19 May 2017

Spovedania • Testimony


http://hauster.de/data/TraianPopovici.pdf

Yad Vashem: "The Insurgent Mayor. When Germany signed its non-aggression pact with the Soviet Union, it took Besserabia and Northern Bukovina from Romania and gave it to the Soviet Union. In July 1941, when Germany attacked the Soviet Union with Romania at its side, the two territories were returned to Romania. For three days the returning Romanian soldiers carried out a massacre among the local Jewish population.

Born in 1892, Dr. Traian Popvici was the son of a Romanian Orthodox priest. He studied law in Czernowitz (Cernauti – the former capital of Bukovina – and today Chernovtsy in Ukraine) and earned a doctorate. When Soviet Russian annexed his town he moved to Bucharest. At first he supported Ion Antonescu's regime, but soon became disenchanted with its policy of segregation. When Czernowitz was returned to Romania in July 1941, Popovici was appointed mayor. By the time he moved into the mayor's office, some anti-Jewish decrees had already been enacted, and he tried to alleviate the Jews’ situation as much as he could. According to testimonies all persecuted Jews turned to him for help.

On 10 October 1941, the Romanian governor, acting on Antonescu's orders decreed the creation of a ghetto and the deportation of the city's Jews. Popovici expressed his objection, but to no avail. Within a few days the deportations began, and Jews from Czernowitz were transported across the river to Transnistria. By mid-November 28,000 of the town's Jews had been deported. The terrible conditions in Transnistria and the inhuman forced labor led to the death of approximately half of the deportees. Popovici later described the deportation: 'Out there a great column of people was going into exile: old men leaning on children, women with babies in their arms, cripples dragging their mangled bodies, all bags in hand; the healthy ones pushing barrows or carts or carrying on their backs coffers hastily packed and tied, blankets, bed sheets, clothes, odds and ends; all of them taken from their homes and moved into the ghetto.'

In his memoirs Popovici said that he contemplated stepping down, but was determined not to abandon the Jews in their time of need. Disregarding the risk to his person, he continued to protest to the governor and to Antonescu, arguing that the Jews were vital to the economic stability of the town. His ruse succeeded, and he was ordered to draw lists 20,000 Jews within four days. The Jews who received the exemption from deportation were allowed to return to their home. Popovici distributed authorizations to Jews - well above the quota he was given, and to people who had no professional skills whatsoever.

The abuse of his mandate cost him his job. In spring 1942 he was charged with granting permits to 'unnecessary' Jews, and was removed from his position and returned to Bucharest. In June 1942 another 5,000 Jews of Czernowitz were deported to Transnistria – most of them perished. The Jews remaining in Czernowitz survived.

Immediately after the war, Popovici wrote a book entitled Confession of Conscience. He described the events as a Romanian tragedy with deep implications for the moral consciousness of the Romanian nation. Traian Popovici confessed that he was not an adversary of Antonescu. 'Like many others in this country I believed in the myth of the strong man, of the honest, energetic, and well-meaning leader who could save a damaged country.' He went on to describe his motivations in helping the Jews: 'As far as I am concerned, what gave me strength to oppose the current, be master of my own will and oppose the powers that be, finally to be a true human being, was the message of the families of priests that constitute my ancestry, a message about what it means to love mankind. What gave me strength was the education I had received in high school in Suceava, where I received the light of classical literature, where my teachers fashioned my spirit with the values of humanity, which tirelessly enlightens man and differentiates him from the brutes'. It should be noted, of course, that many who had received the same education were among the perpetrators and bystanders, and that on the other hand, many rescuers did not enjoy and enlightened education at all. The answer to the question what prompted certain people to preserve human values is more complex.

Popovici died in 1946. Twenty-three years later, in 1969, he was recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations -- the first Romanian to receive this honor.

Paying tribute to Popovici in his own country took longer. In June 2000, by resolution of the Bucharest town hall, a street in the Romanian capital was named 'Dr. Traian Popovici,' after the former mayor of Cernăuţi during the Second World War, who saved thousands of Jews from deportation to Transnistria."

Courtesy: Dr. W. Filderman Foundation

01 March 2017

Poporul acuză! • The People Accuse!


http://hauster.de/data/PoporulAcuza.pdf

Michael Shafir: "Based on the Nuremberg model, People's Tribunals were set up in Romania by a decree issued by King Michael I on April 21, 1945. [...] There were two tribunals, one in Bucharest and the other in Cluj. The Bucharest tribunal sentenced only 187 people, the rest were dealt with by the Cluj one, set up on June 22, 1945, which in general pronounced harsher sentences (thirty people condemned to death and fifty-two to hard labor for life). [...] The first trial held by the Bucharest People's Tribunal ended on May 22, 1945. General Nicolae Macici and Constantin Trestorianu as well as Corneliu Calotescu and others, were found guilty of the massacres perpetrated in occupied Odessa and in nearby Dalnic on October 21-22, 1941 and sentenced to death; other members of the Romanian forces received varying prison sentences. On July 1, 1945, King Michael commuted Macici's sentence to life imprisonment; Macici would eventually die in Aiud prison in 1950. [General Corneliu Calotescu, formerly plenipotentiary Governor of Bukovina, was among this group of 29 officers sentenced to death for war crimes on 22 May 1945. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment but he was released in an amnesty in 1955.] Altogether, fourty-eight death sentences were pronounced by 'Old Kingdom' and southern Transylvania-based People's Tribunal, but only four were actually carried out, the others being either commuted to hard labor for life or decreed in absentia. None of the sentences handed down in northern Transylvania were implemented, and the leading people charged there had anyway left the region together with the Hungarian authorities. Although the People's Tribunals were liquidated in 1946, trials associated with 'crimes against peace' and other war-related charges would continue in the following years on the basis of law No. 291 of 1947, which stipulated sentences of between fifteen years and life imprisonment for such offences."

[Michael  Shafir “Romania’s Tortuous Road to Facing Collaboration”, in Roni Stauber (ed.), Collaboration with the Nazis: Public Discourse After the Holocaust, London and New York, Routledge, 2011, pp. 245 -278.6]

05 February 2017

Documents Concerning the Fate of Romanian Jewry During the Holocaust



http://hauster.de/data/Ancel/17020501Ancel.pdf 
http://hauster.de/data/Ancel/Ancel000.pdf

Volume V: This volume is entirely consecrated to the fate of the Jews of Besarabia and Bukovina - the extermination by Einsatzgruppe D on one hand and on the other, by the army, police, and other Romanian government elements. For the first time, the secret Romanian orders concerning the exterminations, arrests and creation of ghettos and transit camps and deportation of the survivors to Transnistria - Southern Ukraine, between the Bug and Dniester rivers, chosen by the Romanians as the land of exile - are brought to light. The life of the Jews in Transnistria; the death of tens of thousands of them from hunger, cold, and diseases; the thousands of orphaned children resulting from this situation, as well as the 'miracle' in the land of exile: the self-help organization of the deportees who, with the help of their brethren still in Romania proper succeeded in overcoming, are discussed in these documents. Out of almost 160,000 Jews deported there, almost 50,000 remained alive. In this volume, numerous documents attest to the efforts to effect the return of the deportees - a partially successful struggle, unique in Nazi Europe [Jean Ancel].

Volume XI: This volume is to serve mainly those researchers who do not know Romanian, German and French. Summaries of all the documents are given here in English, some of them extensive and detailed, as well as archival designations. The volume includes a preface by Serge Klarsfeld and a detailed introduction by the editor.

Courtesy: Beate Klarsfeld Foundation

05 January 2017

Alef-Beys • Aleph-Beis • Alphabet


http://hauster.de/data/AlefBet.pdf

YIVO Encyclopedia: "Eliezer Shteynbarg (1880–1932), Yiddish writer and educator. Born in Lipkany, Bessarabia, Eliezer Shteynbarg (originally Shteynberg) received a traditional Jewish education but independently mastered German and Russian classics. Like his cousin Yehudah Steinberg (Shteynberg; a pioneer of modern Hebrew education), Eliezer directed a private, secular school, with Hebrew as the language of instruction. From 1919 on, he lived in Czernowitz (Chernivtsi) where he ran, among other things, a Yiddish children’s theater. As the most distinguished figure in the Tshernovitser Yidisher Shulfareyn (Czernowitz Association of Jewish Schools) and in the Jewish Cultural Association of Romania (founded in 1921), Shteynbarg played a leading role in the cultural life of Romanian Jews. He lived in Brazil from 1928 to 1930, and then returned to Czernowitz. At a very young age, Shteynbarg had written children’s stories and plays in Yiddish for the students in the school he directed, as well as fables for adults. The children’s plays were inspired by purim-shpils and folk legends. In these stories, the author’s rich imagination, combined with his attention to folkloric motifs, yielded a free and poetic style. Shteynbarg also developed original teaching methods in which old heder traditions were blended with modern instructional principles. These techniques are reflected, for example, in his two textbooks, Alef-beys (Yiddish) and Alfon (Hebrew), both published in Czernowitz in 1921."

When my own heart was strained in distress and worry,
I did not withhold my last tear,
But warmed and strengthened and reinforced!

Eliezer Steinbarg
1880-1933

Translation by Yocheved Klausner


Courtesy: Center for Jewish History (Book), Miriam & Yosef Yagur (Artwork)

01 December 2016

Transnistria War Criminal Trials by Dr. Andrei Muraru


http://hauster.de/data/AndreiMuraru.pdf

Andrei Muraru: "The abominable crimes and massacres occurred under Antonescu’s regime (1940-1944) in Romania led to the disappearance of a significant part of the Jewish community. These crimes took place in the territories incorporated in the Romanian state or under its administration: Bessarabia, Bukovina and Transnistria. The deportation and extermination were enforced by the Romanian authorities, who were responsible for the disappearance of 350,000 Romanian Jews during the Holocaust. For these crimes, the war criminal trials found very few guilty individuals. One of the causes for this, besides the political and legal ones, was the lack of evidence, subsequently acknowledged by the public accusers. Moreover, the failure of the judicial process was confirmed by the Soviet authorities, but also by the former Romanian public accusers. The reasons for that were diverse (interventions, at the highest level, for the release of the arrested Army heads and magistrates, including through the Soviet Generals’ intervention; the unjustified acquittals; the organizational deficiencies; the defective strategy of arresting only the major perpetrators and instigators; the Soviets’ indifference towards the requirements related to the witnesses and documents from the Soviet territories); the assessments are that over 70% of the war criminals managed to get away unpunished." (P. 143/144)

Dr. Andrei Muraru

Additional Links:
http://czernowitzbook.blogspot.de/2015/06/moarte-criminalilor-de-razboi-death-to.html
http://czernowitzbook.blogspot.de/2015/07/procesul-marii-tradari-nationale-great.html

Courtesy: New Europe College 

03 November 2016

Die Peschl • La Peschl




Otto Seidmann, born in Czernowitz in 1910, deceased in Bucharest in 1981. Seidmann’s texts stand in the tradition of Porubski and his Bukovinian Sketches, where he revives the Bukovinian common speach. This applies to Seidmann’s novel also, which addresses Jewish life in Czernowitz until 1940.
 
Publications:
Menschen, Masken und Marotten [Men, Masks and Whims], Bucharest 1957
Miniaturen [Miniatures], Bucharest 1962
Die Peschl [La Peschl], Bucharest 1969