Jewish Bukovina:

Sources for Genealogical and Family History Research

(northern Romania and western Ukraine)

originally presented at the Rom-Sig Workshop, Sunday, August 4, 2002
22nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Toronto, Canada
Modified and updated for presentation to the Jewish Genealogical Society, Montreal, Canada
May 21, 2003
Revised for the 27th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Salt Lake City
July 16, 2007
Handout for the Bukovina Update (in pdf format), as presented by Merle Kastner at Salt Lake City
Updated 16 December 2010 following the presentation by Merle Kastner at the IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Los Angeles
Updated 13 August 2011 for presentation at the IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Washington, D.C.
Updated 16 July 2012 for presentation at the IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Paris, France
Updated August 2013 for presentation at the IAJGS Conference on Jewish Genealogy, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
(look for the icon to view updates)

Bruce I. Reisch and Merle Kastner

 

Map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Bukovina is shown to the east of Galicia.

Bukovina (Bukowina, Bucovina) is a region in northern Romania and western Ukraine that until WWI was the easternmost province of the Austrian Empire. After suffering through two world wars, and following the split of the province between Romania and Ukraine at the close of the Second World War, there are some unique challenges to overcome in searching for remnants of our family history in this region. Over the last few years, many new resources for research on our Jewish ancestors from Bukovina have become available. This presentation will review some of the resources available now and others that will become available soon.


I. Vital records

A. Romanian records are fairly complete.

From Prof. Ladislau Gyemant of Cluj-Napoca, Romania: These Jewish records can be found in the State Archives in Suceava:

Radauti 1857-~1887 birth and death, 1870-77 marriage
Suceava 1843-1894
Gura Humorului 1857-1909
Cimpulung 1857-1893
Vatra Dornei 1877-1887
Burdujeni 1860-1865

Public access to the State Archives is usually permitted, but visitors may view only the records of their own families.
Visitors must fill out request form for records of interest.
Nu?  Vat's Nu?In June 2012, ROM-SIG initiated a project to create an electronic index to the records listed above! As of August, 2013, The Bukovina region database, posted within the JewishGen Romania database, contains more than 6,400 Jewish birth records from the towns of: Kimpolung (Campulung Moldovensec), Gurahumora (Gura Humorului), Radautz (Radauti), and Suczawa (Suceava).

B. Local town halls in Romania have more recent records.

Town halls may allow more access than permitted by the State Archives- varies from town to town.

C. In Ukraine, records are incomplete, vary from place to place, most are at the Oblast and City (ZAGS or RAHS) Archives in Chernivtsi.

Best information on records available can be found at the web site of the Routes to Roots Foundation; see also article by Prof. Alti Rodal in Avotaynu, Winter 2002.

Some foreign visitors to the Oblast as well as RAHS (City) Archives have successfully obtained records.

The LDS Family History Library began a major project in 2002 to microfilm records at the Oblast Archives in Chernivtsi. The following records are currently available at Family History Centers around the world:

Czernowitz city birth, marriage and death records, 1856-1929, 38 reels of microfilm

Czernowitz city birth, death and marriage records, 1930-1933, 1941 - marriage extracts only) 12 reels of microfilm (Jewish records are mixed here with Catholic, Evangelical and Orthodox records.) (this information was uncovered in October, 2009, by Ignacio Sternberg)

A project is currently underway to create an electronic index to Czernowitz birth/marriage/death records.

Czernowitz "district" birth records, 1901-1929 ( Czernowitz "district" includes the following towns: Altmamajestie, Czahor, Kamena, Kiczera, Korowja, Kotul Bainski, Kuczumare, Ludihorecza, Lukawitza, Mamornitza, Michalcze, Molodia, Neumamajestie, Ostritza, Rewna, Strilecki Kut, Woloka, and Zurin

Sadagora district, selected vital records only, 1855-1930

Nu?  Vat's Nu?Sadagora- civil registration of deaths, 1940-41

Waschkoutz am Czeremosch (Vashkivtsi) birth records, 1918-1928, includes surrounding villages

Wiznitz (Vyzhnytsia) birth and marriage records, 1918-1930, includes surrounding villages

Rohozna - civil registration of birth records, 1933

Obituary notices from Vienna's Neue Freie Presse for Czernowitzers and others from Bukovina (courtesy of Celia Male)

Nu?  Vat's Nu?"Dead and Gone" - funeral and obituary notices, as well as reports of murders and suicides, from "Der Tag", a Czernowitz daily newspaper, 1932-35. Compiled and released by Edgar Hauster.

 

D. The professional researcher option): This listing implies no warranty on the part of JewishGen or this ShtetLinks page and is provided only as a convenience. All researchers are encouraged to investigate each professional listed privately, thus performing due diligence prior to engaging in any contractual arrangement.

Please use caution before contracting with an overseas professional. Seek out recommendations, and establish all costs and methods of payment prior to engaging an overseas researcher.

Professionals in Romania:

Ladislau GYEMANT <Gyemant(at)zortec.ro>

Dan JUMARA <documentis_gen(at)hotmail.com>

Victor NEUMANN <vneumann(at)mail.dnttm.ro>

 

Professional in or near Czernowitz:

Zoya DANILOVICH <welcome.zoya(at)mail.ru>

Serhiy BILICHENKO <serhiybilichenko(at)hotmail.com>

Alex DENISENKO <tuagtuag(at)gmail.com>

Alexander DUNAI <dunai(at)dunai.lviv.ua>

 

 

II. Cemetery Indexing and Restoration

1. Prof. Alti Rodal reported at the 2002 International Conference on Jewish Genealogy on a project to digitally photograph all tombstones in the Czernowitz Jewish Cemetery. This project, sponsored by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Ottawa, Canada, and spearheaded by several members working with Dr. George Bolotenko of the Canadian National Archives (Ottawa), intends to produced a free, searchable, internet database of names linked to images of tombstones. Other towns such as Sadgura and Hotin (Ukraine) are to be included as well. See: Rodal, Alti. Winter 2002. Bukovina Cemeteries, Archives and Oral History. Avotaynu. The burial register has been computerized through 1947, and as of July, 2012, over 19,000 burial records (with pictures of associated tombstones) have been posted on the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry. More about the Czernowitz Cemetery indexing project can be found on the Czernowitz discussion group web site.

2. Restoration of the Radauti, Romania, Jewish cemetery is underway. The cemetery is being cleared, the Ohels of the Radauti Rabbis are being repaired, and each stone is being photographed. Follow this project at <http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/radauti/Radautz-Site/>. A complete index of the entire Radauti Jewish cemetery has been posted on this web site. The same group responsible for this restoration project is also working with an international team to fund the restoration of the Radauti Great Temple as well as the Siret and Suceava cemeteries.

3. Restoration of the Czernowitz Cemetery (on Zelena Street) is underway, organized by the Czernowitz Discussion Group, and the associated Czernowitz Jewish Cemetery Restoration Organization (CJCRO). This work proceeds in conjunction with Dr. Josef Bursuk, leader of Chesed-Shushana, in Chernivtsi. See additional pictures and information here and here. As of June, 2012, >7.0 hectares have been cleared of trees, vines and other vegetation. Efforts are proceeding to clear an additional land in summer of 2012.

4. A collection of excellent quality photos of many Bukovina cemeteries (including Radautz, Czernowitz, Storozhynets, Siret, Suceava, Mihaileni, and Sadagora) can be found by clicking here. Webmaster Jerome Schatten gathered and organized these photos from multiple sources, including the work of Hannelore Condiescu, Sasha Wolloch and Edgar Hauster. In addition, the well-preserved cemetery of Russ-Banilla (Banyliv, Ukraine today) was extensively photographed in 2009, and posted by Luke Rothman.

5. Die Sprechenden Steine von Siret (The Speaking Tombstones of Siret), by Weggemann, Montigel, and Meyer. This is an impressive and professional 2001 publication describing the cemeteries of the Siret Jewish community, and how these stones reflect the history of the Jewish culture which is now gone.

6. A new book has been published (June 2009) on the Jewish cemeteries of the Bukowina region. An announcement appears on the web site of the writer, Ruth Ellen Gruber.
«Jewish Cemeteries of the Bucovina»
by Simon Geissbühler
ISBN 978-973-1805-50-4
Romanian, Ukrainian, English, French, and German.

This book may soon be available via commercial booksellers, but can also be obtained directly from the author <simon.geissbuehler@eda.admin.ch>. Though very fews Jews remain in the Bucovina, the cemeteries represent the culture and prominence of the Jewish populations of pre-WWII Romania. This volume provides information on and pictures of the Jewish cemeteries of Campulung Moldovenesc, Vama, Gura Humorului, Solca, Arbore, Radauti, Moldovita, Siret, Mihaileni, Storozhynets, Vyzhnytsia, Banilov, Vashkivtsi, Novoselitsa, and Hertsa.

7. In October 2010, the Jewish Cemetery in Vashkivtsi (Washkoutz am Cheremosh), was restored by Mark Wiznitzer and family. Over 800 graves were cataloged and photographed, with the intention to post the information online through JewishGen and the International Jewish Cemetery Project

8. In light of recent work to restore the Jewish Cemetery in Czernowitz, Christian Herrmann created a wonderful presentation about the Czernowitz Jewish community and their cemetery. You can view it here (click on the right arrow to advance from slide to slide):

What's New?9. The Sadgora (Ukraine) cemetery has been photographed indexed, and posted online via the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry. Note that many tombstones did not have surnames, but only have the patronymic name (e.g. Dov son of Moshe; Dvora daughter of Leib). JGS Ottawa provided the photographs used in this project, and Noam Silberberg indexed, translated and created the electronic database leading to 3,476 entries for all tombstones remaining at this site.

 

III. Lists of students, farmers, voters, businesses

Tax Payers List for Monasterzyska 1904

Jewish farmers in the Bukowina, 1808, from Manfred Reifer, Historische Schriften, Czernowitz 1938

List of small business and owners in the Bukowina, from Archiv-Auskünfte über die Firmen Galiziens und der Bukowina (Krakau 1914-15)

Students of the Czernowitz Gymnasium, 1853-1890, also students of the Radautz Gymnasium, 1892, 1896

Graduates of the Radautz Gymnasium, 1885-1896

Jewish Lawyers of Czernowitz, 1930-34 - English language translations of statements of legal claims dated 1930 – 1934 prepared by local Jewish lawyers and petitioned to the Provincial Court of Justice in Czernowitz

Bukowina Officials 1876, from Hof- und Staats-Handbuch der österreichisch-ungarischen Monarchie

 

Alexander Dunai <dunai@dunai.lviv.ua> reports that the following can be found in the Chernivtsi archives:

  1. Lists of electors of the Jewish Community of Chernovtsy for almost every year of XXth century
  2. Census of Jewish People of Chernovtsy 1886
  3. List of the members of ALL Jewish communities of Chernovtsy region (Bucovina) 1896
  4. Lists of the electors of communities of Kuchumare, Sadgora, Boyan
  5. Lists of the teachers, butchers, clerks etc.
  6. Authentic passports for travelling abroad 1867-1887

Czernowitz Imperial-Royal I. State Gymnasium - List of graduates 1850-1913, What's New?including much genealogical and biographical information, was posted by Edgar Hauster in August, 2013.

1924/1925 Business Directory for Romania: Posted on the Library of Congress web site, but can be readily searched via the link found at the bottom of Logan Kleinwaks' web site http://genealogyindexer.org

1895 Directory for Wiznitz - includes nearby towns in this region such as Millie, Mihowa, and Waszkoutz (Waschkoutz)

Multiple pre-WWII address directories for Czernowitz, surrounding districts, Radautz, and Suceava have been located, and many have been indexed and are now freely available, thanks to the research efforts of Edgar Hauster. The years covered at present include 1898, 1909, 1914, 1927, and 1936. Complete information is available on Mr. Hauster's blog site, as well as the Czernowitz discussion group web site. All of the above indices can be easily searched via Genealogy Indexer.

Student lists from the Radautz Gymnasium 1884-1997 (currently Eudoxiu Hurmuzachi Secondary School Radauti) - have been compiled in electronic format and are also available on the web site of Edgar Hauster.

 

What's New!IV. Historical Newspapers

Der Tag (1932-1935) made available by Edgar Hauster

The Austrian National Library has also published scanned versions of newspapers from Bukovina:

Bukowinaer Runsdschau

Bukowinaer Post

Czernowitzer Allgemeine Zeitung

 

A summary of historical newspapers can be found here.

V. Landsmannschaft burial plots, and current societies

Bukowina Jews World Union: - They are located in Israel, and have a branch chapter at B'nei Zion in New York. (No current website.)

For direct contacts in Israel for Storozhinets, Radautz, Czernowitz and other Jewish communities, contact: The Bukovina Jews World Union <http://www.bukowina.org.il/> (in Hebrew)

From the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York -

Searchable database for New York City landsmannschaft burial plot locations

http://www.jgsnydb.org/searchcity.htm

A partial list follows:

Bocowiner Boys Benevolent Society, Inc.
Bucovina Workingmen's Aid Society
Bucowinaer Handwerker Unt. Verein
Bukowinaer Center Benevolent Society, Inc.
Bukowinaer Handwerker Unt. Verein
Bukowiner Bess. Ben. Association
First Bukowiner Congregation Tiferes Israel
Independent Bukowinaer Young Men's & Young Ladies' Benevolent Society
First Suczawaer Sick & Ben. Society, Inc.
Betty Zucker Radowitzer Ladies Kranken Unt. Verein
Independent Radautz Bukowinaer Benevolent Association
Radautz Bucowinaer Lodge
Radautz Bukoviner Society
Radautz Roumanian Benevolent Society, Inc.
Chevra Chaside Sadigerre Tiferas Israel Marizen
Erste Sadagorer Kranken Unt. Verein
First Sadagoraer Young Men's Ben. Association
Leah Feller Aid Society of Sadagora
First Washkautz Bucawinaer Sick & Benevolent Society
Bronx Lodge
Chernowitz Podolier Aid Association
Czernowitz-Bukowinaer Lodge, Inc.
First Czernowitz
First Progressive Society of Czernowitz Bucowina
Independent Chernovitz Podolier Lodge #319 IOBS
United Friends of Chernowitz Ben. Association
Atereth Israel Anshe Wiznitz
Chevra Tefereth Israel Anshe Chazidai Wishnitza Min Bukovina Ungarn Galitzia
First Wiznitz Buckawiner Ladies Benevolent Society, Inc.
Independent Wiznitz Bucowiner Ladies & Young Ladies Verein
Ladies & Mens Wishnitze #799
Miriam Druckman Family Circle of Wiznitz
Rabbi M. Mendel Hager Wiznitzer Sick Benevolent Society
Rabbi Mendel Hager Wiznitzer Kranken Unt. Verein
Rabbi Mendel Hager Wiznitzer Sick Benevolent Society
Wishnitzer Ladies & Mens Society Inc.
Wiznitzer Kahal Toras Chaim
Wiznitzer Ladies & Mens Society Umgegend

 

VI. Yizkor books

History of Radautz by Rabbi Israel Harnik (unpublished work, 1948, found at the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People). This manuscript, orginally written in German using Hebrew letters, has been translated into English.

Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina [History of the Jews in the Bukowina], Hugo Gold, ed., Olamenu Publishers, Tel Aviv, Volume I, 1958 and Volume II, 1962 - the premier Yizkor book for Bukovina. See existing English translations.

Pinkas Hakehillot Romania (Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities), Volume 2 (Romania), Published by Yad Vashem. Includes various chapters on Bukowina communities. See Radautz, Siret, and Sadagura online, in English.

Jüdische Vatikan in Sadagora, 1850-1950, Volume I, and Volume II, Mordechai Rubinstein, 1954: In German. (two volumes)

Gura Humora, a Small Town in Southern Bukovina. published by the Association of Former Residents of Gura Humora and Environs. Parts of this book are on the web .

The Last Jews of Radauti, text by Ayse Gursan-Salzmann; photographs by Laurence Salzmann, Dial Press ; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1983, 146 pp. Out of print but available through used book sellers.

Radauts : okehilah Yehudit bi-tsemiohatah uvi-sheoki'atah (Radauts: the Rise and Decline of its Jewish Community) by Yisrael Margalit, Israel: Irgun Yotse Radauts (Bukovinah) [Organization of Former Residents of Radautz-Bukowina in Israel] 1990, 296 p., in Hebrew and German, Library of Congress Call No. DS135.R72R336 1990. To acquire this book, contact:

Mr. Emil Grabstein
Organization of Former Radautz Bukowina Residents
POB 11244
Tel Aviv 61112
ISRAEL

Yizkor Book for the Martyrs of Ciudin (Mezhirech'ye {Chudyn, Czudyn}, Ukraine) Manuscript written by Eisig Moses, August 1998, published on the web in 2002

The Book of Suceava (Shotz) Jews - published in 2007 by the Association of Former Residents from Suceava (Shotz) and Surroundings.

See also summary of some Bukowina resources at http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/suceava/index_suceava.html.

 

VII. Holocaust era resources

Druker's List - This listing and map of holocaust era burials in Transnistria was described in an article by Zvi Oster and was visited in 2002 by Melita Fuhrman Vickter. A database of names of those buried in Moghilev-Podolsky is available from Bruce Reisch.

Mr. Edgar Hauster visited the Moghilev-Podolsky cemetery in 2010. He published a most interesting story of his visit (in German). Many photographs of his visit to the "Druker's List" cemetery were also published to the web.

 

Marc Goldberger supplied information on Yad Vashem microfilm holdings relating to the Czernowitz community.

Per Steve Garber: Information is available from the archives of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Examples: Names of victims of War Crimes compiled by a Soviet commission in 1945, consisting of lists of names in Russian from the Vashkovtsy rayon, Chernovtsy Oblast,Ukraine. These names are from the towns of Vilavche, Dracinets, Russ-Banilla, Unter-Stanestie, and Karanchi. Similar lists are available for Wiznitz (Vizhnitsa).

Memorial stone for Radauti, Romania, at the Holon (Israel) Cemetery. Has list of names and contact information can be obtained.

The JewishGen Holocaust Database now includes several substantial lists of importance for Bukovina family history research. A surname-only search of this database is free.
Claims Conference-Romania (information from the Central Zionist Archives in Israel)
Transnistria: Jews Receiving and Sending Support
Balta Ghetto
Balta Orphans
Balta Batallions
Deportations from Dorohoi to Transnistria
Cernauti, Romania / Chernivsti, Ukraine Lists -- close to 4,000 records regarding residents of Czernowitz (and some additional locations in Bukovina) between 1940 and 1943

Edgar Hauster reports in June 2009:
There is a "Jewish File" of the prefecture Radautz for the year 1941.
It contains confidential and classified records, i.e.
ordinances of Ion Antonescu of the Ministry for Internal Affairs
denunciations
ghetto in Radautz
Jewish hostages
records regarding the deportation to and release from Transnistria of Jews from Radautz
listings of Jews from Radautz

Other files in Radauti Town Hall or the Suceava Regional Archives:
A 1946 file with listings of the repatriates from Czernowitz and Northern Bukovina arriving in Siret in March/April 1946. These listings cover more than 20,000 names and are of particular interest for Czernowitzers, as most of the surviving Jews were thrown out (repatriated) by the Soviets in 1946.
In addition: Voter Listings for Radautz for the year 1948. The listings include the names, birthdays, professions, addresses and give an overview for the adult Radautz (official) population of the year 1948.
Research on these holdings and their historical and genealogical value continues.

 

VIII. KehilaLinks and Similar Pages

Radauti, Romania - http://www.kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/radauti/radautz.html

Sadgura, Ukraine - http://www.kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/sadgura/sadgura.html

Gura Humorului, Romania - http://www.kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/guraho/gurahumo.htm

Suceava, Romania - http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/suceava/index_suceava.html

Storozhinets - http://www.kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/storojinet/

Czernowitz/Chernivtsi, Ukraine - http://czernowitz.ehpes.com/

Nepolokivtsi, Ukraine (Grigore Ghica Voda) - http://www.kehilalinks.jewishgen.org//Nepolakivtsi/

Czernowitz - Town Index - resource page for all Museum of Family History pages relating to Czernowitz; The home page of the Museum of Family History has a search function which allows the user to search for all pages related to Bukovina.

 

IX. Historical Resources

Der TempelCzernowitz Jewish community (Kehilah) records have been microfilmed by the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People. They have not yet been completely cataloged thus the contents, which are mostly of historical and not genealogical value, are not yet precisely described.

The Chernivtsi Museum of History and Culture of Bukovinian Jews opened in Czernowitz in 2008, inside the building formerly known as the Jewish National House.

What's New!A new museum of Jewish history in Radauti has opened at the Great Temple as of July 2012. This effort was led by the Federation of Jewish Communities of Romania.

Excellent maps of Czernowitz from different decades can be found here. If you would like to learn what a street was named during Austrian, Romanian, and Russian/Ukrainian times, use this street name translator.

Galicia and Bukovina. A research handbook about Western Ukraine, late 19th-20th centuries - An extensive, almanac-type fact book. Contains lots of information not easily found elsewhere. Written by John-Paul Himka, professor of the University of Alberta, the recognized and acclaimed authority on Galicia and Bukovina history. Searchable text.

Willy Pragher photographed many sites in Romania during World War II. Over 1 million photos have been scanned and can be searched online at the Baden-Wurtemburg Regional Archives website. A collection of striking war time photos of Czernowitz can be found here.

High resolution photographs are available here from the Romanian National Library

"Salute to the Romanian Jews in America and Canada, 1850-2010, History, Achievements, and Biographies", by Vladimir F. Wertsman. Over 20 biographies of notable Bukoviners (and descendants) can be found in this book.

Bukovina Today - a striking collection of photos from Edgar Hauster's travels through Bukovina, Summer, 2012.

Index to Bukovina Jewish Heritage sites, organized geographically, What's New!courtesy of Dean Echenberg: http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/bukovina/_pages/shtetls/index_shtetls.html

 

X. CultureWhat's New?

Artists of Czernowitz: Enjoy the impressive online art museum created by Edgar Hauster

Cuisine: Many hours of delightful Bukovina delicacies await you in these volumes assembled by Merle Kastner, Michele Troup, and the Czernowitz discussion group.

 

XI. A Final Suggestion:

Many of our Bukowina ancestors lived in Galicia at one time or another. Many Galician records are indexed and searchable online via Jewish Records Indexing - Poland. Don't hesitate to try your luck with this database of 4 million+ records.

Updated 15 June 2014