural school.

In that place, they only employed men. My mother and I were in Murafa. One day my father and his coworker on the same farm, a man named Rosner, who also had a daughter, took us to the farm and hide us in a basement because there was a lot of leftover food from the school. We were two girls together for a while in the basement. I will never know how long, but probably not much because under the conditions I remember, it was impossible to survive for an extended stay.

We did not know when it was day and when it was night. What needed doing we did in a corner, which our fathers cleaned away. At the same time, we got our food and so we spent our time together. I was very terrified all

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the time. My companion in the hideout could not stand that I was constantly clinging close to her, but luckily she did not beat up on me or seriously try to get rid of me. Her name was Jetti Rosner from Câmpulung. All my life, I remembered her. I looked for her and I did not know what happened to her. I never ceased caring about her. In 1999, I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and luckily, I discovered her name on the museum's computer. I was staying with friends in Maryland and it turns out she lived not far away (by American concepts) from my friend. Of course, we met, and our joy was great. That is life. Sad and joyful. It is just a shame the sadness outweighs the joy. We lost most of our family in Transnistria:

My mother's brother Aharon and his wife Nora, their daughter Mimi and their son, Srul who all perished. My mother's brother, Ḥaim, perished. His wife Berta, their son Lucio (Aryeh) and their daughter Rosa immigrated to Israel and started families. My mother's sister, Malvina, and her husband, Lazar Guttmann-Berkowitz, perished. I must mention two family members, Nuzzi, daughter of Clara and Adolf Schloim, who died at age 16; and Giza, the daughter of Rita and Shloime Schloim, who made it back to our city but died of stomach tuberculosis shortly thereafter. She was also 16 years old. There were a few other family members who [were lost] but unfortunately, I cannot remember their names. When I approached the surviving family to remind me of them, I encountered a complete refusal to talk about the subject.

When we got to Schotz, we were met by all our Christian acquaintances who did not believe we survived. They were good to us, returned our furniture, brought us food and everything went back to the course of life as before... The harsh ordeal I underwent at home was the first Passover evening when all the family that remained sat down at the Seder table. Suddenly, we realized how many “remained there” and how few were left. The crying and the pain were unbearable. After that, we no longer sat at a Seder night table! I started first grade at age 9, like most kids who did not get to start school on time.

A while later, they found out I had tuberculosis. I was thrilled not to go to school. Everyone was busy all around me. I was the center of interest. Sick, but... at the center! The late Drs. Koenig and Schaerf treated me with devotion and Mrs. Nossig (the midwife) came every day to give me injections. In addition, my mother was advised to let me eat dog fat because it is “a sure cure” for tuberculosis. My aunt Rita Schloim had a dog I really liked. They caged him (of course, without my knowledge) fed him all the best to get him fat and slaughtered him (what a grisly story). One day, my mother put a fat-smeared slice of bread with garlic on the table. For some reason, I hesitated. But as soon as I reached out to take a slice, my mother snatched the plate with the “medicine” and did not even allow me to taste the delicacy-medicine.

I arrived in Israel in 1951, and was immediately put in a hospital for tuberculosis patients. Here they wanted to operate on me because I had no chance of surviving if I did not have surgery. I was very,

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but V-E-R-Y!!! much against that. I ran away from the hospital and joined the IDF. I served in the Navy from February 3, 1953 until February 1, 1955. I am very proud of myself for doing so. I could have remained supported by Welfare all my life, but I felt I could do more than that. I wrote this to give hope to anyone whose spirit has fallen. There is hope and you have to fight for a good place in life.

If there is anyone who does not think what I said hangs together, they are welcome to check the hospital document. I have them all. When I came to ask for compensation from Germany, they were impressed with the hospital certificates but did not understand how I got into the army. I received compensation for what I had undergone; what I got from my IDF service: pride and studies, along with life experience. And the icing on the cake: a husband! In the electronics unit where I served, I met a nice “boy” who always complied with the requirements, Major Sergeant Avraham Schwarz. I demanded him we get married, and we have been together for 50 years!

Avraham Schwartz was from Iaşi. His past was also not a bed of roses. At age 12, at the time of the Allied bombing of Iaşi in 1944, both his parents and an older brother perished. His sister died a year earlier from tuberculosis. He emigrated to Eretz [Israel] in 1947. Finally, I should point out that I have very warm feelings for Romania, especially for our city of Schotz. For everything that was before and after Transnistria. I still miss the places, the friendship and the atmosphere that was then, even though I thought I was the black sheep in the community with the heretical questions I have about all that we, the Jews, have to suffer in this world.

 

Briti (Lebzelter-Schneider) Rubin's Story

Although I was born in Czernowitz, I have lived for a considerable number of years in Suceava, so I remember very well my childhood and pleasant adolescence in this city. In 1945, with the massive immigration, I arrived with my parents and little sister at Câmpulung. In 1946, my father was appointed district supervisor at the Jewish Distribution Committee (JDC), so we moved to Suceava.

I studied at the Hebrew High School, where I befriended Ruthie Solomon, Shela (Fallenbaum) and Meir Schweitzer, Ilse Schneider-Leibovici and Sidi Kreitner-Saldinger. We became good friends and continue our friendship here in Israel. I keep in close contact with Sidi, who remains in Suceava to this day.

In Suceava, I adjusted well into the Jewish youth society. I was a trainee in the Zionist Youth movement,

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and my counselor was Meir Costiner. After the Hebrew High School, I went to a teachers' seminary, married Harry Bezalter, and began working in Suceava and continued to do so for many years.

I remember the pleasant atmosphere in the city. On Friday [evenings] and Saturdays we used to walk around the city and meet all our friends. The adults also had a social life. Indeed, my parents had quite a pleasant and large social circle.

I carry very fond memories with me of all these. My time in Suceava was beautiful, and most pleasant. I left the city in the early 1960s when I emigrated to Israel.

 

Martin Rosner's Story

I, Martin Rosner, complied with my daughter Yael's pleas and began writing my biography. I was born in Suceava on January 6, 1928. My father and maternal grandfather were wood merchants. Grandfather dealt with firewood and Father dealt in lumber for building. The business was in Grandfather's name and father was as if he was his employee.

 

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Martin Rosner

 

Grandfather Yeshayahu was a well-known figure in the city. He was well versed in all the mysteries of Judaism. He studied with Rabbi Roth at the yeshiva and received a license to be a rabbi, but came to Suceava and got married, opened the

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wood business, went to the Austro-Hungarian army and the war, and returned toothless, because for lack of water he ate snow in the winter. I prayed with my father while he was chairman of the Sadigora Synagogue.

I enrolled in the elementary school. It was difficult for me at first, because at home I only spoke German and only spoke Romanian with our servant, who helped father in the lumber yard and also did some housework. I also studied Hebrew with a tutor, both of the ḥumash and modern [Hebrew]. I attended four classes of elementary school until high school. I always received the second highest marks in my class.

I entered high school, but during the second year, on Passover, I got sick. After recovering a little, I went back to school for the end-of-year exams. My father came to school with me and took me up the stairs (my class was on the second floor) because I was not supposed to strain myself. I passed the exams okay and in high school I ranked second in the class.

After I finished my exams, there were regime changes. The Russians took over Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina (under an agreement with the Germans). Then King Carol II was forced to resign in favor of his son, Michael I, who then appointed Antonescu as prime minister. Then, laws against the Jews also began. The Jews could not go to a public school, only to a private school. They failed in setting up a Jewish school in our city, so we stayed out. There were also many laws regarding Jewish businesses and Jewish doctors and freelance professionals. Jews could not speak any language in public other than Romanian. Jews were thrown from the train carriages while the Romanian Army withdrew from Bessarabia and northern Bucovina. Pogroms were also carried out against the Jews in the villages, at Antonescu's personal behest. In January 1941, there was a revolt by the Nazi extremist group, the Iron Guard, against Antonescu. This passed quietly in Suceava, but in Bucharest they killed hundreds of Jews and hung up their bodies in the slaughterhouse with a “kosher” stamp. Elsewhere, the Jews suffered beatings, rape, and some were also killed. Antonescu brutally suppressed the rebellion, not because he loved Jews, but because it was directed against him and he could have lost the premiership, as well as his head.

In June 1941, the German army, together with the Romanian Army, attacked the Soviet Union, which was completely surprised, since it had a non-aggression pact with Germany. The German Army, together with the Romanian Army, advanced almost unopposed and took many prisoners. When they took prisoners, they asked which of them were Jews and who were communists and killed them on the spot. We heard that in Odessa, the Romanians carried out a pogrom and killed all the Jews there.

In October 1941, an order was issued to evacuate all Jews from the city of Suceava to Transnistria,

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a region between the Dniester and the Bug Rivers, which border Bessarabia. A similar fate befell all the Jews who lived in the cities of Bucovina (there were no longer any Jews in the villages, because they had been killed or expelled the year before), Bessarabia and the Dorohoi region, because the Russians, when they occupied Bessarabia and northern Bucovina, also occupied the village of Herţii, which belonged to the Dorohoi region.

We left on the third day, October 11, 1941. Before then, we delivered a lot of things and also merchandise (lumber) to our Romanian neighbors. We left with a wagon for the train and were put into a closed carriage for transporting animals, along with other families. There I first heard that the men spoke to each other only by the last name, without adding “Mr.”, I realized that is how you spoke in troubled times. I heard they also took a very sick Jew, who was in the hospital, and transferred him to the train. He died along the way. I wrote to myself, “This is the first death in our group.” After about three days, we reached our destination, Atachi, a town on the shore of the Dniester [River]. Many groups have already passed here before us. We were given a place to stay in some building. Outside, I saw the body of a little dead boy. The first dead person I had ever seen before in my life. We met father's brothers there. They came from Vijnitz, in northern Bucovina. We were supposed to cross the Dniester [River] on a ferry with our stuff. There were rumors that all the money had to be given to the officers before we crossed, but I do not know if they did.

Mogilev, a former district city, was on the other side of the Dniester. We arrived there and were housed in a deserted building, which was previously a school. There were many books lying around everywhere. I found books in Yiddish and took some. I remember one book was a Yiddish translation from the French of “Les Miserables.” The Yiddish language was a little strange, because they wrote in a special script, Soviet {Cyrillic} letters, to erase any connection with the Hebrew language. Transport to Shargorod, the city we were supposed to go to, was organized. Our belongings were loaded onto a truck and we walked. My grandmother could climb onto the truck and not walk because she was after gastric surgery. After about three days, we arrived in Shargorod, a small town, where we found Jews who survived, because it was not Germans or Romanians who conquered it, but Hungarians. Afterward, it came under a Romanian occupation regime. On the way to Shargorod, we saw a lot of flags. I guess they were Ukrainian, because there were no Romanians or Germans there.

We settled in Shargorod, along with a few other families. We were given the Borman family home; the landlord was in the army, and his wife and the children stayed put. The landlady's two sisters also lived in the same apartment; one newly married to a Jew from Poland, a war refugee, and the other one was single. The Nussbrauch family, a neighbor of ours from Suceava, Mrs. Dickman, probably a widow, Mrs. Rudich, a pogrom widow of 1940,

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and another family whose name I forgot. There was no toilet in the house. There was a kind of primitive toilet in the yard that needed to be cleaned out from time to time. We used this toilet for a while and then began defecating outside.

As the Passover holiday approached and matzos was baked on behalf of the Community Committee. My father went to work there unloading the bags of flour for the matzos. On Passover eve, he got sick. We learned later that it was typhus. This upset our whole holiday. The day after Passover, he passed away. My mother was in shock, crying all the time. The Nussbrauch's daughter, our neighbors, took me aside and told me not to let my mother cry all the time, because it would destroy her. I listened to them and I did just that. I did not let Mother cry by talking to her about many things. She started working in the Community Committee's kitchen set up to distribute food to the needy. She did it almost voluntarily, receiving a loaf of bread a day for her work. But it helped her overcome the pain of Father's death. My grandfather got a job being in charge of the Community Committee's bakery. He covered for the community leaders (led by Dr. Teich) by handing out bread to those approved by the committee and not to others. He did not say that the committee did not approve them, but that there was no more bread. That is why he had many enemies who thought he did not want to give them, but that was not true. I remember Father's funeral. I went with acquaintances of mine before the corpse since they told me it was the custom that one walks after a mother's body but not after a father's. I was also told the reason was that people should not to say, “It's not his father.”

I started saying Kaddish for my father when it was possible, because there was not always a quorum. The quorum was in a private house; there was both a local rabbi and our rabbi. There were also local Jews who kept the tradition, despite the years of communism. The 23rd of Nissan is the anniversary (Yahrtzeit) of Father's death. I observe this day and go to the synagogue every year, and recite the Kaddish.

 

Jerry (Yosef) Ruhm's Story

I was born in Suceava in 1946, the son of the late Lamuzio-Moshe and Clara-Ḥaika, daughter of Avraham Melerman. My father was born in 1915. He worked in Suceava as a clerk for the Joint, as well as at the Centrale Cinema until 1950.

My parents were deported to Mogilev in Transnistria. My father was conscripted to forced labor in the Mogilev, Scazinetz, Bug, Peciora, until he was liberated by the Red Army. My paternal grandfather, Yosef ben Itzik Ruhm, perished in Shargorod. His sister Blanca Darfel and her infant son also perished there.

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Yosef Ruhm

 

After the war, my father was hospitalized in a hospital in Suceava for about a year, and in December 1950, he, my mother, and I emigrated to Israel. After a short period of residence in Kiryat Shemona (then Helsa), we moved to Zichron Yaacov, where my father's sister, Mina Wickman, and her late husband Ḥaim welcomed us.

In Israel, my father worked until his retirement in Solel Boneh Company in Hadera until his retirement. He passed away November 10, 2004.

Treacherous Lover

שלום לך עיר, שלום לך שוץ
אהובה בוגדנית, בך לא אחפוץ.
בניתי בך בית, נטעתי בך גן,
ומה קיבלתי - גירוש וחורבן.
גם יסדתי בך בית + תכולה.
פתחתי שער לחסד וטוב,
מכאן גורשתי עירום ורטוב.
בשיירה הובלתי, צרורי מבוזז,
ביתי קרס, דמי ניתז.
שלום לך עיר, שלום לך שוץ
אהובה בוגדנית, בך לא אחפוץ.

 

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