Podu Turcului, Romania
Coordinates: 46.204°N 27.386°E
After the 2012 IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Paris, my wife and I made a tour of Romania, with a special focus on Podu Turcului and Botoşani in Romania and Chişinău in today’s Moldova. Our guide was Dan Jumara. We were especially interested in finding the Jewish cemetery in Podu Turcului and photographing its tombstones.
Finding the cemetery took some effort. I had only the rough idea that it was northeast of the center of town. The photo to the right shows Dan Jumara conferring with a local resident about its location. (Many Romanians still use horses and carriages instead of powered vehicles.)
We eventually managed to find the cemetery. This photo was taken at the end of our visit and shows Dan Jumara’s car leaving the cemetery and coming down the dirt road toward the town.
The image on the right shows a Google Earth view with a marker indicating the location of the cemetery. The coordinates are: 46.2063°N 27.3911°E. (Click here for a Google Earth KML file showing the cemetery.)
When we reached the cemetery, we met the “assistant caretaker,” a friendly horse whose grazing keeps the weeds and saplings from taking over the cemetery. As a result of his efforts, the Jewish cemetery in Podu Turcului was in better shape than all the other cemeteries we visited during our trip, with the exception of the cemetery in Iaşi.
Romania was having a severe heat wave in the summer of 2012, and the temperature was 100° F or more every day. This made it extremely exhausting to be out in the sun. Nevertheless, my wife and I made the effort to photograph every tombstone that offered even a faint possibily of being deciphered (perhaps after applying image-enhancement techniques to the photos). Several times we were nearly overcome by the heat and had to take shelter under a tree and lie down on the ground (sometimes on one of the horizontal tombstones, begging the understanding pardon of the occupant below).
Meanwhile, the senior caretaker (the horse’s owner) had arrived and spent several hours chatting with Dan Jumara in the shade of a tree while we toiled away in the hot sun.
The photos below show a few of the stones. Click on an image to see the full-size photo in a separate tab. (Contact me if you would like access to all the tombstone photos, especially if you are willing to create a spreadsheet for JewishGen’s Burial Registry: JOWBR.)
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