From the Desk of Erna Rubin (1927-2014)
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Reunion with My Childhood Friend after 31 Years
Galati, Romania - August 2010
Julian Tzvi Rubin
BA, Social Sciences and Humanities, Open University of Israel

I was born in Galati, Romania in 1954 as Iulian Rubin (Iulica) to my parents: Ella Erna and Israel Rubin - Holocaust survivors. My father was born in Galati and my mother in Cernauti (Chernivtsi). I studied the first grade and part of the second at an elementary school in Galati. In January 1962, at age 8, my family immigrated to Israel. The separation from childhood landscapes, on the banks of the Danube river, and from childhood friends was sad. I left behind two childhood friends: Dan Danut Bumbar (then Bumbaru) and Rodica Teodor. When we left to Israel Danut was around 10 years old and Rodica and I were 8.

We all lived on Braila Street in Galati - Dan and me at No. 18 and Rodica vis-a-vis on the other side of the street at No. 15. But our ways parted practically sooner, since we moved to other neighborhoods in Galati, two years earlier, because our respective buildings were demolished and new ones were erected instead.

Our parents: Dan's Florica (Floaria) and Nicu (Niculai) Bumbaru; Rodica's: Georgeta and Sterica Teodor; mine Erna (Ella) and Israel Rubin - were engaged in a very good relationship and our religious different affiliations (I am Jewish whereas my friends are Orthodox Christians) hadn't any meaning in this respect.

I called Dan Danut and he called me Iulic


1960: Adults - from left: Florica Bumbaru (Dan's mother); my mother Erna (Ella) Rubin; Clara, my godmother. Kids - left: Dan (Danut) Bumbaru; me, Iulian Rubin. This picture was gifted to me by Dan in 2010.
1960: Rodica Teodor and me at age 5-6 at the kindergarten - clad in Romanian traditional costumes.

In 1979 I married Esther (Eti) Gedasy and we had our honeymoon in Romania. Naturally, we went to Galati and met my childhood friends and their spouses, children and parents (regretfully, Rodica's father passed away a year before).

Our ways parted again - we went back to Israel - since we all were fresh married with children and life burden took its toll.


1979: at the left: Florica Bumbaru (Dan's mother); center: Dan's wife and daughter Stela; at the right: Dan (Danut) Bumbaru - at their home in Galati, Romania.
1979: Me, Iulian Rubin (now Tzvi Rubin) at the right with Rodica and husband at their home in Galati, Romania. Regretfully, Rodica's husband died a few years later without having children.

In 2010, 31 years later, we (my sons Udi 28, Ron 23 and me) made the trip to Galati, Romania and Czernowitz, Ukraine in order to visit my grandmother's (Amalia Rubin) and grandfather's (Leon Bendit) graves there respectively. For more about this:

My Trip to Galati
My Trip to Czernowitz

Naturally we visited again Dan Bumbar and his wife in Galati. We were not able to meet his children since they were grown-up and not at home.

Regretfully, I was not able to meet Rodica Teodor since after her husband died she changed her address in Galati but Dan promised to locate her in order to organize a reunion for the three of us in the future.

Dan showed me my primary school (we didn't attend the same school) and "the ravine" (so we referred to it as children; in Romanian râpă) - large and very rich with trees and vegetation. We used to play there, as children, and especially collected snails and brought them home in boxes. My father (Israel Rubin, died in 1994 in Dimona, Israel) worked in a factory, a halva and biscuit manufacturer, located there that, regretfully, at the time of my visit the building of the factory was not in existence anymore.

"The ravine", in Romanian râpă
My primary school in Galati - Scoala Gimnazială Nr.24. In the front, my childhood friend Dan Bumbar and my son Udi on the left.

But what was amazing about my reunion with Dan was the fact that nevertheless we practically parted when I was around 6 years old and Dan around 8, we remembered some amazing childhood experiences that were not mentioned even in 1979 since our meeting then had a different nature.

For example, I remembered that when Dan was less than 6, his father pointed towards the full moon and asked him "what is this?" Dan's answer "a round metal sheet" was not welcomed by his father of course.

I also remembered clearly that Dan's father asked both of us what we would like to be when we grow up: I answered "an engineer" and Dan "a firefighter" which Dan's father didn't like again. But guess what?" Who becomes a successful engineer? Dan of course, and I the author of this page.

On the other hand, Dan remembered that my mother sat both of us around the table and served us some food. I as a restless child (and adult) jumped all around and my mother reprimanded me "why, the hell, couldn't you sit down calmly like Danut?"

Here jumps to the mind the question: if Dan was 6 years old, I probably was less than 5, so how could we had remembered clearly and vividly such details after 50 years?

Rarely children remember such details from a such early age after a long departure. I can attribute this only to the fact that we had a very intense (but short) and happy mutual childhood accompanied by good relations between our parents all which left their positive mark on our memories and souls forever.

I'm sure that this time we are not going to part again for the next 30 years.

1979 vs. 2010

1979: Danut at the left and me at the right
2010: Danut at the left and me at the right

Online Reunion after 50 Years

Our family left Romania heading to Israel in 1961. From then on Erna (my mother) and Florica (Danut's mother) maintained some correspondence and sent photos but not a single living word tete-a-tete for 50 long years.

At my last visit to Galati (2010) I recorded a short video of Florica delivering a short message to Erna and vice versa - when I returned to Israel I recorded my mother, Erna, saying Hello to Florica.

I showed Florica's video to my mother and sent hers to Danut to show his mother. Emotions, on both sides, were as expected high since the women were sincere friends for years.

This was the last exchange between the two since both were, at the time, in their 80s and a short time after that, regretfully, both passed away within a few months.

The videos in Romanian follow:

Florica Says Hello to Erna
Erna Says Hello to Florica

The Galati of My Childhood in Pictures
My first address in Galati on Street Braila 18. The house itself was demolished and only this adjacent building remained from then. In front, my childhood friend Dan Bumbar.
The University of Galati (Dunarea de Jos). My second address in Galati was on Str. Domnească 74 (now 40), the main street of Galati. The house that I lived in was demolished and a new one was erected instead, and the prominent university building helped for orientation since it was located vis-a-vis my old home. I'm the figure in front of the building.
The Cinema building on Str. Universitatii (then Vlahuta) crossing Str. Domnească were we used to watch movies (sometimes sneaking) as children and now it serves as a restaurant. This building was another indicator that we arrived at the right place since I had remembered clearly that it was located vis-a-vis the other side of our house.
That's the building on Str. Domnească 40 which was built on the plot of our demolished old house.
The Brates lake in Galati, one of the biggest lakes of Romania. Here we used to play as children without getting the permission from our parents since it was a quite dangerous practice because the lake was surrounded by swampy soils.
The Danube (Dunărea in Romanian), the Galati Coast: here we used to bath on holidays. In order to do this we had to cross the river. I remember that we crossed it sometimes with small shaky boats and it was a frightening experience. At those times the Danube was still clean and we drank directly from the water when crossing.


As I said, in 1962, when I was 8 years old, my family left Romania on the way to Israel. The journey that started in Galați passed through Bucharest, Vienna and Naples by train and from Naples by boat to the port of Haifa in Israel. During the first months in the new country I wrote a letter, in Romanian, to my childhood friend, Dănuț (mentioned above), in which I described our trip to Israel. Decades later, in 2019, I found a copy of the letter presented below, which was written in pencil and therefore the writing was almost completely erased, as could be seen, and as could be understood, the decipherment of the handwriting was not easy. Maybe my mother helped me with some details about the trip and maybe with some words, but I don't remember if that was the case. It is also not clear whether the letter was really sent to Danut. Below is shown the first page, of the two, of the original letter.

The first page of the letter

For Romanian speakers the restoration of the letter is presented in print by the link below with spelling and punctuation errors and even geographical errors as they were originally written by a second grader.

The Restoration of the Letter

Revisiting the Transit Camp at Korneuburg, Austria, after 58 Years

*Julian Tzvi Rubin is the Son of Erna Rubin

More about Erna Rubin

Ella Rubin Art Gallery - The Holocaust Mood

More about Ella Rubin and Her Art (Art-3000)
Erna Rubin's story from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM)
The Ella Rubin Odyssey (Flickr)
More about My Jewish Family History and Genealogy

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