Alexander Fischer

Mr Fischer is the conductor of the Shalom choir in Timișoara and comes from a family of German Jews. He tells us that he has never experienced anti-Semitism. The holidays are still celebrated in Timisoara’s Jewish community, despite the low number of mebers.

The Papirossen song sung by Mr Fischer has been remixed by Viennese composer U:kustik and is available on our channel.

Timisoara, the largest city in Romania’s western region, is known as the most ethnically diverse, a city of multiculturalism, tolerance and acceptance. But what actually defines these minorities.

Vera Eckstein-Szekely

Mrs. Vera is surrounded by plants, an island of greenery that she takes care of even today at the age of 90. She remembers her childhood fondly, even though times were not easy. In 1938, when she was just five years old, the anti-Semitic laws passed by the Romanian parliament came into force. Members of the Jewish community were no longer allowed to walk through the main streets of the city, they were forbidden to go to the theatre or the cinema. Yet Vera’s parents tried to protect her from the dark times Romanian Jews were going through. She grew up in a cobbled courtyard, with other Jewish and Hungarian children playing with dolls or stealing walnuts. She also started playing the piano. In 1944 they fled Arad with their family to escape deportation. Many others didn’t make it. She saw soldiers fire machine guns at the train she was trying to escape on.

Now, as then, on Fridays she lights Shabbat candles, and on holidays she goes to the Temple, after which she cooks dumplings from unleavened bread. She feels close to the community, which tries, through music and art, to keep Jewish tradition alive in Timișoara.

After the war she entered the Bucharest Conservatory and in 1976 moved to Timișoara, where she worked as a piano teacher and trained, until recently, many generations of musicians. Mrs. Vera is in love with music, which she has been playing and studying for more than eight decades. For her, music becomes substance, a composition whose frequency can almost be seen with the naked eye.

“Music is the most beautiful part of life, and Romanian folklore has a special musical color, the same color as Romanian folk costumes. “