Romania SIG #Romania Fw: Trip Report and Thanks #romania


Stephen R. Low <steve.low@...>
 

To all:
I'm writing to thank the many subscribers to the Hungarian, Romanian, and
Ukrainian SIGs who offered great suggestions over the past few months that
led to my recent trip to Eastern Europe and more. I have tried to retain the
names and e-mail addresses for many of you and over the next several weeks,
I will try to respond individually. In the meantime, here is a blanket
"thanks," a brief report on what I did, and an offer to help others by
sharing my contacts and experience.
As you will see, this was a very personal journey, filled with symbolism,
and very moving--even with my hard heart.
On June 3, I left >from Boston on a journey that would take me to the
birthplaces of my four grandparents: Kiliya, Ukraine; Iasi, Halmeu, and
Seini, Romania. (Halmeu and Seine were Hungarian when my grandparents left
them.) I also visited Odessa and Ismail in Ukraine, Kishinev; the capital of
Moldova; and Sighet, Satu Mare, and Baia Mare, Romania. In each place, I
spent >from 1 to 4 days. My goal was not to conduct research, but rather to
see these places and to get a feel for what they were like 100-115 years
ago, when these grandparents came to the U.S. In the end, I did conduct a
small amount of research in Halmeu and Seine, and these efforts were
extraordinary.
I traveled between these places by bus, by rented car, and by rabbi (yes, a
rabbi drove me >from Odessa to Ismail!). The car rental permitted me to drive
from Iasi to Satu Mare, crossing the Carpathians, with an overnight stop in
Sighet (the birthplace of Elie Wiesel, whose home has been turned into a
museum).
All along the way, I met wonderful people and had some wonderful guides. I
never was concerned about safety. I found that speaking only English, while
a handicap, did not present great problems. I kept a very detailed diary and
took many photos that are referenced within its pages, and I will spend the
next many weeks integrating the words and photos into a single document.
from Satu Mare, on June 22, I took a bus to Budapest, where my wife joined
me. We spent four days there as tourists, although we did visit the Great
Synagogue and attended Friday night services there. On June 26 we began a
four train/25 hour marathon: >from Budapest to Vienna to Paris (on the Orient
Express) to London (on Eurostar, through the Chunnel) to Southampton,
arriving there just 2 ½ hours before sailing back to the U.S. on the Queen
Mary 2 to New York. Six nights later, on July 3, we got out of bed at 3:45
and were on deck at 4 am in the morning to watch us enter New York harbor,
sail underneath the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and pass the Statue of
Liberty—fulfilling a dream I’ve had for 30 years.
In New York, we dropped our luggage at the hotel, and went immediately to
(where else?) Ellis Island! That evening and the next, we managed to meet
two NY cousins I had never met before, and on our final day, July 5, we
rented a car for the drive back to the Boston area. But first, we drove to
Mt. Hebron, Mt. Zion, and Riverside (in NJ) cemeteries and visited the
graves of my parents, all four grandparents, and four of my eight
great-grandparents.
A spectacular trip. And I would do it again.
As I indicated, I'd be happy to share my specific experiences with anyone
contemplating similar travel. Also, part of my planning involved technology:
cell phone and a word processor, and I'd be happy to report on how I handled
these important parts of the trip.

Regards,
Steve Low
Lincoln MA

Researching:

LOW >from Satu Mare/Seini, Romania (i.e., Szatmar/Szinervaraljá, Hungary) to
New York
SCHWARTZ >from Halmeu, Romania (I.e., Halmi, Hungary) to New York
WITTNER >from Iasi, Romania to New York; Manchester, England; Australia
LANDO/LANDA/LANDAU >from Kiliya, Ukraine and Kishinev, Moldova to New York
and Palestine

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