Rudi Katz

Rudi Katz's graduation diploma from the apprentice school in Brasov

Rudi Katz
Interviewer: Andreea Laptes
Date of interview: January 2003

Mr. Katz is a 74-year-old man who lives in a two-room apartment. His living room is literally piled up with books; there isn't enough room for them on the shelves: books on anatomy, science, languages, history, psychology, Judaism. He's especially proud of an old German-Yiddish dictionary. There is a rather old computer on his desk: he learned to use it and even fix it himself. He has an incredibly sharp mind, and he is very active. Despite his age, he still studies every day, has friends and is very involved in the community life. He's one of the few who know Hebrew well enough to teach others, and young Jews often come to him for help in their Hebrew studies. His politeness borders timidity sometimes, and you can tell he is a very sensitive person.

Family background
Growing up
During the War
After the War

Family background

My paternal grandfather, Nusen Katz, lived in Carlibaba at the time I knew him, but he originally came from Ukraine. This grandfather had a rather interesting story: when he was only three or four years old, he was taken across the border to Romania and abandoned there, because of some ongoing pogroms in Ukraine. He was adopted by a man named Katz, but although he bore his name, he wasn't really a Katz. I don't know a lot of things about my paternal grandfather, because he lived rather far from Cernauti. I only saw him once, but I remember he wore his beard trimmed. He worked as a clerk in a timber station. I don't know exactly what kind of schooling he had, but he must have had something at least equivalent to high school today. He knew mathematics and did a lot of complicated calculations, like timber cubing. If one wanted to buy a forest, he would have to make an investigation and find out the amount of timber he could obtain from the trees. My grandfather knew how to calculate that. He wasn't very religious, but he was still in touch with the Jewish way of life. Judging from what I have heard of him, he was more of an intellectual, and more open to novelty. This is perhaps because he had an industrial activity and he had to keep up with technology and the changes in society. As I learned much later, he was highly respected by people in the Jewish community and Christians alike.

About my paternal grandmother, Rosa Katz, I don't know a lot of things; I remember she was a quiet person, and that she always wore a kerchief on her head. My father talked about his father more than he did about his mother, and especially about what was going on in the village. I remember a story, that my grandfather's cart was followed by a pack of wolves during one hard winter. My father said that a tragedy could have happened if the horses hadn't been fast enough. My grandfather died in the 1930s and my grandmother died some time before him.

My grandparents lived in a house in Carlibaba, a bit off the main road; it was a nice house, with three or four rooms and a big porch. I went to see this house, some time in the 1960s, and I was glad to see there were people who still remembered my grandfather... I understood my grandfather got along very well with the people around him; he would even help them with calculations. There were some people, in their fifties, who spoke perfect Yiddish to me; they were Christians, but they learned it from Jewish friends when they were young. You could tell from that that Jews and Christians got along well. I also tried to find my grandparents' graves, but I couldn't read the inscriptions on the tombstones, they were too old.

My father had two brothers: one who died in World War I, Iosef I think, and Lazar; he was a tailor, but I don't know anything else about him or his family. My father also had three sisters: Clara, Loti and Golda. Golda died when she was young. Clara was a seamstress and Loti worked in a factory. They made aliyah, but I don't know whether they were married or not. My father cared a lot about his family: his brother who died in the war and his sisters.

My maternal grandfather was called Zise Popper, and he lived in Paraul Negru, not far from Cernauti. I used to visit my grandparents when I was seven or eight years old, during the summer holidays, and I used to stay a few weeks. A lot of times I went there alone, my father put me on the bus; the bus didn't go all the way to Paraul Negru, so a neighbor or a friend of my grandfather's waited for me with a cart and took me to their house. My grandfather had a small grocery store there, but before that he had an inn and a bigger house. I know they used to have cattle, cows at least, because my mother told me that she used to cry whenever she heard them bellowing on the way to the slaughterhouse. My grandfather was a very strong man, well built: he could lift two kegs that weighed 20 - 25 kilograms and put them on the counter.

Grandfather was a religious man, he didn't shave, and he wore payes and put on his tefillin three times a day. He was a sober person, strong-willed and not very talkative. All his life he was as strong as a bull, he ate well, drank a draught or two, and only in his late years he had problems walking. He had a bitter end because of this. He was with us when we were deported, in 1941. He was left behind at Marculesti 1, because he couldn't walk, and he died there. Nobody who got left behind survived.

My grandmother Baba Popper was a tiny, lively woman, and everybody was very fond of her, my grandfather most of all; she probably had very little schooling, but she had a native intelligence, and she ran the entire household. She made all the arrangements, and even my grandfather listened to her. People would always gather around her and talk for hours on end. She was the heart of the house, and religious, too: she read a translated version of the Siddur in Yiddish. She wore a kerchief on her head, not a wig, and kept a kosher household and always observed Sabbath. They lived in a small house, with two rooms and a kitchen. The grocery store was in one room, and they lived in the other. Across the street they had a lumber- room, where I slept sometimes, on the floor, covered only in blankets and sheep skin. I still remember the smell of the apples they kept there! They had no electricity or running water.

My grandmother didn't know Hebrew, but my grandfather could read the prayers in Hebrew. They spoke Yiddish in the house, and also Romanian and Ukrainian, because most of the village people were Ukrainians. They didn't raise animals, but I'm sure they grew vegetables because my mother was very good at gardening. My grandparents had a box in the house, with a menorah on it and a lock, where they gathered money for the Zionists in Israel, for Keren Kayemet 2. They were very good friends with their Christian neighbors, they visited each other, helped each other with money; they had good relationships with the people around them. They only left the village during the high holidays, because there was no synagogue there, and so they would travel to one or gather with other Jews to form a minyan.

My mother had two brothers: one was Osias, who got married and didn't leave the countryside. I don't remember his wife's name, or the village he lived in. He had no children. He was a well-built man, like my grandfather, and had a grocery store, just like my grandfather. We visited him very seldom, because he lived far from Cernauti. The other brother, Iosef, lived in Cernauti, where he was a clerk. He and his wife, Frida, had a boy, Armin. Armin died in an accident in Israel. My mother also had a sister, who died young. I don't remember her name.

My father [Sapse Katz] was born in Carlibaba in the 1890s, but he lived with my mother in Ceranuti. I don't know why or when he moved to Cernauti. He learnt tailoring in Carlibaba when he was young, like his brother Lazar, but he worked in the forestry industry like his father. He never told me, but I think his father wanted his sons to have some qualifications before learning more. In Cernauti he was a clerk in a timber station; he had a small notebook with him, where he had written a lot of mathematical formulae, which he used in his office, calculating timber cubing, for example.

He wasn't an exuberant person, but he got along well with the people around him. He knew German, Romanian and Yiddish, and had his father's inclination towards calculations. He taught me how to calculate, when I was only five years old. He was proud of me and showed all his friends what his son could do. He took good care of me; he took me swimming and sleighing. I remember he made my first pair of skis; he got some wood, boiled it and then forced them to curve. But he wasn't very affectionate and he didn't talk to me about my problems.

My mother, Clara Popper, was born in Paraul Negru, in the 1890s. She had only completed elementary school, but she loved to read. I don't know a lot about her life when she was young, but I think she was very close to her mother - she was like her in many ways. She was the heart of the house and my father listened to her. She was more intellectual, read a lot. She knew some things about Romanian history, and about a lot of Romanian writers and poets. She was appreciated by our neighbors very much.

I believe they got married in the 1920s through a shadkhan; my mother lived in a village and my father lived in a town by that time, so they couldn't have met at a dance, like it was the case in other families. I remember my mother had a ketubbah, written in Hebrew from the rabbi who married them in the synagogue in Cernauti. She was a housewife, she took care of the house; sometimes she even baked bread when we had to save money.

Growing up

We lived in a small house that was built with the help of an uncle, after the plans my father drew. It had two apartments: one was always rented and one was ours. It had one room, a kitchen and a big porch; we also had a small garden, where my mother planted vegetables - I still remember the taste of the tomatoes! We had simple furniture, just the necessary things, a bed, a kitchen table where we ate and chairs around it. We had no electricity or running water, the water closet was in the garden, and we had to bring water from the well, which was in the garden. Bringing water was usually my job, if I was around. If not, my mother did it. Later we had electricity, but no running water. My mother lit a fire in the kitchen, and during winter, she heated bricks on the stove, wrapped them in cloth and then put them in the bed. She only made a fire in the room if we had guests. She did all the household chores; only occasionally a woman came to help her with the laundry.

Sometimes I went with my mother to the market - there was a small market nearby. Early in the morning, peasants came and put their goods on carpets on the ground, there were no stands like today: they brought eggs, hens, cheese. A woman came with her cart and brought us milk every day. We had no animals, but I had two pets, a cat and a dog; my father wasn't very fond of them and one day he took the dog away; I was very sad.

My parents didn't dress traditionally; they wore ready-made clothes just like everybody else. My father went to work in an office, so he dressed accordingly: in trousers and a jacket. My father wasn't very religious, he didn't keep Sabbath because he had to work on Saturdays, and he didn't pray every day; but when he could, on the high holidays, he went to the synagogue, maybe even every four weeks; he loved to socialize and chat. My mother was more religious than him, she tried to respect Sabbath: she would ask a Ukrainian neighbor to come and light the fire, and she avoided hard work. Every Friday evening she cleaned the house, baked challah, lit the candles and said the prayers. Evenings like those were like a light among all my childhood memories. She always went to the shochet to have the chickens slaughtered.

My favorite holidays were Pesach, Yom Kippur and Friday evenings [Sabbath]. On the first day of Pesach my mother would clean the house, and take out special cutlery. [Actually, the cleaning at Pesach has to be finished the day before.] I also remember the chazzan, dressed in white after being in the mikveh, and blowing the shofar on Yom Kippur. That image still lights up my memory. There was a song about the martyrdom of Jews; women cried when they sang that. I didn't have a bar mitzvah, because I was on the road when I should have had it. Later, in 1949, I was sick, then busy making a living; and under the communist regime I couldn't go to the synagogue.

My parents weren't politically involved; I remember my father came home once with the book 'Capitalul' [Karl Marx's 'The Capital,' forbidden by the Iron Guard 3] - a friend from work asked him to hide it for him for a while. My mother burned it immediately. They got along well with their neighbors, Jewish or not, and they visited each other. But they had close relationships with my mother's brother, Iosef, who called on us on Saturdays. We also visited him and his wife, Frida.

Cernauti was a modern town, which inherited a lot from the Austro-Hungarian culture. It had beautiful buildings, paved roads, and friendly people. Education was compulsory, the commerce was booming. We lived on the outskirts, a bit far from the center. We had Jewish, German, and Ukrainian neighbors. The Jewish community was big, and well structured: over 30 to 40 percent of the town's population. Most of the Jews were well situated, except maybe those who lived in the crowded Jewish neighborhood. We had a relative there we visited from time to time, but I don't remember what kind of relative he was.

Cernauti had a rich religious life, there were five or six synagogues in the town, and also a beautiful temple, which was later set on fire. We went to the one closest to us. It was a small synagogue, with simple people: they weren't intellectuals, doctors, or professors. For these simple people the notion of reformism didn't have much meaning; they were neither Orthodox 4 nor reformed. There was only a shammash, but no rabbi there. I don't know about other synagogues, but the Jews at the big temple were different, they were intellectuals, so they were reformed. But in those years this separation into different streams of religion wasn't that visible.

The Jews in Cernauti had a lot of cultural organizations, where they sang Jewish songs or recited poems; they made trips around Cernauti, but I was too young to join them. And almost every Jewish house raised money for Keren Kayemet. Very popular among Jews were the Jewish theaters, which preserved a certain way of thinking and feeling: I still remember an actress, Sidi Tal, who was very famous then.

There weren't typical occupations for Jews. A Jew could be anything, from a butcher to a lawyer, especially since there were no Anti-Jewish laws 5 then [in the 1930s]. Jews could go to school, college, own houses or stores. Near our street there was an oxygen factory and the owner was a Jew. But making a living was hard for a lot of people; I remember the chazzan in the synagogue where we went was a tinsmith, but at the same time he was also a chacham, a shammash, and from time to time he was called up to the Torah to read from it as well, during the service.

My mother looked after me when I was small, with no help. Then I went to kindergarten, and then I went to the normal state school in Cernauti from 1934 to 1939. I especially liked mathematics and physics. I had good teachers, who made sure that at least a few students understood what they taught: they asked questions, and were more involved in the teaching process than I think they are nowadays. I don't remember one of them in particular. I got along well with all my classmates, it didn't matter that I was a Jew. I made friends easily, and we often went hiking or swimming - there was a lake nearby. I also played a bit of football, near our house there was a football field; it was the town's football field, called Maccabi 6. We had a really good football team. Sports, in general, were very popular among the Jewish organizations.

My father didn't study religion with me, but he sent me to cheder two or three times a week, from the age of six until I was around ten years old. He didn't want to send me to do further studies in a yeshivah, but it was tradition, and I think my mother wanted me to have some basic knowledge about Judaism. We studied with bocherim from Maramures, who knew Hebrew, in a room in the synagogue we usually went to. It wasn't really a classroom, with a blackboard, and we didn't use notebooks. We just had to have a Hummash or Siddur, the teacher read first and then we had to read after him. He would go around and hear us read, and if we made mistakes, he would slap us.

We studied with both bocherim and melamedim. I studied with a melamed, Margulis. He had a cheder in his home, but he also came to our home to teach me; we did translations from the Hummash, and reading exercises, and learned the right punctuation. I remember he had a lot of books, but he didn't speak Hebrew as well as the young bocherim, who studied in a yeshivah. I remember I had a friend whose melamed was teaching him Hebrew, and it was a sensation, because Jewish kids usually learnt that in yeshivah, not in cheder. I wasn't very hardworking, during the class I never read the entire paragraph I was supposed to, because I used to go drink water three times, then ask permission to go to the toilet three times. When I took it up again, after I retired, I barely knew the letters! But it eventually came back to me.

We had a library in the house; my mother read good novels in German, and my father was fond of history books. We also had religious books, like the Mazor. I loved reading, and my father was sometimes annoyed because I read too much or I read things I wasn't supposed to read. He once burnt some of my books - I liked to read books from a series called 'Famous Women': it was about famous women throughout history, like Anne Boleyn, the mistress [second wife] of King Henry VIII of England, and that kind of reading was prohibited - and so my father smacked me. He got very upset when a neighbor gave me a Magazine of Science and Travel because he thought it distracted me from studying. [This is a magazine with scientific articles and feature articles on different countries.] He never thought that kind of reading was useful for a child's evolution. He believed I should read only books for school, and that I should be obedient and polite. My mother usually took my side when it came to reading. I didn't go to a library, because there wasn't one nearby, but my father had a friend, a high school teacher, to whom he advised me to go. I borrowed from him Romanian literature, like Creanga or Sadoveanu [Ion Creanga (1837-1889) and Mihail Sadoveanu (1880- 1961), famous Romanian writers]. But back then I was crazy about Karl May, adventure books, the Magazine of Science and Travel. [May, Karl (1842- 1912): real name Carl Friedrich May, German author, best known for his wild west books set in the American West and similar stories set in the Orient and Middle East.]

I had a lot of friends. I liked Feder, an acquaintance of my father; he was a carpenter and I loved spending time with him in his workshop, where it always smelled like wood. I liked his family and kids, too, they were a happy family. A Christian family rented the other apartment, and I made friends with their daughter, Viorica. We were the same age, eight or nine years old. There was another boy who lived in the neighborhood, Nathan Kurz; we were friends. Across the street was another Jewish family, Dachner, who had girls. One of them, Sulamita, was my age and we got along really well; everybody called her Slima. I had Christian friends as well, two German boys: Rudi, who left for Germany in 1940, and Fiebich. I remember Fiebich drew beautifully. During the holidays I stayed at home with my parents, I never went to a youth camp or something like that; sometimes I went to my grandfather in Paraul Negru.

During the War

Until I was deported with my family to the Tibulovca 7 concentration camp in Transnistria 8 in 1941, I wasn't directly confronted with anti- Semitism, but I had heard of it. Newspapers talked about the events in Germany, and there was news of the Iron Guard movement at the universities, where Jews were beaten and thrown out. I made friends with a boy who had come from Austria right after the Anschluss 9, in 1938; he probably had relatives here. There was some tension in our house; I think my parents became aware of the fact that the danger could come our way.

The strongest impressions I have about the ongoing political events are from one night, after the war with Poland, when the Polish refugees came. [Rudi refers to the beginning of World War II when Germany occupied Poland without a declaration of war 10.] There was a big noise one night, and everybody came out of their houses into the main street, to see what it was. It was a huge stream of people, of all ages, with cars, carts, or on foot. There were Jews among them. The Dachners, our neighbors, took in some refugees. I remember one of them married one of their daughters later.

My first real confrontation with anti-Semitism was when I was deported. But we were affected by the anti-Jewish laws, even before we were deported; my father was forbidden to work and I couldn't go to school anymore. He had to take up tailoring again, so that he could support the family.

The deportation was an intense shock; we had no time to get used to what was going on. My grandfather died on the way, in Marculesti, because he couldn't walk. My uncle Iosef's wife, Frida, and her mother died in Tibulovca. My mother died soon after we got there, in two or three months. They all died because of typhoid fever.

Tibulovca was a village, like all concentration camps in Transnistria. It was a relatively small and isolated place. We were taken just outside the village, into a huge building that used to be a collective farm. The first winter there was terrible: no one could go into the village, because it was guarded. But there was no barbed wire like in the German concentration camps had, and there was no camp administration. Hunger and typhoid fever were everywhere. 1,700 Jews were taken to Tibulovca, and after the first winter only 200 had survived. There were no executions in Tibulovca; if it happened, they were only isolated cases.

We only got in touch with my father's sisters from Bucharest once, in 1943, when we had permission to write; they sent us some things, but nothing much, they were rather poor. I could have come home sooner, in 1943, because there was an order that children could go, but I got to Obodovca 11 late, and missed the train I should have taken and so I had to go back to Tibulovca and wait. Obodovca, a little town, was 15 to 20 kilometers away from Tibulovca; there was no forced labor there, but no one looked after you there. I came home in 1944, with my father. My father was now rather sick; in 1943, he was taken away to Buck [Bug], to build a bridge, and he came back sick.

When we came back, my father had to work as a tailor, because he wasn't allowed to be a clerk. But we were able to come back to the same house; I don't remember the exact details, but I think it was common property with some relatives. The house was empty, of course, none of the things we had were there, but it was good that we had at least a place to stay. There had been a lot of requisitions, and a lot of houses were devastated and robbed when the deportation took place. But as far as I could tell, the attitude of our neighbors and friends toward us didn't change.

After the War

When I returned, in 1944, I had no political beliefs. I had been cut off from the world for too long. For almost two years my father and I stayed in Cernauti under the Russian government. The Jews in Cernauti struggled with the authorities and eventually were given permission to join a program to go back to Israel; this meant coming to Romania, so this is how we came to Brasov, in 1946. I don't know if it was my father's choice to come here, we could have been sent here by the program. But as soon as we came, my father got sick with cancer, and he was in the hospital for more than a year, and so we couldn't go to Israel. He died in Bucharest in 1947, four weeks after he got there to visit his sisters. Neither my father nor I worked at the time, so my aunts helped us with some money.

From 1946 until 1950, about four years, I was active in a Zionist organization, the Hashomer Hatzair 12. I prepared Jews for aliyah, and a lot of people I knew then left. I had two good friends when I came back from deportation, Zuckermann and Becker. Becker left for Israel and became an actor. I don't know what happened to Zuckermann. I also had another good friend here, in Brasov, whose name was also Katz, Misi Katz! But we weren't related in any way, he came from Maramures and had been deported to Auschwitz. He was alone, just like I was. He also left for Israel, and we kept in touch for a while. I wanted to go to Israel, too, but the Zionists were always asking me to stay a bit more, because they needed me. So I ended up in Satu-Mare, and that's where I got sick with my lungs, in 1949. I was admitted to the hospital in Satu-Mare for a year, and I was also in a sanatorium in Savadisla near Cluj.

When I came back to Cernauti, I studied for two years in an apprentice school under the Russian government. When we moved to Brasov, I worked as a technician at the Consumers' Co-operatives Union for a year and a half, and then at Uzina 2, a factory with military profile. While working, I finished the apprentice school here, in Brasov, in 1954, because I was allowed to take exams from two previous years in one year. In 1955 I went to the Polytechnic University in Bucharest. I did one year in Bucharest and the rest through distance learning while I worked in Brasov. I took all my exams in 1960. During this period life was hard for me; I had some acquaintances, but I had no social life. I was either working or studying for college, so until 1960 I didn't have one day off, not even Saturdays or Sundays. In the factory there was a lack of personnel; so first I worked in the tool-making department, then I was in charge of planning. I never had a day off.

I didn't have problems at work because I was a Jew; everybody was used to talking in riddles, apparently trifling about serious subjects; nobody was willing to risk being heard speaking clearly against the system or about religion, and suffer the consequences. I used to talk to my friends like this, for example: 'You know, the Bible is just a fairytale, it's silly to believe in it...but you know, there's something interesting in it...' and so on. It never happened to me, but I have seen Christian colleagues being reproved for going to church or having the priest over because their mother was sick. I was careful.

Before 1960 I didn't have a place to live, a house of my own; I lived in rented apartments, the salary wasn't enough; I didn't have anything that belonged to me, except my clothes, not even a spoon. It was hard to get a place to live. After 1960, I got an apartment I had to share, but at least I had a place and a bigger salary. It isn't the place I live in now; I have been living here since 1980; this is a castle compared to what I had back then!

I think this was also one of the reasons I never got married; I never actually had the time to meet somebody, or the means to start up a family for a long time. For people like me, who had been alienated from their homes and families in the troubled 1940s, it took a tremendous effort to fit into the normal life once again, and try to gain what you lost or what was taken away from you.

I kept in touch with close relatives, but sporadically; my aunts, my father's sisters left for Israel, as well as my mother's two brothers. The son of Iosef, Armin, my cousin, and I were also in touch for a while, we wrote letters, but after a while I stopped writing; it was dangerous to have contacts with family from abroad. [The Securitate 13 monitored all relationship Romanian citizens had with their friends and relatives abroad; Rudi could have been taken in for questioning and could have even lost his job.]

During the communist regime, life was hard, with all the restrictions, but I had gotten used to it. In 1980 I moved to the apartment I live in now; I didn't socialize much, I had to work a lot. I never agreed with the regime, so I was never politically involved. I tried to observe Sabbath whenever I could, but a lot of times I had to work on Saturdays.

I have never been to Israel. I wasn't directly affected by the wars against Israel in 1967 14 and 1973 15, but they affected me because the existence of the state of Israel is vital for every Jew. You could feel some danger in those dramatic moments, but you also felt that the whole world was there for Israel; back then, it was an impulsive movement against Israel, and Israel had a much larger effective support than it does now. I believe it's more dangerous now, when there's a stronger coalition of forces against Israel.

Life changed for me after 1989 16; one can take part in religious Jewish life more freely than it was possible before. I believe religion is essential for every man. Before 1989, I couldn't go to the synagogue, just like many other Jews. Now there are conditions for a proper development of Jewish life, although there's a certain anti-Semitic movement that couldn't be seen before. But this is life; one cannot have things in a pure state.

I retired in 1990, and I started to study religion and Hebrew, all by myself. At the same time I offer some technical advice to some companies. Although I didn't go to the synagogue [during the communist regime], I had bought books, dictionaries from secondhand booksellers from across the country even before 1989 - I had to travel a lot with my work, so I already had the material to start up. Today I'm very involved in the Jewish community here and I receive support from it. I go to the synagogue every Saturday morning and I often read from the Torah. I cannot sing, though.


1 Marculesti transit camp

Internment camp in the village of Marculesti, situated on the banks of the Dniester River, which was established by the Romanian gendarmes on the orders of the Romanian army. The camp was set up on 1st September 1941 to detain Jews from Bessarabia who had survived the first pogrom in July and August 1941. Under the instructions of three commanders a regime of terror, robbery and rape was introduced in the camp. Jews were forced to destroy the Jewish cemetery and use tombstones to construct a paved street in the camp. Marculesti camp was liquidated by the Romanian authorities on 16th December 1941.

2 Keren Kayemet Leisrael (K

K.L.): Jewish National Fund (JNF) founded in 1901 at the Fifth Zionist Congress in Basel. From its inception, the JNF was charged with the task of fundraising in Jewish communities for the purpose of purchasing land in the Land of Israel to create a homeland for the Jewish people. After 1948 the fund was used to improve and afforest the territories gained. Every Jewish family that wished to help the cause had a JNF money box, called the 'blue box.' They threw in at least one lei each day, while on Sabbath and high holidays they threw in as many lei as candles they lit for that holiday. This is how they partly used to collect the necessary funds. Now these boxes are known worldwide as a symbol of Zionism.

3 Iron Guard

Extreme right wing political organization in Romania between 1930 and 1941, led by C. Z. Codreanu. The Iron Guard propagated nationalist, Christian-mystical and anti-Semitic views. It was banned for its terrorist activities (e.g. the murder of Romanian Prime Minister I. Gh. Duca) in 1933. In 1935 it was re-established as a party named Totul pentru Tara, 'Everything for the Fatherland', but it was banned again in 1938. It was part of the government in the first period of the Antonescu regime, but it was then banned and dissolved as a result of the unsuccessful coup d'état of January 1941. Its leaders escaped abroad to the Third Reich.

4 Orthodox communities

The traditionalist Jewish communities founded their own Orthodox organizations after the Universal Meeting in 1868- 1869.They organized their life according to Judaist principles and opposed to assimilative aspirations. The community leaders were the rabbis. The statute of their communities was sanctioned by the king in 1871. In the western part of Hungary the communities of the German and Slovakian immigrants' descendants were formed according to the Western Orthodox principles. At the same time in the East, among the Jews of Galician origins the 'eastern' type of Orthodoxy was formed; there the Hassidism prevailed. In time the Western Orthodoxy also spread over to the eastern part of Hungary. In 1896, there were 294 Orthodox mother-communities and 1,001 subsidiary communities registered all over Hungary, mainly in Transylvania and in the north-eastern part of the country,. In 1930, the 136 mother-communities and 300 subsidiary communities made up 30.4 percent of all Hungarian Jews. This number increased to 535 Orthodox communities in 1944, including 242,059 believers (46 percent).

5 Anti-Jewish laws in Romania

The first anti-Jewish laws were introduced in 1938 by the Goga-Cuza government. Further anti-Jewish laws followed in 1940 and 1941, and the situation was getting gradually worse between 1941- 1944 under the Antonescu regime. According to these laws all Jews aged 18- 40 living in villages were to be evacuated and concentrated in the capital town of each county. Jews from the region between the Siret and Prut Rivers were transported by wagons to the camps of Targu Jiu, Slobozia, Craiova etc. where they lived and died in misery. More than 40,000 Jews were moved. All rural Jewish property, as well as houses owned by Jews in the city, were confiscated by the state, as part of the 'Romanisation campaign'. Marriages between Jews and Romanians were forbidden from August 1940, Jews were not allowed to have Romanian names, own rural properties, be public employees, lawyers, editors or janitors in public institutions, have a career in the army, own liquor stores, etc. Jewish employees of commercial and industrial enterprises were fired, Jewish doctors could no longer practice and Jews were not allowed to own chemist shops. Jewish students were forbidden to study in Romanian schools.

6 Maccabi World Union

International Jewish sports organization whose origins go back to the end of the 19th century. A growing number of young Eastern European Jews involved in Zionism felt that one essential prerequisite of the establishment of a national home in Palestine was the improvement of the physical condition and training of ghetto youth. In order to achieve this, gymnastics clubs were founded in many Eastern and Central European countries, which later came to be called Maccabi. The movement soon spread to more countries in Europe and to Palestine. The World Maccabi Union was formed in 1921. In less than two decades its membership was estimated at 200,000 with branches located in most countries of Europe and in Palestine, Australia, South America, South Africa, etc.

7 Tibulovca

A small concentration camp for Romanian Jews in Transnistria, established in 1941. After the winter of 1942 only 180 Jews (100 men, 76 women and 4 children) out of 1,800 survived. The rest died from hunger and typhoid fever. They were forced to stay in a big deserted collective farm just outside the village. After that winter, survivors, all suffering from severe frostbite, were allowed to move to the village, but they had to pay with money or their remaining items of clothing. There were no executions in Tibulovca. The camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in late 1943.

8 Transnistria

Area situated between the Bug and Dniester rivers and the Black Sea. The term is derived from the Romanian name for the Dniester (Nistru) and was coined after the occupation of the area by German and Romanian troops in World War II. After its occupation Transnistria became a place for deported Romanian Jews. Systematic deportations began in September 1941. In the course of the next two months, all surviving Jews of Bessarabia and Bukovina and a small part of the Jewish population of Old Romania were dispatched across the Dniester. This first wave of deportations reached almost 120,000 by mid-November 1941 when it was halted by Ion Antonescu, the Romanian dictator, upon intervention of the Council of Romanian Jewish Communities. Deportations resumed at the beginning of the summer of 1942, affecting close to 5,000 Jews. A third series of deportations from Old Romania took place in July 1942, affecting Jews who had evaded forced labor decrees, as well as their families, communist sympathizers and Bessarabian Jews who had been in Old Romania and Transylvania during the Soviet occupation. The most feared Transnistrian camps were Vapniarka, Ribnita, Berezovka, Tulcin and Iampol. Most of the Jews deported to camps in Transnistria died between 1941-1943 because of horrible living conditions, diseases and lack of food.

9 Anschluss

The German term "Anschluss" (literally: connection) refers to the inclusion of Austria in a "Greater Germany" in 1938. In February 1938, Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg had been invited to visit Hitler at his mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden. A two-hour tirade against Schuschnigg and his government followed, ending with an ultimatum, which Schuschnigg signed. On his return to Vienna, Schuschnigg proved both courageous and foolhardy. He decided to reaffirm Austria's independence, and scheduled a plebiscite for Sunday, 13th March, to determine whether Austrians wanted a "free, independent, social, Christian and united Austria." Hitler' protégé, Seyss-Inquart, presented Schuschnigg with another ultimatum: Postpone the plebiscite or face a German invasion. On 11th March Schuschnigg gave in and canceled the plebiscite. On 12th March 1938 Hitler announced the annexation of Austria. When German troops crossed into Austria, they were welcomed with flowers and Nazi flags. Hitler arrived later that day to a rapturous reception in his hometown of Linz. Less well disposed Austrians soon learned what the "Anschluss" held in store for them. Known Socialists and Communists were stripped to the waist and flogged. Jews were forced to scrub streets and public latrines. Schuschnigg ended up in a concentration camp and was only freed in 1945 by American troops.

10 German Invasion of Poland

The German attack of Poland on 1st September 1939 is widely considered the date in the West for the start of World War II. After having gained both Austria and the Bohemian and Moravian parts of Czechoslovakia, Hitler was confident that he could acquire Poland without having to fight Britain and France. (To eliminate the possibility of the Soviet Union fighting if Poland were attacked, Hitler made a pact with the Soviet Union, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.) On the morning of 1st September 1939, German troops entered Poland. The German air attack hit so quickly that most of Poland's air force was destroyed while still on the ground. To hinder Polish mobilization, the Germans bombed bridges and roads. Groups of marching soldiers were machine-gunned from the air, and they also aimed at civilians. On 1st September, the beginning of the attack, Great Britain and France sent Hitler an ultimatum - withdraw German forces from Poland or Great Britain and France would go to war against Germany. On 3rd September, with Germany's forces penetrating deeper into Poland, Great Britain and France both declared war on Germany.

11 Obodovca

Concentration camp in Transnistria, 15-20 kilometers from Tibulovca. Because of the disastrous living conditions in the camp, a typhoid epidemic broke out in 1942, and the small town was declared a quarantine zone. No one was allowed to go out and get food, and as a result many died of typhoid and starvation. One specific person known for his torturous acts was Stefanescu, an engineer at the Agricultural Center, who beat and tortured Jews with barbed wire and who occasionally took exorbitant sums of money to issue permits that allowed their bearers to stay in Obodovca. The camp was liberated by the Soviet Army in late 1943.

12 Hashomer Hatzair

('The Young Watchman') Left-wing Zionist youth organization, which started in Poland in 1912 and managed to gather supporters from all over Europe. Their goal was to educate the youth in the Zionist mentality and to prepare them to immigrate to Palestine. To achieve this goal they paid special attention to the so-called shomer-movement (boy scout education) and supported the re-stratification of the Jewish society. They operated several agricultural and industrial training grounds (the so- called chalutz grounds) to train those who wanted to immigrate. In Transylvania the first Hashomer Hatzair groups were established in the 1920s. During World War II, members of the Hashomer Hatzair were leading active resistance against German forces, in ghettoes and concentration camps. After the war, Hashomer Hatzair was active in 'illegal' immigration to Palestine.

13 Securitate

(in Romanian: DGSP - Directia generala a Securitatii Poporului) General Board of the People's Security. Its structure was established in 1948 with direct participation of Soviet advisors named by the NKVD. The primary purpose was to 'defend all democratic accomplishments and to ensure the security of the Romanian Popular Republic against plots of both domestic and foreign enemies'. Its leader was Pantelimon Bondarenko, later known as Gheorghe Pintilie, a former NKVD agent. It carried out the arrests, physical torture and brutal imprisonment of people who became undesirable for the leaders of the Romanian Communist Party, and also kept the life of ordinary civilians under strict observation.

14 Six-Day-War (Hebrew

Milhemet Sheshet Hayamim), also known as the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Six Days War, or June War, was fought between Israel and its Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. It began when Israel launched a preemptive war on its Arab neighbors; by its end Israel controlled the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The results of the war affect the geopolitics of the region to this day.

15 Yom Kippur War (1973 Arab-Israeli War)

(Hebrew: Milchemet Yom HaKipurim), also known as the October War, the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, and the Ramadan War, was fought from 6th October (the day of Yom Kippur) to 24th October 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Egypt and Syria. The war began when Egypt and Syria launched a surprise joint attack in the Sinai and Golan Heights, respectively, both of which had been captured by Israel during the Six-Day-War six years earlier. The war had far-reaching implications for many nations. The Arab world, which had been humiliated by the lopsided defeat of the Egyptian-Syrian-Jordanian alliance during the Six-Day-War, felt psychologically vindicated by its string of victories early in the conflict. This vindication, in many ways, cleared the way for the peace process which followed the war. The Camp David Accords, which came soon after, led to normalized relations between Egypt and Israel - the first time any Arab country had recognized the Israeli state. Egypt, which had already been drifting away from the Soviet Union, then left the Soviet sphere of influence almost entirely.

16 Romanian Revolution of 1989

In December 1989, a revolt in Romania deposed the communist dictator Ceausescu. Anti-government violence started in Timisoara and spread to other cities. When army units joined the uprising, Ceausescu fled, but he was captured and executed on 25th December along with his wife. A provisional government was established, with Ion Iliescu, a former Communist Party official, as president. In the elections of May 1990 Iliescu won the presidency and his party, the Democratic National Salvation Front, obtained an overwhelming majority in the legislature.