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October 22, 2016 / 20 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Romania’

Painter Jonasz Stern’s ‘Landscape after the Holocaust’ in Krakow Museum

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

The recorded testimony of Jonasz Stern at the Yad Vashem digital collection relates: “Testimony of Jonasz Stern, born in Kalusz, Poland, 1904, regarding his experiences in the Lvov Ghetto, his rescue from shooting in killing pits during the liquidation of the Lvov Ghetto, in hiding, in Budapest, in Romania, and in other places.”

The transcribed account follows:

“Escape from Krakow to Lvov with his wife, at the outbreak of the war; move from apartment to apartment, after the occupation of Lvov; deportation to the Lvov Ghetto, November 1941; Lvov Ghetto life including overcrowding, hunger and the lack of means of existence; “Aktion,” August 1942; obtains Aryan documents for his wife, and her move to Stryj; capture of the witness, May 1943; deportation to Janowska camp with 3,000 Jews; concentration of thousands of Jews in a field for two days, without food or water, and shooting into the crowd by the Germans; transfer of 7,000 men, women and children who are naked, in railroad cars to Belzec; escape from the train through a window which he broke when they were 6.5 kilometers from Lvov; return to the Lvov Ghetto for ten days, until the liquidation of the ghetto; deportation of thousands of Jews to Janowska camp, mid-June 1943; transfer of the Jews to the killing site in Hyclowa Gorka, the next day; escape from the shooting pit, after ten hours among the corpses of the dead and the wounded people; hides in fields and in a forest, and receives help from the local farmers, in particular from Poles from Poznan who resided in Sknilow; return to Lvov, and hides with the help of Polish friends; move to Rozniatow by train; walks on foot through the mountains and illegally crosses the border into Hungary; he is attacked by a shepherd before crossing the border, who beats him and steals his belongings; move to the Hungarian side, after wanderings in the mountains for eight days; arrival to Budapest with the help of local people; life under the protection of the Polish Committee, until the German occupation of Hungary; move to Romania, summer 1944; capture by the Gestapo, and release after the intervention of Endre Laszlo, a commander of the Hungarian Gendarmerie in a town near Budapest; life in Budapest; liberation by the Red Army.”

The account concludes with the following heartbreaking lines: “Receives information regarding the return of his wife to Krakow during the war, and that she willingly presented herself to the Gestapo, due to her lack of means of existence and exhaustion.”

Other than that, Painter Jonasz Stern left a permanent mark on the Polish art of the 20th century. Before the war, he was a member of the first Grupa Krakowska (Krakow Group), and in 1957 he co-founded Grupa Krakowska II, with members including Maria Jarema and Tadeusz Kantor. These were the two most significant artistic formations in Poland. The pre-war Group experimented with form and manifested its left-wing stance, the majority of members affiliated to the KPP, the Communist Party of Poland.

After the war had erupted, Stern fled from Krakow to Lvov. Of his paintings only one remains, the Nude Study from 1935, which is now part of the collection of the National Museum in Krakow.

After the war, Stern became a philosopher, reflecting on life, its transience and dignity. In his assemblages, he expressed his thoughts using simple symbols: scrunched-up fabric, animal and fish bones, stones, netting and – occasionally – photographs. The drama of his paintings is entirely devoid of pathos. Stern created a universe of abstract landscapes left by a world annihilated.

Jonasz Stern – Landscape after the Holocaust

Aug. 5 – Sep. 25 2016, Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK), 4 Lipowa St. 30-702 Kraków, Poland. Tuesday–Sunday 11 AM – 7 PM, Monday – closed. phone +48 12 263 40 00.


Israeli Students Win Big In Chemistry Olympics

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Tzvi Lev/TPS

Georgia (TPS) – The International Chemistry Olympiad was a rousing success for Israel, as the Jewish State’s high school delegation took home two medals and was placed amongst the world’s top 20.

“Israel’s students bring pride and honor in international contests time after time” praised Education Minister Naftali Bennett. “For a student to succeed and achieve prizes in something that is also a hobby is a formula for success.”The Israeli delegation won the Silver and Bronze medals, ranked 20th worldwide, and second in Western countries, one spot behind the United States.

Professor Zev Gross of Technion University accompanied the Israeli team, and offered lavish praise. “This year, we noticed a significant improvement, not just in the medals but the high scores that the Israeli received in the competition.

The Chemistry competition was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, with 66 countries participating. Romania won first place, with China winning the second and third spots.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Holocaust Author and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel Dead at 87

Saturday, July 2nd, 2016

Holocaust survivor and author Elie Wiesel who in 1986 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is dead, according to a Saturday announcement by Yad Vashem. He was 87 years old. Wiesel died in his New York home. He was survived by his wife, his son and two grandchildren.

Wiesel was born in in Sighet, Transylvania (Romania), in the Carpathian Mountains, on September 30, 1928. Wiesel’s mother, Sarah, was the daughter of a Vizhnitz Hasid who spent time in jail for helping Polish Jews enter the country illegally. Wiesel’s father, Shlomo, encouraged him to learn Hebrew and to read literature, while his mother encouraged him to study the Torah. Wiesel had three siblings – older sisters Beatrice and Hilda, and younger sister Tzipora. Beatrice and Hilda survived the war and were reunited with Wiesel at a French orphanage. They eventually emigrated to North America, with Beatrice moving to Canada. Tzipora, Shlomo, and Sarah did not survive the Holocaust.

In 1944, the German army deported the Jewish community in Sighet to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Wiesel and his father were sent to the work camp Buna, a subcamp of Auschwitz III-Monowitz. He managed to remain with his father for more than eight months as they were shuffled among three concentration camps in the final days of the war.

On January 28, 1945, just a few weeks after the two were marched to Buchenwald, Wiesel’s father was beaten by an SS guard as he was suffering from dysentery, starvation, and exhaustion. He was also beaten by other inmates for his food. He was later sent to the crematorium, only weeks before the camp was liberated by the US Third Army on April 11.

For ten years after the war, Wiesel refused to write about or discuss his experiences during the Holocaust. However, a meeting with the French author François Mauriac, the 1952 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and a discussion he had with the Lubavitcher Rebbe were turning points for him. His first memoir, in Yiddish, titled, And the World Remained Silent, was published in Buenos Aires. He rewrote a new version of the manuscript in French, which was published as La Nuit, and translated into English as Night. Wiesel had trouble finding a publisher and the book initially sold only a few copies.

In 1960 Hill & Wang agreed to pay a $100 pro-forma advance and published it in the United States in September that year as Night. The book sold only 1,046 copies, but attracted interest from reviewers, leading to television interviews with Wiesel and meetings with literary figures such as Saul Bellow. “The English translation came out in 1960, and the first printing was 3,000 copies,” Wiesel said in an interview. “And it took three years to sell them. Now, I get 100 letters a month from children about the book. And there are many, many millions of copies in print.”

Night has been translated into 30 languages. By 1997 the book was selling 300,000 copies annually in the United States alone. By March 2006, about six million copies were sold in the United States. On January 16, 2006, Oprah Winfrey chose the work for her book club. One million extra paperback and 150,000 hardcover copies were printed carrying the “Oprah’s Book Club” logo, with a new translation by Wiesel’s wife, Marion, and a new preface by Wiesel. On February 12, 2006, the new translation of Night was No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list for paperback non-fiction and the original translation placed third.

Wiesel and his wife started the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He served as chairman for the Presidential Commission on the Holocaust (later renamed US Holocaust Memorial Council) from 1978 to 1986, spearheading the building of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, during which he pleaded for US intervention in Yugoslavia after a visit there in 1992.

Wiesel and his wife invested their life savings, and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity invested nearly all of its assets (approximately $15.2 million) through Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, an experience that caused Wiesel deep pain.


Romania Expected to Facilitate Return of Property to Holocaust Survivors

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The Romanian parliament is expected to pass a bill next week to ease the way for Holocaust survivors to submit restitution claims.

Lawmakers in Romania told Reuters they anticipate the measure will pass next Tuesday.

The law, if passed, will eliminate the obstacles that prevent Holocaust survivors from claiming their former property.

Hana Levi Julian

2 Israeli Med Students Killed in Romania

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Israel’s foreign ministry has confirmed that two Israeli medical students were killed in Romania Saturday, and two others were injured in a car crash in the eastern city of Piatra Neamt. The ministry did not say what caused the accident or where it occurred.

Tawfiq al-Krenawi, 24, a resident of Rahat, and Dia’a Zabida, 23, a resident of Lod attended Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi. They were driving home from an exam when their car crashed.

Salah al-Krenawi, brother of Tawfiq, was also injured in the accident but his exact condition is unknown. A second Rahat resident who is also a medical student, Mamoun Jabour, was seriously injured as well.

The Israeli Consul in Bucharest is in contact with the families and a representative from each is en route to Romania.

Hana Levi Julian

Jewish Watchdog Group Sues Romanian Mayor for Hitler Hairdo in 2009

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

The Hitler hairdo of a Romanian mayor, who in 2009 was photographed wearing a Nazi uniform, prompted a Jewish watchdog group to sue him for allegedly inciting hatred.

The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism, or MCA Romania, filed a criminal complaint last week against Radu Mazare, the mayor of the seaside resort town of Constanta, after he spoke to the media about his haircut, which resembles that of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

MCA Romania’s complaint to the prosecutor’s office of the High Court of Cassation and Justice, accused Mazare of inspiring pro-Nazi sentiment by celebrating the haircut. The complaint qualifies the mayor’s actions as an “outrageous, provocative and defiant” show of Nazi sympathies.

Mazare in 2009 attended a fashion show with his son while wearing a fake Nazi uniform, which he said he had bought because he liked how it looked. He said he did not see the swastikas on the uniform but critics disputed this as he climbed the stage with his son while marching in a military style typical of German soldiers.

In an interview published earlier this month in the Adevarul daily newspaper, Mazare said he was surprised to learn of the criminal complaint filed against him and claimed his new haircut — which he adopted shortly before the first round of Romania’s presidential elections — owed to his desire to keep up with current trends.

“I got the haircut to fit in to the hairstyles I see people wearing on the street,” he said.



Zionism in Jassy: The Importance of History Today

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

Zionism, a polemical issue, still causes fiery debate amidst Israeli and international politics and is seen by some as a movement, culture and mentality that is no longer viable in the current Israel. Whatever the case may be, how can one understand the viability of an ideology, without first understanding the history of its design?

Jassy might only be a small piece amidst the long and complex battle of Zionism for the Jewish people in the 19th and 20th centuries, but it can help to show how to facilitate the organization of a people surrounded by adversity. In better words the formation of a strong collective- something that not only helped to make Israel a reality, but continues to keep it one today.

Once a great centre of Jewish culture, Jassy seems to have disappeared from the view of Jewish historians, let alone the general public. In fact, few know that it was the place where the famous Naphtali Imber wrote Hatikvah, the poem which gave Israel it’s national anthem. Or the fact that it was once the home of the first Yiddish theatre of Eastern Europe founded by Abraham Goldfaden.

The great bulk of Jassy’s Jews, which at one point amalgamated to 45 thousand, could trace their roots to Poland where thousands of Jews facing persecution at the hands of the Cossacks migrated southward across into Rumania. Although the majority of the population was consisted of Ashkenaz descendents, there were very small remnants of Shepherds that escaped Spain in the 15th century.

The history of Jassy’s Jews is as comprehensive and as complex as most communities that once inhabited Eastern Europe. Yet Rumania, called by Hannah Arendt as the most anti-semitic country prior to the rise of National Socialism in Germany was not very welcoming to its Jewish populations. In fact, Jassy’s Jews although got along with the national and local government, was in constant turmoil with the severely xenophobic Moldavian populations.

It was of no surprise that even before Zionist organization became a viable reality in Europe, and as some sources claim even before Hibbat Zion, Jassy’s Jews began organizing groups based on proto-Zionist ideas. The first among these was Doroshei Zion which sought after the creation of literary framework by building libraries.

The reformation of Jewish and Hebrew culture became the most important goal, as was the trend with most Zionist oriented groups in the 19th century. Perhaps the best example of this being the foundation of the Ohalei Shem foundation in 1878 that had its main goal to educate the Jewish masses in Hebrew and Jewish studies.

This cultural rebirth played an important role in creating a mentality of secularization among Jassy’s Jewish population amidst religious tradition and convention. Something which in itself would become the vanguard goal of Herzelian Zionist groups which sought at the creation not just of a Jewish state, but a Jewish culture devoid of religion..

The most important Zionist organization to have ever existed in Jassy was the Yishuv Eretz Israel founded by Lippe Karpel in 1880 as a responce to the incessant anti-semitism that Romanian Jews faced across the nation. The group helped facilitate the transport of numerous Jews from Romania to Palestine between 1882 to 1890. Although Karpel was opposed to the creation of a Jewish state he still encouraged the formation of Jewish culture in Palestine in order to escape persecution in Europe.

Karpel famously gave the opening speech at The First Zionist Congress in 1897 advocating for the purchase of land in Palestine, but also representing Romanian and Jassy Jewry. Immediately after the congress the Jewish community of Jassy began to be far more organized in the creation of Zionist organizations. About nine of them had formed, until they all conjoined into one in 1919 under the name of the Romanian Zionist Movement. The first meeting took place in 1920 in Jassy.

Milad Doroudian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/zionism-in-jassy-the-importance-of-history-today/2014/02/23/

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