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MoPOP at dusk, Seattle

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Kaddish for Yednitz.

My grandfather Mondko Wainrober (Martin Roberts) with my late uncle and mother
My mother's father in Moldova did what he had to do to survive.

The family lived in a shtetl called Yednitz. To be a jew in this area was a very dangerous proposition.

He smuggled wheat and horses, worked as a furrier and knew that for my family to survive the upcoming conflagration he would have to quickly flee the coming storm.

He made his escape with my grandmother in the 1920's but first had to sign a note to the Romanian government that he would never return. His fellow townspeople were not so lucky. I would not be here today without his resolve.

I mention this because San Diego Jewish World published an interesting story about the town yesterday, In Moldova, a synagogue with a terrible history is for sale on Holocaust Street.

Decimated by Holocaust and pogrom, 17 out of what was once was a community of 7 thousand jews now remain in the town. And they are selling the synagogue where a large number of jews were executed in the horrible pogrom.
The owner who is selling the former synagogue and the adjacent structure said he is skeptical that anyone from the Jewish community might be interested in buying the property if a story about it appears in an Israeli newspaper.
“I don’t think the Jews would buy it. Especially not the Jews, they are cheap,” he said.
It is admittedly a tough read. But even tougher to read is the memorial or Yizkor book that chronicles this murder and more. I link to a page.
“An order was issued that everyone must assemble in the Seminaria. Some came by themselves. Others were grabbed and brought to the assembly place. The large Seminaria yard was overcrowded with people – men and women, old and young, children, sick and healthy people. My father and I were also seized and taken to a yard across from the Seminaria. There were approximately 400 people there. Some, including my father, were freed. The others, the younger ones, were lined up in two rows and led to the yard of Chayim Reuven. We were told that at night we would all be killed. It was true. In the evening we were lined up in three groups. Four solders guarded each group with loaded guns. We were told to start marching in the direction of the cemetery. It got dark. I took advantage of this and escaped from the convoy and somehow reached home. It's hard to describe the joy of the family. That night the son of the barber, Yitzhak Vinokor, came to us. He was also with us amongst the “young ones.” He told us that everyone had been brought to the cemetery where they were told to dig two pits. Then they were put down on their knees beside the open pits. The soldiers fired at them with machine guns right into their faces. Some of those shot immediately fell into the open pits. Others remained laying badly wounded on the ground. Groans and the sounds of people expiring were heard. After a few hours the voices ceased. The soldiers thought they had finished their “job” and left the spot. Vinokor, though he was wounded, still felt capable to get up on his feet. He made his way out of the cemetery and arrived at our house, wounded and distraught.”
...at the head of these hooligan rapists, the sons of the local gypsies, “Katzapes” was the gypsy fiddler Ivanitza, who played the “Hatikvah” at the “bazetzn” of the bride at all Jewish weddings. He pointed out where to find Jewish women and girls so that the “shkotzim” could despoil together with them.
My friend Byron once told me not to bother myself with the anguish of my ancestors and not to concern myself with their travails. "Don't fight your grandfather's wars," he admonished. They are certainly a terrible thing to remember. And an even worse thing to forget.

6 comments:

isak said...

Have to disagree. As Jews we should wail for what has happened to our ancestors until past the end of time.That doesn't mean we shouldn't dance for joy to life as well!

wcgypsy said...

I'm very moved by the photo that you've shown of your Grandfather and his children. I'm partial to black and white photography anyway and when it's from a bygone era, even better. I'm often bothered by coming across old photos that seem to have no family left to claim them and to be unable to know any history of the people shown. It did not seem to interest me when I was younger, but suddenly paying attention to where we came from and from whom is essential. This year we've been enlarging, framing and hanging my old family photos so that I see them daily, not just when pulling out a tin or album of photos. Everb the pics of family that I don't know, they are still my family and from whom I sprang....

I've read enough of your writing to feel that I know some your family somewhat and through your descriptions, do feel that I know the people in that photograph and I think I will look at it often....it's important to pay tribute to those who came before...

Blue Heron said...

Thanks both of you. WCGypsy, perhaps I knew who you were at one time, it slips my mind now but no matter. I feel the same way about orphan photographs, and lonely people for that matter.

wcgypsy said...

No, Robert, you would not have known me unless you spent a lot of time at the library...I was there for 12 years....lol..but I did know Leslie through the library.....
In the same way that you would like all headstones to have photos of the people buried there, you would like to have all unclaimed photos to have names and stories to go with them. There was a time when I would bring home photos that had no families...and what struck me most was that in looking closely at the faces, I would see someone whose face I would not be surprised to see coming toward me on any sidewalk, on any given day, in any given city or town...

I would like to thank you also for posting the photo of Roger when he passed...he was on my short list of favorite people and now I have a photo of him to keep his memory alive...

Blue Heron said...

I hadn't seen my old roommate Jerry in over 30 years, didn't recognize him when he knocked on my door. But he had found the blog and read every one, all 7000 and something, all the way back. And he had become very familiar and intimate with the cast of characters that make up my life. So when he saw Leslie at Walmart he wanted to approach her and talk, even though they had never met, but was afraid of freaking her out. I appreciate all of you have hung in for the duration, including those I don't know personally. I hope that someone will tend the blog when I am gone, would be a shame to have it all vaporize...

wcgypsy said...

Well, it's wonderful to have something to leave that speaks so much of you...it says, "This person WAS, he was here and this is who he was....