Saturday, July 19, 2008

Radauti Update

Sam Gruber reports that there has been progress made toward restoring the synagogue and Jewish cemetery in Radauti, Romania, the hometown of our paternal grandparents. I last visited there two years ago, when I took these pictures:

I found the cemetery in pretty good shape, compared to others in Romania and elsewhere. The tombstones have extremely interesting carving, the frequent motif of the hand of God breaking the tree of life is particularly vivid. Also, a number of the stones still bear traces of brightly colored paint.

During my visit, I discussed plans to restore the synagogue with Tanya Grinberg, then the secretary (actually the leader) of the tiny resident Jewish community. Tanya died suddenly last fall, and I don't know what impact her death has had on local developments.

Here is Sam's report (also should be viewable on his blog):

Romania: Radauti (Radautz) Jewish Heritage Documented and Posted On-Line

Descendants of the Jews of Radautz in Bukovina, (now Radauti, Romania)
have banded together to work with the local Jewish Community and the
Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania to document the town's
Jewish heritage –including all of the gravestones in the cemetery -
and to make this information available on-line.


Since 2005, the group has amassed thousands of photos of the cemetery
gravestones and epitaphs, and these have now been listed in an online


Last year there were tensions between the "outsiders" and the local
Jewish community which produced a flurry of accusations that spilled
into the local media. Now, however, misunderstandings seem to be
resolved, and both groups are united in their commitment to maintain
the historic cemetery and to develop a restoration program for the
synagogue, which is, overall, still in good condition.

An online slideshow of the synagogue, built in 1879, showing the need
for repairs can be seen at:

The synagogue, which is listed as a protected historic site, has
recently been included in the "Action Plan for the Protection of the
Jewish Heritage" adopted by the Romanian Government. A good portion of
the costs for restoration, for which planning began in 2007, will be
covered from this source. Additional funding for the project will
certainly be needed.

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