01 July 2016

Journey Through Darkness • Durch die Hölle • Itinéraire dans les ténèbres

Wollheim Memorial: Willy Berler was born in Czernowitz in the Bukovina region on April 11, 1918. His father was a merchant, and the family, which also included Willy’s older brother, led an upper-middle-class life. Willy, a member of Zionist youth organizations, made a trip to the British Mandate of Palestine in 1936. Starting in 1937, he attended an agricultural school there, but returned a year later, at his parents’ urging, to study chemistry in Liège, Belgium.

His parents survived the war in Romania, as they managed to bribe Romanian officials and live in hiding. When the German Wehrmacht invaded Belgium in 1940, Willy Berler and two Jewish friends fled to France and went to a refugee camp near Marseille. Lack of money led him to return in October 1940 to Liège, where he earned his living by teaching German to adults. He was arrested by the Gestapo on April 1, 1943, after one of his pupils denounced him, and put in a transit prison [SS Camp Fort Breendonk].

Mecheln-Auschwitz 1942-1944 - The Destruction of Jews and Gypsies from Belgium: Only a few miles away fom the SS Camp Fort Breendonk, the Dossin Barracks were used from 1942 until 1944 as a transit camp for Jews and gypsies from Belgium and the North of France, assembled here to set out on their journey of no return to Auschwitz. Leon Messing, was 15 years old and the youngest deportee from Bukovina on the date of departure of Transport 10 on 15 December 1942. The oldest deportee from Bukovina was Abraham Moses Reder was 76 years old on the date of deportation on Transport 11 of 26 September 1942. Just like my [Edgar Hauster's] uncle Maximilian Hauster, born on 26 November 1909 in Czernowitz, deported with  Transport 19 of 14 January 1943, neither would return in 1945. Only two women and two men out of 104 deportees (INDEX OF NAMES), who had their roots in Bukovina, survived after 8 May 1945: Sara Adler and Theresia Breitner from Czernowitz, Wilhelm Berler from Nepolokoutz and Juda Meier Fleischer from Siret. 96,2% of the people originated from Bukovina deported on in total 28 Transports were wiped out.

There he became friendly with Michel Zechel, a Jewish doctor. They were deported to Auschwitz on April 19. Willy Berler was sent to the Buna/Monowitz concentration camp and placed there in the “lumberyard detachment,” carrying heavy logs with his bare hands. After a week, totally exhausted, he entered the infirmary. After his release, his block elder took pity on him and arranged for his transfer to the Auschwitz I main camp in early July 1943. There he was sent to the prisoner infirmary and, with the help of Michel Zechel, was placed in the block for the very weak who needed to convalesce.

In late January 1944, as a former chemistry student, he was assigned to the SS Hygiene Institute at Rajsko, where he had to work in a plant cultivation lab. During the night of January 18, 1945, along with the other prisoners at Auschwitz, he was forced to go on the death march. Passing through the Gross-Rosen concentration camp, he reached the Buchenwald concentration camp on February 6. There he was freed by the U.S. Army on his birthday, April 11, 1945.

Willy Berler returned to Belgium. In 1946, he and his brother, who had fought in the Red Army, brought their parents from Romania to join them. He worked in industry and married his wife, Ruth, in 1947. In collaboration with the historian Ruth Fivaz-Silvermann, Willy Berler wrote the book Durch die Hölle. Monowitz, Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, Buchenwald (published in English as Journey Through Darkness: Monowitz, Auschwitz, Gross-Rosen, Buchenwald in 2004), most of which is the story of his survival. The rest of the book consists of short, separate texts contributed by Fivaz-Silvermann, providing background information that supplements Berler’s account with annotations and source references.

01 June 2016

Un album al Cernăuțului • Album von Czernowitz • The Album of Czernowitz


Preface [4-5]
The History of the City [6-55]
Administration [56-79]
The Romanians [80-109]
The Germans [110-137]
The Jews [138-177]
  • Bernhard Baltinester [143-145]
  • Gottfried Bursztyn [146]
  • Josef Fischer [147]
  • Friedrich Fischer [148]
  • Bernhard Flemminger [149-150]
  • Dr. Max Fokschaner [151]
  • Elias Kampelmacher [152-153]
  • Markus Kampelmacher [153-154]
  • Matthias Roll [154-155]
  • Aba Steiner [155-156]
  • Josef Steiner [157]
  • Dr. Benno Straucher [158-160]
  • Wilhelm Tittinger [160-161]
  • Jakob Hecht [162]
  • Jakob Kindler [163]
  • Karl Klüger [164-165]
  • Dawid Tittinger [165]
  • Dr. Neumann Wender [166]
  • Hersch Trichter [167-168]
  • Dr. Salo von Weisselberger [168-169]
  • Dr. Salomon Kinsbrunner [170]
  • Lazar Roth [171]
  • Adolf Wallstein [172]
  • The Jewish House [173-174]
  • The Toynbee Hall [175-177]
The Poles [178-191]
The Ukrainians [192-209]
Trade and Manufacturing Sector [210-249]
Industry [250-291]
Miscellaneous [292-309]

01 May 2016

Die "Judenfrage" in Rumänien • The "Jewish Question" in Romania

Südostdeutsche Tageszeitung, 1941/04/20
Adolf Hitler's 52nd Birtday: "Führer Command, We Follow!"


1938/01/12: The Jewish Question in Romania
1938/01/26: Accelerated Divorce Proceedings Between Pedigreed Romanians and Jewish Women
1938/12/20: More Than 1100 Liquor and Tobacco Licenses Revoked
1939/03/04: Fake Documents in the Citizen Review
1939/05/18: Romania and the Congress of Berlin
1939/11/26: The Final Figures of the Jewish Audit
1940/07/02: The Refugees Arrive by Automobiles, Trains, Horse Carriages and Ships
1940/07/09: Perfect Order at the New Romanian-Russian Border
1940/08/06: Jews are not Prevented from Relocation to Bessarabia
1940/10/18: Strange Deaths of Jews in Chisinau
1940/12/03: Iancu Edelmann & Co. Produce Fake IDs
1940/12/07: No Hurdle for the Migration of Jews to Bessarabia
1941/03/28: Jews Without Camouflage
1941/07/11: The Conquest of Czernowitz
1941/07/11: How the GPU, Assisted by the Jews, Resided in Czernowitz
1941/08/07: Severe Jewish Decree for Bukovina
1941/08/10: Dr. Popovici Mayor of Czernowitz
1941/08/10: The Christianization of Jews over the Last Ten Years
1941/08/12: When do the German Farmers Return?
1941/08/22: Jewish Houses Are Not Auctioned
1941/09/06: All Properties of Jews are Transferred to the State
1941/09/13: "The Marshal’s Right-Hand"
1941/09/14: Ukraine in Figures

The Czernowitz Jews
Südostdeutsche Tageszeitung, 1941/09/24, p. 6

From about 70,000 Jews originally in Czernowitz, only about 30,000 to 40,000 remain after the liberation of the city. In order to house them appropriately, a delegation from Czernowitz embarked on a journey to Lodz, Krakow and Lublin to study the organization of the local ghettos.

1941/10/07: The Speech of the German Ambassador
1941/10/28: Jewish Crimes Against the Romanian Population
1941/11/06: Referendum in Romania on November 9th
1941/11/23: Jews from the Eastern Territories Smuggled to Bucharest
1941/11/30: Jewish Question Settled in Transnistria
1941/12/04: Smuggling of Jews to Bucharest
1941/12/07: Disciplinary Procedure Against Fildermann
1942/01/21: They Didn’t Like the Stay in the Ghettos
1942/01/22: Jews Have to Clear the Snow For 5 Days
1942/01/27: The Jews are Clearing the Snow
1942/01/29: Additional Jews Conscripted for Clearing the Snow
1942/01/30: Eastern Jews Are Not Allowed into the Country
1942/03/08: Deported to the Concentration Camp in Transnistria
1942/05/06: Smuggling of Food for the Jews in Moghilev
1942/05/14: The Coffeehouse Jews
1942/05/29: "The Sacred War"
1942/07/05: Sharp Measures Against Work-Shy Jews
1942/07/07: Expropriation of the Properties of the Jewish Communities

Expulsion of the Jews from Romania
Südostdeutsche Tageszeitung, 1942/08/08, p. 3

The governmental "Judenzentrale" has now completed the official census of all Jews residing in the territory of Romania. It leads to the result that in total only 273,409 Jews live in today’s Romanian state territory, not counting Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina (which should be viewed from a different perspective). Out of this, 97,868 Jews are attributed to Bucharest; thus, the country’s capital is at the same time the city with the highest Jewish population, with a share of about 37%. According to official findings, in Bessarabia there are now no more Jews at all, following the expulsion to the east of the inhabitants of the Jewish ghetto of Chisinau. Czernowitz still has about 16,000 Jewish residents, but they now live in another quarter than the previous one of this formerly very heavily jewified city. The share of the Jews in the remaining cities is as follows: Iasi 24,000; Bacau 13,000; Galati 13,000; Piatra-Neamt 11,000; and Timisoara 11,000. Except for Bucharest and Timisoara, and the formerly heavily jewified Moldavian cities, none of the Romanian cities has more than 10,000 Jewish residents; the remaining 90,000 Jews were gathered in the provinical capitals, where the Jews from the rural areas have also been concentrated. 17,000 out of the total number of male Jews received permission to remain in their companies as part of "economically indispensable workforces," while all the rest were enlisted for forced labor. When it comes to the solution of the Jewish Question in Romania, the announcement by the Undersecretary of State for Romanization on the upcoming elaboration and publication of a Jewish Statute is of highest significance. According to this, compulsory wearing of the Jewish badge and other restrictions will be introduced for the Jews. Meanwhile the "Judenzentrale" is making comprehensive preparations for the total expulsion of the Jews from Romania. As soon as autumn this year, 25-30,000 Jews will be expelled from areas of the country already defined. However, the expulsion will have to be suspended in October, since thereafter no further capacity will be available for the transport of Jews out of Romania to their dedicated destination areas. Next spring the expulsion will be carried forward to its conclusion. Considering that 800,000 Jews lived in Romania prior to the territorial losses of 1940 (out of which 200,000 were allocated to Hungary according to the Vienna Award), one can get an idea of the relief given to the country by the transfer of 185,000 Jews to Transnistria and other Eastern Territories. The expulsion of the remaining Jews recorded in today’s census will gradually progress as well, so that Romania, alongside Slovakia, will be the first non-German state which brought the Jewish Question to a truly Final Solution.

1942/08/08: Romania’s Contribution
1942/08/09: Jewish Speculators are Deported Across the Bug River
1942/08/11: Roaming of Jews in the Streets is Forbidden
1942/08/14: Romania Becomes Free of Jews
1942/08/15: Roaming in the Streets of Bucharest is Forbidden
1942/09/23: Death Penalty for Unauthorized Return from Transnistria
1942/10/06: "Labor Army" in Transnistria
1942/10/20: The City Center of Czernowitz Cleared of Jews
1942/12/05: The Romanization Office Manages More than 11,000 Houses
1943/01/06: The Liquidation of Former Jewish Properties
1943/02/12: The Dispossession of Jews from the Annexed Territories
1943/03/06: "I Believe in the  Final Victory"
1943/03/17: That’s what the Romanian Population Should Never Forget
1943/06/18: Two Jews Condemned to Death in Czernowitz
1943/07/02: Census of Jews in Czernowitz
1943/11/26: Romania’s Battle Against Judah

 Courtesy: ANNO - AustriaN Newspapers Online 

03 April 2016

Pogromurile din Bucovina si Dorohoi • The Pogroms of Bukovina and Dorohoi

Carmen Tagsorean, PhD Candidate, "Babes-Bolyai" University of Cluj-Napoca:

Abstract: Some of the most important names of Romanian cultural life belong to the writers of the Jewish community. Whether we refer to the interwar or postwar period, their talent is illustrated both in the press and in the literature of the time. One of the existential dilemmas they had to face was that of their double identity. They belonged to the Jewish community, but, at the same time, to the Romanian society. Many of the Jewish writers put their thoughts on paper either in Romanian or in German (the Jews from Bukovina). Although slightly known in 2014’s Romania, but highly valued and praised in Israel where he was nicknamed "the senior of the Romanian writers", the journalist and writer Marius Mircu was part of the elite group of Jewish intellectuals. His contribution to the preservation of the Jewish history in Romania (nineteenth and twentieth centuries) is still valued by the Jewish community. Marius Mircu’s cultural identity has been created by the blending of three cultures: Jewish, Romanian, and French (he lived and studied in France between 1929 and 1932). Through this study we aim to clarify if the writer was haunted by the anxieties of his cultural identities.


Conclusions: Romanians, as well as the Jews in Romania, were really fortunate to have in their service a personality so complex and well-balanced as Marius Mircu. Born and raised in a bicultural community (half Romanian and half Jewish), Marius Mircu learned from early childhood integration and assimilation that over time turned him into a personality with a great potential to represent both cultures in his writings. His dual identity was not a handicap for him; on the contrary, it gave him a vantage point from which he was able to observe, to extract the essential and to give back a wise and colorful picture of the humanity he lived in. He built a bridge between the two communities, dedicating his talent and energy to the cause of love and understanding among peoples. He did it in both languages, for both cultures. A gifted human being, he lived to write and he wrote to live.

05 March 2016

ÉMANCIPATION - Êtes-vous (aussi) de Czernowitz? • EMANCIPATION - Are you (also) from Czernowitz?


For his lifetime achievements Charles Rosner (1941 - 2013) was awarded by the French Republic with the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France. At the award-giving ceremony in Monaco in 2001 Charles Rosner was not yet aware, that he would later write his memoirs. But his award-receiving speach anticipated this exercise. After the usual courtesy formulas, he came to say the following:

"This hour is my hour... and I dedicate it to Memory. Memory of the Past, to start with my parents. It is of good taste to mention one’s parents on similar occasions. As for me, it is neither tradition nor good taste, which drive me: it is the emotion. An emotion that grips the chest of the only son I was, with what I know of the history of my family, and with the memory of the sacrifices that my parents so naturally carried out, without even thinking of it, so that I could live a different life than the one they had known... My parents, who would have been so proud to be there today, on such an occasion. To my father and mother I say: this medal and this acknowledgement are yours!

Memory of the Past, also, with my 'friends for fifty years': you, whom I met in sixth grade at the Lyceum and who became my brothers and my family in France for so many years. Memory of the Past, as well, with all those I admired and who taught me so much. You were the spiritual parents of a part of myself, for some during my childhood, for others when already an adult, in both my private and professional lives. Today, I want to thank you, even if you cannot hear me.And Memory of the Present, to start with my wife Marie-France. When we met, I had already struck out any positive development for my private life. It’s thanks to you, and even more so, that we have been able to build a family and a home of which we can be proud. And it’s together that we struggled and made the most of it; it’s together that we traveled; it’s together that we conquered new horizons each time. And it’s together that we confronted the happiness and misfortunes of life. To you, my partner, I say: This medal is yours! And you gave me a new family, to start with 'Belle-Maman': as I often say, I wish to every man to understand as well with his mother-in-law as I enjoy understanding with mine! This new and enlarged family that 'Beau-Papa' envelops into a Provencal sunshine, and of which the new generation symbolizes so well the children of the 'Good Book'! To you, Marie-France, I again say: this medal is yours! Memory of the Present also, with all my friends and colleagues at work. In a few months, it will be thirty years that we reciprocally accept and appreciate each other. Sometimes, this was a difficult exercise for me, but always an exciting one, an exercise having its tense and satisfactory moments, as well as its times of common efforts. Together, we represent our Great Firm in the world. And, if I sometimes have a feeling that I gave a lot, I know that the reverse is also true. […]

To all of you, friends and colleagues from the past and the present, I say: Thank you! And finally, Memory for the Future, for my children. May this ceremony, and the recognition it represents for me, the son of immigrants and an immigrant myself, remain in your memory. To you, my three children, I say: always give the best of yourself, live consciously, and this medal will be yours!"

Courtesy: David Rosner 

15 February 2016

Der Franziszeische Kataster im Kronland Bukowina • The Land Register of Francis I in the Crownland of Bukovina


The Land Register of Francis I (1817 – 1861) is a comprehensive cartographical and statistical documentation of the natural, economic and social circumstances surrounding the Habsburg monarchy in the first half of the 19th century.  The measurement, soil assessment and earning power of all crown lands and the arrangement in tax districts and 30,556 land registry districts was a great technical and cultural-political achievement at a time after the Napoleonic Wars in which the Austrian monarchy had reached a new low. Since January of 2008 the Universities of Klagenfurt and Innsbruck have been working on a research project (funded with the support of the Austrian Scientific Fund – FWF) whose aim is to scientifically develop and examine the maps and records of the states of Carinthia and Bukovina. [...]

The layout of the Land Register of Francis I (with its fiscal, judicial and political objectives) sought to bring together the provinces of the union of states into a uniform jurisdiction regarding soil assessment and taxation.  As a basic part of the development of a more or less unified economic area, the “Franziszeische Surveying Unit” in conjunction with the “land registry” and the “soil assessment” had the goal of viewing the “tax assessment” (which did not take place) as an undertaking to reshape a large region economically, administratively and judicially.  For this reason the “land registry” was an important step towards a “modern state” – in the case of the Habsburg monarchy this was definitely without and against the ideological support of nationalism taking place during the start of the 19th century. In its political meaning the research into the land registry has up until now been largely ignored. There has been almost no adequate consideration for the land registry in the overall view of the Austrian management, economic and social history. The missing editorial coverage of the land registry as a source for comparison studies is a drawback whose elimination should provide new impulse to the research with a middle European perspective.


Courtesy: OAPEN Open Access