Date   

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


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


BENVENISTE, HOROWITZ, and EPSTEIN -- Y-DNA Study #general

Itzhak Epstein
 

I have just established the Benveniste & Sons Family Tree DNA -
JewishGen surname project. Painless mouth swab genetic testing
procedures are being used as a promising tool for breaking through
our genealogical brick walls. It might help you to greatly expand
your family tree, and may also help our surname project.

Two prominent Ashkenazi families claim descent >from two brothers
who lived in Spain during the 13th Century CE . The EPSTEINs - alleged
patriarch is Rabbi Aharon de na Clara ben Yosef haLevi. The
HOROWITZes - alleged patriarch is Rabbi Pinhas, Rabbi Aharon's older
brother and mentor. These brothers are the direct male descendants
of Rabbi Zerahyah ben Yitzhak haLevi Gerondi (died after 1186).

EPSTEIN family lore asserts that Aharon's surname was BENVENISTE. The lack of
documentary evidence has, until now, raised doubts about the veracity
of these claims. Recent advances in genetic science may help us to
determine the extent to which the claimed connections between these
families are true.

The first known male HOROWITZ is Yishayahu ben Moshe haLevi ish
Horowitz who came to Prague in the late15th Century >from the village
of Horovice. The first known male EPSTEIN is Yaakov (Koppelman) ben
Natan haLevi von Eppstein who came to Frankfurt am Main in the early
15th Century >from the town of Eppstein.

BENVENISTEs were prominent in Spain and later in the Balkans. I do not know
whether there have been several BENVENISTE families or only one. We know that
many Jews assumed the EPSTEIN and HOROWITZ surnames in the 19th Century.

Several EPSTEINs have already joined in a surname project. We
have identified members of one paternal Levite lineage that has
borne the Epstein surname for several centuries. Most of the project's
current members, however, are patrilineally unrelated to each other.

In addition, the BENVENISTE & sons DNA project was established to
explore the connection among these families and to also enable
BENVENISTEs and historic HOROWITZes to connect to cousins. To
accomplish these goals and to create as broad a search as possible,
we need male BENVENISTEs and historic HOROWITZes and EPSTEINs
to contribute a cheek swab as a DNA sample. If you are female
member of these families or a member through female ancestors, a
sample >from a qualified male relative can represent your family in
the test. If you are not a member of these families, please share
this message with BENVENISTEs, HOROWITZes and EPSTEINs who
may want to participate in this project.

To join the BENVENISTE & Sons surname project, go to=
http://tinyurl.com/meyr9 .
To also join the EPSTEIN surname project, go to http://tinyurl.com/nyh6z .

The basic, and most affordable, twelve marker test will indicate to
whom you are probably related. The more advanced tests could help
to identify closer and more certain relationships. If we confirm the
families' common ancestry, we will need several high resolution tests
to identify the Y-DNA chromosomes of the common ancestor. You
can start with the 12 marker test and add to it at a later date, using
the same sample.

More information about DNA testing and JewishGen's involvement
in it can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/dna/

Itzhak Epstein New York, NY
iegen@earthlink.net


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen BENVENISTE, HOROWITZ, and EPSTEIN -- Y-DNA Study #general

Itzhak Epstein
 

I have just established the Benveniste & Sons Family Tree DNA -
JewishGen surname project. Painless mouth swab genetic testing
procedures are being used as a promising tool for breaking through
our genealogical brick walls. It might help you to greatly expand
your family tree, and may also help our surname project.

Two prominent Ashkenazi families claim descent >from two brothers
who lived in Spain during the 13th Century CE . The EPSTEINs - alleged
patriarch is Rabbi Aharon de na Clara ben Yosef haLevi. The
HOROWITZes - alleged patriarch is Rabbi Pinhas, Rabbi Aharon's older
brother and mentor. These brothers are the direct male descendants
of Rabbi Zerahyah ben Yitzhak haLevi Gerondi (died after 1186).

EPSTEIN family lore asserts that Aharon's surname was BENVENISTE. The lack of
documentary evidence has, until now, raised doubts about the veracity
of these claims. Recent advances in genetic science may help us to
determine the extent to which the claimed connections between these
families are true.

The first known male HOROWITZ is Yishayahu ben Moshe haLevi ish
Horowitz who came to Prague in the late15th Century >from the village
of Horovice. The first known male EPSTEIN is Yaakov (Koppelman) ben
Natan haLevi von Eppstein who came to Frankfurt am Main in the early
15th Century >from the town of Eppstein.

BENVENISTEs were prominent in Spain and later in the Balkans. I do not know
whether there have been several BENVENISTE families or only one. We know that
many Jews assumed the EPSTEIN and HOROWITZ surnames in the 19th Century.

Several EPSTEINs have already joined in a surname project. We
have identified members of one paternal Levite lineage that has
borne the Epstein surname for several centuries. Most of the project's
current members, however, are patrilineally unrelated to each other.

In addition, the BENVENISTE & sons DNA project was established to
explore the connection among these families and to also enable
BENVENISTEs and historic HOROWITZes to connect to cousins. To
accomplish these goals and to create as broad a search as possible,
we need male BENVENISTEs and historic HOROWITZes and EPSTEINs
to contribute a cheek swab as a DNA sample. If you are female
member of these families or a member through female ancestors, a
sample >from a qualified male relative can represent your family in
the test. If you are not a member of these families, please share
this message with BENVENISTEs, HOROWITZes and EPSTEINs who
may want to participate in this project.

To join the BENVENISTE & Sons surname project, go to=
http://tinyurl.com/meyr9 .
To also join the EPSTEIN surname project, go to http://tinyurl.com/nyh6z .

The basic, and most affordable, twelve marker test will indicate to
whom you are probably related. The more advanced tests could help
to identify closer and more certain relationships. If we confirm the
families' common ancestry, we will need several high resolution tests
to identify the Y-DNA chromosomes of the common ancestor. You
can start with the 12 marker test and add to it at a later date, using
the same sample.

More information about DNA testing and JewishGen's involvement
in it can be found at http://www.jewishgen.org/dna/

Itzhak Epstein New York, NY
iegen@earthlink.net


Re: Need help with addresses for German reparations #general

Philip Stuehler-Walter <das-rumpelstilzchen@...>
 

Maybe you should try to contact the "Bundesverwaltungsamt" for further
information.

Postal Address:

Bundesverwaltungsamt
50728 Köln
Germany

Telefon: 0049-1888-358-0
Fax: 0049-1888-358-2823
E-Mail: poststelle@bva.bund.de

Good luck,

Philip

<<Rita Margolies writes: My mother-in-law, a Holocaust survivor, died a
few weeks ago. She received monthly reparations checks >from Germany.
First we cannot figure out where to return the checks ...... We have
tried contacting the return addresses on the envelopes to change the
address ...... but that has not resulted in any response in the
last two months. ........ Second, my mother in law has told my
husband repeatedly that because he was born in Germany (after the war
though) that he is eligible to receive some of the payments. We have
his original Bergen Belsen birth certificate. How do we approach this?>>


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Need help with addresses for German reparations #general

Philip Stuehler-Walter <das-rumpelstilzchen@...>
 

Maybe you should try to contact the "Bundesverwaltungsamt" for further
information.

Postal Address:

Bundesverwaltungsamt
50728 Köln
Germany

Telefon: 0049-1888-358-0
Fax: 0049-1888-358-2823
E-Mail: poststelle@bva.bund.de

Good luck,

Philip

<<Rita Margolies writes: My mother-in-law, a Holocaust survivor, died a
few weeks ago. She received monthly reparations checks >from Germany.
First we cannot figure out where to return the checks ...... We have
tried contacting the return addresses on the envelopes to change the
address ...... but that has not resulted in any response in the
last two months. ........ Second, my mother in law has told my
husband repeatedly that because he was born in Germany (after the war
though) that he is eligible to receive some of the payments. We have
his original Bergen Belsen birth certificate. How do we approach this?>>


Any ideas? #ukraine

Binnieyeates@...
 

Hi, Genners,

The family story I grew up with was that my gfather made it >from Zborow to
England at the very beginning of the 20th century without a passport. Anyone
have any ideas / information as to how he could have managed it? I'm writing a
history of the family, and it's really a very important piece of the story,
so I'd be so grateful for your thoughts on this.

Binnie Yeates
Hove, UK


Ukraine SIG #Ukraine Any ideas? #ukraine

Binnieyeates@...
 

Hi, Genners,

The family story I grew up with was that my gfather made it >from Zborow to
England at the very beginning of the 20th century without a passport. Anyone
have any ideas / information as to how he could have managed it? I'm writing a
history of the family, and it's really a very important piece of the story,
so I'd be so grateful for your thoughts on this.

Binnie Yeates
Hove, UK


Re: SCHOR from Ruskant or Ruskand #general

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

Miguel A. Schneider writes >from Argentina: <My grandfather and his
brother come >from Ukrania to Argentina about the 1912/13. They lived
in Moises Ville, and they said that they was born in Ruskant or
Ruskand. Does anyone now where is this place located. Their names was
Mendel and Peise SCHOR.>

My interest is in the SCHOR/SCHORR name - I have helped a SCHORR
member of the Austria-Czech SIG >from Argentina find roots in Austria,
Galicia and Israel. You will find many messages >from SCHORR in the
General Discussion Group archives:

http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~archives

I wonder if there is a link?

Celia Male [U.K.]


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: SCHOR from Ruskant or Ruskand #general

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

Miguel A. Schneider writes >from Argentina: <My grandfather and his
brother come >from Ukrania to Argentina about the 1912/13. They lived
in Moises Ville, and they said that they was born in Ruskant or
Ruskand. Does anyone now where is this place located. Their names was
Mendel and Peise SCHOR.>

My interest is in the SCHOR/SCHORR name - I have helped a SCHORR
member of the Austria-Czech SIG >from Argentina find roots in Austria,
Galicia and Israel. You will find many messages >from SCHORR in the
General Discussion Group archives:

http://data.jewishgen.org/wconnect/wc.dll?jg~jgsys~archives

I wonder if there is a link?

Celia Male [U.K.]


Purchase of cemetery book #latvia

Arlene Beare <arl@...>
 

I suggest that you contact the author Meyer Melers at the Email
address of the Museum

ebreji.latvija@apollo.lv

He will let you know what you need to do to purchase the cemetery book.
Arlene Beare
UK


Latvia SIG #Latvia Purchase of cemetery book #latvia

Arlene Beare <arl@...>
 

I suggest that you contact the author Meyer Melers at the Email
address of the Museum

ebreji.latvija@apollo.lv

He will let you know what you need to do to purchase the cemetery book.
Arlene Beare
UK


Re: Need help with addresses for German reparations #general

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

<<Rita Margolies writes: My mother-in-law, a Holocaust survivor, died a
few weeks ago. She received monthly reparations checks >from Germany.
First we cannot figure out where to return the checks ...... We have
tried contacting the return addresses on the envelopes to change the
address ...... but that has not resulted in any response in the
last two months. ........ Second, my mother in law has told my
husband repeatedly that because he was born in Germany (after the war
though) that he is eligible to receive some of the payments. We have
his original Bergen Belsen birth certificate. How do we approach this?>>

I hope and expect Rita will get replies >from the General Discussion
Group members, but may I also suggest she and others with restitution
problems contact this forum set-up by exceptional Jewishgenner, Tom
Venetianer: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/h-justice

It is dedicated to these sorts of problems and there are many helpful
and knowledgeable members.

Celia Male [U.K.]


Lower East Side Book #general

epsteil@...
 

Hi. My name is Larry Epstein. I'm the author of various books on Jewish
life including "The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in
America." Currently, I'm writing a book about Jewish immigrants on the
Lower East Side. The book will be published by Jossey-Bass/John Wiley &
Sons and co-published by the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Arthur
Kurzweil, the eminent writer and genealogist, is the editor of the book.

I am currently seeking photographs and any other material >from the
1880-1920 era (letters, invitations, posters, documents, drawings or
illustrations and so on) to be included in the book. Please let me know
if you have such material and are willing to allow it to be published.
Unfortunately, there is no budget to pay for these materials.

I can be contacted at epsteil@sunysuffolk.edu and I thank you.

Larry Epstein


Query on Russians who came to US and returned to Russia #general

Rochelle Kaplan <rochelle@...>
 

Dear Folks,

I recently learned that a cousin,Israel CAROLIN/KAROLIN >from what is now
Belarus, near Grodno, came to the US in around 1905 (he is on 1910
Census for Brooklyn, NY and is then 48), didn't like it here, and
returned to what was then Russia. Suggestions for how I might find more
about this return back (particulars like ship manifests, passports,
applications) or general info about folks who did this and procedures
they followed, where I might find records- appreciated. His children
remained in the US.

Thanks.

Rochelle Kaplan
Salt Lake City, UT


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Re: Need help with addresses for German reparations #general

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

<<Rita Margolies writes: My mother-in-law, a Holocaust survivor, died a
few weeks ago. She received monthly reparations checks >from Germany.
First we cannot figure out where to return the checks ...... We have
tried contacting the return addresses on the envelopes to change the
address ...... but that has not resulted in any response in the
last two months. ........ Second, my mother in law has told my
husband repeatedly that because he was born in Germany (after the war
though) that he is eligible to receive some of the payments. We have
his original Bergen Belsen birth certificate. How do we approach this?>>

I hope and expect Rita will get replies >from the General Discussion
Group members, but may I also suggest she and others with restitution
problems contact this forum set-up by exceptional Jewishgenner, Tom
Venetianer: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/h-justice

It is dedicated to these sorts of problems and there are many helpful
and knowledgeable members.

Celia Male [U.K.]


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Lower East Side Book #general

epsteil@...
 

Hi. My name is Larry Epstein. I'm the author of various books on Jewish
life including "The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in
America." Currently, I'm writing a book about Jewish immigrants on the
Lower East Side. The book will be published by Jossey-Bass/John Wiley &
Sons and co-published by the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Arthur
Kurzweil, the eminent writer and genealogist, is the editor of the book.

I am currently seeking photographs and any other material >from the
1880-1920 era (letters, invitations, posters, documents, drawings or
illustrations and so on) to be included in the book. Please let me know
if you have such material and are willing to allow it to be published.
Unfortunately, there is no budget to pay for these materials.

I can be contacted at epsteil@sunysuffolk.edu and I thank you.

Larry Epstein


JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Query on Russians who came to US and returned to Russia #general

Rochelle Kaplan <rochelle@...>
 

Dear Folks,

I recently learned that a cousin,Israel CAROLIN/KAROLIN >from what is now
Belarus, near Grodno, came to the US in around 1905 (he is on 1910
Census for Brooklyn, NY and is then 48), didn't like it here, and
returned to what was then Russia. Suggestions for how I might find more
about this return back (particulars like ship manifests, passports,
applications) or general info about folks who did this and procedures
they followed, where I might find records- appreciated. His children
remained in the US.

Thanks.

Rochelle Kaplan
Salt Lake City, UT


COGAN/COHEN #general

Jill Ullmann <Ullmann@...>
 

I recently discovered that my Cogan relatives came to this country as
Cohen. I do not know when the name was changed, but my
great-grandfather, Isadore, was killed in Chicago in 1917 >from a boiler
explosion at work. His obituary was under the name of Cohen. His wife,
Rebecca, died in 1935 under the name of Cogan. I suspect the family
changed it after Isadore's death.

Waldheim cemetery records indicate the Cohen/Cogan name as Firstname
(Cohen) Cogan. In looking at the 1910 census, I found Isadore and
Rebecca under the name of Cohen only. Their headstone only has the Cogan
name. My grandmother is buried in the same plot under her married name.

Their children were: Rose (my grandmother who married Max Titner),
Annette, Celia, Esther (married Nathan Caine), Morris (Maurice), Ely
(Edward???) and Sarah. They all came >from Russia with the exception of
Sarah who was born in Illinois.

If anyone knows of this family and/or has further information, please
contact me at sassyladychow@icqmail.com. The only relative that Waldheim
had on file is now deceased.

Thank you

Researching: Cohen/Cogan, Titner, Epstein, Unger, Grabiner, Kravitz and
Rabinowitz.


Re: Russian Army Musicians #ukraine

Naomi Fatouros
 

The following are quotations >from some of my
Discussion and SIG Group replies to similar questions
about Jewish musicians in the Czar's Army.

<<Re:Conscription of another type" in the Discussion
Group Archives and
also the correction I made about the author of a story
I had cited). In my response, I quoted part of
amessage which the klezmer musician and
photodocument maker Yale Strom had once sent me during
the course of our correspondence:

"Did you know that many a young Jewish lad saved
himself >from going to the
front lines in the Czarist army by playing in the
military band...in fact
the influence of woodwinds and brass in these military
bands influenced
klezmer music back in the shtetlakh....these guys came
come (those that survived the 25 yr. service) and
brought their talents to the local klezmer
bands.....>>

Some months after I wrote that response, I sent
privately an amusing anecdote I'd read in Jeff
Kisseloff's "Do You Remember This" to the person
who had asked about "conscription of another type."
One of the contributors to this collection of
reminiscences related that his father was a shoemaker
who was the only Jew who had ever reenlisted in the
Czar's
army because he had desired to become a musician and
had hoped he could get training to be one. But when
the recruiters called out "Who is a shoemaker?"
Someone else shouted out his father's name, telling
that the
father was a shoemaker." Whether inadvertant or
knowing, that betrayal ended that father's career as a
musician before it began!

<<Also, on Dec. 14 2001, Jewishgenner Ric (Richard)
Cooper asked me about his family's story about a
relative who had served in the Russian army as a
musician and was presented with a gold baton by the
Czar.

I replied:

<<Ric Cooper has stirred up my imagination again. I
think of a straight-backed shaven-faced man,
unrecognizable as a Jew, wearing an elaborate uniform
and headgear, stiffly conducting fancily-dressed
players of serpent tubas, flugelhorns, cornets,
bassoons, clarinets, woodwinds,
oboes, flutes, trumpets, drums and other noisemakers,
with a Czar benevolently and pridefully beaming down
the glittering array on the sunlit snowy parade ground
spread before him. I can't remember which one of the
three Czar Alexanders played the trumpet. Moreover, I
am doubtful about how marvelous the sound of this band
might have been. I read at a tuba website that during
the years 1860-70 the tuning "Wurm Band" of the
Russian Army was not well-coordinated, and it wasn't
until the years 1874 and 1876 that reform of military
bands was undertaken to "put an end to this cacaphony"
by ensuring all band instruments were of a certain
pitch!)


Both Alexander I and Nicholas I loved holding military
reviews and
parades, and they had several military bands for which
they spent
fortunes for their dress and accoutrements. Like their
armies, Czarist
military bands were based on Western European models.
(Among the other
nations, Finland is said to have had good and well
developed military
bands.) A number of famous musicians, Mussorgsky,
Borodin, Rimsky-
Korsakov and others, played in and composed music for
the military bands
of the Czars. On one website I read that a Czarist
band even played an
arrangment of a part of Tchaikoffsky's Swan Lake.


Mr. Cooper gave his great-great grandfather Ephraim
Matelevitch's dates
as 1804-c.1895. Ephraim was born during Alexander I's
reign. This
Alexander was no friend to Jews, restricting them from
living in border
towns, and reducing the width and length of the Pale
of Settlement. But
to converts he made a number of concessions: a right
of settlement, the
grant of agricultural land, and permission to
manufacture alcohol. He
also allowed Jews to avoid army service through
payment of a tax. So
assuming without a shred of evidence that Ephraim's
parents paid the tax,
I think that most likely Ephraim served during the
reign of Czar Nicholas
I who imposed that compulsory service and that
notorious 25 year term on
conscripts and lowered the age for Jewish boys to 12
(although
unofficially Jewish lads younger than 12 were
sometimes kidnapped).
Ephraim may have been twenty-one or so when he was
drafted and if he was
required to fulfill that 25 year term, then toward the
end of his career
when he was in his fifties, he also served under
Alexander II.

Would Nicholas I or Alexander II have had a gold baton
made, instead
of a usual honorific medal, to present to an esteemed
band musician? I
think so; that would have been an appropriate award.
Gold batons are
still given to excellent conductors.

And would a Czar have given a gold baton to a Jew?
Well, about that I
am not sure. It could be that during his years of
service Ephraim
converted, in which case an award for his meritorious
service would be
forthcoming without much hesitation on the part of the
bestower. But it is
also possible that Ephraim was so talented that he
didn't have to convert
to receive be honored. Even the intensely antisemitic
Nicholas II admired
the work of the never- converted Jewish sculptor Marc
Antokolsky and he
did not prevent the St. Petersburg Art Academy from
offering Antokolsky
the title of "honorary citizen" (which the sculptor
declined). And at the
Czar's express order, he was appointed to the Council
of the Academy for
his sculpture of Ivan the Terrible.


If Mr. Cooper is silently hoping that "there is a list
somewhere" of
honored Russian Imperialist military musicians, I
wouldn't know where to
find it. The books I have on musicians and music
history, including a
1920's edition of Groves, are silent about the subject
of Jewish musicians
in the Czars' armies .>>











Naomi Fatouros (nee FELDMAN)
Bloomington, Indiana
NFatouros@sbcglobal.net
BELKOWSKY,BIELKOWSKY, BILKOWSKI, Odessa,St. Petersburg,Berdichev,
Kiev;ROTHSTEIN, Kremenchug;FRASCH,Kiev;LIBERMAN,Moscow;FELDMAN, Pinsk;
SCHUTZ, RETTIG, WAHL, Shcherets;LEVY, WEIL, Mulhouse; SAS/
SASS,Podwolochisk;
RAPOPORT, Tarnopol, Podwolochisk, Radomysl?; BEHAM, Salok, Kharkov;
WOLPIANSKY, Ostryna.