Family portraits: Fragments from a Jewish Transylvanian Family's Life (2nd ed, Color print, Hebrew)

Family portraits: Fragments from a Jewish Transylvanian Family's Life (2nd ed, Color print, Hebrew)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781729799765
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 11/16/2018
Pages: 60
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.16(d)

About the Author

Carol Rafael (1938- ) was born into a family of a well-to-do Jewish lawyer and a homemaker mother in the city of Deva, Romania. Following his father's demise in 1942, the family moved to the countryside in the nearby village of Geoagiu.

After WWII, his mother was persecuted and humiliated by the new Communist regime that vilified her as a "bourgeois", arresting and interrogating her for months. The Communists confiscated the entire family estate and revoked her pension. Destitute, the mother moved in with her sister in Arad, planning to become a seamstress.

Young Carol stayed behind in the village and enrolled in the local boarding school.

In 1952 both mother and son were deported to the Aiud, as part of the Communists' class-warfare against the "bourgeois". They were not permitted to leave town for years to come; "Obligatory Residency" was stamped in their ID cards.

The communist authorities did not allow young Carol to continue his schooling. At 14, he started working illegally in a steel factory to provide for the family.

He enrolled in a study-at-home school program, studying in his free time, graduating from high school. In 1956 he was admitted to medical school in Cluj, however he was expelled along with other political "undesirables" three years into his studies.

He worked in menial jobs including at construction sites till he (and other politically undesirables) was allowed to re-enroll in medical school.

Due to continued political discrimination in the 70's, his wife and him decided to emigrate, however their requests were repeatedly declined.

The authorities attempted to deceived the American lawyer (who volunteered to help with their immigration), claiming that the family never requested to leave Romania.

Only after copies of five of the denied requests were smuggled to the West (at great risk, by a well-meaning tourist), and their case was brought up in the United States Congress, was the family finally allowed to leave Socialist Romania.

In Israel, both spouses had to adapt to the new Western-style life, learned Hebrew and were able to find jobs as physicians, continuing to practice till their retirement.

After retiring, the author now pursues Botany as a hobby, distills his own wine, enjoys gardening vegetables and fruit trees, swims regularly in the town's pool, is an avid Sudoku fan, travels around the country and the world and blogs about his trips.

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