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Todd Cohn relative's letter

Attached is a letter I got from a relative of mine in Kansas, Beth Bayzman. The picture that is referenced in the letter was not with it. The letter explains the circumstances in and around Tiraspol around 1912. I think it will be a great addition to the Tiraspol site.

Todd Cohn

April 20, 1974

Dear Lahndsfrau Heiki,

As per our fone conversation I am enclosing your 2nd cousin, Mahryam's photograph, taken in the city of Tiraspol early in 1913. Maryam's last name was Goldberg. Her father was my Tounanover (or Lousnanover) rebbe (teacher) and he was an excellent teacher and a fine human being.

Her mother was your first cousin. Her name was Faigi Rukhel. Faigi Rukhel's mother and your father Velvel were sister and brother.

"Zalmen melamed" as Mahryam's father was known in Toumanov, moved to Tiraspol sometime in 1912 where he improved his livelihood. In Toumanov he and his family suffered grinding poverty because the town bahlabatim were as poor as the proverbial church mouse and could scarcely pay their skahr-limud (teacher's bill).

Mahryam visited us in Bender when we moved to that city in 1913 and left this picture with us. She became a good seamstress.

From accounts I heard many years ago, Zalman and Faigi Rukhel's only so, a brilliant student at a university in Kiev met an untimely death at the hands of a Petlura pogrom band in 1919 while on vacation in Tumanov. He had combined a teaching-students-for-the-summer with a visit to that town. It was the time of a lot of turmoil and civil war following the overthrow of the Romanov dynasty in Russia. Thousands of Jews were massacred all over the Ukraine by anti Bolshevik armies. The Bolsheviks (communists) finally did clean them all out but not these armies (white armies) murdered out thousands upon thousands of Jews. In Tumanov the band that killed Froike (that was the boy's name and I well remember him) also killed about 75 other Jews there by machine gun fire.

I also heard that Zalman died from starvation several months later. The situation at the time was so acute due to the devastation caused by the warring armies that the peasantry couldn't or wouldn't till the fields. Thereby causing mass starvation in the towns and cities. From the accounts told, Zalmen, already weakened by starvation started for a peasant habitation to buy food but didn't make it. He keeled over along the road.

I feel that Maryam's picture rightly belongs to you. Kindest regards to the Stolovs.

Your Lahndsman,
Joseph (Yosif) Bortnick

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