Article by Peninah Zilberman, from Tarbut Foundation Sighet
Fundatia Tarbut Sighet Cultura si Educatie Iudaica is extremely proud and honored to have been chosen to participate in the Parallel Traces Sighet Exhibit: "Jewish Heritage Through A New Lens".
Sighet is a Romanian city with a very rich and long Jewish history since the 17's century. Jews always lived in Sighet peacefully next to the local citizens.
My maternal roots are from Sighet, my mother, her sister and only one brother survived from eight children. I established the foundation in memory of my family members who were murdered in Auschwitz and for all those Jews who didn't return following the Auschwitz deportations May 16-22, 1944.
The month of November in Jewish history is associated with "Kristallnacht - The Night of Shattering Glass", eighty two years ago on Nov. 8, 1938 Kristallnacht took place in Germany. That night marks the beginning of the holocaust and the loss of the European Jewish Heritage. Today, we reclaimed it back under a new lens and circumstances. Today, we are proud of post holocaust generations who are highly involved in preserving the Jewish heritage of their cities where sites are still standing across Europe. Some places could be half demolished, ruined, destroyed but all locations are recognized on the international maps.
What are considered Jewish heritage spaces? All buildings related to the local former Jewish communities pre & post holocaust. Synagogues, cemeteries, Rabbis and high profile personality's homes, museums, libraries, ritual baths (mikvah) memorials and monuments in memory of those who were killed just because they were Jews! During the last 30 years, since the Communist Regime was terminated, the Romanian government collaborates with the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania. The EU law states that no former Jewish Building can be erected on a former Jewish heritage site, unless a monument, synagogue or memorial is being built.
Here is the place to mention that the Romanian government only accepted in 2004 its local Jewish holocaust following the Elie Wiesel report in 2002. The National Romanian Holocaust Day is October 9, observed every year by all Jewish communities and the local Romanian municipalities. This date marks the Bukovina deportations on October 9, 1941 to Transnistria- today Ukraine.
Sighet takes great pride that Elie Wiesel was a former citizen of Sighet and the recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize. His birth's house is a Memorial House for all Marmaures Jews. It's visited by thousands of tourists from all over the world, including many Romanian visitors. Nowadays, we are witnessing a revival of preserving heritage sites.
Tarbut is honored that Daniel Grünfeld, international photographer, accepted our invitation. He has brought his distinctive photographic eye while capturing special angles from past Sighet days to such timely creative images.
Last but not least a special thank you to the exhibit curator Alina Marincean. Alina?s Marmaures Jewish history knowledge, familiarity, a Sighet native, understanding the pre-holocaust culture produced such a high caliber exhibit.
Thank you to Adela Pop Gallery, Sighet.
Fundatia Tarbut Sighet had to overcome a number of challenges due to covid-19, which were resolved by AEPJ skilled Director and staff.