R O J E C T S
F E A T U R E S
Mozes, in Memoriam
by T. Mozes)
B O U T U S
October, 2005: Meetings in Romania
Concerning the Proposed Jewish Museum
and Learning Center in Oradea
Bucharest -- Oct. 17-18, 2005
(N. Lempert and B. Roberts attended)
Nitulescu - Sec'y of State, Ministry of Culture & Religious Affairs
||Mr. Nitulescu was extremely positive
about the project, having reviewed our proposal in detail. He explained
that we're working on a "private museum" and that this will be eligible
for funding support by the Ministry. He agreed to serve on our Board
of Directors, and suggested we meet with Atilla Marko, Secretary
of State, Ministry of Interethnic Relations, and scheduled this
meeting for us.
Wiesel Institute for Study of the Holocaust in Romania
||Participants: General Mihai Ionescu,
President of Institute; Alexandru Florian, Executive Director of
Institute; Oliver Lustig, historian and educator; Lye Benjamin,
historian and educator; Felicia Waldman, Director of Jewish Studies
Program at Bucharest U.
The group understood the concept and expressed generally positive
views about it; certain questions were raised about the name, mission
and pace of development. The group discussed other somewhat similar
efforts in Craiova, Iasi, Bucharest and Cluj and stressed the need
to work on establishing the themes and contents of the institution
and the need to assemble the academic steering committee in the
very near future.
In individual conversations, General Ionescu agreed to serve on
our Board of Directors and Alexandru Florian and Lya Benjamin agreed
to serve on our Academic Steering Committee; Felicia Waldman will
President Aurel Vainer and Mr. Benedek, Manager of Jewish
Properties in Romania
||Mr. Vainer and Mr. Benedek were
positive about the prospects, but stressed the need for the revenue
generated by the business currently occupying the synagogue. The
amount of the rent currently being collected was discussed as well
as the proposed rent after we would be given access to the building.
Mr. Benedek stated that there are not significant structural problems
with the building. There was agreement to move forward with support
if the question of revenue/rent is solved, with FEDROM as one of
our main partners. Mr. Vainer agreed to serve on our board of directors.
Marko - Sec'y of State, Ministry of Interethnic Relations
||Mr. Marko was extremely positive
toward concept, stating that our new foundation will be eligible
to apply for grants. He explained the procedure for applying and
the kinds of grants that the Ministry considers (these typically
include educational programs and materials, communications vehicles,
roundtables, etc.). Provided us with the application form and guidelines.
Cluj -- Oct. 18-19, 2005
(N. Lempert and B. Roberts attended)
Heilbronn - U.S. Embassy, Information Office in Cluj
||Ms. Heilbronn supports the project
and suggested various specific sources of potential funding. Will
help with communications and contacts.
Tibori Szabo - Journalist
||Mr. Szabo is very much in line with
the vision and methods of the project and agreed to help behind
the scenes to communicate certain messages concerning, for example,
"the big silence" surrounding the fate of the Jews of Romania and
the notion that "it's not a matter of nationality but of humanity."
Gyemant - Director of Moshe Carmilly Institute, Dean of European
Studies, Babes Bolyai University
||Professor Gyemant was enthusiastic
about the project and suggested many ways he, the University and
the Institute could provide practical help with establishing, managing,
and staffing the new museum and learning center over the long term.
He arranged for a tour of the Carmilly Institute, and agreed to
serve on our Academic Steering Committee.
Shafir - Professor of Political Science, Babes Bolyai University
||A member of the Elie Wiesel Commission,
Professor Shafir expressed support for our project and offered suggestions
for various themes the new museum might choose to communicate, in
connection with Holocaust denial, race struggles, etc. He also agreed
to serve on our Academic Steering Committee.
Kallos - Professor (Ret.), Babes Bolyai University
||Expressed support and enthusiasm
for the project and practical advice on dealing with rent requirements,
etc. Agreed to serve on our Academic Steering Committee.
Oradea -- Oct. 20-22, 2005
(N. Lempert, B. Roberts, P. Lorincz attended)
Koppelman - President of the Jewish Community, Oradea - 1st mtg.
||Having previously agreed to serve
on our board of directors, Mr. Koppelman expressed support for the
project, but explained that it is not the top priority for the Jewish
Community of Oradea (other priorities include funding the completion
of the renovation of the Grand Synagogue, funding to retain a Rabbi
to serve the community, etc.).
Mr. Koppelman stressed the need for the building to continue to
generate revenue. To terminate the contract with the current tenant,
the tenant will have to be reimbursed for improvements made to it.
He said that the tenant could not be removed for at least 6 months,
but also stated that they could vacate within days if a deposit
were put down at this time. Rental agreements can be for a 1 year
In addition, Mr. Koppelman said that strict restrictions on the
use of the building, its contents and activities in it will apply.
The specific restrictions will be determined by the authorities
Maier - General Manager, Alpha Bank; and the bank's legal advisor
||Mr. Maier has been very helpful
as a volunteer to the project since May, guiding us with financial
and legal questions concerning the formation of our new Foundation.
He initiated the process and provided the certificate officially
granting us use of the proposed name for the foundation (Memorial
Foundation for Jewish Heritage in Northwestern Transylvania -- Fundatia
pentru comemorarea istoriei comunitatii evreiesti din Transilvania
de nord-vest). He and the legal advisor provided input on various
technical requirements, legal distinctions between private and public
from Oradea University -- Internship
||Student participants were Raul Derecichei,
Andra Oros, Hommonai Edith and Virag Andreea. Professor Ioan Horga,
Director of European Studies at the University, has organized a
group of seven students to serve as interns for the project. Each
student must spend 400 hours over the course of the semester, with
time sheets to be signed by our board.
The needs as seen by the students were discussed and it was stressed
that there is a great need for very basic information, e.g. "What
is a Jew?" Many creative ideas were discussed about how these needs
could be met and specific projects to be undertaken were described.
These were to be summarized by one of the students.
The first projects, to be launched immediately, include: creating
a poster to advertise events of the Kristallnacht commemoration;
a survey to be implemented during the celebration; an essay and
art contest; upgrades and enhancements to the OradeaJC.com web site,
Chiriac - Director of Oradea's State Cultural Museum
||Mr. Chiriac expressed approval for
the project, but asserted that the Museum portion of the new institution
will have to be under state's control, while the Learning Center
will be under ours. He explained that together with Terez Mozes
he had submitted papers concerning the use of the building more
than ten years ago, and that this attempt produced no results; the
business operating in the building proved to be the principal obstacle.
Papers were then submitted for the Cion synagogue, but this also
went nowhere because the University's rector wanted the building
to serve as a concert hall. With this rector no longer active, Mr.
Chiriac is submitting papers again for the Cion, and is certain
that they will be approved. He wanted to know what role our Foundation
would play if the Museum were established in the Cion.
Mr. Chiriac did agree that it is possible for us to build a private
museum (the suggestion made by Mr. Nitulescu), and that he and the
museum would support this, but to a lesser degree.
Koppelman - 2nd meeting - P. Lorincz only
||Mr. Koppelman explained that he
is very much in favor of the project and will do everything he can
to help. Stated that FEDROM, the owner of the building will be the
partner, but that he can help with creative ideas. Repeated that
FEDROM will need revenues and that there will be stringent restrictions
on the use of the building. Suggested that we could build our own
building if we are unable to come to terms with FEDROM.
Sivan - General Director FEDROM (P. Lorincz, telephone)
||Mr. Sivan questioned the need for
a new Museum in Oradea, but said he is open to being convinced.
He explained that there is no precedent in Romania for creating
a Museum in an old synagogue and that he would have to draft a contract,
which will be forwarded to us within a week or so.
Advisor and Translator
||Details concerning establishing
the new Foundation were discussed and we decided to retain the team
of Claudia Timar and Ioan Selyem to initiate the process. Before
final documents are submitted to authorities, we will retain a high
level lawyer to review everything and certify that the materials
from Oradea University (2nd meeting)
||A draft of the poster was submitted
and approved. Specifics concerning the first set of projects were
discussed, in particular the survey, how it will be finalized, implemented
and how the data will be analyzed.
Biro - Vice Mayor of Oradea
||Expressed great enthusiasm for the
project as something that Oradea needs and can greatly benefit from.
We reviewed the results of the meetings above and discussed certain
obstacles that could be overcome with the support and participation
of the City. Vice Mayor Biro suggested that the City could issue
a letter of support. She also suggested that we could present the
project to an appropriate group to establish a consensus among all
factions that the project should go forward. Possible date for this
presentation is 1/19/06.
Koppelman - 3rd meeting
||Mr Koppelman stated that he supports
the project, will help in any way he can, and will make suggestions
for how to approach the question of rent with Bucharest leadership.
A new suggestion was that we might be able to purchase the building
from FEDROM, for 10% less than what had been discussed with Reverend
Tokes (who has been trying to acquire the building for several years).
Oct. 23, 2005
(P. Lorincz attended)
Sivan - General Director FEDROM
||Peter explained that we find unacceptable
the idea of paying rent on a building we will be investing heavily
in and that the restrictions on the use of the building, as described
to us by Mr. Koppelman, are also unacceptable. In addition, only
a long term contract, perhaps 30-50 years, would make possible the
kind of fund raising and investment required for the project.
Mr. Sivan said he now understood that this project is not similar
to others being developed in Romania. He remained skeptical as to
its prospects for success but agreed that it is the most important
project, and said he would support it. He will be part of the team
receiving the delegation from the Stamford UJF next week. He will
provide a draft of a contract by early November.
Posted: November 10, 2005