Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Most Amazing e-mail I've ever Received

Originally uploaded by dzstein.

Daniel sent me this e-mail last night. Bless his little soul, he was up until nearly 4:00am translating what follows. It is the most amazing e-mail and I'm just thrilled to know these things and have the link he sent. Isn't Daniel just amazing? this first......

{My brother might not have told you that I am somewhat of an expert on the subject...

After the holocaust, survivors in Europe and America began working on "Yizkor Buchs," books of testimony about the people that died in the holocaust. They exist for about every town in europe, and contain not only indexs of those who died, but also history and folklore about the towns. The New York Public Library has posted hundreds of them online. The problem--they are written in Hebrew and Yiddish. However, your brother in law is competent in both languages, and would be happy to help you learn about your family. The Chotin book can be found here:

Although you might not be able to read the language, there are lots of pictures of your Grandfather's town.

Also, using my best three am yiddish, I translated a random passage about an orchestra in the town. There is a lot more there, but I would have to devote some time to it, and maybe use a dictionary. Perhaps this summer, if you are interested, we could look at some more of it...

"Luck blessed Chotin in the midst of a bad time, in 1904-1905. A few young doctors returned from far away. Advocates and chemists--they began a societal revival in the city. They brought in culture!
Mendel Reis, one of the greatest heroes in Chotin, was one such person. Almost everyone became a banker, like their father, except one, Chana Reise, who was an exception to the rule. He didn't want to be a banker or a business man. He divorced his wife and occupied himself only with societal work.l Ever year, he traveled to German or Austria and returned with new plans for his circle.

Chana Reis founded an orchestra for brass instruments, which performed for the public...The orchestra was formed in 1904 and a new group was founded in 1910. The 45 members from the orchestra played for free. Chana Reis brought instruments from Leipzig and a Director, a famous musician, from Kiev. The orchestra received a name and when the Czar came to town, in 1915, the Orchestra was sent to play for his highness.

The orchestra gave four concerts, and impressed the youth. One can say that it was one of the best orchestras in Bessarabia"....}

The most amazing thing about this "random passage" from the book is that I am a Reis!!! Yes, my maiden name was "Reiss". I know my Goldberg side of the family was from here, but Daniel also found the Reis side too! My great grandmother told my father as a child that she and my great grandfather came over as little kids on the same ship around the turn of thr century. So perhaps, it really is a long lost story that they came from the same town too. Wow, just wow!
Check out THIS post that Daniel wrote about these things, it's important.

What I took out of my "Dear Morris Goldberg" post was a link to THIS page. I thought it was too sad. This is why we need to remember and why we need to teach our children tollerence. And while you're at it, teach them that apathy can be deadly too. It unbelievably sad what happened in Khotin and everywhere else around Europe to the Jewish people. It's hard to wrap my mind around it, but if my family, if Jon's family hadn't escaped when they did, Jon and I and Noah wouldn't be alive. Millions of people, just like us, normal, everyday loving, caring people were killed just for being them. It's not fair is it? How can humans do this to one another?

Thanks Rabbi D., for the translations. Just amazing, just a miracle.


Kendra Lynn said...

Amazing! I wish I knew more about my ancestors..>I know a little here and there, but nothing like THAT! Excellent.:)

Judy said...

That is awesome, Lauren! I've been doing some family history-digging, but nothing like this!