Extent & Medium1 cm of textual records
Administrative/Biographical HistoryMottel Elieser Menczer was born February 7, 1901 in Gura Humorului, Romania, to Mechel and Sheve (née Körner) Menczer; the family lived in Storozhinets, in the region of Bukovina. He was the youngest of four siblings: a sister, Perl Spiegel, was killed by Nazis in Vienna in 1942, and a sister, Esther, and brother, Simon, emigrated to Israel in the 1930s and lived in Haifa.
After the First World War, Mottel E. Menczer went to Vienna to study at the Wiener Handelsakademie (Vienna Academy of Commerce). Upon completion of his studies, he returned to Storozhinets, where he operated a woolens and dry goods store and was active in Jewish affairs and community life. On August 18, 1935, he and Regina (Reghina) Dermer were married.
In 1940, Storozhinets was occupied by Russian forces, which controlled the region until the spring of 1941, after which the Nazis seized control over the town and forced Jewish families, including Mottel and Regina Menczer, into a ghetto. The Menczers were deported from the Storozhinets ghetto to Transnistria in the fall of 1941, first by railway cattle cars and later by walking, for five weeks, after which they were interned in the Bershad ghetto. Many members of the Storozhinets’ Jewish community, including the Menczers’ close family and friends, died on this journey, or in camps and ghettos in Transnistria, from exhaustion, hunger and illness, and at the hand of the Nazis.
In the spring of 1944, the Nazis retreated and the Menczers left Bershad. Mottel Menczer briefly taught in an elementary school for child evacuees in Rădăuţi before moving to Bucharest. In 1948, the Menczers were temporary residents of Paris and applied to immigrate to Canada. They arrived in Canada in January, 1949 and took up residence in Ottawa, where Mottel Menczer worked as a retail salesman and Regina worked as a bookkeeper. They had one child, Micha Jacob Menczer, born November 8, 1950.
Mottel E. Menczer contributed material on the Holocaust period and concentration camp life to publications like the Ottawa Citizen and the chapter on Berschad in Geschichte der Juden in der Bukowina, edited by Dr. Hugo Gold (https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Bukowinabook/buk2_073.html).
Mottel E. Menczer passed away in his home in Ottawa on December 23, 1959.
Scope & ContentSeries is comprised of short stories, section headings, preliminary and epilogue materials forming a manuscript entitled Between the Prague, Dniester and Bug Rivers, written by Mottel E. Menczer. Manuscript was inspired by Menczer’s life in the Storozhinets ghetto, deportation to Transnistria, internment in Bershad and return to Romania. Manuscript was written in Yiddish while Menczer was resident in Ottawa, Ontario.
Archival HistoryStories were translated by Shia Moser, Sheila Barkusky and David Schaffer after their donation to the VHEC in 2002, and sections were translated by Helen Mintz in 2020. See survivor file for related newspaper clippings, including a story entitled “The Seder and the Loam Hut.”
System of ArrangementItems in series are in the order of materials presented by the author in his manuscript, Between the Prague, Dniester and Bug Rivers.