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The Jewish Vatican in Sadagora[1]

Sadagora Association[2]

First Sadagora Men's Benevolent Association, 23 Second Avenue, New York City, N.Y.

Jakob Schulman, Honorary President   Jakob Deutschberg, Control Directorate
Edi Altmann, Leading President   Louis Katz, Control Directorate
Jakob Brender, Vice President   Simon Reisch, Control Directorate
Georg. Levit, General Secretary   Jakob. Schulman, Control Directorate
Isak. Löebl, Technical Secretary and Treasurer   Max Grönlich, Master-at-Arms
Filip Hochstädt, Treasurer   Louis Goldstein, Master-at-Arms
Samuel Eisinger, Control Directorate   Louis Eisinger, Social Welfare
Jakob. Danker, Control Directorate   Irving Jeffer, Social Welfare
    Max Steiner, Social Welfare

Edi Altmann, President, 128-37 Jewel Avenue, Flushing, NY, Ligett 4-2540, America

Ben-Saar, Honorary Member Sigmund, Engler, Control Commission
Eliezer Golz-Pinkas, Honorary Member Ewa Isser, Control Commission
Leiser Grünberg, Honorary Member Salo Rudish, Control Commission
Dr. Fritz Granierer, President EmmaAusländer, Ausschuss
Dr. Rosa Bardach, First Vice President Dr. Leon Bruckenthal, Ausschuss
Josef Polesiuk, Second Vice President Gerschon Glatter, Ausschuss
Natan Isser, General Secretary Wilhelm Horowitz, Ausschuss
Isidor Gottlieb, Technical Secretary Israel Korber, Ausschuss
Oskar Stein, Chief Treasurer Mina Katz, Ausschuss
Aron Altman, President of the Gemilat Chesed-Kassa Ella Lax, Ausschuss
Isak Landau, Kassier of the Gemilat-Chesed-Kassa Mina Reiner, Ausschuss
Dr. Rosa Bardach, President of the Social Welfare Klara Schuller, Ausschuss
Fritzi Schnitzer, First Vice President Lottie Scharff, Ausschuss
Anna Landau, Second Vice President Hermann Süsser, Ausschuss
Isak Landau, Control Commission Stefanie Stein, Ausschuss
Honora Teitler, Ausschuss Oskar Tauber, Ausschuss
Leon Zwick, Ausschuss  

In Israel contact Natan Isser, Tel-Aviv, Rechow Iben Gabriol 53 about Hitachdut Oleh Sadagora


The purpose of this book is not to teach or change the world. When the immortal “greats” cannot accomplish this, how could I as a self taught writer attempt it? Man is the only creature who loves to educate others, but is averse to being educated. And who can venture even a guess at the number of teachers, poets, preachers and writers who have up to today, tried to help the world. Only time has its own laws, and goes unconcerned on its own way.

Then why this book which lays no claim to literary value? The purpose of this book is merely to cheer up for a while my friends from Bukovina – give them a little mirror – to reflect their happily spent youth – to comfortably remind them of stories and funny tales, where their ancestors and they, themselves – in joy and sorrow – took a part.

The main theme, “the little Jewish Vatican” in Sadagora, is not a fantasy, but pure facts from that time, which were earnestly noted in my dairy, honestly and simply, without literary “window dressing.”

To understand the unique potpourri of words used in Sadagora, a table of “nicknames” and a table of ancestors are included, so that readers with no connection to Sadagora can effortlessly understand the book.

When I was, in celebration of my birthday, made an honorary member of the Sadagora Association – I could find no more suitable way to express my thanks for this honor – than this book.

Beth-Shaan (Israel)   Ben Saar
February 4, 1954   Rubinstein

Setting Things Right

Poets and writers sang about the rubble that once was Sadagora.

About the little Jewish city – there on the Pruth. They wanted to part the fog.

The songs echo so wonderfully from the palace of the famous rabbis.

The strong orthodox dynasty of the servants dedicated to God.

The songs tell the wonderful tale that there was no Christian there.

Only Jews and Jews – and Jewish culture, which feels on reading, somehow not right

And in that, one recognizes the horse's foot and makes the song a shame.

Proves that the cradle of the singer was never in Sadagora.

Otherwise he would be able to name the ancient names.

Which only Sadagora and otherwise no other city was in a position to recognize.

Not only the men of weapons, not the aristocrats.

But the guilds from Harom-Am to the smallest pirates.

Now listen, brother to the new song – I strum the strings.

Yisgadal v yiskadash – there was once a Jewish Vatican.


Here we list the nicknames of our favorites to demonstrate that there are no names of strangers in the Ancestor Register which follows – but only the indigenous “aristocrats.”

Ara Küge Yankel der Soifer
  Berl der Gabbe Jankel der Polizei
  Berale Hikewacz Jankel Spodik
  Der Ameriker Jankel Fonje
  Der Bosniak Jossale von der Tee
  Der Krummer Gär Sure di Galoschenmachern
  Die Kruppnikes Ire Laib der Melamed
  Das roite Kässerl Mayer Sibbale
  Fawale Knobbel Moische Goj
  Fuge Reich Nute Stopper
  Froikale Kalibok Peroni di Pisskate
  Frosi von di Kärn Peretz Giess
  Chaim Czulint Schmiel der Blinder
  Hnatke Gannef Berl der Bodner
  Hersch Ssiggenur Schulem Korsch
  Hersch Bomm Schulem der Chasen
  Hersch Bass Surech der Kümmer
  Hersch der Schwarzer Srul der Toiber
  Hersch Gorgl Schimen Schiker
  Chaim Krocz Schloime Kardup
  Gietel di Nähturn Simche Knisch
  Rosie di Fikkern Urisch Pippek
  Wolf Koilicz Tamerussi der Knaaper

Ancestor register of the indigenous “aristocrats”

  Ables Baron v. Mustata
  Altmann Maderer
  Ausländer Urbansky de Neczuja
  Badian Oberländer
  Bardach Parola
  Bendit Poppel
  Benkler Puckacz
  Böhmer Runes
  Biliewicz Rudlich
  Burger Rubinstein-Saar
  Brender Retter
  Breitner Repka
  Danzker Reisch
  Dankner Reichmann
  Dojak Rippel
  Donnenfeld Ritter
  Duczak Rosenfeld
  Deutschberg Rosenkranz
  Drucker Rosenstrauch
  Ehbner Süsser
  Engler Singer
  Eisinger Sinnreich
  Ellenbogen Sonnenschein
  Grossrab. Friedman Sommer
  Furhmann Soifer
  Finger Seinfeld
  Goldstein Sperling
  Gronich Sperber
  Grünberg Steiner
  Gottlieb Straucher
  Granierer Stettner
  Geisinger Sternberg
  Gresczuk Schärf
  Hulles Schächter
  Hirsch Scherzer
  Herrling Schieber
  Horowitz Schottka
  Häuselmann Schuster
  Hecht Schullmann
  Heitner Schmatnik
  Isser Schierer
  Jurmann Schieber
  Katz Toloczka
  Kotter Tallesmann
  Kossower Tepper
  Koffler Türk
  Körner Trommer
  Kräner Trichter
  Kisslinger Wandermann
  Klym Weintraub
  Lehr Weinsaft
  Löbl Weissmann
  Levitt Woitko
  Lutvac Zuker
  Loker Zimbler
  Linker Zloczower
  Landrecht Zenter
  Liquornik Schnapp

Picture of Author


History and heyday of Sada-Gora

At the time of the Turkish-Russian war1768-74 the Russian general Gartenberg [garden-mountain] set up his grand headquarters on the hill, 7 km. distant from Pruth. The detached army was ordered to defeat the Turks at all costs. As a consequence of the great distance from Petersburg, the primitive highways and miserable local roads, supplies came slowly or not at all and paying the mercenaries was impossible.

For this reason General Gartenberg built his own mint and had his own money minted and pressed local mercenaries into his army. In this way, he extended his position of power to the Pruth River where he pressed the Turks hard and later drove them out (1768-74 see Brockhaus). The mercenaries as well as the local farmers and the Jewish merchants who had come with him had difficulty pronouncing the name of the general and so the name was translated into Russian. Sad (garden), Gora (mountain) and this name stuck for the general as well as the town. And Sada Gora[3] became with time a pulsating center of life.

The mountain on the other side of the Pruth was covered with majestic beech forests which for a long time provided certain protection for the Turks as well as the resident “Black Utzen” (Huzulen), But because of the pressure of the Moldauer[4] and the Wallachen on their flanks and the attacking Russians from the Pruth side the Turks had to give up Buchenland (Beech Land = Bukovina) and retreat. Because of the frequent high water and flooding in the Pruth valley, it was necessary to build a fortified city on the flanks of the mountain. An since the Czorne Utzen had withdrawn with the Turks, the bjala Utzen (White Huzeln) from the Pruth Valley resettled on the mountain and named the primitive place “Cerna-Utzi.” They made a living by raising cattle and timbering and were glad to be rid of the Czarna Utzen along with the Turks.

After the war, the Sultan gave the Crown Land of Bukovina to Empress Maria Theresia of Austria. Then Cernauti was renamed Czernowitz and thus challenged surpassed Sada-Gora and in a short time became the capital of Bukovina.

While Czernowitz became a political center Sadagora remained a small market place and ran the danger of loosing its soul as a city. Then destiny intervened for the threatened city when the Dynasty of the Ruzyner Zaddik Friedmann[5] moved there and rescued it from certain decay. And when Kaiser Franz Josef I acceded to the throne a new happy time started for the monarchy as well as for Bukovina, Sadagora and the Jews.

Through the constitution of March 4, 1849, the Jews were granted full equality with the confessors of the Christian religion. And the federal law of December 21, 1867 granted full political rights both on a state and a local level for the Jews. In the light of these circumstances improvements were made to the Rabbi's palace in Sadagora, several magnificent structures being added. The palace built in half-timbered style with richly flower filled gardens and the elegant carriages gave the court the stamp of a little Vatican. Across from the palace was built the splendid klaus [prayer house] with its refined richly furnished interior which left nothing to wish for.

In this Klaus prayed the Chassidic “aristocracy” whose clothing and demeanor demonstrated their elevated position – in complete contrast to the “city Jews” who to be sure followed all the religious obligations, but who in costume and behavior were German oriented – and therefore seldom dared to attempt to pray in the Klaus.

As small as this place was, wherever Jews lived (Russia, Galicia, Bukovina) it was considered the center of “Zaddikismus” (see note 5).

While the city Jews mixed their Yiddish with fragments of German which was absolutely necessary for trade, commerce, city and court business, in the Vatican, the Yiddish was spiced with greater amounts of Hebrew – and thereby seriously embarrassed the city Jews, who for the most part were not Talmud scholars. And so in this community lived two worlds alongside each other. This circumstance however, didn't detract from the universal respect that the rabbinical dynasty Friedmann enjoyed.

Also the few Christians respected the rabbinical court. And not seldom, Christians who found themselves in a painful situation came to the Zaddik to ask for his wise advice – and to follow it.

At celebrations, the Schalasch (a special space for Chassidic festivals) was in demand. A unique structure with a sliding roof mounted on wheels which provided a radical means of providing ventilation in the hall and then could be “wheeled” back to its normal position. The inner room which seated about 1000 people was built like an amphitheater with the seating rising to the back of the space – and the table at which the Tzaddikim and their Chassidim ate filled the entire length of the hall. One could write a book about the seating order, ritual ceremonies, order of precedence, scherajim (leftovers from Rabbi's meal) and the games the Chassidim played.

This little Vatican had a considerable staff of Gabuem[6], Schamusim, servants and several yearly paid “Shabbas Gojim” and the discipline was strict and bombastic.

Just “dropping in” on the Rebe [Chassidic rabbi] was unheard of. Rich Chassidim, among them millionaires, who came from far away to speak with the revered Rabbi had to wait sometimes for days, until their turn came.

On Shabbat and the Jewish holidays, all work stopped in Sadagora. To go walking with a walking stick or smoking a cigarette was unthinkable. The bathing of boys and girls together in the stream was a punishable offence and to insult an elderly person was a serious sin.

Even the phonograph, the newest achievement, a playing apparatus with moving parts and tubing through which one could really hear music cannot be used on Shabbat and also not the Gramophone, a more recently invented device (with loudspeakers) and even the newest device of that era, the “Patephon without Trumpet” could not be played on the Shabbat.

Hospitality, helping each other out, support of the poor, widows and orphans was taken for granted, which also the Christians residents respected completely and fully.

On weekdays, an unearthly stillness reigned over the Vatican, which brought mysterious thoughts to strangers and tourists and which wove an aura of legend around the Vatican.

In contrast, in the city it was busy as a bee hive and the Eulenspiegel [7] tales from Sadagora were widely known.

Although Sadagora counted only 4000 Jewish house numbers, It made itself known in the world like an important big city and jokes about this place and its Jewish satire were sung in the entire world.

The young people who went to Czernowitz to either study at the University or to find work in retail, as hand workers or the military often came home for short vacations and secretly made fun of the strict pious customs and uses of the “old ones,” which only to often led to unpleasant altercations. The worst tomfoolery was perpetrated by the college and high school students who invented nicknames and pet names for every street and numberless citizen, some of which are still in use today (see “Nicknames, page 5).

In contrast to the Vatican and the city, the so-called Barrenifke (a part of Rohonza) should be mentioned. This word, as pronounced by the locals is a less that beautiful expression. The first part of the word, “barre” means something like: bilking, swindle, lie, lead astray.

In reality, it was called “Baronnufka” and it was a part of the barony of the dynasty of the Mustata family, an old Romanian bojar [owners of large tracts of land] family. Many poor Jews lived there. The Baronnufka was the longest and most densely populated of all streets and it had side streets where the Ssiggenuren (supposedly blind gypsies/beggars) and the poor lived. That also, a number of well-to-do and the larger part of the owner/drivers of the livery carriages built their beautiful houses there did nothing to alter the fact that this was not the part of the city where the “elite” lived. About the city center, institutions, the hegdisch and the bud [nursing home and public bath] more will be reported in other places. These lines should suffice to illustrate the contrast between the Vatican and its surroundings.

Unforgettable Type

As already mentioned, Buchenland (Beech Land = Bukovina) was not conquered by war. This crown land was a present of the Turkish sultan to the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria. After the confusion of 1848 and later under the glorious leadership of Kaiser Franz Joseph I, the “German orientation” took root in Bukovina and Sadagora as well. Already in 1860 Sadagora had a “German school” and the German language was soon dominant. Since school attendance was not mandatory, most Jewish children attended the kheyderim[8] where the melamedim instructed them in traf, chimisch and Rashi. Since these kheyderim were private undertakings, in every kheyder, the melamed instructed according to his own lights. In spite of this, the children learned much because many melamedim were very strict and used the knout so strenuously on slow learners that they would stop hearing and seeing. Blabbermouths were put in küne (shamed). The delinquents had a fur cap with feathers placed on their heads, their pants were removed and they had to stand for an hour near the door with a broom under their arms to be scorned by the well behaved students. The student in küne was subdued, since the infamous knout lay threateningly on the table and produced absolute obedience.

The most feared melamedim were Nute Stopper, Schimen Schiker, Tamerussi Knaaper and Berale Letz. In contrast Ire Laib and Reb Dewdl were good natured patient Gemara [9] melamedim who with gentle methods inspired their students to learn.

These students with their knowledge and ability could even put themselves up against the students of the Klaus (orthodox synagogue) which often occurred. for these noble melamedim, the tuition was very high and the children of poor parents couldn't have this advantage.

Reb Velvel Abeles

In these kheyderim with their varied systems of pedagogy, Reb Velvel Abeles played a special roll. On certain days and at various intervals, he would come around to “interrogate” the children. In a great rush, the beller (helper) would wash the children's hands and faces, told them to behave themselves and if Reb Velvel asked them if the Rebbe (meaning the melamed) was good to them, they should say yes. The Rebbezin, the melamed's wife with her mob of children had to “disappear” out of the kheyder and the rebbe gathered the students around the table where the books lay.

Then Reb Velvel came into the kheyder, looked at the children like a mother, patted one after the other on the head and asked in a friendly way, “who was the best student.” Conscientiously, the children named the “best” and Reb Velvel began the “third degree.”

Whether the student was the best or not, Reb Velvel patted him on the shoulder, told him to become “a gutter Jüd (a good Jew)” and asked casually “do you have a new kapotkale (coat) for Shabbat?” The poor youth honestly answered in the negative. Reb Velvel built his genius on this point. Listen young man, I don't like the idea of a good student running around in a torn rekl (Yiddish for coat). Here is a note for Berl Schneider, let him measure you and make a Kapotkale, so the other children will know that you are a good student.

Then the other children were questioned. They all tried very hard to shine and the cleaver one said that they had failings, but he saw great improvement and he hoped that at the next examination still more children would receive a new kapotkale. This procedure very often increased the children's zeal for learning.

The Baron Hirsch School

When the Baron Hirsch School was built in the years 1896-98, education took a completely new character. The large multi-story building with the airy classrooms and modern school benches was really worth seeing.

The chief teacher Maderer, the teachers Fuhrman, Rosenfeld and the religion teacher Sperber – and even the school servant, Arn Kügel were all – Jews.

All the students (only Jews) received, at no cost, instruction, attractive uniforms with matching capes and a gleaming military type hat (in winter matching boots), shirts, carrying bag, text books and notebooks. The students who were completely without means could even get meals from the school servant. One could clearly see by every indication that it was a Baron Hirsch School.

This school made the Baronnufka lively and it was also beneficial for the little town. The instruction in the German language attracted the youth and the children of rich parents left the German school and came to it. It was more than a school – it was a national home.

The deeply pious, however, who wouldn't touch a unholy [secular] book, were satisfied with the instruction at the kheydar or the klaus. In spite of that, eventually all the schools combined produced 100 doctors.

Opposite the Baron Hirsch School, a few houses further Joil Schmatnik had a dance hall. Here the amateur actors had their “theater,” the dance school was here, the weddings took place here as well as gatherings.

On Herrengasse could be found the bar (Schnapps Central), the coffeehouse Keffler, City Hall, the Catholic church, the public garden and up above on the meadow, the playground and the cemetery.

The Justice Building, the German School and the apothecary's shop were somewhat removed, just like Raiman's Pond, the “children's beach.”

The marketplace, to be sure was very important, but was nothing special to look at. Schweingasse [Pig Street, the main street] and the bridge where the coachmen had their “taxi stand” were really the center of the city.

All the latest news was reported by the “pauker” who beat his drum in a monotonous rhythm. Thursday evenings the bell ringer from the schwitz (steam bath) ran through the streets ringing his bell and screaming at the top of his lungs, “waaber, in Bud arain” (women into the bath).

All the guilds, tailors, shoemakers, merchants and musicians were strictly organized. Only the bud (bath) and the hegdisch (nursing home) left something to be desired. More about this in the following “humoresques.”

Finally the bridge. This was the pulsing heart of the city. Like a watchman stood the famous, hardly 20 meter long bridge over the city's stream. Everything, living or dead that traveled to or from Czernowitz must pass over this bridge. On both sides there were inns where horses stopped, luggage was unloaded and one could get something to eat and a place to sleep. On one side was Itzig Laib Granierer. On the other side was Motie Brukenthal. The children of both of these rich inn keepers got the best education and were to become doctors.

At this bridge was the taxi stand for the fiacre[10] and the wägalech. They had a well organized, vigorous guild which played an important roll in the little city. The story “Kässerl” in Sadagora, VII tells more about these coachmen and teamsters.

Until the outbreak of war in 1914, Sadagora existed so to speak in the shadow of Czernowitz. This unholy war caused the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian empire, destroyed our Vatican and scattered the Tzaddikim dynasty. The ruins of the palace remind us that once happiness and wellbeing reigned here.

There where once the houses of the Gabuem stood, now graze goats on the luxuriant grass – and bleat:

“yisgadal v yiskadash[11]

Dr. Straucher the Repetent [12]

During the time that the good natured doctor, Dr. Isidor Runes was the mayor of Sadagora, this incident occurred. One nice day, several fiacres filled with followers of Dr. Straucher (a political figure) stormed into Sadagora and stopped in front of the City Hall. A deputation lead by Schimale Haker and Awrumale Bojbik asked for an audience with the mayor and were immediately led inside. After several minutes, the “always busy” mayor appeared smiling. “Servus meine Herrn [greetings gentlemen], sit down. What's eating you? Ha? a brawl or something else?”

Schimale Haker spoke up and made a great effort to control himself, but he bellowed like bull and pounded so hard on the table that the documents and the inkwell danced the czardasch.

The Herr Mayor became serious. “Listen Schimak! I know that you are a “tough guy,” but if you pound on the table once more, I'll throw you out. Here one must be calm and speak in a respectful manner.”

“Excuse me please Herr Mayor, in my excitement I didn't realize that I was pounding on the table. That was not my intention.”

“Good, good interrupted the Herr Mayor, Jetzt efen a Pisk und sag' wo es kweczt dich” [Yiddish dialect – Open a horse's mouth and say where it pinches you]. And Schimale thundered his report as follows: “We just broke up a political rally in Czernowitz and chased away the “Doktorlech.” The assertion that Doctor Straucher was a “repetemt
is an insult for all of us. And if blood has to flow, we won't let the doktorlech into any rallies until it is proven if this claim is based on truth.”

“Whaat? Our Dr. Straucher a repetent?” yelled the enraged Herr Dr. Mayor. “Who said this and who heard it?” “All of us,” rang out in the meeting room. And Dr. R. had said it coram populi [in the presence of the people].

“Quiet gentlemen,” said the Herr Mayor, suddenly becoming serious. “Herr Dr. R. is to be sure, still a young man, but an honorable man and he would not say anything which he couldn't prove. The affair therefore not simple. We must ask the Herr Director of the German School to give us a copy of the catalog and then we will know the facts.

Where is Jankel the policeman?” “Here I am Herr Dr. Mayor” “Good, run over to the Director with this letter and wait for an answer.” “Jawohl [yes] Herr Mayor.” And Jankel disappeared.

Then Awrumale Boibik spoke and informed the mayor in a business-like way about the meeting and the agitation against the followers of Straucher. And since the mayor was also a Straucher adherent, he quickly understood that there had been a misunderstanding.

Then Jankel the policeman came back with the answer. And the mayor who was also interested, read the letter stressing every word.

Benno Straucher born in Sadagora in 1854 (on the Baronufka) was a student of the German School in Sadagora and in accordance with the constitution of 1867 received a full scholarship and was a outstanding student.

Hurrah, hurrah echoed out into the street. but the Herr Mayor was still concerned.

Gentlemen, he said in a serious tone of voice. “This situation is not so simple. For the time being, don't talk with anyone about it, go to Koeffler's wine hall and wait for me because the council room here is not the place for such discussions.”

Quietly and obediently they all went to Koeffler's and waited for the mayor. (it was a good day for Koeffler).

An hour later a fiacre sped out of Czernowitz in the direction of Sadagora fully loaded with the “Dokterlech” and the Jewish political “heavy weights” among them, Dr. R.

The mayor led them also to Koffler's, asked for absolute quiet and gave Dr. R. the floor. Dr. first of all praised the loyalty of the Straucher followers and then gave the following explanation:

The Member of Parliament Herr Dr. Straucher depending on his own resources has been elected again and again to the Austrian Parliament. He came from the people and was on the side of the people as a champion of the little man. When he was reelected, a “trouble maker” said (referring to Parliament) “This repetent is really lucky, Now he has again won his old place in Parliament. To be such a happy repetent I wish for all my friends.

A deafening hurrah which echoed in the room and rolled out into the streets was the answer. Thus conciliated, the “enemy brothers” traveled back to Czernowitz, not forgetting to profusely thank the cleaver mayor.

So the Herr Dr. Benno Straucher turned out to be – an enviable repetent.

Froikale Kalibok

Actually, his name was Froikal Schnapp, a stout well padded little man who spent more time in jail then he did making trouble in the marketplace. Froikal with more problems than he liked and who hardly displayed his art was again in the lock-up. His specialty was “kalibok,” an illegal game with dice which only he could win. Froikal was not a thief or street tough, but a good natured fatty who could even be kind when it concerned helping a poor widow with a load of wood, helping a blind man across the street or getting medicine for a sick person from the apothecary – all of course as a mitsve, [good deed] God forbid, never for money. But at the same time, a knave, always ready to grasp an opportunity. Because of his specialty, he was known as “Froikal Kalibok.” And in spite of the watchfulness of the famous police force (three man strong) he would appear in the marketplace as if emerging from under the earth, swindle the farm boys out of their few kreuzer with kalibok and disappear before the guardians of the law became aware of his presence – and the victims themselves helped him to disappear (according to the law, he could only be arrested if caught “in flagrante” [actually, flagrante delicto – in the act of committing a crime]. Since the farm boys lied and said they had lost their money playing with each other, they had to let him go. He always let the “first player” win. To his misfortune, the gendarme “Wachmeister” [constable] Dojak was transferred to Sadagora. Dojak was an ambitious man who you couldn't fool around with. When he heard of the misdeeds of the scoundrel, he made it his business to nab him “in flagrante.”

Early Thursday morning, Dojak posted himself armed with a rifle behind a door and waited for the oblivious rascal. The farm boys streamed into the marketplace and awaited the “hero of the day.” When Froikal arrived, he was greeted with a “hallo” and the game began – The first player won, a huzzah from all throats confirmed their joy and reminded Dojak of his mission. Clumsily, he ran to the gaming place to grab Froikal “red handed,” but Froikal was quicker and hidden by the boys, he threw his calibok in a sack by “Frosie fin di Kärn,” [probably a woman vendor] wiped off his hands and stood next to a seller's table playing the innocent. Dojak took out his notebook and asked the scoundrel. “What's your name?” Froikal winked at the boys and said,” I'm called “ Jissmach Moische.” Dojak who understood the words hesitated for a second and then gave Froikal an unlawful ringing blow on his ear. Froikal, a crafty prozzessnik, said, “Herr wachmeister, what was that for?” And Dojak answered serenely, “ bematnas chelkoi.” (the continuation of Jissmach Moische) – the Jews present laughed heartily at a non-Jew coming up with the right answer and Froikal used the distraction to make his escape. He ran like a hare in zig-zags to Weissman's cellar and jumped in. The old fashioned “drop doors” fell inward and Froikal lifted them and held them shut with his shoulders.

Dojak with his rifle jumped on the doors and screamed like a madman, “open in the name of the law. Open up or I'll shoot.” Froikal let the doors fall and Dojak and his rifle tumbled into the cellar. The crowd laughed and cheered over this trick and Froikal knew it was time to disappear and made himself scarce. Dojak had to remain in the hospital for several days with severe skin abrasions on his hands and feet and brought Froikal to court.

Before the judge Froikal protested his innocence –

  1. He was not caught in flagrante, proof: no “corpus delicti [the body of the crime, i.e.: the evidence] – according to paragraph so-and-so.
  2. The Wachmeister should speak German while on duty and not Hebrew, a language which Froikal doesn't understand and in addition, boxing the ear of a citizen whose guilt has not been proven is a violation of paragraph so-and-so and
  3. The order “In the name of the law,” must be obeyed immediately by every citizen. So I had to obey the command, let the doors drop and remain still. That the Herr Wachmeister fell in was due to his own carelessness and proves that he is incapable and unreliable. I plead for my own release and for the demotion of Herr Wachmeister Dojakp.

But the judge had a different opinion and invited Froikal to spend 14 days in jail to recuperate from the fright that the Herr Wachmeister Dojak had given him.

Frosie and the Pukaczes


Among the many unique “cults” which were at home in Sadagora were the “pumpkin seed eaters,” a very peculiar cult. Shabbat without pumpkin seeds was much worse than without malai (cakes made from corn meal) or bib. The young people could do without all sorts of snacks, but not without pumpkin seeds. The orange pumpkins were used to feed the pigs and the pumpkin seeds were geprajit and sold to the young people. Not only the young, old and young, Christian and Jew, anyone with teeth chewed on pumpkin seeds. Shabbat at meals – for dessert – on the street – in the bars and everywhere where people came together, pumpkin seeds were snacked on and one could buy pumpkin seeds in every second store. But not all pumpkin seeds were the same.

Sissel Parech's pumpkin seeds were damp and not enjoyable. In contrast, at Malkale Herschl's, the seeds were well roasted and tasty. You got the best seeds from Frosie, but since she was not Jewish, her seeds were trefe [non-kosher].

As always, the Christians were lucky. They could also snack on trefe pumpkin seeds and were envied by the Jewish youth because of their good fortune. When they went to the market on Friday to buy seeds for the Shabbat, the smell of the fat that Frosie roasted her seeds in was so tempting that the spit ran out of their mouths, but they were trefe and they had to buy whatever was offered by the Jewish women. Frosie stood like a queen between full sacks of pumpkins seeds which by evening were empty (sold out). Her Jewish competitors broke their heads over the question of whom Frosie sold her seeds to, since there were really very few Christians – but a satisfied Frosie laughed good naturedly and when she went home in the evening with empty sacks, she wished all her competitors “a giten Schabes” [a good Shabbat] and laughed.

Her little daughter, Lisa Repka, a pretty girl with black curly hair played with the Jewish children and was at home everywhere, a well liked chit of a girl who spoke Yiddish like all the other Jewish children and when she went out on Shabbat, she took along a pocket full of fine pumpkin seeds on which the children munched. Jean Pukacz, the son of the rich Karol Pukacz had an eye on Liesl but she wouldn't “bite,” since he was a Pollak. Karol Pukacz, the richest “chasiernik” (pig dealer) knew of his son's “quirk” and visited Frosie to see if it wasn't time to get serious. When Frosie told him to “get lost,” came the row and Jeamik [Jean?] told everyone who wanted to know that Frosie roasted the seeds with pig schmaltz and so vertarfit [made unclean, unkosher?] the entire city. But now that the Pukaczes wouldn't sell her any more pig schmaltz, she was no longer queen of the pumpkin seeds. Frosie laughed like always and on the next Friday, the Appricosen (freethinking Jews) came to her stand and purchased her entire supply. When Pukaczes snooped around to find out where she obtained her pig schmaltz, they were annoyed to find out that Frosie herself had started to keep pigs and therefore no longer had to depend on the good will of the Pukaczes. Neither the rabbinate or the Pukaczes could trip up Frosie and with time she even got Jewish “retailers” who would buy entire sacks from her and resell them as kosher goods. Frosie was and remained the queen of the pumpkins seeds and so remained until the outbreak of the war in 1914.

Moische Retter

(a pale dream)

Moische Retter, a rich merchant who owned a house in the center of the city, the last house on Herrengasse, not far from Berzi Sinnreich where it always simmered and boiled. His grandson “Alterl Grünberg” always hung around on the stone steps, making a lot of noise playing “chapperlech” with Srulikl Gottlieb and Fawale Sinnreich and earned him a beating from his grandmother.

On the marketplace the women traded stories and Peronie told Fradl that she dreamed last night that Moische Retter, poor thing died and that Alterl is, poor thing, a double orphan, no father and no grandfather.

Dwossi fin die Tepp [female name] heard them talking about dreams and asked, “who died, Moische Retter?” Fradl said, “That's what Peronie said.” Woe is me] screamed Dwossi, Moische is my unkerichts (relative). I have to run to the Chewra Kadischa [burial society], Moische Retter has died. An uproar on the marketplace, everything stops, the Chewra Kadischa is alarmed and hurry to a stikel arbet [a little work].The city is in turmoil, Moische is dead.

As chance would have it, Moische Retter had migraine and gave orders to let no one in until his headache went away. His wife locked the door and sat down in the hall very sad about the migraines which plagued the “old one” so often.

A crowd gathered in front of the house and several of the curious peered into the windows and saw the old lady sitting there sadly. Everyone pitied the poor thing.

As Dwossi ran to the Chewra Kadischa, she met Alterl who was strolling in the street. “Alterl” cried Dwossi, “Säde has died and you are playing around on the street? Come to the Chewra Kadischa.” Alterl was shocked and ran over the street crying, “woe is me, Säde has died.” When they got home, the pallbearers were already there and a great number of people who were there for the Chewra Kadischa.

Meanwhile, Moische Retter felt better and went out to get a little fresh air and became aware of the crowd and the burial society.

Shocked, he asked who had died. A storm of laughter was the answer from those present and Dwossi said, that Peronie had said it. Meanwhile Peronie came along and screamed at Dwossi, “you dumb behäme (cow), I told Fradl a dream and now look what you have done.”

A piste Chulim! Auf alle piste Wälder![13] said Moische Retter and lit up a cigar.

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