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[Page 123]


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Translation of chapter
“Zastawna” from Volume II:

Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina

Edited by: Hugo Gold
As told by Jakob Stenzler, Hadar Josef Israel

Published in Tel Aviv, 1962

Translated by:

Jerome Silverbush z”l

Thanks to Isak Shteyn and Osnat Ramaty for helping with obscure words

This is a translation of the chapter “Zastawna”, Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina {History of the Jews in the Bukovina}
Edited by: Dr. Hugo Gold, as told by Jakob Stenzler, Hadar Josef, Olamenu Publishers, Tel-Aviv, 1962 (German).

The rapid rise and the economic blossoming of the municipality of Zastawna in Northern Bukovina was undeniably due to its Jewish inhabitants. Twenty-nine surrounding villages in which Jews lived and worked belonged to the Jewish community [1] of Zastawna. Numerically, they were in the minority, the majority of the inhabitants being Ruthene, who were almost without exception occupied in farming, but thanks to their economic position, the Jews were very important. Almost all the large estates were in Jewish hands. The large sugar factory belonged to Marcu and Dr. Max Fischer, the alcohol factory and motor mill, incidentally, the only large industrial concern similarly belonged to Jews. Among the most notable of the estate owners was Hersch Weissglas who had been distinguished with the title, “Advisor to the Kaiser,” and his son Siegmund Weissglas, who was the first president of the Regional Zionist organization in Chernivtsi. To them belonged the estates Zastawna, Lenlioutz, Willawcze Bila, Odaja, Scherschiziowce, Sloboda Zloty, Plitinitza, Stinka and Zidiwaka Dolina, which later came into the possession of the niece Nora Gutherz. Other estate owners were Mordko Korn, who owned the estates Szypenitz, Alt und Neu Werenczanka, Perzelowka and Draczinetz; Marcu and Dr. Max Fischer, the owners of six estates; Kisiel Socal: Emanuel Baumann; Janku Fisher; Bernhard Korn; Leon Korn; the scholarly rabbi's son Babad; Simche Bartfeld; Aron Hager and Mendl Jekeles. In addition to the Jews who owned large estates, there were many whose profession was large scale farming, among others, the author of this essay. When one considers that based on Austrian law, the land owners had many prerogatives, it is easy to understand the superior political position of the Jews in the Zastawna district. For a long time, the Talmud scholar, and Zionist, Berl Waldmann, whose son, Dr. Moses Waldmann, a childhood friend of the author of this report was press chief at the first Zionist congress in Basel. served as estate area administrator

Siegmund Weissglass was the first and only Jewish mayor of Zastawna. In most cities in which a Ruthene was at the top of the city administration, the deputy was a Jew. In Zastawna, for many years, the deputy mayor was druggist Emil Schecht, in Zwiniacze, it was the alcohol distiller, Elias Gottesmann who was known to the Ruthene farmers as “Wajko Elio” (little uncle Elias), in Kadobestie, the land owner and Propinationspaechter [2] Abraham Sternberg, the father of the Revisionist leader, Dr. Benzion Sternberg. In Wassileu, Mendl Teitler who had been awarded the silver service cross with a crown; in Pohorloutz, the land owner Hersch Weisinger; in Okna, the Propinationspaechter Itzig Gaertner; in Kissileu, the land owner and Propinationspaechter Ksak Bickel, the father of the New York journalist, Dr. Shlomo Bickel. Almost 75% of state employees were Jewish. To name some: Government Commissioner Robert Schletter who functioned as a district captain, a unique position for a Jew at that time, the Presidential Secretary Sigfried Weintraub, Regional Court Counsel Dr. Leo Rosen, also the only Jewish court director, the Presidential Secretary Siegmund Stenzler, Inspector of the Court Office Tamler, Land Register Administrator Zwerling, Court Officials Bibring and Lapajowker, Court Clerks Wender, Kirschner, Singer and Halpern, Officers of the Court Leo Warmflasch and Finkelthal, Surveyor Schottenfeld, Evidence Registration Inspector Josef Stadler, Surveyor Sponder, Police Commander Salo Rosenberg, who became postmaster in Boroutz, Tax Administrator Gredinger, the Tax Official Jaslowitz, Adjuncts Lublin, Lilian and Eisenfraft as well as Postmaster Augenblick. The war hero, Hersch Frischling (Chrupki) who won the Great Gold War Medal in the Bosnian campaign, was highly respected in the town.

The community was the most important influence in the political life of the Jews of the district. For the election of the community president, the position of the Zionist Association, led by the pharmacist, Emil Schecht was influential. The Zionist Siegmund Weissglas, who Herzel repeatedly mentioned flatteringly in his diary, running against the estate owner, of Doroschoutz, Nathan Goldenberg, was elected president His private secretary was Jakob Stenzler. There was a “Frauenhilfsverein” (ladies aid organization) in the town, lead alternately by the ladies Rosa Safrin, Bronela Neumann, Mina Stenzler, Pepi Schecht, Rosa Diwer and Anna Silberbusch which concerned itself with the construction and maintenance of a ritual bath. Mrs. Mina Stenzler died in Israel at the age of 103.

There was also a competently run WIZO [3] organization. The members were: Dora Stenzler, Selma Schecht, Cecilia Schuster, Malcia Tamler, Ottilie Segall, Bitia Mauler, Marie Diwer, the Jaegendorf sisters, Pepi and Toni Neufeld, Fanny Warmflasch, Majka Grossmann and Nethi Diwer.

In 1905, the Zionist organization sent its members, Dr. Kinsbrunner and Herzberg from Chernivtsi as well as Jakob Stenzler from Zastawna to the nearby Galician city of Zaleszczyki in order to campaign for the Reichsrath [4] candidacy of Dr. N. Birnbaum. His opponent was the Polish Graf Mojsey, who was supported by “Anti-Zionists” under the leadership of Mayor Dr. Isidor Blutreich. The Zionist delegates couldn't do anything against the open election fraud and cheating carried on by the Polish Schliachta [5] . They were arrested and had to be satisfied with the fact that they were soon released from jail.

After the outbreak of the war in 1914, a large part of the population fled to Vienna. Many of the refugees were later sent by the Vienna relief organizations to Bruenn. In 1917, when the enemy was driven out of Bukovina, many returned to their earlier homes and the rest returned after the fall of the monarchy, although, the occupation of the land by Romania during the period that they were away, did not make for a joyous homecoming.

At the beginning of the Romanian administration, the community retained a certain autonomy within the framework of its statutes. Community presidents at that time were the pharmacist, E. Schecht and Dr. Tamler, who along with Jakob Stenzler, the court official and the respected Zionist Leon Warmflasch the community secretary were all instrumental in building the temple. The following president, Jakob Stenzler was elected to four, four years terms, almost unanimously. He enjoyed the active support of the Zionist pharmacist Schecht, Dr. Emil Diwer, the following president of the Zionist Association and Natan and Wolf Jaegendorf. Thus, the community remained under Zionist leadership. Yearly contributions for the K.H [6] . and the K.K.L. [7] were a constant item in the budget of the community. The community's new statute which the president, J. Stenzler had developed with the changed situation in mind, was approved thanks to the Minister Dr. Theophil Saucine-Saveanu who was a friend of the Jews.

A Hebrew school was founded by Emil Schecht, Dr. Tamler, Jakob Stenzler, Abraham Grossmann, David Segal, Leon Picker, Wolf Tennenblatt, Naziu Warmflasch and Siegmund Hacker and especially Nathan and Wolf Jaegendorf. The teachers were Professors Chaim Grossmann and Jampolski. After Wolf Jaegendorf left the community, the administration was in the hands of his successor, Abraham Grossmann. The community subsidized the Talmud Torah Association created through the efforts of Wolf Jaegendorf, Benjamin Stenzler and Abraham Grossmann and also the Jabotinsky Association, under the chairmanship of its founder, David Schuster. The former led a model farm on which hundreds of youths completed the Hachschara [8] in order to emigrate to Eretz Israel after a successful education (The Russians sent him to Siberia in 1941, from where he returned after 20 years). The community rabbi, Berl Schapira and especially Jakob Gottesmann was well liked because of his scholarship and his unassuming nature.

Under the Romanian government, at first, preference was given to deserving bureaucrats. Thus Regional Court Counsel, Dr. Leo Rosen was sent to the high court in Chernivtsi and the court official Siegmund Stenzler, in recognition of his service in composing a Durchfuehrungsverordnung [9] for the Land Register law was appointed land registrar and office director, a promotion that in those days, was especially noteworthy. Emil Schecht, Dr. Abraham Tamler,Dr. Emil Diwer, Siegmund and Jakob Stenzler were members of the city council. Worthy of mention is the wonderful celebration of the thirty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Zionist organization, “Dr. Theodor Herzl,” at that time under the leadership of Adolf Diwer, at which a new flag was inaugurated. The community president, Jakob Stenzler, greeted the numerous guests who had arrived for the celebration, among who were the former president, Siegmund Weisglas, who was accompanied by his son-in-law, Dr. Karl Gutherz the Chernivtsi community president, as well as Dr. Markus Kraemer and Dr. Theodor Weisselberger

Rabbi Gottesmann, assisted by Chief cantor Simche Tessler, conducted the dedication of the new flag. The celebration was the last glimmer of light before darkness closed in.

Only a small fraction of the Jews of Zastawna and the surrounding area survived the catastrophic years 1941 to 1945. The Nazi Germans and Romanian bestialities extinguished the light of life for this community.

(As told by Jakob Stenzler, Hadar Josef)

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1. Translators note: As dictated by the Austrian government, all towns with a Jewish population over a certain number were organized as a “Kultusgemeinde” or religious community. I simply use the term “community.” Jews in small villages were attached to the Kultusgemeinde of a large nearby town. The community was administered by two comities, the Kultusvorstand and the Kultusrat whose members were elected by the tax paying members of the community. The community would collect its own taxes to support a rabbi and other religious needs. The community also had a president and a vice president. return

2. Propinationspaechter is a person who rents from the nobleman or the government the monopolist rights for a limited region and time to produce and distribute alcoholic beverages. return

3. WIZO is the women's Zionist organization. return

4. The Reichsrath is the parliament for the Austro-Hungarian empire. return

5. Schiachta are the Polish noblemen famous for their anti-Semitism. return

6. K.H.=Karen Hayesod, the Jewish National Fund, which financed the purchase of land in Israel. return

7. K.K.L.=Keren Kayemet LeIsrael which financed the purchase of cattle, horses, agricultural machines, etc for settlers in Israel. return

8. Hachsharah is a Hebrew word and means preparation. During the British mandate over Palestine, the British gave out “certificates” for the right to immigrate into Palestine to people, who could proof that they are able to care for themselves. When the Zionist youth strived for the Kibbutzim, they underwent some preparation stage in the agricultural Hachsharoth. return

9. Durchfuehrungsverordnung are instruction how to carry out and administer certain ordinances. return

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