Fw: [czernowitz2006] Cz. personal introduction
- For special attention of Mimi Taylor & Marianne Hirsch
----- Original Message -----
From: Robert Burton
To: Renee Steinig
Cc: Morry Silber ; Julia Drylewicz
Sent: Thursday, March 02, 2006 10:46 AM
Subject: Re: [czernowitz2006] Cz. personal introduction
Your Rivke Lehr may have been related to my grandmother Rachel (Regina, who married Meir/Max Kula). My information is that Noah Lehr and Leah (Lotte) Steinmetz Lehr - her parents, my great grandparents - had 8 children - my grandmother, RIFKA, Karl, Sigmund, Bertha (m. to Jacob Rubel, the Rubel name has appeared in messages), Sarah (Sidonia), Lazar (Loniu who is said to have died in 1920 in Vienna) and Jacob. However, when you write Rivke Reifer Lehr, it suggests that the maiden name was Reifer, and the relationship - if any - would be through Rivke's husband. I believe there may have been more than one family Lehr. Perhaps you might provide more information, and we can see if we are cousins.
My family history has many stories - too many for right now. For me, the BIG ONE is that my parents, Susana Lehr Kula, who married Friedrich Budabin (Frederick Burton) were two of the 700 Jews allowed into Canada in the run-up to and during the war. I have their September 4 letter home that war was declared "yesterday". My father told me that they felt they had to change the name becauseit was too German sounding. They arrived in Canada - via New York - on August 27, 1939, and one week before the war started. Their parents finally got out in 1942 -43 via Constanza (the Romanian Black Sea port), Constantinople, Cyprus and thence to Palestine, and after the war, here to Toronto.
The family is in Canada, Australia, Sweden, England, Israel & the USA - and I am sure many other countries as well. I am copying this to Morry Silber (Australia) and Julia Drylewicz (France) - Morry, I know is related; Julia, we have not been able to establish a relationship, and perhaps you or Mimi Taylor can provide some more information that links us all.
Burton-Lesbury Holdings Limited/
Cobob Holdings Limited
307 Sheppard Avenue East
Toronto, ON M2N 3B3
416 226 6895 Ext 29, Fax 416 223 0321
----- Original Message -----
From: Renee Steinig
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 9:30 AM
Subject: [czernowitz2006] Cz. personal introduction
Hello, all. Here's my saga...
Although born in western Galicia, my mother, Rose Fallik-Reifer Stern
(unfortunately, no known relation to Mimi!), spent her formative years in
Czernowitz and vicinity. In the early 1920s, after the deaths of both her
parents, she was brought to Neuzuczka to live with her father's sister,
Rivke Reifer Lehr, and family. My mother later went to school and then to
work in Czernowitz. The box full of photographs that she brought with her to
America reflect the city's vibrant and sophisticated Jewish life and the
happy times she had as a "young single" in Czernowitz. Who knows? Maybe some
of you on this list are related to some of the friends in her pictures.
My mother left Czernowitz for America in spring 1938. In New York she met my
father, a refugee from Germany. Her Czernowitz-bred fluency in German
enabled their courtship and they married in 1941. I was born in New York
City in 1947 and have lived in the New York area ever since.
The Lehrs -- the uncle and aunt who were like parents to my mother
--perished in Transnistria; Isaac died in Chechelnik in Oct. 1941, Rivka in
Bershad in Oct. 1942. Ironically, Isaac (born in Bojan) and Rivka had
emigrated from Europe c.1900. They met and married in New York City and had
their first child, Samuel (Monu), there in 1908. After a disagreement with
relatives in New York, they returned to Bukowina in 1910. World War I and
then tightened immigration laws prevented them from coming back to the U.S.
Life appears to have been difficult for them: Isaac, conscripted into the
Austrian army in World War I, was a prisoner of war, and two of the three
children born to the Lehrs in Neuzuczka between 1911 and 1923 died young. In
1930, Sam, an American citizen by birth, came back to the U.S. to avoid
military service in Romania. His younger sister, Klara Lehr Kreisler, made
aliyah after the war and lived in Tel Aviv until her death in 2003. Every
Saturday morning she met her friends from Czernowitz for coffee.
My mother's sister Eda and brother Pinchas (Pinu), who had also come to
Czernowitz after their parents' deaths, remained there during after World
War II. Pinu married Sidy Thal, the actress in the Yiddish theatre, and was
himself director or the like of the philharmonic orchestra. Pinu and Sidy
both died in Czernowitz in the 1980s and are buried in the Czernowitz
cemetery. Eda and her husband, Markus Scherzer, made aliyah in about 1990
and died in Ramat Gan.
My mother always corresponded with her sister in Czernowitz, but she was
afraid to write to her brother for many years after an incident in the early
1950's: he was jailed briefly when censors picked up a reference in one of
their letters to the possibility (or impossibility?) of his coming to
America. My mother eventually made one trip back to Czernowitz. In 1978, at
the age of 70, she traveled there to see her brother and sister for the
first time in 40 years. At that time Czernowitz was off the Intourist route,
and she had to wait months for special permission for an extended stay
there. My children were young so I was reluctant to join her on the trip.
I've always been sorry and look forward to finally having an opportunity to
visit Czernowitz with people who once lived there.
An interesting episode in her last years was a reminder of the culture my
mother was part of. After a massive stroke in 1993 damaged her brain, she
was still very verbal, and she repeatedly told us a Yiddish story about a
conversation between a brush and a shoe (spat), ending "Oz du kenst on mir
nit glantsn, meg ikh, bruder, oyf dir tantsn!" ("Since you can't shine
without me, brother, I can dance on you!") We had never heard these words
before her illness and had no idea of their source. We eventually discovered
it: "Di Barsht un der Kamash" (The Brush and the Spat), a parable by
Czernowitz writer Eliezer Steinbarg.
Some facts about me and my husband (both going on the trip):
Steve is an actuary and officer of the N.Y. Life Insurance Company, where he
has worked for 40 years. I am a homemaker, active volunteer in our community
(library board, synagogue board, etc.), and a professional genealogist --
the latter involvement an outgrowth of a 30-year obsession with researching
my own family's roots. Steve and I met as students at Columbia and Barnard
Colleges, respectively, and have been married 39 years. We are the proud
parents of Karen and Deborah and the even prouder grandparents of Benjamin
(7), Samuel (almost 4), and Talia (2)
Languages: I can read, write, and understand some German; to a lesser
degree, read and understand French and Yiddish; and read prayer book (and
gravestone) Hebrew. Unfortunately, the only language in which I can
comfortably converse is English. Steve reads and understands some Spanish; a
little German and Yiddish, and also, synagogue/cemetery Hebrew.
Renee Stern Steinig
Dix Hills (Long Island), New York, USA
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