Siret, today

The small town of Siret was once a multicultural town in the center of Bukovina, lying directly between Suceava and Czernowitz. Today it is a rather sleepy, if still charming, settlement on the Romanian side of the border to Ukraine.

The three Jewish cemeteries, one of which dates back to the 16th century, are particularly beautiful. The town has recently put up trilingual signs at various historical sites including the Franz Josef high school, the old Jewish cemetery, and the Great Temple. This effort to encourage tourism and an awareness of local history should be applauded, but I was shocked to find that the synagogue sign made absolutely no mention of the thousands of local Jews who perished in the Holocaust. Instead, after mentioning some prewar Jewish personalities the sign reads “After World War II the Jews of Siret emigrated to Israel or the United States.” Such galling silence may have been par for the course during communism and the immediate post-communist years, but it is disappointing and, frankly, astonishing to see such phrasing used on signage dated 2013.