The Holocaust in Bukowina
By H. Hershman
Excerpts from the "Canadian Eagle", Thursday, May 29, 1947
The following is a translation of a fundraising appeal for Holocaust survivors remaining in Bukowina, Romania, following W.W.II.
The original Yiddish document was kindly donated by Sylvia Klein, Quebec, Canada. The Project Coordinator was Merle Kastner and Bruce Reisch provided editorial assistance. Translation (Yiddish to English) was carried out by Tamara Selden and Isak Shteyn who kindly donated their talents. With great appreciation for their efforts, this important document reflecting the despair following the Shoah is now posted for all to see.
A Plea to All Jews in Canada
From whatever land their origin shall not be
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The Federation of Bukowiner Jews in Montreal, was founded two years ago, and since then has sent aid to hundreds of landsleit in their old home. Now there is a campaign to widen our support for the tragedy-stricken Jews still there. We approach you to help us in this humanitarian work. The immediate goal of the HIAS is to reach out to the landsleit who find themselves in Canada, to whom we appeal. Because of the difficult situation, our call goes out not just to Bukowiner landsleit, but to all Jews in Canada.
Our enemies hold the same contempt for us whether we are Russian, Polish, Lithuanian, or Roumanian Jews. A geographical line certainly shall not limit the assistance for our unhappy brothers.
Help us so that we can help our burdened brothers and sisters in Bukowina. Greet our emissaries brotherly and give your donation with open hands because their situation is very bad and it is a sacred mission.
If our emissaries should not reach you, accomplish your task by sending your contribution to the Chairman of the campaign,
Mr. Samuel Guttman.
Samuel Guttman, Campaign Chairman
7080 Park Avenue, Montreal, Que.
Society of Bukowina Jews in Montreal
Page 2 (right side):
There were times, and not long ago, when mention of the Bukowina recalled Czernowitz, and the first Yiddish language conference of 1908, the beginning of a new epoch in Jewish cultural life of the whole world, where the initiative came from Czernowitz, the capital of Bukowina.
Nowadays, Bukowina reminds us of Transnistria, death and annihilation, both physical and moral, of one of the most exceptional groups of world Jewry, which lived in Bukowina in a genuine Jewish atmosphere, a branch that was exterminated during the huge tumult (of W.W.II), men, women and children.
Transnistria! The synonym for Bukowina! What Transnistria meant for Bukowiner Jews during the years 1941-1945 every Jew who is interested in the destiny of his unfortunate brothers and sisters in Europe today knows. What Transnistria means for a Bukowinian Jew living in Canada is already very well known through the heart-rending letters coming from that valley of tears, from people who got rescued from the Transnistria-death camp - "I alone survived from the whole family."
Transnistria represented all from the chapter of reprehensions: "And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear night and day, and shalt have no assurance of thy life: In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were evening! And at evening though shalt say, Would God it were morning! For the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." (Deuteronomy, 28:66-67)
Transnistria was for the Bukowiner Jews the same as Dachau, Auschwitz, and Treblinka were for the Polish, Ukrainian and German Jews, just in another and not less cruel form.
The Transnistria tragedy of the Bukowinian Jews was anticipated by a prologue, a cruel introduction to the heartbreaking events that followed.
We should not forget the rage of the rioters in the Storozynets and Chiudej regions, where the majority of the Jewish population, living in cities and shtetls fell victims under the hands of the murderers. The few who rescued themselves from that massacre were driven later into the Transnistrian hell.
The murderers destroyed several Bukowinian cities and shtetlech, where old established Jewish communities flourished for many hundreds of years. It is not my task at this moment (and my poor pen hardly could do it thoroughly) to described the Jewish Holocaust in Bukowina as a part of the awful and huge Jewish Holocaust in Europe. People who saw and survived the Jewish Holocaust in Europe write and wrote about it in the Jewish Press. My task is to remind our Bukowiner countrymen in Canada that several tens of thousands of Jewish souls in Bukowina, the remainder of the rescued of the once proud Bukowinian Jewry, are looking for help to the Bukowinian Jews living in Canada who had the good fortune to quit their homeland right before the beginning of W.W.II.
Page 2 (left side):
In Montreal, the largest Jewish center in Canada, a group of Jews originating from Bukowina came together for this sacred aim and founded the Federation of Bukowiner Jews, which has already done many good deeds.
After the war, Bukowina was divided into two parts. (Translator Shteyn's note - this really happened in 1940, before the war in Bukowina.) One part, Czernowitz included, was annexed by the Soviet Union. The second, Southern part, including a series of old and significant Jewish cities like Radautz, Sereth, Suczawa (Shotz), Gurahumora, Kimpolung, Watra-Dorna and hundreds of smaller settlements around them, remained under Romania. We can't reach out yet to the Bukowinian Jews under Russia with direct aid. But, we can bring help to the Jews of the other part of Bukowina, that which belongs to Romania.
I think that there is no necessity for me to tell you the awful need and poverty of the Jews in the Romanian part of Bukowina. Everybody can imagine it by himself. The help sent by the "Federation" from its very limited means is by far not enough. We must do all we can to increase that help.
During the last 15 months, the "Federation of Bukowiner Jews" has sent through "Hajas" (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society; HIAS) well over $10,000 to the suffering Jews in Bukowina. This help is sent directly to individual people, in different cities and shtetlech, according to the directions of local committees, which assign and confirm who is more eligible to receive the help that we can send to them.
Every mail delivery from Bukowina brings to us hundreds of letters from Bukowiner Jews, heartbreaking letters imploring speedy help to rescue people's lives.
The Federation of Bukowiner Jews in Montreal decided to carry out a huge campaign for $50,000 to be able to send more and more help to the suffering Jews in Bukowina. A special committee was elected to carry out this action. Chairman of this committee is the renowned social worker Samuel Guttman, the president of Hajas, also a Bukowina landsman. Among the active workers and leaders of the Federation are respectable citizens and important social workers, who understand the huge responsibility to help their suffering brothers from Bukowina.
I had the opportunity, not long ago, to become acquainted with the activity of the Federation and I was very impressed. I saw that plenty of good deeds were done in a nice and decent manner. But the situation in Bukowina demands a much more intensive response. An even greater effort must be made because the need is so terribly great. I have joined with the active doers of the Federation and I am appealing now to all Jews, men and women, originating from Bukowina, for help for our suffering brothers and sisters in Bukowina.
Translated (Yiddish to English) by Tamara Selden and Isak Shteyn.
Posted June, 2001.