08 July 2018

Report of the "Soviet Extraordinary Commission" for Czernowitz

Chernovtsy regional commission for assistance
in damage accounting and investigation of atrocities
committed by fascist occupiers on
the territory of the Chernovtsy region

City of Chernovtsy

of the city commission on damage accounting,
summarized information and conclusions
by senior investigator of the Chernovtsy regional
Prosecutor's office on identifying the atrocities
committed by German-fascist
occupiers and their collaborators against
citizens of the USSR. Lists of Soviet
citizens killed and tortured,
exiled, repatriated to Chernovtsy,

and those guilty of the atrocities.
Started: July 27, 1945
Completed: July 31, 1945

238 leafs [written in pencil]

Fonds Number R-653
List Number 1
Item Number 103

[Translation by courtesy of Prof. Iosif Vaisman] 

USHMM: "Reel 21: [...] Fond 653. Opis 1 #103. Soviet Extraordinary Commission. July 1945. Trajan Popovici, Mayor of Cernauti personally commands executions. Killings, torture, etc. List of citizens repatriated to Cernauti. List of those killed by occupiers with indication of ethnicity (almost exclusively Jews.) Letters from Jews from Transnistria to their relatives in Bukovina asking for help. (Russian). List of Soviet citizens deported in Fascist Slavery in Germany with indication of ethnicity (July 5 1945). 50.000 deported. Names of 1,053 identified, the names of the rest impossible to identify. Information of damages inflicted by the occupiers. Declarations of Jews concerning goods that were confiscated from them."

JewishGen: "In 1942 [and the succeeding years], after the Soviet Army recaptured land occupied by Germany [and/or its allies], the USSR established an "Extraordinary State Commission" to document exactly what had happened in every Soviet locality occupied by the Nazis [and/or its alles]. Under the direction of special NKVD (predecessor of the KGB) units, teams were to record the names of those killed.  Property damage was also recorded. In most places NKVD personnel were assisted by local residents. These reports, [partly] handwritten in Russian, are organized geographically by republic, oblast (state), raion (county) and town. They were stored in the Central State Archive of the October Revolution in Moscow, with relevant copies in republic area archives. These reports were microfilmed in Moscow by Yad Vashem in 1990. The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington has copies of these microfilms: 27 reels, [RG-22.002M]."

27 June 2018

Vestnik • Herald of the Eliezer Steinbarg Society of Jewish Culture in Chernivtsi


Remark: The primary source for Yevgeniya Finkel’s research was the "Report of the 'Soviet Extraordinary Commission' for Czernowitz“. There is no doubt that Yevgeniya Finkel conducted the research with the greatest possible care. But, considering her very limited access to other sources and poor research conditions, there is no guarantee of any kind that the information it contains is accurate and/or complete.

Dr. Svetlana Frunchak: "Numerous Holocaust survivors’ memoirs concerning Bukovina were either written by survivors themselves or based on interviews with them. Many were published in Israel by Yad Vashem; others appeared in Germany, North America, and Ukraine. A particularly important source on the history of the Holocaust in Northern Bukovina and, to a lesser extent, neighboring regions, is a series published [by Yevgeniya Finkel] between 1991 and 1996 as the Herald of the [Eliezer Steinbarg] Society of Jewish Culture in Chernivtsi, with the support of the Association of the Prisoners of Nazi Ghettos and Concentration Camps and the Chernivtsi State Archive. The five issues of the Herald contained numerous recollections of Holocaust survivors who lived in Bukovina before, during, or after World War II; surveys of the Chernivtsi State Archive’s holdings concerning the Holocaust; lists of victims, perpetrators, and rescuers in various locations in Northern Bukovina; locations of mass executions and graves; and other related materials."

Read more: Marcus Winkler and Jewgenija Finkel, Juden aus Czernowitz. Ghetto, Deportation, Vernichtung, 1941–1944. Überlebende berichten. (Aus dem Russischen von Kateryna Stetsevych). [Jews from Czernowitz: Ghetto, Deportation, Extermination, 1941–1944. Survivors Tell Their Story (translated from Russian by Katerina Stetsevych)] (Wien/Vienna, 2005).

Courtesy: The Chernivtsi Museum of the History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews

31 May 2018

The Autobiography of Dr. Emanuel Merdinger


UF George A. Smathers Libraries: Emanuel Merdinger was born on March 29, 1906 in Suceava, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Romania. He completed an M.S. degree in pharmacology from the German University of Prague in 1931, then begun graduate studies at the University of Ferrara in Italy. In Ferrara, Dr. Merdinger managed to complete a PhD in Pharmacy and, a year later, in Chemistry. In 1935, he began teaching chemistry in the University of Ferrara's School of Engineering. In 1938 Dr. Merdinger lost his position at the university and taught at a private Jewish school. At the outbreak of WWII, he offered his services to the French army through the French Consulate in Ferrara, but was caught by the Fascist Police and harassed until he was sent to a concentration camp in the District of Vinnytsia, Ukraine. He was liberated by the Russian army in 1944 and stayed in Russia as a government toxicologist for another 11 months before returning to his post at the University of Ferrara. In 1947 he immigrated to the United States through the help of his sister living there. He obtained a position at Roosevelt University, the first during his long academic career in the U.S. There he also met his wife, Raidie Poole, who at the time worked as the university nurse. He held several high ranking posts at the Illinois State Academy of Science in the early 1970s. In 1976 he moved to Gainesville and worked for the U.S. Agricultural Laboratory. In 1978, he became a professor at UF and taught there until 1991. His contribution to the University was recognized by the University president. He served as the National Academy of Sciences exchange scientist to Romania (1971, 1972, and 1975) and Bulgaria (1974-1975). Dr. Merdinger was Professor Emeritus of the University of Florida until his death on December 12, 1997.

Courtesy:  UF George A. Smathers Libraries

28 April 2018

AGORA • Colecție Internațională de Artă și Literatură • International Collection of Art and Literature


Pierre Joris, author of "Breathturn into Timestead: The Collected Later Poetry of Paul Celan": "Celan had met the Surrealist poet Ion Caraion back in 1946; a year later Caraion would print Celan’s first published poems in German in the Bucharest Magazine Agora."

Bianca Rosenthal, author of "Pathways to Paul Celan: A History of Critical Responses as a Chorus of Discordant Voices": "In 1981, I participated in the Celan-Kolloquium in Bucharest which was organized by Dr. Uwe Martin the director of the Kulturinstitut der Bundesrepublik Deutschland and the Writers' Union of the Socialist Republic of Romania. My presentation was entitled: 'Quellen zum frühen Paul Celan: Der Alfred Margul-Sperber-Nachlass in Bukarest'. The meeting was a fascinating experience because it reunited a large number of people who had played an important role during Celan's Bucharest years, among them Petre Solomon who was instrumental re the Romanian publication of 'Todesfuge' (tango) as well as Ion Caraion, the editor of 'Agora'. "

21 March 2018

Jewish Almanac for Greater Romania for the Year 5683 (1922-23)

1. Dr. Solomon Kassner, Czernowitz: Die Juden in Großrumänien. In den alipierten Provinzen. [17-22]
2. Dr. J. I. Niemirower, mare rabin, București: Probleme evreești, Soluțiuni evreești. [22-26]
3. Karl Klüger, Czernowitz: Mykola. [22-29]
4. Prof. Juliusz Wolfsohn, Wien: Jüdische Musik. [29-32]
5. Dr. Benjamin Fuchs, Czernowitz: Ghettogäßchen. [32]
6. Prof. Dr. Manfred Reifer, Czernowitz: Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden Großrumäniens. [33-38]
7. R. Markus, Jerusalem: Tagebuch einer Palästinafahrt. (Von Czernowitz nach Jerusalem.) [38-47]
8. Dr. Mayer Ebner, Czernowitz: "Ich bin Jude“. [48-51]
9. Dr. Moritz Oberländer, Czernowitz: Die Juden in Großrumänien und der Minoritätenschutz. [51-54]
10. Dr. Markus Krämer, Czernowitz: Das ewige Martyrium. Kleine Bilder der großen Zerstörung. [54-65]
11. Dr. Moritz Rosenheck, Czernowitz: Der Anteil der Juden am Wirtschaftsleben in der Bukowina. [66-69]
12. Dr. Z. F. Finkelstein, Wien: Herzl's Mutter. [69-74]
13. Julius Weber, Czernowitz: Der Journalist. (Ein Essay.) [74-80]
14. Martha Kern, Czernowitz: Ein jüdischer Malerpoet. [80-90]
15. Dr. Max Diamant, Czernowitz: Vom Völkerbunde. [91-95]
16. Dr. Emil Margulies (Kongreßanwalt d. zion. Weltorganisation), Leitmeritz: Das Palästinamandat in seiner juristischen Bedeutung. [95-107]
17. A. Axelrad, București: Lădița cu necazuri. Noi. [107-108]
18. Oberrabbiner Moses Glasner, Cluj: Der Zweck heiligt die Mittel. [108-110]
19. Max Brod, Prag: Glaube und Ritus. Elegie an die abgefallenen Juden. [110-115]
20. Dr. Salomon Kinsbrunner, Czernowitz: Von der Notwendigkeit u. der Bedeutung des modernen Bibelstudiums. [117-121]
21. Dr. M. Soloveitschik, Minister f. jüd. Angelengenheiten, Kowno (Litauen): Die Voraussetzungen der jüdischen nationalen Autonomie in Litauen. [121-125]
22. Adolf Bernhardt, București: Die industriellen Möglichkeiten Palästinas. [125-127]
23. Prof. Emil Zappler, Czernowitz: Drei Maler: Artur Kolnik, Salomon Lerner und Jacob Einsenscheer. [127-134]
24. Rettet die hungernden jüdischen Kinder in Rußland! Aufruf der Exekutive der jüdischen Welthilfs-Konferenz (Paris, 10 Place Eduard VII). [134-136]
25. M. Schweig, București: Evreii în presa română. [137-139]
26. Otto Abeles, Wien: Gewalt! Herbstgang. Geburtstag. Begegnung. Chanuka. [140-142]


Dr. Markus Krämer (27.10.1887 – 02.06.1964), President of the Local Commitee of the General Zionists, lawyer, local council, Deputy Party Chairman of the Jewish Party for the Bukovina, member of the student’s corporation J.N.A.V. Zephirah in Czernowitz.

26 February 2018

Bukowiner / Czernowitzer Deutsch • Bukovinian German / The German Idiom of Czernowitz


"Czernowitzer-Deutsch": The German Idiom of Czernowitz […] The main source of reference is still the highly didactic booklet published by Theodor Gartner in 1901, "Bukowiner Deutsch. Fehler und Eigenthümlichkeiten in der deutschen Verkehrs- und Schriftsprache der Bukowina." As immediately apparent from the title, the booklet adopts a highly critical puristic stance toward the unique characteristics of the idiom, not a scientific one by today's standards. […] Three main factors determine the unique characteristics of the German language in the Bukovina: (1) Geographically, its status as a 'language island' detached from the German mainland; (2) Dialectologically, its Standard German origin in the official Austrian language (Amtssprache) and its colloquial origin in the south-German dialect region; (3) The polyglot surrounding environment. […] After all, when a Jew from Czernowitz was talking in German, his interlocutor was probably a Jew as well. If both sides to such a conversation combined many Yiddishisms in their speech, then that speech was to become the standard bearer of the local idiom. This paradox explains the existence of two different endonyms for the local German idiom: Buko-Wienerisch represents the outwardly-looking aspirations of the Jewish bourgeoisie to form a language in the image of their cultural Mecca, Vienna; Ki(e)geldeutsch, conversely, represents an inwardly-looking, more realistic but also more reconciling appreciation of that inner-Jewish idiom. (Ohad Kohn: A German-Yiddish Mayse: The Influence of Yiddish on the Poetic Language of Paul Celan • Thesis for Master’s degree in German Language and Literature, Jerusalem, February 24, 2016)


Ruth Glasberg Gold: "A brief introduction to the following subject of 'Das Czernowitzer Deutsch.' By sheer serendipity I stumbled upon a rare treasure. A few yellowed and typewriter-written pages with lots of crossed out sentences and words, as well as handwritten additions. These pages were given to me by Dr. Emanuel Hacken (deceased) during an international gathering of Czernowitzians in Miami in the winter of 1990. Thinking that it might be of interest to our members [Ehpes Czernowitz-L Discussion Group], I took it upon myself to retype the text into a clean version and share it with you. I hope you will enjoy and laugh a little."

Courtesy: Google Books & Ruth Glasberg Gold