Here is the fourth installment in the series - the fifth is coming tomorrow. Please comment and my Mom will respond.
Fulfilled lives of Dina and Jovan Rajs
Sunday, November 11th
The Hotel Dining room could accomodate all 800 participants. Members of the Conference Committee used the oportunity to let Israeli officials, polititicians and scientists address the audience and point out the significance of our gatherings. To me it was an oportunity to watch them all and imagine them as children, like me, who were lucky as I was, to stay alive in spite of all that could have happened to them and to me. We were all rescued. Today we have our fullfilled and fruitful lives, our families, professions and careers. Some of them come every year to keep memories of six million Jews killed in Holocaust. The goal of such gatherings is to leave our memories to the young. It could be done only by telling them our stories and teaching them.
As far as former Yugoslavia is concerned, only two people came from Serbia and three from Croatia. At the Galla Dinner some other people of Yugoslav origin who live in Israel joined us for the occasion. I was extremely happy to spend some time with Dina and Jovan Rajs [Reiss], my old friends who now live in Sweden. We have not seen each other since the 60s. Dina is a successful architect and Jovan is a doctor and a retired professor of the Stockholm Medical School. Jovan was born in Zrenjanin (a small town not far from Belgrade - in the Province of Vojvodina). He was in Teresienstad and Bergen-Belsen. He is one of the few memebers of his family who survived.
I was happy to be with old friends. It seemed it was not long ago when we walked our children in Karadzordjev Park. The internet did a lot. We keep in touch and that is what we are going to do in the future.
Two tragedies of Isabella Schmuckler
Monday, November 12th
The Conference was aproaching the end. Some new friendships have been made, email addresses and cards have been exchanged.
My family, who arrived illegally in Palestine during the war have been living in Israel since war time. They came to see me in Nathania. Some of them used to come to visit us in Belgrade so we have seen each other several times in the past . Isabella Schmuckler is the only one I have not seen for more than twenty years and she never came to Yugoslavia from the time she left the country. Her husband died few months ago and she lives on her own. I specially wanted to spend a couple of days with her. I wanted to bring back our memories of war. I brought a dictaphone to tape her "story" for our series (edition) "We survived". But, she was not able to talk and remind herself of things from long ago. She became too emotional after few first sentences. She took a pill to calm down. I put down the dictaphone.
Isabella went through a tragedy after the war. She married Nikola Bovan, an officer who spent some time in the USSR at a Military school. Quite accidentally, as it used to happen at those times, he asked a wrong question at a wrong place and was accused of belonging to a pro-Soviet group. It all happened in 1948. He was arrested and his fate is unknown. Isabella was left alone with a two months old baby. She decided to join her parents and left for Israel.
We walked the streets of Nathania, sat at the sea shore and enjoyed the open sea at summer temperature. The town is beautiful, full of flowers, tidy and neat. I felt so close to her as if we have always been together. We met some friends from my early childhood. I do not claim recognizing them but the names rang the bell.
Thanks to your mother for these stories. About a year ago I heard a Norwegian jew tell about what and how he survived. Though his story felt a bit "canned" from being told so many times, it made a great impression on me. How did he survive? Youth (age 18 in 1942), good health and intelligence helped. Luck was imperative. In addition, one had to have some great purpose outside of oneself. His was the realization, after the first couple of years, that the world would never learn what was happening if no one lived to tell about it. I believe him and I won't forget him. He is Julius Paltiel from Trondheim.
Please Conway my e-mail address to Dina and Jovan Rais.
My phone in Belgrade is 011 2439 351
Thank you in advance
do you have a contact (email of phone) of Jovan Dais?
One of his former colleagues at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm has tried to find him, but failed.
His name is Bengt Bjoerksten. You may check with Jovan Dais first and if he agrees, I would love to get his email of phone for my cousin Bengt.