Sunday, September 13, 2020

A Letter from the Past

My family has few old letters.  But a few weeks ago, I got an email from my uncle with a scan of a letter, followed soon after with the original.  He said that he had it from HIS uncle, my great uncle Izzy Joshowitz.

I could see my great-great grandparents' names (Ruchel and Shmuel Moshe) as well as some other family members who I knew--so there was promise of some great genealogical information, but my Yiddish wasn't good enough to translate.

But after I posted it on the incredible Genealogical Translations group, Géraldine Tsiporah Trom was kind enough to translate.

The Letter
The letter was from my grandmother's (and Uncle Izzy's) half first cousin, Efraim Fuchs.  The envelope has a return address in Romania, and it is from 1980 (so not even so old).  Géraldine's translation is below, with my comments in paranthases.
Sunday Parashat Nasso 18 May 1980
Dear cousin Yitschak and family, [abb] may your light shine, 
Your letter of Sunday Parashat Acharei Mot- Kedoshim (20 April) has arrived. I have answered back when I was still living in Sighet. But I have not received any answer. 
Me and also my wife, my daughter and two grandsons are, thank God well. Hoping to hear the same from you. 
I have been with my wife to Israel last year for three months. 
My sister has told me that she was together with you. 
You must be older than me from one year. I was born in 5664 - 1913. 
Now about Kolodna, when Babe Ruchel and Zeidy Shmuel Moshe were alive, I used to travel there 2-3 times a year.  (These are Efraim's grandfather and step-grandmother, as well as my great grandparents.)
There I was able to visit a zeidy on your father's side. He was called Chaim. (This would be another of my great-great grandfathers, Chaim Josovics.)
And when the zeidy died, I still used to travel to visit our uncle, David Eizik. His sons are in Israel: Avrum Leib and Noa Yirah (?) and Aron Hersh in Afula. (The middle son mentioned should be Yaakov Yirah, but that's definitely not what it says; can anyone make it out?)
Jews don't live there anymore, but it's still called Kolodna.
I don't know why the Russians don't let us travel here and therefore they are not to be found in ... the big city that you can find like Kolodna.
Those are all the shtetls that are not far from Kolodna: Tacova, Bustina, Ugla, Drahova, Hust.
Since 1943 I have not been there. I don't have anything more to write about this.
Be well with your whole family.
From your cousin,
... Efraim Fuchs

Unfortunately, I didn't learn anything new to me.  But it's still nice to have a family letter as well as the perspective of 1980 when Kolodne was inaccessible just over the Soviet border. (Family members--if you have other letters, please tell me!)

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  1. What a great letter! And, I love the Genealogical Translations group - so helpful!

  2. I agree - wonderful letter...just seeing someone's handwriting is so special. And while you didn't learn anything new, you have more evidence that what you already know is correct :)

    Re: Genealogical Translations - it's an amazing group. I too have benefitted from the expertise of its members and occasionally have jumped in to help :)