Community Development through Trade
Remembering Roza Goldstein
Remembering Roza Goldstein
It’s a cold December day. The year is 1878, a child is born into the Goldstein family of Valcele; they named her Roza. It’s hard to grasp the extreme scale of emotions the family endured after celebrating a child’s birth that six months later are tragically burying. They laid her tiny casket down inside the earth of the small Jewish cemetery nestled inside the looming Valcele forest.
Who could have ever imagined that her brief and unimposing time on earth would resurrect 140 years later as the lone voice of a once profound community that has literally been stolen in the night. Roza Goldstein was unable to hold on to life – however in death she is making her presence known – loud and clear…
At the time of Roza’s death the Jewish population in the quaint resort village of Valcele was a small yet significant 38. They put down roots, they built homes and businesses and importantly they brought trade and jobs into the valley. They created work and income for the people and to this day they are still fondly remembered by a few remaining elderly folk, who were just children before the upheavals of 1944 and when everything changed. “I remember them well. We used to run to their shops because that was the only place you could get candy,” recalls Ion Gheorghe.
In 1944 the Jews of Valcele were suddenly gathered
up in the night and transferred to the ghettos in Targu Mures to be catalogued
before being shipped off to the unspeakable horrors of the concentration camps.
Villager Antony Cocosh, who grew up in
Valcele knows the paths through the forest maze like his own backyard. He recalls
being at this spot only a couple years ago when there were still dozens of gravestones
guarded by an iron fence. “It was a large area filled with inscribed
gravestones.” The iron fence has since been taken down, “stolen by the
Gypsies”, claims Mr. Cocosh. The impoverished Gypsy community on the hill has a
reputation of taking without permission and then recycling the old and unused.
Reusing the concrete monuments of generations before is history repeating itself. The practice goes all the way back to the Romans famously dismantling and reusing Greek monuments in their construction. Those proceeding the Roman did the same; re-using Roman materials in their castles, defense walls, villas and churches,
“The old iron fence has been cut up, sent away and melted down. It’s gone forever,” confirms Mr Cocosh, “there’s no doubt about it.” The gravestones, however, have not been destroyed, are just a few hundred meters away, fully intact, hidden under the floorboards in the basement of a newly renovated home supporting the walls of an unscrupulous homeowner.
“These markers have been here for over a hundred years and these thieves just ripped them out. They knew what they were doing… look here, look what they did,” he says pointing to a pair of jagged rocks sticking up out of the soil. “They smashed it.”…. They knew what they were doing…. They say to themselves, ‘who’s going to stop us. No one cares. No one is going to do anything”… He sighs deeply and rubs an eyes, perhaps a tear which the big man does not want to show… “ I’m really sorry to say it but they’re right , No one care. And no one is going to do anything about it.”
Then they came for the Trade
Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Then they came for the Jews, and I
did not speak out—
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me
Tzigania Project working towards a solution
The stolen gravestones have not been destroyed.
They remain in-tack hidden beneath floorboards…
– or –
a more balanced route that neither destroys other people’s lives nor rewards perpetrators.
We are trying to network our cause and gather the force needed to restore the cemetery and give back – in however small a way – to the memory of these people whose lives were stolen from them in 1944 – and now a second time – 2017 – their memory is being taken and buried under a heap of rock into a foundation . We propose that instead of taking a hardline attitude and laying out punishments - to rather manage it in a more intelligent ways of taking back without destroying and creating more damage. I whole heartedly believe neither Roza, the Goldstein family or any of the nameless souls laid here would wish more pain and suffering carried out in their name - and especially in this case - where it doesn’t need to be….
Phone: (+40) 758 55 66 70