Cornelia Păun Heinzel : ”Cernăuţi love”, Translation : Ion Radu Bădescu, Patricia Popescu, Andrei Pielescu&Alicia Iortoman

Cu mulţumiri scriitorului din Norvegia, care a verificat şi corectat traducerea, asigurându-i astfel o calitate ridicată

DR. CORNELIA PĂUN HEINZEL        Sometimes your destiny can launch you to realms that you would never even dream to know.

Nicolae passed of knowing “Philosophy”, but in the last year of college studies, the econonomica crisis started which affected the entire world with unemployment, bankcruptcy and social crisis. The World war has made all the people to get poor. The licensees, the most educated people were the most affected. But the university graduate had the worst situation as they saw their wishes and dreams broken when they finished their studies. For a guard job they had to present to a contest a Medicin graduate, a Letter graduate, or an Law graduate.

If he would had listened to his father who is a churchman, Nicolae would have had more opportunities. But when he went to register to a college, he took his file in the “Theology”, where his parent registered him, and Nicolae applied at “Philosophy” course.

On the street Nicolae met a friend:

-We have one more chance! I heard that the military are making cast in the army. Let’ s try that ! We don’t have a better option ! The friend told to Nicolae.

-And where are we going to ?

-We meet tomorrow at ten in the front of the University. Be ready!

Nicolae went back home fast. It was the day before Saint John. Involuntary, he started singing church songs, songs that reminded him about the old times when he was a child. Nicolae had also a nice voice, also!

In the garden the proprietary, Mrs. Matilda was praying. The doctor, Emil started laughing:

-But what are you doing Mrs. Matilda?

- It’s Saint John and the churchman is coming ! What, haven’t you head him?!

-That’s Nicolae, mrs. Matilda, the’s my roommate ! said Emil

-But… what… how ? He sings so well ! He has a very nice voice !

-You don’t know that his father is a churchman? That’s why he knows all the church songs very well.

- But why isn’t he at a church man, too?

-He didn’t want to become one ! Everyone has his own talent !

The next day Nicolae has been accepted in the army because of his very worked body. He solved his problem with the job in this way ! Not in the same way he wanted to, but in a crisis time. This was the only possibility for him. He could study Philosophy in his free time. And when the crisis will stop, he will become a teacher, as he always wanted to. Until that time he could read a lot of books and write, as he was used to do from the time he was a child. He wrote even a monography of his village after he found important informations about it. The place was built by Tudor Vladimirescu’s soldiers.

The life in the army was hard for a college man, like Nicolae. But his athletic body made him pass these things.

His armymates talked much about him and what how he any spoken to the colonel of the unity, Berezoianu, who asked to see him:

-Bratu, is that true you studied Philosophy and you know the old greek language?

-Yes sir !

-In this afternoon you are invited at my place ! You are invited at lunch! It is an order ! said Brezoianu.

Very shyy, Bratu showed at colonel’s place. After the lunch, the colonel asked for Nicolae in his office.

-So, I want to tell me about the new editorial apearance. What’s your opinion? What new book that appeared was interesting to you? asked Brezoianu.

And they talk a lot about Philosophy.

-Bratu, don’t forget, here you are Bratu, the philosopher, but in the camp you are Bratu, the soldier. Good bye! I liked to talk with you!

In that summer Nicolae riched Cernauti with his battalion. The town was beautiful. The people called it the “little Viena”. It had a very interesting story. The sharming city represented one of the most important urban towns in Romania. The Cernauti was made bigger when the Habsburg family controlled the area. With a rich past and traditions, the cecks and the austrian man transformed Cernauti into a modern city.

Nicolae was impressed by the city, which was a modern city, full of sculptures, natural beauties, green parks and nice places to visit. In Cernauti you can see all the architectural styles that existed in the last centuries in Europe. As an old lover of art and beauty, Nicolae loved to walk to the wonderful streets of Cernauti, to watch the styles, from Napoleon to the melody lines of the baroc.

He liked the buildings in brancovean style - a continuance of the austrian fashion - as the Saint Nicholas church, the place which ornamental compose, this style was completed with some of the elements of the italian Renaissance and specific romanian procedures. The brancovean buildings and the romanian ones were recognized immediatly from their beauty and decorations that reminded him about the original romanian style, about the clothes of the boors from his village and after the big and half round crowns from the top of the buildings.

Nicholas was enchanted by the wonders of Cernăuţi that could not be seen anywhere else in Europe. They were paraded in front of hundreds of Greco-Roman gods and goddesses in the form of reliefs, sculptures raised, mosaics etc. And as many lions, birds, snakes. It notes that the old center of Bucharest was only an attempt provincial buildings near imperial stature architectural Chernivtsi true fingerprint of fabulous history, even before the century of Habsburg rule, most markedly for him. Nicholas read that the first documented the settlement represented a a charter issued by Alexandru cel Bun.

The first building in Chernivtsi, which he wanted to see was University "King Carol I of Chernivtsi". The construction was a jewel built in the second half of the nineteenth century, one of the highest hills of the city. Since its establishment in 1875 it was called "University Franz Josef" and there was a higher education institution known throughout the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nicholas knew from books that the Austrian Parliament approved in 1872 the establishment of the Hungarian University of Cluj, and on March 20, 1875. It was decided to set up a German university in the capital of Bukovina. the purpose of establishing the institutions of higher education in Chernivtsi was primarily to spread the language, culture and science in this part of the German empire.

The man noticed that whenever you looked away, Cernăuţi streets revealed the most unexpected architectural details. Former Orthodox Metropolitan Church of Bukovina and Dalmatia was distinguished among historic buildings and religious Chernivtsi Catholic Church, the Jesuit Church, the Greek Catholic, Protestant church and synagogue or temple. In Chernivtsi, cosmopolitan city of a mix of cultures and religions, where people taught themselves how to live peacefully and respect each other and tolerance was not a mere word. Romanians, Jews, Germans, Poles, Ukrainians, Armenians and other minorities lived together peacefully in a spiritual atmosphere, and effervescent match. There were no preconceptions, ethnic or religious hatred among its people.

Metropolitan - like a castle because gates three meters high walls and its brick buildings with stepped gears and merloane - was the architectural jewel of the city. The ensemble consists of three buildings, a court official and a five-hectare park with rare trees, artificial hills, ponds with fountains, statues and caves, surrounded by a high wall of three meters. A metropolitan residence was located in the center, chapel of Saint John of Suceava. Seminar was left Synodal Church and the right tower building, which housed a school of icon painting and one deacon, a museum, being the guest house.

On the first night, Nicholas went with some colleagues in the film. The building of the cinema "Chernivtsi" was built in 1877 in the style of Mauritania, before the city's main synagogue. The next day, Nicolae Mircea got out with a colleague at "Caffé Vienna". - Here are held Saturdays balls ! Let’s go ! Mircea proposed them.

Saturday night in the place of the cottage held a luxurious ballroom. Prominent families, daughters came to find them here chosen to marry them. Nicholas cames and looked stylish crowd in agitation continues.

Suddenly, in a corner, he saw a young blonde with blue-green eyes, petite and gentle. It was like an angel amongst others around him. She was talking to a young woman, who was taller and brunette as beautiful and fascinating with the same eye. He went to them and invited blonde to a waltz.

- I invite you to dance this waltz ? Nicholas said tilting his head and courteous.

- Ich bin schön, ich bin gebildet, ich bin wunderbar ! jumped up the young brunette, strongly emphasizing the word "ich". Why do not want you to dance with me? I have no dance partner now!

- I like Miss, she said Nicholas decided, while reached out to catch the fingers, to lead to the young charming dance floor. Miss your name? I am Nicholas, philosophy graduate and son of a priest. Now I'm in the army. But in the future I will be a teacher, what I always wanted to be.

- Elisa, said voice gentle face.

- And the young woman next to you? Nicholas asked curiously. Why react so?

- Helga's older sister. It is very beautiful and proud like every man his courtship.

Expect anyone to like! Elisa said.

- But you are much finer, softer more gentle ... continued Nicholas.

- This is your opinion ... said quietly Elisa

- Welcome only sister? the man asked.

- I'm here with mom, dad and my three brothers Arthur, Anton and Alwin.

- You know several languages, right ? I saw you speak German to your sister. I was taught high school French, German, Italian, Spanish, Ancient Greek and Latin ! said Nicholas.

- I speak Romanian, because I went to school in that language, the national language and German, I was of this ethnic group. German speaking Catholic school, but I learned French, as a foreign language. But when we were children, we were all from different ethnic backgrounds and we always play together. So we all learned to converse in Russian, and Polish, and Ukrainian, and even Yiddish. So we better understand each other, and parents all. We used this when I went to Jews shop, for we could address in their language, and barbershop Ukrainian to the Russian cinema for this is closer to us or a mail clerk was Polish. Chernivtsi is an international space from this point of view. We learned to respect each others language, ethnicity, and religion. Let us respect and love! explains the young girl.

The dance ends and Elisa Nicholas led her back.

- Dad, this is Nicholas, working in the army and has a degree in philosophy ! Elisa said.

- Um, the army! My name is Heinrich Hensel is recommended man. She is my wife, Gertrude. I was an officer in the king's court in Vienna. When I retired, I retired here in Chernivtsi. I got married and now I have a small business, a factory of rubbing alcohol.

Nicholas noticed that Mrs. Gertrude was much younger than mister Hensel.

- My brother remained in Vienna. And his son, my nephew is there a prominent lawyer, continues domnul Hensel. But with this crisis, Gertrude complete... my grandkids, and Johannis Peter went overseas in Canada ...

- May I visited your daughter? asked Nicholas.

- Of course! accept old gentleman.

- This is Michael! Helga said, quickly coming to the group. He invites us to sustain license and his sister Anastasia university. Do you come you, Mr. Bratu? Helga asked Nicholas.

- Of course ! I really enjoy it ! the man replied.


In the second day, Nicolae took all the money, and he stopped by at tha flower shops from the center of Cernauti.

He entered and he said to the boy who sales flowers.

- I wish to order red roses !

- How much money asked the young seller.

- Als much as I can buy with this money, said Nicolae who give the money

- . Please send the roses to the address Wagnergasse no. 13, to Elise Hensel, with this envelope.

The seller hurriedly sent the delevary guy, to the address. He arrived in ten minutes at the girl’s house, an imposing building and he knacked at the door.

Elisa’s mother came immediately.

- I recived an order to bring these flowers at your address, said the boyand as he started to unload the red roses from the carriage.

- Where do I put them ? he asked.

- In the living room ! said the woman .

In some minutes the room was full at roses.

- Who sent them to me ? ashed Helga and she jumped for the envelope. In the envelope was written :” To the beautiful and the delicate lady Elisa, from Nicolae”. Helga look the paper and watched the writtes verses.

-They are for Elisa ? They should have been for me ! I am more beautiful !

No one = Nobody ever wrote me a poem! said the young woman angrily.

- Don’t worry Helga, don’t get mad ! You'll get roses too ! said Elisa in a soothing voice.

- What are you doing ! I don’t need you soothing me ! No other’s like me !

Said Helga getting nervously and more angry and suddently started crying rivers.

From that day forward , Elisa received a rose from Nicolae every single day. The second day, Nicolae came over to visit Hensel family. The family’s house was surrounded, by elegant houses, sith two or three floars on a romantic paved street. It was known to be as a popular place for marriage processions to take place at.

It was lunch, and the family invited him to dinner.

- Mister Bratu, please, stay with us for dinner ! said Gertrude politely.

In the huge living room with sculpted wood furniture, a long table estood in the middle of the room. Before it, was a big painting, representing a beautifull couple. An officer with an imposing costume with a long, brilliant sword and an elegant lady with a huge hat and a umbrella. It was Sir Heinrich and Lady Gertrude when they were younger.

Gertrude prepared various food choses: chicken soup, pork steak with french potatoes fries and a salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. For dessert, she made a huge chocolate cake , arrated with flowers made from whipped creams.

"We're shopping at Elizabethplatz, the market near the Theater Square", said Gertrude. It was named this way in the honor of the austrian queen Elisabeth, she said, considering that she needs more of this kind of explanations.

- - What plans do yo have for the future Heinrich asked Nicolae.

- I want to be a philosaphy teacher. This is my vocation. The financial crisis tangled my plans.. But I’m young and I will reach my goals. But have I’d like to marry Elisa, said the young man.

The parents also wanted their daughter to marry, but now hearing the proposal they were surprised. In this period, with the crisis, they were broke. Not long ago the Iorga government cut the pensions, which affected their alchool business. The busissnes went down and the pensions the only source of money they had, now dissapeared.

- But Elisa is so young, she just graduated the Catholic School of nuns, from Cernauti. There she was tought how to prepare for marriage, she learned foreign langewages, to sing, to to embroider, to sow, to cook.

- She meat haw same savings for her wedlingwith an officer, said Gertrude. Me bought a house near, which has a beautiful garden this will do.

- May I invite Elisa for a walk in the park ? I’m going to bring her back in less than an hour, Nicolae asked her parents.

- Of course, Gertrude responded.

The park was close to Elisa’s house. It was pointed ingreen because of the abundent so get at and pure. White of the beaches and bins. Nicolae in his white costums of military and Elisa with her dress which soos like a smone drap very beautifully perfectly synchronized.

The young people sat on a bench, under a very beautiful tree. In front of then sat a great tree with strange wooden formations, like trumpets of an elephant, when ycry look at it seems like it had something special.

You could see old frues with no bams.

The birds song was full of melodious parts and formed a charm of its own. From far away a cuckoo sang. The miraculous magnetism of the park was achived by the magnificant rasy which varied from red to white. Nicolae took a rose and put it in Elisa’s hair .

The leaves were moving wildly at the strabo at the wised. Nicolae thought that her hair transformed in a magical land. They said nothing.

Although usually they very sociable, Nicolae and Elisa didn’t talk much. They talked only when it was necessary and when it’s needed. But, the mysterious tolk way their only reason at geting along. It bounded their souls and their heart forever. They same two was cherry trey which looked like a gate. On the way home they passed by the Theatre of Cernauti, which was an impressive building.

- Will we go on Saturday at the show ? asked Nicolae who was a culture man.

They soon arrived in the Central Square. In the center of it sat the Unification Monument built in 1924 at Cernăuţi.


The wedding was quick, without many preparations. Nicolae was never the slave of formalities. Elisa was posh not smoke, like his sister Helga. For the two of them, love was the most important feeling. This whole facade show was of no value for them. Only the feelings were valuable ...

They had stayed in Chernivtsi, at Elisa’s parents. In the house with garden, that Elisa had received as a gift.

They visited her from time to time. Elisa's father soon died.

Nicholas was man of study and books. The military career was not for him, but he still did it without being a chore, because he was a sporty person who resisted physical effort.

Elisa got pregnant immediately, and after nine months of marriage she gave birth to a baby boy, Mircea, who got sick and died. After a year, she gave birth again to a premature baby girl, thin and sensible, that resembled Nicolae very much.

Elisa was good housewife. She had a practical intelligence. She liked to cook.

- If you wash your teeth every day, you’re gave good tuth ! My grandmother died with a perfect mouth because she was washing daily with salt, she told for her daughter.

One day of late June in 1940, Nicholas was with his army near Prut, when the war began. They didn’t expect that. Everyone was running everywhere. Theydidn’t see anything, except of bullets, dust and desperate screams... When everything was over, Nicholas was in a cave - like a room, which was near a sheep keeper.

- God, but how did you escape ! You passed the water on this place of wood. I've seen you when fire started. I could not believe my eyes. You went in speed, as if you had flown over the water. Look what the fear in man is! the shepherd exclaims.

Nicholas looked at the beam of wood and thought, now even he couldn’t pass with it. Just an acrobat of circus, after many exercises, could do something like this. His platoon was nearly estroyed, but they were pleased that they had escaped alive. Just some of them were hurt. He has seen their deaths with his eyes. The commander immediately announces:

- The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was signed ! Bessarabia, Bucovina and Hercegovina aren’t Romania’s anymore. The Russians are coming ! We have an order retreat with the battalion immediately. So go away as soon as possible ! Leave Cernauti !

Nicholas ran fast home. He was worried for Elisa and for his daughter. But they have already found out and packed up.

- The Russians are coming ! They are few miles away ! They are already visible, desperately crying outside.

- But where we going ? asked Gertrude scared.

- Come with to me, to Timisoara ! It's a cosmopolitan city just like Chernivtsi ! A harmonious mix, blending of different nationalities, religions. People are also nice just as good, sociable and tolerant to one another ! My village is a few miles away. And my relatives are very welcoming.

The luggage was almost ready. Though they had a many objects, that were family heritance, they represented their past... and they had to let go of them...

- Hurry up ! The things are worthless now ! Your life is more important ! said Nicholas, especially that he was proved that not long ago.

Elisa had many memories with those objects. It was difficult to select them. But he was so scared that she took all she had considered absolutely necessary.

They arrived in Timisoara in the morning. The city was clean, with lots of green areas. They first went to Teodor, Nicolae’s brother, who lived on the central boulevard. They couldn’t stay here though. With Nicolae wasn’t just his daughter, but Gertrude, her daughter, Helga and her husband. They all came along, in the villige.

The village was a miss. was big agitation in the village.

- Nicu, son of the priest with the german girls are coming ! the people, the villagers said.

They all watched them, to see the ladies.

They had never seen such elegant, stylish, western and fashionable dress before, with so beautiful inlays. The relatives with money thought they should, at the sight of it, that they would have something like this in the future. The future, through the deportation to Baragan, even facilitated their desire to soon reach their master over the desired furniture.

It was hard for a man who lived his hole life in towen to go at the village. But Elisa was a fighter. For her daughter she would have done anything sacrifice ! Soon, Nicholas found a job as a philosophy teacher in Timisoara. They didn’t have a much time to relax because they had to move from Timisoara with deportation order to Bărăgan, given for refugees and landlords and they had to leave Timişoara.


After they left Cernauti, Elisa - like all the other has tried her life to find the magic, the charm of people and of the lost places. She didn’t find it. Elisa and Nicholas have been together until the last moment.

Nicholas become a writer and resisted all the problems by writing. The writing gave him strength. It helped him through comunism. In his last years he worked as librarian like, „the man of the book”, like Lucian Blaga. He was a dailey rewiter and he liked and this kept his mind and heart always young, until the end of his life.

Elisa , even thought she was younger than him, she lived with her daughter and granddaughters, she didn’t live long. The death of her brother, Anton, left a big scar in her soul. She was also marked by the death of her younger brother, Anton, whom she held the most because he was very good at heart, compared to Alwin, who was very selfish.

With Peter and Johannis, her cousins, she didn’t talk , she won’t allowed. The Comunist Security banned any letter received from overseas. She found out they had they own forms. The last letter announced her that the two had fulfilled their dream - they had every one of their own farms. But they worked too hard and never marryed and did not have descendants.

The uncle, lawyer in Vienna, was visited many times by Anne, the daughter of Alwin, who had become a German teacher and sometimes also working as a translator, which facilitated his travel abroad. He has never married and any have ever had children.

Elsa’s cousins left in Chernivtsi – she saw after thirty years after when they came in Romania... who are now in the Republic of Moldova - who did not want to leave their homes and gardens, once again visited them, when they came to visit with their wives after thirty-five years , in Romania...

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