Burghezia mare, Str. Avram Imbroane nr. 1
In the seventies and eighties of the nineteenth century, the citizens of the whole of Timisoara rushed on Saturdays and Sundays in Fabric, to spend a few hours happily in the pleasant bars, restaurants and cafes of the neighborhood. The existence of the big bourgeoisie in Fabric is testified by the numerous villas and palaces built throughout the neighborhood.
In the seventies and eighties of the 19th century, the citizens of the whole of Timișoara stormed Saturdays and Sundays in Fabric, to spend a few hours happily in the pleasant bars, restaurants, and cafes of the neighborhood. Often, the senior officials and the elite citizens from other neighborhoods met in the Fabric, at the famous "Tiger" or at the "Braustübl" at The Brewery, with prominent representatives of the local bourgeoisie: Joh. Tedeschi, Jos. Kunz, Suchan, Prochaszka, Baader, Reiber, Kremer, Risztics, Kramolin, Gaupp, Ioanovics etc. At the end of the 19th century, the social life in Fabric, like the other neighborhoods, was concentrated in the society club (Geselligkeitsklub) which was based on the first floor of the hotel "At the three roses" until the beginning of the 20th century, then in Coronini Square (today Roman) in the city palace or Rudolf Totis palace. Here met the ”old” survivors Baader, Klemier, Weiterschütz, and the "youth" aged 55-65: Rudolf Jahner, Johann Schlichting, Johann Sigmund, Heinrich Tauber, Josef Némes, Alexander Kohn, Ig. A. Kimmel etc.
The existence of the upper bourgeoisie in Fabric is evidenced by the numerous villas and palaces built throughout the neighborhood: the house of Dr. Béla Fülöp, built at the end of the 19th century in the eclectic style; the Franz Wettel house, completed in 1912, in the same historicist/eclectic style; the Jenő Spang house, built in the early 20th century in the Secession style; Károly Mühlbach house, built in 1891 in the historicist style, etc.
- 1. Josef Geml, Vechea Timișoară în ultima jumătate de secol 1870-1920, Cosmopolitan Art Publishing House, Timișoara, 2016, p. 116.
- https://heritageoftimisoara.ro/cladiri/Fabric/adresa/Episcop+Joseph+Nischbach/3 site accessed in May 2021.
- https://heritageoftimisoara.ro/cladiri/Fabric/adresa/Dr.+Ernest+Neumann/4 – site accesat în mai 2021.
- https://heritageoftimisoara.ro/cladiri/Fabric/adresa/Ioan+Inocen%C8%9Biu+Micu+Klein/1 site accessed in May 2021.
Sofia și Avram Imbroane
All my other brothers were born in another country - allegedly - that it was not Greater Romania yet. The eldest was born in München, while my father and mother were studying abroad.
My father was an editor at Branişte's "Drapelul" newspaper, the editor-in-chief, and he went to Germany to study, and while studying there he wrote admirable articles, which he sent to Branişte's newspaper.
The second brother was born in Lugoj, when the provinces were still separate, the third in Bucharest, and a sister in Iasi, in 1917, and I in 1920, when it was Greater Romania… I was born in Timisoara. We were five children. My father was extraordinarily beautiful, he was an extremely generous man and he had an exceptional backbone, he was a man of great morality and patriotism. He also mourned the fate of women; he didn't want girls, but boys, because he said that women have a hard time in life. Boys were born, then my sister and they said "we'll find for her a husband", then I was born and they christened me "boy Ionică" and that's my name.
My father was the vice-president of the Chamber, immediately after the Union, because he fought for the Union and he was almost killed and judged by Hungarians and Serbs for the whole campaign he led. He escaped at the last minute, fleeing to the Kingdom.
He came here (in Muntenia) with his mother. In Căldăruşani he was a deacon, in 1914, and in 1916, together with Titulescu, Delavrancea and all the others, he fought for the idea of the Union. My father was a great speaker and he gave speeches. He was both a publicist and a great speaker, very talented… He was with them through campaigns to prepare the Union and that is how he became known.
Gala Galaction, who was in Cernăuţi when my father studied Theology (there he met my mother, in Cernăuţi) loved him very much. Delavrancea also loved him, he said of my father that he was "the nightingale of Banat", and also Arghezi loved him. There was no one who did not support him because my father did not want to become a minister, so he became a secretary-general at the Ministry of Cults and Arts, as it was called then. As secretary-general, he supported everyone and sought to do the impossible, to finance them and to help them.
In what year was he secretary general? 1933 -1938, because he died in 1938, as secretary-general. He lost my mother in 1933, she died suddenly at the age of 47. My mother also had splendid activity work in the public realm. She was the president of the Association of Women and Housewives of Timisoara. She made a school, the Housekeeping School(Şcoala de Menaj), and she brought peasant women from the countryside. She had to get that big, columned building that now houses the Prefecture, which was built to bear the name of my mother, Sofia Topor Tarnovietzki, because they were ennobled by the Poles in Cernăuţi. In fact, they were called Topor, and they were yeomans from the time of Ştefan cel Mare.
The school had to be named like that after my mother died. That building with beautiful columns had to be the building of the school for women, to do the social education for women from the countryside, that was her dream, to take care of the girls in the countryside. She was also a great collector of folklore, in love with folk art, and so she seconded my father in a way; for all her work she won grand prizes, in Brussels, in Barcelona, gold medals for her collections, which were lost during the war.
What collections? National costumes, embroideries, ceramics made in Banat, old Banat collars. She went from village to village and collected everything that was old and authentic and made a splendid collection.
In what year? Until 1933 when she died. She had a cerebral concussion and died at the age of 47. (...)
Dad had a splendid voice. Grozăvescu himself said that he had a more beautiful voice than his own, that is how splendid my father’s voice was. He went with the choir to sing for Christmas, met my mother, and fell in love with her.
What choir did he go with? With the choir from Bucovina, of theologians, because he was a student of Theology. He graduated in Theology and Law. He then studied law abroad.
How did he get to Cernăuți from Banat? Well, he went to Cernăuţi to the well-known Faculty of Theology, even Gala Galaction studied there.
Was your father born in Lugoj? My father was born in Coştei, in the Yugoslav Banat, and then my grandparents came to Vărădia. My father especially supported those in the Yugoslav Banat then. After that he went to Cernăuţi as a student, then he came to Lugoj, to Branişte, he was the editor of the newspaper "Drapelul" and from there he was sent abroad, to Germany, to study and to get his doctorate.
He went there on a scholarship, he studied with great sociologists, and sent thundering articles from there. I have his articles, which a gentleman Rădulescu from here, who went to prison, told me he would publish, but everywhere money is demanded, and I couldn't get enough money to finance it myself. I. He wanted to publish all of my father's articles, which are wonderful.
Did he write memoirs? He didn't had time for that. He always fought for all sorts of national causes, but he didn't write about himself… He was very modest. Because he was a deputy for years and was the vice-president of the Chamber, in our house was a long line of people who came with requests.
Was he a Liberal? Yes. Brătianu became prime minister, because he was called to Paris in 1919 to present himself at Wilson, and there he almost convinced them with his oratorical talent to give up the part of Yugoslav Banat that we lost, including Coşteiul. Then things changed here, the Bratians came to power, the policy changed and they returned from Paris. That part was given away and the border remained, which was extraordinarily painful for my father, because that whole part, so beautiful and with such well-trained and good Romanians, remained in Yugoslavia. And then my father continued to support them as much as he could when the Liberals came to power.
In what year was he a deputy? He was a deputy right away.. He was the vice-president of the Chamber, immediately after the Union, and then he was a deputy whenever the Liberals were in power. He died as Secretary General of the Ministry of Cults and Arts.
In what year did your father die? In 1938. I can't thank God enough that my father died before he went to prison, because he would've ended up in prison, and you can imagine how much he would have suffered for him and for us. After all the life dedicated to this nation, to end up imprisoned, as so many other people had been. (...)
My mother also had splendid activity work in the public realm. She was the president of the Association of Women and Housewives of Timisoara. She made a school, the Housekeeping School(Şcoala de Menaj), and she brought peasant women from the countryside. She had to get that big, columned building that now houses the Prefecture, which was built to bear the name of my mother, Sofia Topor Tarnovietzki. The school had to be named like that after my mother died.She was also a great collector of folklore, in love with folk art and so she seconded my father, in a way. She won prizes, in Brussels, in Barcelona, gold medals for her collections, which were lost during the war.
What collections? National costumes, embroideries, ceramics made in Banat, old Banat collars. She went from village to village and collected everything that was old and authentic and made a splendid collection in 1933.”
Steluța Crăiniceanu-Imbroane (born in 1920 in Timișoara) interviewed by Smaranda Vultur, in 1999, in Bucharest - Excerpts from the interview published in Dr. Avram Imbroane, Testament Politic, ediția I, Ed. Marineasa, Timisoara, 2003, Prefața by Constantin Jinga, Foreword by Mihai Șora, Chronology by Remus Jurca-Unip, In memoriam by Horia Musta, Edited by Adrian Onică and Roxana Pătrașcu.
Female portraits in Timișoara sec. XX - Ep.1: Sofia Imbroane, video material made by Claudia Tănăsescu
Here (at a station after the Little Railway Station) was the Kimmel neighborhood, because there were so many rich people. This house was built in 1929. When we came here in the '60s, we brought in 6 trucks of earth, it was so deep here. I remember the water was in the street. When I bought the house I said we had no way to cross the street, but I filled the swamp with earth. But even now we have water when it rains.
This was a new neighborhood. Kimmel had the Liquor Factory here.
I still remember when the Serbian Church was built and when the concrete was poured and the market was built. It used to be muddy, it was a disaster. It was a small market for peasants, a market for animals, chickens, geese.
Eva Mayer born in Ianova in 1928 - Excerpt from the interview conducted by Roxana Pătraşcu, in Timişoara, in 1999. The oral history and anthropology group archive, coordinated by Smaranda Vultur.
I also grew up in Fabric, in Mrs. Kimmel's house, on ZürichStreet, at number 2, a report house, built in the interwar period to rent apartments. The apartments were arranged throughout common, long balconies that connected the games of our childhood. Behind the house was the park, which protected in its middle the beautiful villa where the Kimmel family had once lived. The park was, for the child eyes I had, huge, with old trees. I remember in the fall we made some kind of "glasses" from the leaves of the old plane trees. From the huge chestnuts, with wide crowns, we harvested the fruits, which we then transformed into dolls, built with straw needles stuck in the fat, brown body of the chestnuts… Lady Kimmel lived downstairs, sharing the apartment with the Erhan family. She was silent, withdrawn. The widow of one of the great owners of Timisoara, a manufacturer of liqueurs and cognac, no one knew anymore who she was. I only remember the square glass, made of thick glass, which had the name KIMMEL beautifully inscribed in embossed letters. I don't know how it got to us, I just remember how puzzled I was to see the name of the silent old woman, hidden in the Erhan family's bathroom, sitting there on the glass. All my life I was followed by the mysterious beauty of the bottles that hid the mysterious stories of unknown times ... I recover today: "Ignaz Sándor Kimmel, famous manufacturer of liqueurs and cognac a century ago. The oldest known representative of the family in Timişoara was a teacher at the Fabric “People's School” in 1784. In time, the Kimmel family bought several properties in the city, including a villa with a plot of land in Fabric near the East Railway Station, where Zürich Park now stands. "The owners planted several trees on the land that are still standing today, but the park was nationalized after World War II."
We used to go to the park house to play in the afternoons. Not inside, because there was the canteen from the sock factory across the street. We played in front of the house, around the empty pool, where there was a large area where we could run or where we could play, throwing the ball up and shouting the name of the country we chose, so that we could hit the ball on the most vulnerable... Sometimes we kept our balance on the edge of the pool, with our hands outstretched. If anyone was braver, he would follow this line by jumping on one leg... I wasn't one of them anyway.
I entered the canteen only once: my mother had gone to Iasi, to a meeting of school librarians. An event! She left us alone; she "arranged" for us to have a hot meal at the park canteen. Noodle soup and the papricaş with macaroni seemed to me to be my "emancipation" threshold. I was going out "into the world" ... Only the first tea with marmalade bread from Techirghiol will have, in a few years, the same taste of adventure like that food obtained by spreading, like all adults, a voucher at the counter where the cooks distributed the plates and the aluminum cutlery.
I made such a long loop through the neighborhood of my childhood, at the other end of it, to feed the turmoil of today's discovery. The geography of childhood is always a warm therapy ... The part of Fabric that formed the borders of the world in which we grew up stretched from the Little Railway Station, from where my mother sent us to Izvin, giving us someone "in care", to the famous Six- Houses, where most of the children from the school came from, the tram depot, on the right side, or Telegrafului street, where our kindergarten was, or, far away, two streets away, Simion Bărnuţiu street, where we went to high school, the place of my first love - my mother's library and the heaven of my free loneliness ... In front, the tram line 2 and the Stocking Factory, Ocsko Terezia. Later, the names of that huge building were put in order: the architect Szekely Laszlo came to the fore, before the name of the communist fighter who took over the fame of her older compatriots.
Sorina Jecza – Excerpt - June 18, 2015
About Judith Cohn's family
Judith, tell me about yourself, your parents and grandparents!
Judith: My father is from Tinca, Bihor County, which has belonged to Romania since 1920. My great-grandfather was one of the founders of the Jewish community in Tinca in 1830. On the family tree we are already 300 people on our great-grandfather's wing. His grave is almost 200 years old and his name, Ionas Ritter, is quoted in the "Lexicon of the Jews of Hungary" („Lexiconul evreilor din Ungaria”). He dealt with the trade, he had a big, superb shop in Tinca. My grandfather died from a war wound, and the store went bankrupt. My father didn't get a high school degree and started working at a very young age. At first he was engaged in the sale of wood, then, through an advertisement, he went to Oraviţa, at the Langer family, and set up a tannery for them, from which was born the leather factory in Timişoara, on the banks of the Bega. My father remained director even during the communist era, after nationalization.
My maternal grandfather was a rabbi, he had graduated from rabbinical school in Vienna. He was from Borod, between Oradea and Cluj. There were nine brothers, many of whom died as children. His first job was at the Biserica Albă (White Church) - a small town in Yugoslavia, now Serbia - and then at Oraviţa, where he was an Orthodox rabbi for over 20 years. The community was small, but during the war, the people of Reșita were moved to Oraviţa and it became a rather serious community. We spent our summers there, and during the war we took refuge in Oraviţa, because in Timişoara we lived near the Power Plant, which was a target for bombing.
My grandmother was from Aleșd. She was small and pretty, always on duty. She was a perfect housewife, she had a pantry with hundreds of jars of jam. During the war, when we took refuge from Timișoara for a few days in Lugoj, they also came from Oravița. When they returned to the courtyard of the synagogue, her jams were mixed with the holy books! It turned out that it was not the Germans, not the German Nazi army, who had wreaked havoc, but the anti-Semitic neighbors. On Friday evenings or holidays, they threw stones at the window. Therefore, they suffered a lot in Oraviţa. Emeric Marosi, who was Rosh Hakol, the president of the community in Resita, wrote a monograph about the Jews of Reşiţa, in which a chapter is dedicated to my grandfather. I wrote to him that during the war, the fascists vandalized the synagogue, but he corrected me because, in reality, the neighbors did it.
Judith Cohn, born in 1936 in Oravița - excerpt from Destine evreiești, Getta Neumann, Hasefer Publishing House, Bucharest, 2014
About the Langer family
No Jewish friends? Industrialists? Industrialists, no, but there were some who worked in the factory - there was a Ritter, there was a Berger... But most of them went to Israel afterwards. So where was the factory? It was in Fabric, also on the bank of the Bega river, and it was called "Splaiul Morarilor". After the Turkish Prince? I don't know exactly. Straight ahead, after Traian Square. There was IRP (Romanian Leather Industry), there was Westendt (?), for gloves and there was "Ideal" - for shoes. So he bought twelve houses that were around. When he moved out of Oravita, he wanted workers to come, that he brought from the West, from Switzerland, France and even Italy, some people who taught him how to make patterns, which is a trade, not just machine work. And they were very skilled. In Timisoara he couldn't find any of these workers, and to bring them to the factory he bought 12 houses around the factory to house them. And they all came, with their families. Where in Oravita were these...? You know, in Oravita there's a street, the main street, and they were in Romanian Oravita, at the bottom. Towards the Greek Catholic church? That's right. Are there still buildings from that era? There are, there are. What's there now? They're private. About how many workers were there in Oravita? Two hundred - two hundred and fifty. And he brought all 200 with him? He brought them, yes, because they wanted him to. There was no work in Oravita. I would like to draw your attention to the fact that Oravița had a prefecture when I was born, and after the factory left, this town was no longer of interest, and it (the prefecture) moved to Reșița, where there was industry. When I was born, the current Town Hall was the Prefecture. So that's where the glove factory and the shoe factory were? No, the shoe factory was created in Timisoara. It was the glove factory and it was leather. And Timisoara also made this shoe factory - "Ideal". Yes, yes. The gentleman I was just talking about, from the French Centre, was a very nice guy, and he showed me the house... And he said: "I was told here in town that your father had some factories." "Yes. Why?", I say. "I might have some customers." "Well, that's what interests me!" I gave him my phone number, never heard from him again, and one day I open Le Figaro and see on two pages that the French are investing in Timisoara because there are much more serious people there than in France. I think that this is really true, and that they want to create companies and I don't know what... So I rush to the phone to call him. He says, "Yes, I just have a gentleman here who's looking and I'd be very happy to be a go-between." And I have a friend there in Timisoara, whose father lived a stone's throw from the factory, so he had located it. I say, "Listen, would you go with these French people and show them?" "Yeah, sure." He goes to the French Cultural Centre, I of course called that gentleman we know, and he went with the French client... François Yes. And they go with the French industrialist who wanted to buy a factory. And the doorman comes out and says, "It's sold." I was never informed. (And who did this?) What I know, some Pakistanis, there are five people, they made furs. The factory is empty, it's totally deteriorating, that I went with the one who knew where it came from... Who could have sold it? The Romanian state? The Romanian state, yes. And what hurts me is that the factory doesn't work, because if it worked it would bring in money and I'd be happy with that. The roof is totally broken, and where no one stands, it always gets damaged, everywhere is like that. That's it! Did the factory work until you left? And after that. It was confiscated in '48...
Where did he do his studies, your father? He studied partly in Budapest, there was a Commercial Academy, then he came to Paris for law and finished in Cluj. He did a doctorate in law in Cluj. And how did he come to have connections with the French, in what context? The French came to Timisoara quite often, they visited the factory. He had friends. So through industrial relations. Did they import products from the factory? Yes. The Westend(?), which was the glove factory, had the first prize at the '37 exhibition in Paris. The gloves were very elegant. And why he came to Paris: the great-grandfather I told you about, the Austrian, had an apprentice. The house in the back had apprentices. And he was the son of an illiterate forester. And one day he said to my great-grandfather: "You only have one daughter, she got engaged. Moldovan won't take the bakery and confectionery. If I get the money later, will you sell me the shop?" And his great-grandfather said, "Listen, Eftimie, you know you're worth more. You can do more than just be a baker. Go out into the world, cultivate yourself!" And when he found he couldn't write well, he made him learn. And at some point he went to Constanta, got on a ship and came to the West. He lived I don't know how many years in Germany and ran into Hitler. He went to see Wagner's operas, because that was Hitler's passion. And Hitler wanted to persuade him to become a Nazi, to adopt his ideas. But Gherman, who was a good man, thought that this was not something he liked and returned to Romania. What was he? Romanian. Eftimie Gherman is well known in the Caras. In the meantime the whole family grew and my father joined the family. Gherman went to see my grandfather Moldovan, whom he knew very well, and told him: "I would like to become a politician." And in the meantime he became a socialist. But my grandfather was still a social democrat. And they supported him, financed him and he became an MP. But at some point the communists and socialists disagreed and he left Romania and ended up in Paris. So he arranged it here, so we could get in, together with my father's French friends. It was very difficult, because all Romanians were considered spies. So they didn't let us in so easily. After that, I frequented him a lot in Paris. And what did he do here? Politics. And studies, what did he do? School of life, he told me. He passed the baccalaureate, that's all I know, because my great-grandfather told him, "Educate yourself, get an education."
Mariana Duval, born Langer in 1935 in Oravița - extract from an interview conducted by Smaranda Vultur in Paris in 2001, The oral history and anthropology group archive, coordinated by Smaranda Vultur.
About the Nenadovich family
Did your father catch the First World War? Yes, in Austro-Hungary, because at that time it was still in this part of the world Austro-Hungary. He was also mobilized in the war and went. What was your father's name? Milutin, and my mother Vida. What were your parents like? They weren't strict parents, but they were people who tried to explain something to me in a nice way. I've had 2-3 beatings, a few slaps in my life, when they caught me with something, like at school, when I told them I didn't answer the lesson, but they would meet a teacher who would say: "You see he's not really learning because I gave him four".
But they were very good people. Because my grandfather was a merchant, he wanted his son to be a merchant too, and that's what he did. My father did the whole hierarchy, starting from apprentice, from calf, as these trades were called. My father was my grandfather's companion, because that was the name of the company "Alexander Nenadovich and Son". My father then took over this firm from my grandfather, and continued. While my grandfather was alive, he was always in the shop, more honorary, because he was old and already weakened by his strength.
My mother was a housewife. She was born in Novisad to a very prominent Serbian family, the Macedonians. Her father, I mean my grandfather, was a very prominent Serb, and when the war broke out in 1914, the Hungarians deported him immediately and he was imprisoned and he was imprisoned for four years. For political reasons? Yes, because he was a politician in Novisad. His name was Vlada Mațedonici. There were two Serbian parties, and he was a member of one of them. This party was like the National Peasants' Party of Iuliu Maniu. In the Hungarian parliament they were represented by deputies and my grandfather was also a deputy in the parliament in Budapest. But immediately, in 1914, when the war broke out, the Hungarians closed him down. They deported him to Hungary and there he stayed until 1918, when they lost the war and then liberated him.
My mother grew up in Novisad and was the eldest of four sisters. She stood by my grandmother there and helped her all these years while the war was going on. My grandfather got sick in detention and about two years after his release in '21, he died.
My father had a lot of relatives in Novisad and used to travel to his uncles and they happened to meet. They liked each other and then got married, but since this was the house, the shop, my mother came here.
They were already married when there was Yugoslavia and here was Romania, in 1922.
What do you think of the Yugoslav Banat? That's a division that has been made quite logically, but you know how it goes, it's always the big ones who make the world. The Serbian army, the king with his royal family, with the government, after two years of fighting had to retreat to Greece. Then, with the help of the French, a new Serbian army was formed in Thessaloniki. It was dealt with the Serbian government that was in exile with the king, who was an active king, not a constitutional one. He told them that if they managed to organize an army, to attack the Balkan front, then first they should deal with what the future borders of the country would be. And then, in broad strokes, they said: Serbia plus Vojvodina, plus Banat, plus Bosnia. When they needed the Romanians in 1916 to enter the war, they promised them too: Ardeal, Banat... The Serbs were the first with the French to break through the Thessaloniki front, beat the Austro-Hungarians, the Germans and the Bulgarians, and swept dizzyingly up through the Balkans. After that the western front collapsed and the Allies won. The Serbs advanced quickly and reached Timișoara and occupied Timișoara and went all the way to Mureș, because that was the deal. The war ended, the negotiations began and then the Serbs said "you promised us until here", but the Romanians were also called Banat. The Versailles Peace Treaty for the Balkans and Central Europe was signed at Trianon. The Serbs insisted more that Timisoara and Timis should stay with them, and that the part beyond, Lugojul and beyond, should remain with Romania. It ended up that the part of Banat where there are predominantly more Serbs should remain in Yugoslavia and a line be drawn. After that line, Jimbolia belonged to Yugoslavia and others to Romania and then it was compensated.
I know from my parents, that in the Romanian Banat lived about 70-80 thousand Serbs, so for this number it is not worth to include in Yugoslavia 2-3 hundred thousand Romanians or Germans. An agreement was then reached, especially as the two royal families were related: Princess Marisara, daughter of Ferdinand and Maria, married King Alexander of Yugoslavia. The understanding was therefore perfect between the two states. It is also known from history that Romanians and Serbs have never fought, but have helped each other throughout history. When the Turks began to advance through the Balkans, towards central Europe, Mircea the Elder sent his horsemen to Kosovo to fight with the Serbs against the Turks. And he was the only Christian ruler who sent to help the Christian Serbs who opposed Islam to penetrate to this part of Europe. So could Austro-Hungary send. Mircea the Elder sent his horsemen into the great battle, the only help from a Christian ruler. Since then it has never been mentioned, but there is a great Serbian influence in the Romanian church, in the monasteries, because on all the bibles, the leprosy is written in Cyrillic letters. Then, out of fear of the Turks, a lot of Serbian priests, monks, scholars came to Romania, especially in Muntenia and Oltenia and established monasteries. Over time, many of our rulers became related to those there. That is why I was dismayed by the attitude of the government in 1999 when the Americans attacked Yugoslavia with bombings. It was an ugly act.
What was grandma's name on my mother's side? Ida. And Alexander's wife? Katya. My brother was also called Alexander, but everyone knows him as Sasha. That's the Serbian diminutive for Alexander, and for Vladimir, Vlada.
Who played a bigger role in your education in the family? My mother was in charge of our education, starting with learning letters at school, but she also taught us how to behave, what common sense is, what honesty is. I always remember her telling us, "No matter what, no matter how bad it gets, never be dishonest. Stay honest as long as you live."
How did your parents get along? They always got along very well.
Vladimir Nenadovici, born in 1923 in Timișoara - excerpt from the interview conducted by Adrian Onică in 2003, The oral history and anthropology group archive, coordinated by Smaranda Vultur.
About the Kincs family
I was born in Temesvar 2 years after the end of World War I in November 1920. I feel like I lived through the whole of the 20th century, the first 20 years through my parents' stories of the good times before 1914 and the rest of me.
My father Kincs Arthur came to Temesvar at the age of 29 in 1910 from Marosvàsarlvely to open a men's clothing shop. Material was helped by his sister Jubi (the elder) who with her husband had a very prosperous clothing shop in Szebcu (Hermanstadt). The name Kincs = treasure, is a Hungarianized name - when and from where the family came to Marosvàsàrlvely, my father did not know. Probably the Hungarianization of the name was done in the early to mid 19th century.
My father was born in 1891 in Marosvàsàrlvely. My grandfather whom I never knew was a cloth merchant with a large family of 13 children - in adulthood they grew to 10 (6 boys and 4 girls). Enlarged photos of my grandfather and grandmother were in my parents' bedroom above them.
Trading was done (so my father told me), not only in the shop, but also in the fairs in the region, which the boys growing up all participated in.
Of the older siblings was Julitanti, born in 1861, who after marrying Joska Rosenthal and having spent several years and having no children, took in her younger sister Jetty to raise her. She raised her, married her. Jetty had two children, a girl and a boy. She died very young. Then Julitanti with her husband raised her daughter Renée who married my mother's brother. They lived in Budapest and had two daughters almost my age.
Julitanti rests next to my parents in the cemetery in Timisoara.
My father's brothers wandered with their families through the Austro-Hungarian Empire, becoming merchants (garment makers) except for one who taught (Karcsi) and was a clerk.
My mother Margit Freiberg was born in Arad in 1891. Her father, a tailor by trade, died young and my grandmother Lenka (née Walster) was left a widow with three boys and a girl (my mother). She married Kransz Mar once more and they moved to Budapest. She gave birth to another boy but again she was widowed with 4 boys and a girl. When the little boy went to school (so they told me) they decided to have all the children with the same name. So from Freiburg and Kransz they became Kertesz (gardener), a Hungarianized name. My mother met my father when she was often visiting her uncle Walster Kàlman (my grandmother's brother) in Marosvàsàrlvely, who was married to my father's sister Roza Auntie. They got married in Budapest in November 1917 and came to Timisoara where my father had his prosperous clothing shop in Fabric. They move to a spacious 3 room apartment with outbuildings in the Engèls house, a two-storey corner building next to the Neolog synagogue opposite the small park and the Apollo cinema and tram line.
My brother Laczi Kincs was born here in 1918 and I in 1920.
I lived here until the summer of 1927 when I went to school.
After the end of the war in 1918 Temesvar became Timișoara, Romania and so of my father's brothers, one stayed in Vienna (Austria), the other in Budapest and the rest in Romania (Tg. Mureș, Cluj, Sibiu).
Of my mother's brothers, three boys stay in Hungary (Budapest), one brother in Tg. Mures and the mother in Timisoara.
My grandmother (my mother's mother) moved to Timisoara after I was born, stayed with us for a few years, then moved separately to a small house, always close to us.
In our house they speak Hungarian, that's how we are taught, my brother Laczi and I. My father already speaks Romanian but never enough to help us with our lessons. Whenever there was a need, they always found someone to teach us. Their wish has always been to learn as much as possible, to know as much as possible. The judgment was: what you know, you can't take away from yourself - everything else can be lost - the way Jewish parents always conducted themselves in my childhood and that's what remained.
In the house there is also a housekeeper (who speaks Hungarian) and a nanny who teaches us to speak German. She is a not-so-young woman from a village in the province of Banat who speaks pure German, not the Shabbi dialect. She takes us to the park to play with the other children who are with her nanny friends - Jewish boys and girls children like us.
Between the two wars in Timisoara, as far as I remember, especially in the 1920s and early 1930s, many Jewish families near their children had governesses. In wealthier families with higher demands these governesses were brought from Austria or Germany. Fräulein, as we used to say, stayed with us until the summer of 1927 when we started school in September. She went to another family, but from time to time she came to visit us. From 1920 they were quiet years, the men's clothing shop was doing well, they were able to buy the house next to the Totisz palace (where the father's shop was), the house at 4 Stefan cel Mare. The merchants here in Fabric at that time were mostly Jewish - also in the Totisz palace - Schwartz boot shop, Kransz trinkets, Deneș textiles, Spierer perfumery and the branch of the Timisoara Bank at the corner of Ștefan cel Mare (the head office was in St. George's Square, owner Sigismund Szana).
Annie Hammer, born Kincs in 1920 in Timișoara - excerpt from Jewish Destinies in Timișoara, Getta Neumann, Hasefer Publishing House, Bucharest,
About Frederic Knig's family
'910, you realize, was a different world. We were also part of an empire then, and my father was a civil servant in the Treasury. In 1910 I was born here, in Simion Bărnuțiu Street. When Halley's comet was shining in the sky with its long tail, my father, who was a man of many talents, had a small telescope at home so that we could look at the stars, and he explained the stars and constellations to us. I was born one morning. Then two more boys were born. And we said look, three kings were born, that star came above us.
And then the First World War broke out in 1914. Anyone who didn't live through those times can't imagine how life could have deteriorated during those World War I years. By '15 it was going, but by '16, '17 it was a mess! We got cabbage soup from the soldiers, we didn't see a chicken, we didn't see lemons, instead of eggs we got a yellow pill, so that the soup would have colour. We had cardboard boot soles, laces made of paper. But, I've been through it.
At the age of five I started learning. My mother was a teacher, but she stopped working after marriage. She was a teacher here in Topolovets before she got married. And the first year of elementary school I was also home schooled, I was private and took exams at school. Second year, third, fourth... every year in another school here in the Fabric district.
And the change came. When the Romanian army arrived, there was a big wooden gate with Romanian colours at the Romanian church in the neighbourhood. The local priest came and we started learning Romanian. I knew a few words, because I grew up here, in this neighborhood. It's a neighbourhood where all ethnic groups lived and I, as a child, played with Serbs and Jews and Romanians and all sorts of nations, but we didn't know how to speak Romanian, even though the village of Ghiroda is a few kilometres away and we always went on Sundays to see how they dance. The game was called this dance there and the peasants still wore their opinci and national dress and the women wore medals... Maria Terezia coins around their necks. Interesting that the musicians went in a circle around the dancers. There was one with a trumpet, one with a violin, one with a drum, another with a double bass. And we had fun. The teacher from Ghiroda was a good friend of my father. During the time when it was a mess, I often brought food from there.
Here, at Badea Cârțan there was a market even then. It was not yet covered as it is now, they also traded straw. It was called "Hay Market". From the bridge to the other end there were peasants from around Caransebeș with apples, pears, plums and fruits and we had to learn some Romanian words, because they didn't know a word of Hungarian.
In fourth grade, we started learning Romanian. A teacher came from Mehala district and then we learned: window, table, house and so on. At that time there were four elementary classes and high school eight classes. Then my father enrolled me in the Piarist High School here in Timisoara, where that Piarist church is. There were sixteen teachers there, Roman Catholic priests, taught in Hungarian, but I learned Romanian history, geography, the constitution and Romanian literature. There were sixteen professors, priests, one had finished Sorbonne, one in Rome, they were very, very well trained people. We learned, apart from the official curriculum, a general culture that is not offered today and a discipline... They didn't admit some words like you hear now even on the radio and I don't know where. I did eight years there. After the first four classes you gave yourself a little baccalaureate and that passed, those were able to continue on.
We had uniforms, uniforms with stripes like this, like the military, a nice cap with a star, each high school had a different color cap. And we had blue, polytechnic had khaki. Every year there were sports competitions in the sports arena.
In the meantime, I learned Romanian. After the Union, my father was taken over, because he knew some Romanian and later became chief tax collector of the Fabric district. He was a very multilateral man. He did one year of technical college in Budapest, didn't succeed and came home and became a clerk. But he was so democratic that he was friends with the craftsmen of Timișoara, with the shop owners. Everyone knew him here in Fabric. So the three of us boys were somebody here too.
I heard from my parents something I still hear today: no more. For as long as I can remember, my grandparents have said no more and my parents have said no more! I don't remember a time when people said it was okay. Every regime in the world is reviled, whether abroad or here at home. There is no good government. There is no such thing. I have lived here in this country since I was born, at least forty governments. I have never heard that this is a good government, either peasants, liberals, fascists, or what I know, all nations.
I finished high school in 1928. It was kind of weird. We had to take the exam in front of a completely foreign board. None of the teachers were present. We got in twenty-eight and got baccalaureate six. The rest failed. We took French. I drew a Balzac note and knew how to tell a story about Balzac. But ever since I was a child, at the age of ten, eleven, I've had it like that. My father came home and brought a little book "Determinator of butterflies" with some coloured nets and now we go on holiday to my uncle's house in Stanciova, it's a village near Recaș. He was a priest there too. And every summer we spent our holidays there. I got my butterfly net, my father made some preparation boards and I went to get butterflies. You can imagine, I saw Swallowtail and Deadhead for the first time. In Timisoara there was only that hedge butterfly that's in fruit tree gardens, which the kids back then put on a string with a needle. They said the pharmacists were buying for medicine. That wasn't true. Anyway there in Stanciova I started collecting. In high school in the fourth grade we already had about four thousand copies in the collection. At the baccalaureate failed in natural sciences. And I was the best in natural science.
All exams are a lottery. You draw a ticket. If you draw well, you get an 11. You draw another ticket and fail the exam. In any case, I passed the baccalaureate and then, as a reward, I was called to Germany.
My mother's sister got married in 1910 when I was born. She married a Bavarian civil servant and went to Mnchen in Bavaria. There he was head of customs. He had a good situation there and invited me to come to them. In the meantime, my uncle had moved to a small town closer to the Alps, in the south of Bavaria, a town about as big as Lugojul. I got a bike there and rode to the Bavarian Alps. I climbed up the hills, by rope, on my belt... Some glaciers... I did some mountaineering. But I was primarily interested in what butterflies fly there. It's a whole different thing than here. I was there for a month. They did their summer vacation then and invited me to come with them. I left from Lindau, from an island on Lake Boden (Konstant) over to Switzerland. We visited Zrich, we visited Schaffhausen, St. Gallen, some towns in Switzerland.
I came home. What do we do? You got your baccalaureate, what do you want? I wanted to do natural sciences, because that was my passion. In Timisoara there was no natural science faculty, only in Cluj, Iasi and Bucharest. So my father said: I have three boys, I can't keep you in Cluj. No way, no way. I said: look, if I can't do that, you can make me whatever you want: butcher, bricklayer, carpenter, shoemaker, it doesn't matter to me. My father was a practical man. Look, guys, now with your baccalaureate you can become a clerk in an office or something. Learn a trade that you can walk the world with. I said whatever. He knew all the tradesmen in the neighborhood and the manufacturers and he got a place to apprentice me at the age of 18, with my baccalaureate in my pocket. When the apprentices were all kids who didn't want to learn anything.
He put me in a small hosiery factory here in the neighborhood, in the locksmith shop. The owner took me on, on the condition that he didn't make any distinction between apprentices. Even though I have a baccalaureate, I have to conform to the apprentices in every way. You can imagine, mopping the floor with diesel after the calfe gentlemen have left. We weren't allowed to put clothes on the clothes rack, we had to hammer some nails into the wall, then get some hot water for the gentlemen to wash their hands and clean the cars. After lunch we had to stay another hour in the workshop to clean up.
But then I learned to sweep, I cleaned factory chimneys, I cleaned boilers, I hauled coal and heavy, iron parts, I shod horses, I repaired cars. What do I know, all the trades, electricity, everything, everything, everything. One year. After a year they put us on sock knitting machines. And we learned the construction of sock knitting machines which are very complicated, you know. I only did two years there; because I had the baccalaureate, I didn't have to do three years of apprenticeship. I was nicknamed "The Count". They respected me, the boss respected me.
After two years I became a journeyman, I got my qualification as a locksmith. But in the meantime, nature got me interested. My father was a great lover of nature. Every Sunday morning he left at seven, eight o'clock with bamboo sticks up the Bega to fish with a shoemaker, a lame man, up to Remetea and came home with a pike, two, in the evening.
We were required in high school to have church services every Sunday at nine o'clock. That was in our schedule because it was a kind of convent and after nine, me and my older brother went after my dad. That's where I started catching some butterflies. And back then these woods, the Green Forest and the Bistra Forest were royal hunting grounds. It was strictly forbidden to go into the woods. Me, there, at the edge of the forest, I catch some butterflies. But here comes the ranger with a gun in his hand, bye, bye, bye to me: "What are you doing here, you want to catch birds?" I say, "No, sir, I'm catching butterflies." "What are you doing here, where did you come from?" I say: "I come from Timisoara." "And, so, alone?" "No, my father is here, fishing." "Let's go there." He takes me by the neck and leads me there. When he sees my father, he says, "Mr. Knig, what are you doing? Well, is this your boy?" (laughs). So that's the beginning of the collection. (laughs). Aşa că ăsta e începutul colectării.
Frederic König, born in 1910 in Timișoara - excerpt from the interview conducted by Aurora Dumitrescu in 1998, in Timișoara, published in Lumi in Destine. Memory of the generations of the beginning of the century in Banat, volume coordinated by Smaranda Vultura, Nemira Publishing House, Bucharest, 2000
About the Manojlovic family
I was born on April 8, 1930, to Manojlovic Milutin and Manojlovic Zagorca, who met at my aunt's wedding in Novi Sad, where my father was - in English there is "the best man" - the best friend of the groom. He was unmarried and was a big factory director and shareholder in "Azur", which was then called "Excelsior". He had a very good material situation, he travelled the world. He was very good-looking... He looked very well indeed - this picture is not relevant, but I have other pictures. And your mother? My mother was very pretty, she was blonde with blue eyes. My father was brown, a little creole in the face, he was tall. And my mother was quite tall.
And my mother had left college for a week to attend her older sister's wedding. Your mother was a student in... in Vienna, at medicine. And she came to her aunt's wedding and fell out with my father, who was eager to marry her. And my mother wouldn't give up medicine, she was very serious and very studious. She was a Yugoslav state scholar in Vienna, so not anyway. And in those days girls didn't go to high school. My aunt, who married a very rich merchant, Nenadovic, had her own staff: cook, maid, two nannies for the children, etc., she was pestering my mother to marry this Mr. Manojlovic, who is a great catch, and a good guy. What does she need medicine for?! Look, he's the director and shareholder of the Excelsior Paint and Lacquer Factory. My father went to Vienna as often as he could and took my poor mother to the opera and persuaded her to marry him. My mother had no idea how old my father was, and the day she signed the marriage papers she saw that my father was thirteen years older than her, and she almost fainted. (laughs) How old was your mother? When she got married, twenty-three. And my father was thirty-six.
Were you the youngest daughter? Yes, my brother is four years older. He was born in '26 and I was born in '30. My parents lived in a small family house on Samuel Micu Street, which is just around the corner from Matei Corvin Street, opposite of the Glove Factory. I grew up living there for seven years. Now, they seem to have made a shop halfway through the house. That's how I always look at it, as if with longing, and I remember how much I used to play on that street... It was a street mostly inhabited by Serbs? There were all the nationalities of the world. On the corner there was a grocery owner, a German, who had two daughters, one of them was Mina. And I used to play with Mina, with dolls, with... I spoke German with her. On Simion Bărnuțiu Street, around the corner, there was Soruța Baloș, who was Romanian, daughter of a teacher. I used to play with her as well. Across the street lived the baker's daughter, who was my classmate in first grade. I spoke Hungarian with her.. I can't even tell you how many languages were spoken! Our maids - that's how I learned Hungarian - were always Hungarian. My mother preferred them, because she said that the Swabians were too close to home, and they could steal and take away. The Hungarian girls, they all came from Szekler. My mother knew Hungarian well, because they spoke Hungarian in Novi Sad, and my father knew it because he had gone to school during the Austro-Hungarian period. My mother spoke four languages and my father spoke five or six, or rather, because at the end of his career he was a translator at the State Notary's Office for five languages: Serbian, French, Hungarian, German, Czech.
On the other hand, my parents were very keen for us to learn languages. They realised how important it is to speak foreign languages, no matter what language. And my mother used to say: "Today we speak German in the house!" And all day long we had to speak only German: to ask, to answer in German. "Today we speak Hungarian!"... Well, Serbian was spoken all the time. And we also spoke Romanian, sometimes, so my mother would learn Romanian. My father didn’t know it perfectly either, but he knew incomparably better. As a child, in the area where he lived, Iuliu Grozescu Street – opposite of the Romanian church in Fabric, there were all nations, including Jews. And they used to play with their children there, and when it was cold, in the winter, they would go into the Jewish synagogue, because there was a Jewish synagogue in the area. And they had to have at least seven people there to start the evening service. And that rabbi counted everyone, including my father, who was not Jewish, saying: "We are seven, we can start!" (laughs) I know my father used to tell me, with laughter, about that. So, all the nationalities were in Timisoara. That was typical, characteristic.
How did your parents get along with neighbours of another ethnicity? Very well! Was there any difference? Absolutely no difference. That's how I was used to it: whoever we met on the street, I had to greet and speak the language of the person's nationality. If they were German - "Guten Tag..." – I spoke German. "If it was Hungarian the same, if it was Romanian: "Ce mai faceți...". This was ordinary. So you were speaking in the language of the nationality of the person you were meeting. Officially, it was something entirely different. When we were going somewhere, then we would speak Romanian, that was known. That's what it was.
What did your childhood factory look like? Ah, my childhood hearse was beautiful. I also remember the Beghe river bank, where I used to play and fight with my cousin, who is only a year older than me. Across the street from ILSA we used to go and have a good spanking. I was also very tomboyish because I was the youngest. They were two boys, my brother was between them in age, and I was the youngest. And I didn't have anyone to play with, and-so I would get in and play their games. I was always the one who got beaten; I was the enemy who had to be shot... When we moved to Traian Square, we lived on this side where there are household items and they lived at right angles, in their house, which was the Nenadovic House - it was only one floor, but the roof was very high, and downstairs there were all kinds of nice shops, and in the corner was even their grandfather's shop - "Nenadovic Alexander and son". What kind of store was it? Delicatese had it, Food and Delicatese. Crazy! All the goodies of the world were there! But everyone was well fed, and they ate there, my God, what they ate!
Until what year did you live on Samuil Micu Street? Until '37, when I was seven years old. I had already started school there and I interrupted it, and I finished first grade on the street... Musorski (?) I think it's called - in Fabric, near the Fabric fire station. A street parallel to Marshal Jofre (?) - and there was a big school there, School No. 2, and that's where I finished my four classes.
Because my parents wanted me to learn foreign languages, when I was four years old I went to the German kindergarten, where the maid took me through the back, along some streets, to get to Bega, on the bridge on Dorobanți Street, which led to the Water Turbine in Fabric. And on the left bank of the Beghe there was a beautiful villa with a park and a garden. There was a private kindergarten there, owned by Doctor Lichtsheindl. Many children from Timișoara went to kindergarten there, and now we meet and know each other from kindergarten. Were the fees high? There were some fees, of course. But he took special care of us. In German, of course, only German was spoken. The lady was a sweet, pretty old lady, with white, white hair, tied up in a bun, and in long, black, cloth dresses, very pretty. She looked very elegant to me, and I think she was. And because she was old, I think she had some wrinkles on her neck, and she always had some very nice little headbands that covered her wrinkles, little headbands sewn on with pebbles, narrow, like this, like a finger. I thought she was particularly elegant and I always admired her. She had blue eyes and I think she had been a blonde all her life, her hair was a perfect white. She was kind, gentle and soft-spoken. I loved going there!
So that was kindergarten. And she had her helpers, her daughter. She took care of us and taught you everything: and how to get in, and how to take your shoes off, and where to put your things. We used to bring our little bag from home - like this, we had a tin bag - for our lunch. And how to take off our napkin and how to eat. Everybody went to wash their hands, before and after... You had rules of hygiene and behaviour in your blood: what you can do, what you can't do, not to shout, not to scream, as all children scream now, they seem to be deaf. My daughter went to the home, and when I approached the home I said I was entering a madhouse, that's how they all screamed. They don't care about the educators, they have no idea what's going on with the kids, honest. I'm not talking about school!
And in kindergarten I started learning German. I had learned it from girls on the street, but I started learning literary language in kindergarten. And my parents spoke perfect literary language and I still spoke it at home. And they insisted on learning foreign languages.
When I was five years old, my father and mother thought that it was not only good to learn German, and I had to learn Romanian as well. So I went to Romanian kindergarten. So one year I went to Romanian kindergarten. When I was six years old I nagged my father about going to school. They went at seven years old then. And so I insisted, because my cousin - my playmate - kept bragging that he's already in school, and when he's in third grade I'll be barely in first grade. And I suffered terribly, and I took my dad, because I want to go to school. They didn't know why, because I didn't say why. But my father asked, because he had all kinds of connections, that they needed some dispensation for that. So we had to go to the school inspectorate, the doctor, the psychiatrist... And me, thank God, I've always been stiff, not fat. And they said I'd make it through school. And I was happy and I went to school. And by mistake, on the first day, when my mother took me to school, they exchanged first grade for second grade and I went straight into second grade. (laughs) But that soon cleared up, and I ended up in first grade here, on Simion Bărnuțiu. That was for a little while, just a few months, because then we moved to Traian Square.
I missed this courtyard in Simion Bărnuțiu! There was a huge walnut tree there, which we used to climb, and whose branches branched out like a vat, in which we sat. I missed that courtyard and everything so much that I came on foot, without my mother knowing. They were so busy, they had no idea where I was going or what I was doing. I came on foot from Traian Square, alone, when I was seven. There was traffic, though, because there were wagons and trains running - a train from the Fabric station, which was pulled with edges, and went to the Brewery and back. There was a lot of traffic, anyway. And there was a tram junction there, in Traian Square, and in Badea Cârțan Square there was a lot of traffic, and carts came there. But I knew I had to go home. So I went and saw the courtyard, I cried and came home. Why did you move? Well, we moved to a nice place in Traian Square. We only had two rooms here and there was a toilet in the yard. They didn't want to invest because they knew they wouldn't stay there. And here it was a four-room house with all the amenities. My God, it was a beauty! In Traian Square you lived in the house that now belongs to the Serbian Community? Yes, opposite the Serbian Church, on the corner, which goes down 3 August and turns into Dacian Street, overlooking Trajan Square.
Xenia Manojlovic, born in 1930 in Timișoara - excerpt from the interview conducted by Simona Adam in Timișoara in 2002, The oral history and anthropology group archive, coordinated by Smaranda Vultur.