05 August 2016

From "Mein Shtetele Belz" to "Eterna mea iubire Bălți" (3366 km)

(Bălți, 03.08.2016 - 05.08.2016) Please join me for a short side trip to Bălți in Moldova. There is a long way to go from the Jewish Belz made famous by the Yiddish song "Mein Shtetele Belz", to the Romanian-Moldovian "Eterna mea iubire Bălți" [Bălți, My Eternal Love].

Christian Herrmann visited the Jewish cemetery of Bălți earlier this year. His posting "A Last Witness" gives us an idea of the Jewish community of Bălţi during the interwar period with its vibrant population of trade, industry and culture, Zionism and Yiddish, political parties and youth movements.


Nowadays practically nothing evokes this vanished world any more, since nearly all Jews of Bălți perished during the Holocaust. Without Jews there was no need for the Soviet regime to preserve the Jewish heritage. As a quid pro quo, the Soviet symbols largely disappeared from the townscape too.


Theory and practice by taking the provision of housing as an example. "Plattenbau" - a valid term both in German and English - as far as the eye can reach.


No doubt about, the slogan "Eterna mea iubire Bălți" [Bălți, My Eternal Love] sounds too good to be true. On the other hand, Bălți gives the impression of a tranquil city and it's very interesting to learn, that the population speaks predominantly Russian, regardless of their ethnicity - for the Moldavian-Romanian minded political establishment for sure a great nuisance. That's the way it is!

1 comment:

Family Sleuther said...

Your photos really bring the town to life and underscore the loss. Having traveled to Moldova a couple times, the nondescript apartment tower blocks brought back memories.