Romania SIG #Romania Genealogical GOLD!!!! #romania


Gold - genealogical gold. !!

After 30 years of on-again, off-again research, and one postponed trip to
Romania, I finally made it on 3/29. I was prepared. I had faxed a request to
the archives, I had numerous addresses of places where my grandparents and great
grandparents had lived. I even had a recent discovery of a divorce and a
name change that made absolutely no sense to any surviving members of the
My great grandfather, Israel BERMAN, was born in Botosani in 1844, according
to his wedding certificate. His father was alive when he married my great
grandmother and >from that we determined that Israel was the first to use the
BERMAN last name.

I had asked my guide to make arrangements to meet with the Mayor of Ramnicu
Sarat. This was the 100th anniversary year of my grandparents departure from
RS for Winnipeg, Canada. The mayor was very gracious and sent a car to meet
us at the outskirts of the town, and escorted us to the Town Hall. We were
received as honored guests and were served juice, coffee, tea and sweet rolls

The Mayor told us that there were no Jews in town, the last one that he was
aware of, having died 40 or more years ago. There had been two synagogues but
one had already collapsed. There were two Jewish cemeteries. We also discussed
the economics of the town. The major employer was a textile manufacturing
plant. This was most interesting because my great grandfather had been in the
textile business through 1908, according to the family history. He died in
1909. One side of our family, the Schein family, continued in the textile
business through the end of WW2 when they moved to France. So it may have been
that my family started the business that remains the mainstay of Rimnicul Sarat

The Mayor had one of his staff drive us around the town (now 45,000) and
showed me the areas where my family had lived. No houses remained - some of
them having been replaced by those "beautiful" Communist era apartment buildings.
We drove by one cemetery - the old cemetery - which dated apparently from
the 1700's. Most of the stones had been stolen over the years. Currently, there
are about 20 head stones in the cemetery and the balance of the land is
being used for growing crops. Apparently the Jewish Community of Romania
(JCR)has an arrangement with the farmer to care for the remaining stones. We then
drove by the Synagogue but could not find the caretaker so our entry was delayed
by a day

The next day, along with the representative of the JCR, based in Focsani, we
visited the synagogue. The building itself is disintegrating. Windows missing
or broken, the brick turning to powder in some areas, parts of the ceiling
have fallen. I asked about the torahs and was told they had been sent to
Israel many years ago. Looking around the ante room, there were some pews
and a cabinet with prayer books in various stages of decay. There were a few old
oil lamps and some record books of donations >from the early 1900's.

I then entered the sanctuary and walked towards the bimah. I took about 5
steps and stopped - in shock.....

Les Berman
Los Angeles

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