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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Another hot and sunny day.

Our group leaders, Jasmin and Basha, from Germany and Poland, decided last night that we would work only a half day today, because we were all so exhausted yesterday, I have mixed feelings, and I think we all do. Even though we know we can only clear a fraction of the cemetery, we still want to clear as much as possible. But the real trick will be to find a way to have the community support the upkeep of the cemetery, or it will just grow back into the jungle it is now. It does, as Pedro said, feel a bit like playing Indiana Jones, finding ruins in the jungle.

Even my half day today didn't involve much actual work. A reporter came and interviewed me and at least 3 or 4 others at length. Then Mimi and Christian arrived. Christian and I went in search of the section that should contain the graves of my great grandparents, Sure and Mortke Glaubach, my grandmother's parents. They both died in 1918. I think we've got the right section, but whether I can make my way through to find the graves is hard to know.

In about a half hour we have a press conference arranged by the deputy mayor. We certainly do seem to be getting a fair amount of attention, which is great. Hopefully it will translate into continued maintenance. And Mimi is working on getting some kind of herbicide or plastic to keep the weeds from growing back.

Later this afternoon we are going to Sadagura, and, hopefully, Neu Glucka, the hamlet of Sadagura where my family actually lived. I have heard several stories, including Mimi's, and also in a book by Daniel Mendelsson, which I recommend, called Lost, the Search for Six of Six Million, about people locating old folks who remembered their relatives, even decades later. I don't really expect to discover anything like that, but it would of course be amazing to find any memories or traces of my grandparents, great grandparents, or my aunt Clara.

The story of my aunt is one that is fascinating to me, and I first heard it only in the last 10 years, from my mother. My aunt, who I knew until she died in the early 1960's, had already been born when my grandparents decided to emigrate to the US in 1914. They left Clara behind, thinking the journey not safe for a baby. The plan was to send for her once they were established( I am not clear on how that would have transpired, who would have brought her.) But war intervened. My aunt did not come to the United States until she was 16 years old. She had not seen her parents for 14 years, and had never met her three brothers or sister, my mother. Clara then went back to Czernowitz in 1938. I've heard two versions of why she returned. One is that she went back to marry, the other is that she went back to break things off with the man she was supposed to marry.

My time is about to expire, and so I will leave this as a bit of a cliffhanger, to tell you next time!

1 comment:

Marty said...

Dear Joanne,
Thank you for sharing. I am so impressed with your openness to exploring the world and having new experiences. How wonderful to be able to be of service in a place that was so central to your family's history!
I appreciate the hyperlink to Volunteers for Peace. What a great organization. I'd not realized that so many of your trips had been coordinated through the same organization.
I look forward to hearing more about your travels. Thanks again.
Love, Marty