Visiting Chisinau stirred within me emotions I wasn’t quite expecting. I was so deeply touched. Almost everything around seemed to be symbolic.
The visit opened up a quest in me to try and find some more information about my mother’s side of the family. It is annoying to realize just how little we know about my grandmother. So much has been lost over the years, so many stories that no one took the time to sit and write down and are now lost forever. Something to think about for the future.
So on the first day in Chisinau I visited the Jewish cemetery, hoping to see some commemoration of the atrocities done there against the Jews in 1903. That cemetery has been totally demolished and is now covered with beautiful spring flowers.
The only mention is this one solitary monument, commemorating the Chisinau pogrom of 1903 in which 49 Jews were murdered. My great-grandfather was among them.
Prior to the war, the Jewish population in Chisinau was apparently quite big and thriving. It was, after all, the capital of what was then known as Basarabia, or today, Moldova.
The Jewish present cemetery is in such a sad state of neglect and disarray. Apparently, the authorities do not take any responsibility for maintaining it. The families of those who are buried are supposed to do it. But most of them left, thank God, and now live in Israel. So the tombstones mostly lie desecrate and broken.
In the cemetery stands this beautiful synagogue, neglected, broken, filthy. I assume the Rabbi stood on this very platform while preaching.
I came to Chisinau to teach about forgiveness; the neglect and desolation I saw gave new meaning for my personal need to forgive, not only for the past, but also the present.