Once, in Braila, tens of thousands of Jews have lived hereâ€¦ Among the ones still alive, after the war, the majority made Alia. Today, there are only 136 souls left. Butâ€¦ paraphrasing, Mihail Sebastian: “Braila’s Danube is part of our existence, but we remain Jews”.
Constantin C. Giurescu (“Istoricul orasului Braila”, pages 22, 52) and V. Eskenasy (“Izvoare si marturii referitoare la evreii din Romania”, pages 3, 9) agree on the fact that, on the Danube axle, including Braila, the Jewish presence can be mentioned beginning with the year 1165 (commercial relations with south-Danube Wallachians), which means from the period when the Jewish traveler Benjamin of Tudela visited those places.
To the same effect, Rabbi Mose Taku talked about the trade made by “Caraits”, in the 13th century, between the Byzantine Empire, Poland and Russian principalities, which may also include Braila, even then a very important port, and among the foreign tradesmen coming here were also Jews.
â€¢ As compared to the 20,000-30,000 faithful existing in the community in Braila in the III-IV decades, before the Second World War, the present community doesn’t exceed 136 persons. â€¢ President of the community, Engineer Edmond Esrig, is for more then 15 years, the director of the group of enterprises for wood processing. Capable leader, he was not touch by the transition wind of change. â€¢ A true guide in our documentation, David Segal Iancu, from Dorohoi, a remarkable organizer of the community affairs, he was a first line officer, “purged” from the army under the Ceausescu regime, then an excellent scientific chemist on the industrial platform of Braila. â€¢ Opposite to the community center – built once by the businessman Schaffer -, there is the Coral Temple, restored two years ago, the only synagogue still functioning among the 14 that used to be in the past. â€¢ The community vice-president, Hermann Goldenberg, from Giurgiu, became a Braila citizen after he married a Hebrew – language teacher, Marcela Goldenberg, the classes being attended by 20 students, with ages between 8 and 40. Mrs. Marcela is also a talented painter, with four personal exhibitions to date, she studied stage management, having as a colleague Catalina Buzoianu, the present director of the Braila theater. â€¢ The community choir has, as a permanent conductor, the music professor Ioan Popescu and periodically enjoys the advice of maestro Izu Gott, from Bucharest. The Braila conductor succeeded to learn and to teach the members of the choir traditional songs. â€¢ Among the recent progress of the choir there was a concert organized by the non-governmental organization “Pro homini”, leaded by Professor Cornelia Negoita, with the participation of other ethnic choirs.
Among the projects there is a violinist formation, with Jewish repertoire. â€¢ The women’s club, leaded by Ella Abramovici, meets every month. In its program it has Yiddish and Hebrew recitation, reading of the Judaic texts, reunions where “samples” from the traditional Jewish food are being served. â€¢ The youngster’s club – with 40 young people – succeeded, with the help of “Sohnut”, to pay a visit to Israel. Among the guests someone can almost always meet an important member of the Braila community, engineer Adrian Bernard Ritzinger, vice-president of the Municipal Council. â€¢ In his 75, the journalist Sami Bernstein – with a dramatic 14 – month “probation” in Transdniester, as many other Braila inhabitants, punished for being late, sometimes, at the force labor – contributes even today with the local press and radio, being the only permanent aid to the synagogue. â€¢ The medical assistance (especially for the 26 assisted persons with ages over 65 years old) is offered by Dr. Luminita Berescu, also known as “the guardian angel” of the communityâ€¦ And the smile of the young medic is, indeed, angelicâ€¦ Recently, Luminita Berescu saved the lives of six leading members of the Federation, from a gas poisoning that could have proved fatal. â€¢ 136 Jews from Braila – with hundreds of thousands of friends, pleading for a good inter-ethnicity.
Rabbis that no one can forget
The Rabbi Iankel Margulies, from Hotin (Basarabia), was the first spiritual leader of the Jewish community from Braila (1849), doing his spiritual work at the former synagogues of Franchische and Grosse Schul (he died in 1871). Idel Partaner, the second Rabbi, began his community service in 1851. Avner Kassvan, the third, who came from Panciu, made his divine service in Braila (the Coral Temple) between 1860-1873. Among the tens of Rabbis who followed them, the “Chronology” of Ion Ursulescu mentions, with good reason, the name of Rabbi Dr. Mayer Thenen, one of the great personalities of the Braila Jews and of all the Romanian Jews, who was a pastor until 1940; he was the author of the first Romanian translation of the Ros Hasana and Yom Kippur prayers. The same remarkable “Chronology” also mentions the name of Rabbi Ihil Michel Dobruschin, who – just in his 20s (1932) and until 1956, when he left to Israel – was a pastor at Bet’h Iacob synagogue; he was the last Rabbi of the town. In a more ample work also written by Ion Ursulescu, “Valori ale patrimoniului evreiesc la Braila”, there are mentioned dozens of Rabbi names that leaded the Braila community: Zalman Godel and Aron Margulies (the sons of Rabbi Iankel Margulies); Israel Margulies (1906-1923); Moise Mehr – Hassidim Synagogue, the synagogue of the Asylum and Schneidergesellen; dr. Iacob Nacht; Lazar Steinâ€¦ Another list, almost complete, will have more 20-30 names. We should never forget that in Braila there were once 14 synagogues; we already mentioned some of them; others – Sacred Synagogue, Carpenters Synagogue, and Craftsmen Synagogue – are gone. The Bet’h Iacob synagogue, functioning until 1943, was the last sacred place built in Braila (probably in 1924). About all those Rabbis and synagogues, or at least about their unique presence in our times, we won’t write here and nowâ€¦ But someday we willâ€¦ The much dreamed – of Lexicon with the Jewish personalities in Romania over the times, which is being prepared by Hary Kuller, could become and should become a book in the memory of those great Rabbis, not only from Braila, but from the entire Jewish community.
The Jews in the Braila media
In his interesting Chronology prepared with such devotion and attention by Mr. Ion Ursulescu – and from which we cite ample fragments in those pages -, there are almost 90 Jewish personalities of the Braila life: from them, at least a third are journalists, founders, editors, publishers of dozens of magazines and newspapers in this town, many of them also known as valuable writers (see the series of “mini – portraits” of those who asserted themselves in the central press or in the great literature). There was an incredible journalistic frenzy in the town, with a dimension and variation unimaginable today.
We are shedding light now on the names of those champions of the letter, lead and printing ink, of the courageous thought, the journalists of our times, Jews, trying to become worthy followers: S. Carmellin, Jacques Davidsohn (“Fulgerul”, “Facla”), M. Frasinovici (“Tinerimea evreiasca”), Emil Fulda (“Cuvantul sportului”), Victor Guttman (“Romania filatelica”), Filip Guttman (“Filatelia”, “La Poste”), Arnold Grun (“Bomba”, “Dritta”), Alfred Gross (“Calauza Brailei”, “Aurora – tionista saptamanala”), Conrad Gorfein (“Semaphore de Braila”), Louis Grunberg, Jacques Goldstein (“Licuriciul”), Conrad Grupper, Issac Horovitz (“Lumea literara si stiintifica”), L. Iarovici (with M. Rotenberg, the Romanian-French gazette “Ecoul timbrelor romane”), Iosif Klekner (president of the local journalist association), Henrich Lubisch (founder of the first community newspaper and of the first local Zionist newspaper), I. Leteanu – Sotek (“Cuvantul”), S. Militeanu-Russu (“Romania sportiva”), Al. Z. Nestorian, Simon Pastorescu (Schafermann) (“Licuriciul”, “Mercurul Brailei”), H. Ranisteanu (“Mesagerul de Braila”), Marcus Rothstein (M. Rolla) (“Romania”), Eleazar and Apter Rokeah (“Der Compass”), Roman Rodisi (“Farul”), M. Rotemberg, A. Schorr, Ferdinand Schwartz, Oreste Zerman (“Trompeta”).
Perhaps even more eloquent are those fragments in a book written by Ion Ursulescu, “Valori ale patrimoniului evreiesc la Braila” (1998), including a detailed archive of Jewish publications in Braila, in Romanian or Yiddish language. So, from over 30 publications, we mention:
“Der Compass” – the first Jewish gazette published in Braila (1896), “Controlul” (1897), “Zion” (1897), “Corespondenta Mensualaâ€¦ – sionista” (1901), the bulletin of the department “Macabeii Dr. Th. Herzl” (1904), “Pessah” (1904), “Sionistul” (1905), “Institutorul evreu” (1906), “Tinerimea evreiasca” (1907), “Israel” (1908), “Presa Israelita” (1911), “Der Hamer” (1915), “Sportul nostru” (1925), “Informatorul Organizatiei sioniste” (1926), “Buletinul Asociatiei Culturale a femeilor evreice” (1928), “Dor Hadasch” (1935), “Palestina” (1935 – the last Jewish publication to be published in Braila).
In the same book of the laborious researcher there is also a presentation of the specialized magazines on various domains such as culture, social, economics (without a Jewish specificity), with leaderships that included – along the Romanians – some Jews. Among the 40 such magazines, we mention:
“Pressa romana” (1866), “Messagerul de Braila” (1870), “Medicina populara” (1888), “Curierul Brailei” (1899), “Filatelia” (1905), “Romania” (1909), “Curierul” (1919), “Cuvantul” (1920), “Monitorul Brailei” (1923), “Facla” (1930).
The Jewish scholar S. Semilian, preoccupied with the local media traditions, offers us, in 1927, a comprehensive volume, “Istoricul presei brailene de la 1839 pana la 1926″, mentioning the existence, in the same period, of some Yiddish-language publications, as an integral part of a phenomenon – very specific to Braila – of manifestation of a multi-linguistic media. In the city on the Danube, there were edited and red – along with the already mentioned publications – Greek, Bulgarian, Italian, English, French or German magazines.
Even before today’s theoretic approaches, in Braila the inter-ethnicity was at homeâ€¦
From the Chronology edited by ION URSULESCU and from his work, “Valori ale patrimoniului evreiesc la Braila” (Values of the Jewish patrimony in Braila).
The list with the Jews settled in Braila mentioned, between 1821-1822, the presence in town of five families recognized by the Department of the Internal Affairs. A list issued by the Braila authorities (no. 4957, in the year 1837), regarding the naturalization formalities, included 72 families. Later on, the numbers of the local community rose year after year, contributing to the diversification of the economy and crafts, and to the development of the “network” comprising social and cultural establishments, Zionist organizations, newspapers and magazines – everything done in a friendly collaboration with the Romanian population.
As follows, we will concisely present a few names of the personalities from the Jewish community in Braila, who honored their city and who, sometimes, were recognized on the social-cultural stage of the country, and even on other meridians.
1859 – M. V. Leventhal, the first president of the Israelite Community in Braila
“The Chronology” sent to our editorial office by Mr. Ion Ursulescu comprises, with good reason, the names of prestigious presidents of the Jewish community in Braila, from different periods of time. Twenty names that should be remembered, not before underlying that the first president of the Israelite Community in Braila was M. V. Leventhal, elected in 1859, a period when Jews have settled on this territory. We also mention the other 19 names of the presidents, covered by Mr. Ion Ursulescu, in the order of their election (of course, as you will see, 10 or 12 names are missing): Iosif Goldberg (1905); Singer Hugo, member of the guardianship of the community (1905); Max Cohl (1907); Iosif Brociner, president of the community and president of “Marpe Lenefes” Asylum (1909); I. L. Inger (1910-1913); A. Eliat, president (1912), the deputy mayor of the town; Eduard Silberstein (1913); Iosif Golbert (1922); Cahane Zissu (1930); Al. Z. Nestorian, president of the community (1932), of the “Peixotto” lodge (1906-1920) and of the “Malbis Neurim” Society (1873); Leopold Rosenberg (1933-1936); Sami Solomonidis (1935); Jean Edelstein (1942); I. Reicher (1943); Leopold Brand (1948); Lazar Costiner (1949); Haim Leibovici (1966-1977); Adolf Coruman, president of the Israelite community and of the “Marpe Lenefes” Asylum; Paul Hornstein (1977-1986); I. Weintraub, president of the “Marpe Lenefes” Asylum Society.
In this “Chronology” are also mentioned the presidents of forums, organizations of general interest for the community and Jewish organizations, which made themselves visible on the Braila stage: H. S. Datz, the first president of “Cremieux” Society (1880); Michel Frankel, president of the Braila Zionist Organization (1904); V. B. Mendel, president of the Braila Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1918); Iosif Klekner, local and district councilor, president of the Journalist Association in Braila (1922); S. Gabe, president of the Braila Zionist Organization (1926); Conrad Grupper, president of Braila Stock Exchange (1932); Max Landau, the first president of the Zionist Organization; L. V. Leibovici (Vevi), president of the “First Israelite Society of Gymnastics”; A. Schorr, leader of the Zionist Organization in Braila and Alexandru Eliat, president of the “Ambulatory of the Israelite Community” in the â€˜30s.
Still, we should take into account that at the top of this organizations and, especially, at the direction of the Braila community were, during 140 years, 1859-1999, with special merits, hundreds if not thousands of Jews, people devoted to their community and the interests of their country. Unfortunately, we don’t have their names. Who will have the time and the force to reconstitute this ample “Chronology of gold”? Let’s pay our respects to their memory!
In the “Chronology” of the famous Jews from Braila we repeatedly found the names of some remarkable school founders, teachers and professors, as Frankel Nachman, A. Ghertler, Paul Hornstein, Oscar Kreindler, Haim Nacht, Abraham and David Schwarzman. There are only a few names from the impressive staff of the Jewish school from Braila. Who will make the integral reconstitution?
Limiting itself to just 100 names, the “Chronology” written by Ion Ursulescu doesn’t mention, except rarely, the names of the doctors with a certain notoriety in that period, such as Elenbogen, former military doctor, Al. Z. Nestorian, Sotec – Leteanu or the remarkable Arnold Grun, authentic scientific, author of some acclaimed specialized works.
Memories about CHARLIE CREMER
Charlie Cremer was a colleague of my father, Engineer Max Wexler, at the “Nicolae Balcescu” lyceum, in Braila. He was born on June 7, 1897, in this town. Right after finishing his studies, he immigrated to U.S.A. (1919), where – except of his career as a dentist – he dedicated his time to the activities of the Jewish community, and in a short period of time he became member in the staff of “United Jewish Appeal” and vice-president of the some important Jewish organizations.
I met him personally in 1946, at his parents’ home when, answering the appeal made by Wilhem Filderman and Chief Rabbi Al. Safran, Dr. Cremer brought humanitarian aids for a poverty-stricken Romania, because of the war, and to a country affected by a terrible draught, victim of a typhus epidemic. In those days, Dr. Cremer brought, for the first time in Romania, penicillin and DDT, saving hundreds of lives. In those years, Charlie Cremer was the one who told me about his restless battle he fought together with his friend, Chief Rabbi Dr. Moses Rosen (z.l.), to expel from U.S.A. the iron – guard leader Viorel Trifa, one of the leaders of the pogroms in the days of the Iron Guard rebelion. Dr. Cremer was also the one who, in November 1966, asked former dictator Ceausescu to approve a list with Jewish names wanting to make Alia. He didn’t reveal us the conditions of approving those lists. But I found out then that the ambassador Vasile Pungan, a friend of Mr. Cremer, was directly involved in supporting the Jewish cause. And Mr. Cremer also told me that he lobbied that Romania gets “the clause of the most favorite nation”, not as a favor for the communist regime, but as a help offered to the hard-hit Romanian people. When a contemporary history about the Jews in Romania will be written, the name of Charlie Cremer, from Braila, will be somewhere on top.
The various monographs about Braila almost never mention the engineers, construction workers, architects or the renowned Jewish lawyers (except the ones who found themselves, in some periods, at the lead of the community). The names of Jewish actors and singers, as well of cantors are also missing; there are also missing the names of well-known musicians, and among the plastic artists we only found the name of Maxy. The Lexicon we mentioned – a Lexicon that has, as much as possible, a reparatory aspect – is not just a necessityâ€¦ We are the last generation, maybe, which could realize it.
The infallible memory of SILO OBERMAN
Their relatives are alive!
Mister Silo Oberman, one of the veteran scholars of the community, at his 82 years old, is an “encyclopedia” of the Braila history, former librarian with the “Nordau-Derera” Establishment, that offered us some unpublished data regarding the biographies of some Jewish personalities in Braila, not found yet in any monograph.
Thus, the wife of the author Andrei Tudor (Rosenzweig) lives in Israel, where she teaches Latin; the son of Ury Benador is conductor at the Galati Philharmonic; the author Konrad Bercovici is the true writer of the script for the famous movie “The Dictator”, fighting in court for this recognition with Charlie Chaplin who, it seems, has refused to admit he made this “rapt”; Nissim Derera was a Cicero translator, publishing his translations in the old collection of “Biblioteca pentru toti”; a relative of the writer Leon Feraru, Ana Schreiber, still lives in Braila; Oscar Lemnaru was good friend with the philosopher Anton Dumitriu, with European recognition (he was in prison during the years of “popular democracy”); a daughter of Oscar Kreindler (wrongly named Iosif), professor of math at the Polytechnic, cousin of the renowned neurologist Artur Kreindler, lives in Germany; the publicist Simon Pastorescu (Schaffermann) was a biographer of W. Filderman; another publicist, Sotec-Leteanu, was a friend of Salom Alehem, with whom he exchanged letters; Doctor Michel Stader was consul of Sweden in Braila; the brother of the writer S. Semilian, author of a “History of Braila press”, Tudor Savin, was a political prisoner in Romania during the communist regime, then he left for Israel, where he was journalist; the brother of Mihail Sebastian, Beno Hechter, was involved in Patrascanu and Bellu Zilber’s trial, then he left for Paris, where he died in 1994; Eugen Schileru was classmate with the one who would become “the witness over the time”, Silo Oberman, and he was once the professor of Razvan Theodorescu; the Rabbi Thenen Mayer is the author of a prayer book written in Hebrew and Latin alphabet, but also in Romanian translation, titled “Hatipora” (The Bird), after the name of his late wife; the brother of Ilarie Voronca, the well-known actor Alexandru Marius, was full member of the National Theater; Aurel Kaufman, a well-known surgeon from Braila, is living in Cluj, married with the actress Maia Tipan; another native from Braila, Rubin Udler, Romanian-language dialects specialist, first lived in Chisinau, then he left for U.S.A., where he still works; also from Braila are Dr. Josif Juran, the renowned founder of the “science of quality”, a personality who became famous in U.S.A.; Victor Brauner lived in Braila in the â€˜20s; Nicolae Minei (Aurel Gluckner), who was part of the directory board of “Magazinul istoric”, a native from Braila (his mother’s name was Mina), left for Israel in 1978; the daughter of M. H. Maxy, Liana Maxy, is a writer and a publicist in Israel; Dolfi Trost, Dada poet, friend with Gherasim Luca and Paul Paun, is also a native of Braila; the pharmacy specialist Dr. Emil Weisenberg was the representative for Romania to W.H.O. in the â€˜80sâ€¦ We will also mention the brothers Leo and Zissu Guttman, great sportsmen, couches for the “Macabi” gymnastic team, and the widow of the first brother, Lea Guttman, is the oldest member of the community, a 94 year old woman, but who really looks 20 years younger, although if his eyesight is damaged. With a trembling hand, she gave me a photo from their youth, of her and her husband, Leo Guttman, (whose statue still is in the patrimony of the History Museum of the Jewish Community in Romania). With a touching love she is cared for by her granddaughter Olga Lutmar – the daughter of Zissu Guttman – and an employee of the community, in the house of whom Lea Guttman lives. The former Chief Rabbi Alexandru Safran was photographed once with the Guttman brothers, and the parades on May 10, in Braila, were opened with the defiling of the “Macabi” team, leaded by the legendary gymnast Leo Guttman.
ARGUMENT, individual and collective, FOR A FUTURE LEXICON
Commentaries and portraits edited by EVELIN FONEA, TEODOR GHEORGHIU, AND BORIS M. MEHR
M. H. Maxy (1895-1971)
Painter and sketcher, he was born in Braila. Important animator of the vanguard movement in Romania (“Integral” group), he was the promoter of the modernism in art. In 1941, he became director of “Baraseum” Theater, where he also took care of the scene painting. He had numerous exhibitions in the country and abroad (urban paintings, landscapes and portraits). From 1949, he was director of the National Museum of Art. He was also an honored artist.
EUGEN SCHILERU (1916-1968)
Essayist, critic, art historian and translator, he was born in Braila. He was especially preoccupied by the theory of art and by the modern art. He was professor of essay writing and the chief of the department for art history within the “N. Grigorescu” Institute of Plastic Arts. Studies: “Rembrandt”, “Irimescu”, “Impresionismul” etc. He wrote numerous essays and articles for “Era noua”, “Cuvantul liber”, “Viata Romaneasca”, “Contemporanul” etc.
Perhaps at his birth, “the world sounded from all its trumpets”! But one thing is sure: when this high voice died, who revealed to the world his generous sadness – as his exegete J. Rousselot used to say -, the most eminent spirits of the time, the closest hearts stopped to cry. Voronca, “the billionaire in images” (E. Lovinescu), the vanguard poet, was an erudite creator of a daring poetical language, with “a poem as a torch, quartz in blood”. “I, the poet, I am here searching in these retort / the words that I set in motion / The hymn that will sing your gloryâ€¦”.
In a strict alphabetical chronology of the Jewish writers and publicists coming from Braila, the first name will be the one of Andrei Tudor, editor and collaborator, in different periods, with the most important newspapers and literary publications of his time. From his works that overcame the passing of time we should mention “Schita istorica despre inceputurile teatrului liric in Principate” and “Viata lui George Enescu”.
Names unjustly forgotten:
Bercovici Konrad, settled in U.S.A., author of over 30 volumes in prose, described by the American critics as “a great storyteller”.
Nissim Em. Derera – actually a co-author, over time, of those pages, through his monograph about the Braila Jewish community, written in 1906.
Forever present in the literature among the great names of the Romanian-language Jewish writers, brought back strongly in the notoriety through his “Journal”, recently republished in French, the Romanian Jew, the Braila native Iosef Hechter needs no presentation. In his preface to “De doua mii de aniâ€¦”, Nae Ionescu had an intuition about the just protest of Iosef Hechter, who could have answered him: “call me however you want, but I know I am a man born near the Danube and that theBraila’s Danube is part of myself“. The provocative counter-answer of Nae Ionescu came immediately: Are you, Iosef Hechter, a man born near the Braila’s Danube? No. You are a Jew from Braila’s Danube”â€¦ Which didn’t shake the convictions of Sebastian: “â€¦ I am, in the order of the Romanian values, a Wallachian, a mountaineer” without never stopping “of course, to be a Jew. This is not a job someone can quit. You are or you are not”.
“The fact is – said the well – known critic Gabriel Dimisianu – Benador, although born in a Bucovina village, though of himself to be a Braila native, and he actually was, because he spent his childhood in Braila, he attended the primary school there and he also spent some years of his youth there. Plus, also in Braila he made his debut as publicist and writer, contributing to local gazette and publishing at a Braila publishing house his volume Â«5 acteÂ»”. We also mention the essential observation made by Pompiliu Constantinescu about “Ghetto Veac XX”: “Who wants to know the organization and the spirit of the Romanian ghetto he has to read the book of Mr. Benador”. And because in those days we are right after the Purim celebrations, too bad that the presenter on the T.E.S. stage didn’t ask himself as Ury Benador did: “Why is that on this night of Susan Purim the moon is bigger and whiter then other times, when is full moon? And why are its calls so touching?” (“Appassionata”). All this for not forgetting Ury Benador.
OSCAR LEMNARUâ€¦ and the shadow
“The ones who really knew Oscar Lemnaru, who have red, in 1946, his fantastic short stories (“Omul si Umbra”) will never forget him”. Adrian Rogoz, the one who, influenced by Lemnaru, would re-launch the SF literature, made the affirmation. Fabulous narrator, with fewer books that it should have, Lemnaru made numerous translations to surviveâ€¦ But Lemnaru also was an excellent quibbler, respecting, edition after edition, the contract with I. Vinea to write ten quibbles in every “Facla” edition. From where came the first of his “standards”: “From now on, I make quibbles for Â«FaclaÂ»”. A good moment to remind us of the memorable quibble dedicated to the Jewish industrialist Auschnit: “Aus Schnitâ€¦ he became a Jew” or the one dedicated to Elly Roman, who had an Israelite companion, coming back sentimentally to the country: “If El-y-roman, the lady comesâ€¦ if” (restoring, obviously, a new Daco-Roman couple).
PERPESSICIUS about SEMILIAN
About S. SEMILIAN any future Lexicon that is a correct one will mention, probably: “publicist, professor, historian, active contributor toâ€¦”, also mentioning dozens of titles written in the newspapers and magazines of the decades â€˜30s-â€˜40s. But Semilian left us three essential works: “Contributia Brailei la cultura romaneasca si straina”; “Evreii in cadrul asezarii Brailei, acum 100 de ani”; and, finally, “Istoricul presei brailene de la 1839 pana la 1926″. About this last work, Perpessicius wrote seven decades ago:
“Every one who went in a library and wanted, with his lasting love in mind, our Braila, as a fairy among willow tree, to dedicate a hymn of to tear a confession about her glorious past (â€¦). That’s exactly what Mr. S. Semilian is doing today with his present work (â€¦). History and poetry feel both great gratitude towards Mr. Semilian for his Â«History of the Braila pressÂ»”.
“A poet of light” – as Camil Petrescu was called -, he was born in Moara commune, Putna county, he edited and directed “Tiparnita literara”, contributed to “Romania literara”, “Sburatorul”, and “Familia”. Among the books that made him renowned in the period, we mention “Vecernii”, “Biblice”, “Flaute de matase”, “Reculegeri la nemurirea Ta” etc. The declaration of Ov. S. Crohmalniceanu seams to us very convincing regarding Baltazar: “(he was a)â€¦ voice with an unmatched lyrical purity”. As for his poetry, we mention few lyrics also underlined by G. Calinescu, even if, in his period, some have asked how can exist “flutes of silk”: “Miryam and Nyol, / take each other’s hands, / go down on the meadows of the sky, / on the path of the stars: / the waters are starting to bear white frost, / the silence went to bedâ€¦” How can’t be possible that Camil Baltazar stays in our hears forever!
He made his debut in “Lumea israelita”. He contributed to “Viata Romaneasca” from Iasi – with lyrics comprised later in “Maghernita veche” -, and to “Viata literara si artistica”, “Egalitatea”, “Pessah”, “Tanarul Evreu” etc. In 1913, he settled in U.S.A., where he became professor of Roman languages at the University of Columbia and he edited in New York the “Steaua Romana” magazine. From his remarkable lyrics – two verses: “I am a soul from the soul / of the prophets among the prophetsâ€¦” And, at last: “I drink the clearness of the eyes in the skies, / my people, with you I believe and hope”.
Love each other as you were brothersâ€¦
Guttman Leo and Zissu, also known as “the famous Guttman brothers”, were the most talented sports coaches of “The first Israelite society of gymnastics”. There was a witticism that used to be told in Braila about the Guttman brothers: “Love each other as you were brothersâ€¦ Guttman brothers, of course”. In the year 1935, “The first Israelite society of gymnastics” from Braila merged with the legendary “Macabi”, taking over in its name a double eulogy “The First and Macabi, society for Physical Education, Braila”, having its own “Sports bulletin of information”, the Guttman brothers proving to be not only good coaches, but also very good journalists.