of Immigrants from Dorohoi and Surroundings:
On the 19th and 20th of May, 2004 I toured Northeast Romania with
the invaluable assistance of an English-speaking, Romanian Israeli
guide. Together we succeeded in
exploring 5 of the 6 towns and villages related to my family’s saga
from ~1823 till the departure of my parents for the USA in 1899 and
1903. (Two other towns of importance to my family, Parlitie and
Gutkovitz, I never located on the map.) Mileanca, the intended 6th
town, was too far off the beaten path; all figured prominently
in the biography of my grandmother, Rivka Eger/Buimovici. I have family
who were either born, lived or died in these towns.
1. Dorohoi. I met Meir
Simon, President of the Jewish Community. His records go back only to
1942. At the time he moved to Dorohoi in 1932 there were 11-15,000 Jews
and 27 synagogues. Now there are 46 Jews and one synagogue. Seven males
available for religious services. Others are brought by wheel chair for
the High Holidays. The last Jewish youngster is finishing high school;
will soon be going away to university.
With the help of Mr. Simon
we were able to visit Dorohoi’s synagogue and two cemeteries. The older
in total disarray with illegible, leaning or toppled gravestones. In
2nd conditions were generally much better. A caretaker showed us his
registry book back to 1905 – Buimovicis to 1949 and also an Eger
date. We located none of these stones.
2. Darabani. My mother, Malka Eger/Buimovici, was born here in 1887. To
the best of my
knowledge no Jews and no synagogue. It was a long ride to the cemetery
outside the city over fields (or a walk of 10 min.
fromthe caretaker’s home). It was surrounded by a wire fence with a
long walk tothe gravesites. We
found the caretaker (who sold us honey from herbeehives.) Parts were
kept with graves going back to 1910, without records.
3. Ibanesti. No Jews and no cemetery. The older outskirts available
by a road meant for horse and wagon. Peasants invited us into their
4. Botosani. The townspeople directed us to the very well kept
cemetery. A small side gate was open.
Avi found a caretaker who has a registry that goes back no further than
1900. We located the grave of my
Bobie Rivka’s sister,Miriam Buimovici Leibovitz who died in 1946. On
back of her stone were details of her husband’s death in 1942 in
Transnistria, a Romanian Fascist work camp.
5. Saveni. Birth place in 1888 of my father, Morris Chaimovitz. Data
from various sources on the web indicated that there were no Jews, no
synagogue and no cemetery, all wrong.
First we found a boarded up very old synagogue with a wire-like Mogen
Dovid on top of a dome. Its key was
probably in the hands of a Jewish barber who along with another Jew was
for dental attention; neither could be found. Next door to the shul
54-year-old woman who has lived in her house from birth. She said that
her street was called “The Jews’ Street.” “All the Jews left for
Both sides were lined with single story, metal-roofed attached houses
painted different colors – no mezuzzas were apparent. Quite possibly
the houses, except for the metal roofs, were of the vintage of my
And the cemetery? Residents led us to it. Avi went to a house past
the left end of the wire fence and found the caretaker who opened the
gate and showed us his registry dating after 1912 though he could not
earlier Hebrew dates. Again many stones were in disarray. I did find
one Haim Srul Haimovitz.
Probably a more experienced genealogist would have accomplished
more than I but I do have professional Romanian genealogists working on
I had written to the General
Direction of the Romanian National Archives on 21/3/04 for permission
visit the Archives in Bucharest. I received permission by
letter mailed 13/6/04, three weeks after I left Romania. (The Archives
been closed to researchers by the Romanian authorities.)
I recommend my guide and will supply details to anyone interested. With
preparations for the trip it was he who established contact with Jews
found the cemeteries and their caretakers. His resourcefulness was
meritorious. Also important, his driver was a professional, so vital as
Romania’s roads are in a pitiful condition.
A word of caution for those on low cholesterol diets: bring special
foods or relax and eat 2-4 eggs/day, cheese, butter, whole milk and