15 September 2018

Photo Finish and Balance Sheet in Rheinberg (9,115 km)

Distance: 9,115 kilometers = 5,664 miles
Route by motorcycle: 7,398 km = 4,597 miles
Route by ferry boat: 1,062 km = 660 miles
Route by railroad: 655 km = 407 miles
Travel period: 02.08.2018 - 12.09.2018 = 42 days
Difference in temperature: 11°C=52°F (Bukovel) / 39°C=102°F (Istanbul)
Photos: about 2,500
Traffic tickets: US$ 10.00 (see Bakshish)
Major problem: ghost driver coming up ahead between Lublin and Chelm
Bakshish: US$ 10.00 (see Traffic tickets)
Travel expenses: affordable
Personal meetings: innumerable
Experiences: priceless

Stages (19 stages = 9,115 km = 42 days)

Photographic Supplement

Architectonic Contrasts in Warsaw
Bukovinian Sportsmanship in Warsaw
Shopping Experience with Dictator in Odessa
Shopping Experience with Nude in Odessa
Mortuary Car to Rent in Batumi
Shopping Experience in Anatolia
Gas Station with Mosque or Vice Versa in Anatolia
Potemkin Police Patrol in Turkey
Twilight in Istanbul
Night Shopping in Istanbul
Fish Market in Istanbul
Bye-Bye, Orient!

14 September 2018

Blurred Borders (Vienna, 7924 km)

(Vienna, 10.09.2018 - 12.09.2018) Coming to Vienna, one of my first walks takes me to the Freyung a triangular public square in Vienna, located in the first district of the city. The name Freyung has its origin from the old German word "frey", meaning "free". I love the mood of this square with its mixture of Austrian and Italian atmosphere in the middle of Vienna.

Apparently not too much has changed over the last century, the photo above showing the Freyung on June 7, 1917. I harvested this photo (Courtesy: ÖNB Photo Archives) from the catalog to the exhibition "Verwischte Grenzen • Jüdische Identitäten in Zentraleuropa nach 1918" [Blurred Borders • Jewish Identities in Central Europe after the year 1918]. The exhibition organized by the Institute for Jewish History in Austria and hosted by the former St. Pölten Synagogue is still running until October 6, 2018.

One of the exhibition walls is dedicated to Romania and Bukovina. We discover two photos, a short biography of my grandfather Elias Hauster as well as an excerpt out of one of his letters from September 1947,  addressed to my father, Julius Hauster:

"Als die Bukowina im Jahre 1918 an Rumänien fiel, mußte ich, da ich höherer Stadtbeamter war, wohl oder übel als 40-jähriger Mensch A-B-C-Schütze in der rumänischen Sprache werden. Wir Minoritätler mußten nach Absolvierung eines Kursus durch eine Prüfung nachweisen, daß wir die rumänische Sprache so weit beherrschen, als sie zum 'Amtsgebrauche' notwendig ist, was auch richtig geschah. Die schöne rumänische Sprache nahm dabei keinen ernstlichen Schaden, denn Rumäne und Nichtrumäne gaben in herzerfreuender Einmütigkeit ihrer Überlebensfreude über den Weltkrieg hinaus in gutem bukowiner Deutsch mehr oder weniger beredten Ausdruck, je nach dem Vorrat an täglicher Speise - Mămăligă [Anm.: rum. 'Maismehlbrei'] mit Rübenschnitzelmarmelade - über die man verfügte.  Als neugebackener Bürger des nunmehrigen 'Großrumänien' geriet ich oft in die Notwendigkeit, an Behörden Gesuche in rumänischer Sprache zu machen. Kleine stilistische Unvollkommenheiten waren nie ein Hindernis für die Abweisung dieser Gesuche, wenigstens waren die Abweisungen nie mit meinen Stilentgleisungen motiviert."

This letter deals ostensibly with the Romanian language examination, which 'senior civil servants' like my grandfather, raised in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, had to take in order to keep their position. As a matter of fact it's rather a reckoning with the supercilious treatment by the authorities in interwar Greater Romania, a tractate full of subtle irony and masterly worded in German language. This is just one out of 143 letters written by my grandfather to my father Julius Hauster on different subjects like aliya, politics in post WW2 Romania, Soviet Russia, Palestine, Transnistria, Czernowitz, Auschwitz, Radautz and much else. These letters are available online: http://radautz.blogspot.com/

Dr. Gaëlle Fisher starts her article "Between Liberation and Emigration: Jews from Bukovina in Romania after the Second World War", published in the Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 2017, as follows: "The more than one hundred letters written by Elias Hauster (born 1878) to his son Julius (born 1912) between 1946 and 1949 give a privileged insight into the circumstances of Bukovina Jews in the immediate aftermath of the war. [...] The preserved correspondence, Elias’s letters to his son, reveal a great deal about everyday life and circumstances as well as Elias’s visions of the future and the lessons drawn from the recent past. In 1946 when the correspondence started, Elias and his wife were in a desperate situation. They lived in a small, cold basement flat without a bathroom, and they were in need of everything: clothes, food, and medication."

No doubt about, Elias would have been proud to appear on the same exhibition board together with Prive Friedjung and Paul Celan!

12 September 2018

Sunday Rest in Satu Mare (Satu Mare, 7345 km)

(Satu Mare, 09.09.2018 - 10.09.2018) From Czernowitz to Satu Mare in Transylvania, more than four hundred kilometers across the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, on a cold (11°C / 52°F) and rainy day, rather a compulsory exercise than a freestyle. Ukrainian policemen and customs officers, who bluntly are asking for bakshish round out the portray. Time for a Sunday rest in Satu Mare.

But a glimpse behind the scenes may revise this view and if you were thinking that my post "Keep Calm and Visit Batumi" was already spectacular, then just have a look to Satu Mare.

Fortunately I visited Satu Mare several times before and my post "Satu Mare - Sathmar - Szatmárnémeti" from June 2009 made it even to Wikipedia.

11 September 2018

Meeting Friends & News from Czernowitz (Czernowitz, 6936 km)

(Czernowitz, 04.09.2018 - 09.09.2018) I'm willing to admit, that the heading of this post is not brilliantly witty, but the photos and notes below get straightly to the heart of my this year's Czernowitz visit.

For the 10th time since the year 2009, the ASF [Action Reconciliation Service for Peace] Volunteer Team is gathering in Czernowitz for its annual summer camp at the Jewish Cemetery. Besides others, volunteers and/or professionals hired by relatives and friends, they are doing a tremendous job, the result speaking for itself. For the very first time headstones literally come to light, which were deeply hidden over many decades.

It was my privilege to meet the worldwide-known photographer Boris Savelev in Natalya Bogomaz's recently opened Steinbarg Art Gallery on Universitätsgasse. Savelev's extraordinary photographic work has earned him a place in major international collections worldwide, among them, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and many other respectable institutions. While my holiday fund decreased significantly, I can't wait to get the new acquired artworks by Boris Savelev and Alexander Bogomaz - Natalya's son from Kiev - to Germany.

Evgenija Lopata is the Director of the International Poetry Festival Meridian Czernowitz, which year by year is perhaps the most powerful cultural and political message from Czernowitz out to the world. It is amazing to see, how many specially young people are attending the festival events - free entry to all - and how informally they are interacting with the artists from around the globe.

Dr. Oxana Matychuk is the Head of Gedankendach, the Ukrainian-German Cultural Society from Czernowitz. Together with her students, Oxana is making a substantial contribution to the success of the International Poetry Festival Meridian Czernowitz. They do this in close cooperation with the Paul Celan Literature Center on Herrengasse.

Another highlight was my visit to The Chernivtsi Museum of the History and Culture of the Bukovinian Jews  under the direction of my good friend Mykola Kuschnir. I feel honored to have met Josef Zissels, the Co-President of Vaad of Ukraine, the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of Ukraine. Josef Zissels, a well-known Ukrainian Jewish dissident, aspires to a deeper commitment of the Ehpes Czernowitz-L Discussion Group in the new Holocaust Museum to be established after reconstruction in the "Beit-Kaddishin" or "House of Farewell" at the Jewish Cemetery.

Serghei Voronțov and Dragoș Olaru both are publicists and authors of several books, among them one on Traian Popovici: "TRAIAN POPOVICI punea omenia mai presus decât ambițiile și interesele politice". At the same time they are pillars of the representation of the Romanian minority in Czernowitz. In our middle, in front of the Romanian Cultural Center Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi on Herrengasse we have the Jewish artist Bronislav Tutelman. Let's view through his eyes the arrival of the Soviets in town in 1940!

Like Serghei Voronțov and Dragoș Olaru, the artist, photographer and editor Nicolae Haucă [Mykola Havka] is deeply involved in the political, cultural and social activities of the Romanian minority in Czernowitz. His brilliant photo of the "Blues Brothers" Dragoș Olaru and Bronislav Tutelman shows a moment of Romanian-Jewish harmony!?

07 September 2018

Annus Mirabilis in Suceava (Suceava, 6842 km)

(Suceava, 03.09.2018 - 04.09.2018) After a diversion of not less than 4883 km in fifteen stages - the direct route to Suceava would have been 1959 km - we finally made it to Southern Bukovina and Suceava. Everywhere, for instance at the regional border or in town, the Romanian authorities point continuously to the centenary, which marks the unification of Transylvania, but also of the provinces of Bessarabia and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

The Romanian Government represented by its Romanian Cultural Institute states: "In the annus mirabilis 1918, at the end of the bloodiest war history had ever known, Romanians fulfilled their most cherished political ideal: the unification of all provinces where they were in the majority – Transylvania, Banat, Crișana, Maramureș, Bessarabia, and Bukovina – with the Old Kingdom of Romania in one democratic, national state." This statement is questionable, besides the fact that the term "annus mirabilis" is grossly overstated. But at the same time the period of 100 years stands for the time frame for the obligation of secrecy imposed by the Romanian National Archives. Nevertheless in Suceava we succeeded to fill in the only remaining blank in our "Books of Seven Seals", i. e. the Solca Births / Marriages / Deaths for the years 1917-1929. Mission accomplished!

05 September 2018

If you don't have anything to do,... (Bucharest, 6396 km)

(Bucharest, 31.08.2018 - 03.09.2018) ...please don't do it here! This was the enigmatic message, edited and written in perfect German, which I found on a slip of paper while I was looking for the gravesite of my paternal grandparents at the Bucharest Giurgiului Jewish Cemetery.

No way to locate the gravesite at the rear since, like in Czernowitz and many other Jewish cemeteries in Ukraine and Romania too, nature claimed its rights and transformed the grounds into a real jungle. But again - remember Batumi - we face a sharp contrast between the front...

...and the back area of the cemetery. It's a never ending story, once the workers sometimes are going to complete the cleaning works at the rear, they will have to start all over again at the front.

The slogan "If you don't have anything to do, please don't do it here" for sure doesn't apply for Bucharest itself, which became one of the most hip cultural hotspots in Europe. Not only the number but the quality of cultural events is overwhelming and there is a good chance to become lost in the light of such an overabundance. Better yo go for a walk on the legendary Calea Victoriei [Victory Avenue], again one of the countless events in town organized by the Bucharest Municipality.