Zalman Rosenthal

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This is my mother's cousin Zalman Rosenthal. This photo was taken in Kishinev, in 1954, after Zalman returned from the camp. Zalman gave my mother this photograph.

Zalman was born in Telenesti in 1889. He was educated at home, gave private classes of Hebrew, worked in a pharmacy. Then he finished a grammar school in Odessa, as an external student. In 1923 he started to work as an editor with the daily Yiddish Zionist newspaper ‘Undzere Tsayt’ in Kishinev. Uncle Zalman was a Zionist. My mother and he often talked about politics and I often heard the name of Jabotinsky, it didn’t mean anything to me at the time. Zalman went to Palestine and bought a plot of land there. He wanted to move there, but his wife was against it. In March 1938 the Romanian government closed ‘Undzere Tsayt.’ In 1939 he went to work in the Zionist organization Keren Kayemet in Kishinev as an instructor for collecting funds. When in 1940 Bessarabia was annexed to the USSR, he was arrested on the charges of Zionism and exiled farther than Arkhangelsk in the North.

After Stalin died Uncle Zalman returned from a labor camp in 1954. He had been kept there for 14 years and returned a broken, ill man. He wasn’t released, but sent to reside in Kishinev, which meant that he had to make his appearance in the KGB office in Kishinev every week. His wife and daughters finally saw him. Zalman went to work at the Aurika garment factory in the suburbs of Kishinev. The former editor began to stamp tags for garment products. At one o’clock on Sunday he came for lunch with us. I remember that he sat beside Mama. One Sunday he didn’t come. This was unusual to us. What happened? We went to see him. He was  in bed. He had had a stroke. Two days later he died. This happened in 1959. Zalman Rosenthal has never been rehabilitated. His older daughter Tsyta lives in Germany now, in Aachen, his younger daughter Musia lives in Jerusalem, Israel.  

Interview details

Interviewee: Bella Chanina
Natalia Fomina
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Kishinev, Moldova


Zalman Rosenthal
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after WW II
before WW II:
Journalist/ editor
after WW II:
Manual laborer

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