Between Liberation and Emigration: Jews from Bukovina in Romania after the Second World War

January 2017
Leo Baeck Institute Year Book;2017, Vol. 62, p115
Academic Journal
In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Jewish survivors from Bukovina faced huge challenges. These included statelessness, economic hardship, physical illness, and a crisis of belonging. Indeed, whether they had been repatriated from deportations to Transnistria or had survived the war in Cernăuţi, families had been decimated, pre-war social and economic networks had been dismantled, and social trust destroyed. To add to this, in 1944, the north of the region with the capital, German Czernowitz, Romanian Cernăuţi, Russian Chernovtsy and Ukrainian Chernivtsi became part of the Soviet Union. Many Bukovina Jews therefore crossed the border into Romania--the country of which they had been citizens before the war. This article explores the fate of these 'survivor-refugees' from Bukovina in post-war Romania--between liberation and emigration--from the perspective of individuals. For this, it draws on official sources and contemporary ego-documents (letters and diaries). It asks about the options and choices Jewish Bukovinians faced as the war came to an end, the meaning of 'liberation', and the means of coming to terms with suffering and persecution. It highlights the specificity of their situation compared with and in relation to Jews in Romania and elsewhere who had survived the war under different circumstances. It thereby traces the evolution of their situation against the backdrop of the Romanian political transition from fascism to communism.


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