Photo taken in:UjvidekCountry name at time of photo:Austria-Hungary, pre 1918Country name today:Serbia
My great-grandparents Moric and Sirina Bergel in Novi Sad [called Ujvidek, part of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, at the time].
Moric Bergel, was a wheat trader in Senta who had his own mill and bakery. At the time there were laws forbidding Jews from owning land so he did not own any wheat fields. They say that he was "poziv na pogrom", "invited to the pogrom" because he had such a Jewish face. He was known to be very witty, constantly pulling practical jokes. Once, while my mother was in school he came to the school and had her called out of class in order to relay a very important message. She and her teachers were worried that something was wrong. But Moric just wanted to tell her that their cat caught a mouse and that she should hurry home for lunch. Some of his pranks had more significant effects. He had one brother who also lived in Senta and had a great fear of dying. Playing on his brother's fear of death, one day he had the local morticians go to his brother's house looking to collect his brother's corpse. After his brother learned that he had arranged this prank he never spoke to him again and the two brothers died without reconciling with one another. While he was a prankster, he certainly was not a traveler. He did not like to travel and rarely left Senta. Great-grandfather's wife Sirina [nee Stajnfeld] was born in Slavonia and at some point moved to Senta. She was much more observant than he, who was always looking for a way to avoid religious practice and observance. He died in Senta in 1939. Great-grandfather and great-grandmother had two children, Andras and Tereza.