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Recollections of FRATAUTII (Fratautz)

Bukovina, Romania

as told to, and edited by Merle Kastner

(Fratautii Vechi latitude: 47° 54´; longitude: 25° 53´)


One woman's account of typical life in Fratautii, a "large town", 8 kilometers north of Radauti:Ê


Born in 1912, she recounts how her father was held as a 1st World War prisoner of war in Russia for 6 years, and then returned home to Fratautii.

The German families in Fratautii spoke a German dialect, known as Swaben (or Swabish, pronounced "Schwaben" and "Schwabisch"), as well as German; later the German families moved to Germany.

The eldest child attended theÊfirst grade in school in Fratautii, following which, the family moved to Radauti, where she continued in theÊsecond grade. There was not even a doctor in the town, nor a "gymnasium", so schooling had to be continued in Radauti. There were very few Jewish families living there Ð most had moved to Radauti, to become part of the larger, vibrant, Jewish community and benefit from the services of the much larger town. This family's grandfather died in Fratautii, following which, their grandmother moved to Radauti, to be with the rest of her family. There are fond recollections of walking the distance to visit her grandparents, many times in her childhood.Ê

The Ostfeld family in Fratautii, lived in the particular section of the town, where Hungarian, German and Romanian were all spoken. This neighbourhood was known as "Andreaswalba". As the lumber trade was a major industry in Bukovina, a number of men in the town also spoke Hungarian, in addition to the other languages of the area, as many of their employees and co-workers were Hungarian-speaking.