Jun 16 at 9:28 AM
Hi all, Here's yet another entry about Balta.
Having walked through the Turkish side of town, we crossed the Kodyma to the Polish side.
Grandpa Bernie had a story about trying to cross the river and falling in, nearly drowning, so I had always pictured the river being wide and big. In reality, it was not so big:
Perhaps in the rain to a boy of 10 it looked much more imposing.
Originally there were two bridges which crossed the Kodyma, now there are seven. We crossed one of the original bridge, and you can see the other one in the distance.
On the Polish side, we quickly came to the main road which leads to Kryve Ozero. Vadim said that originally the road was made up of several chunks. The one leading east from where we were was called something like "the prison street", since there was a prison on it.
The section leading west was called Bulvarnaya Nizhnyaya, or Lower Bulvarnaya Street. I had asked Vadim to show me that street because Grandpa Bernie's grandfather Anshel is listed as living there with his father in the 1875 census.
The fact that Bulvarnaya Nizhnyaya was on the Polish side surprised. In his autobiography, Grandpa Bernie said that he lived with his mother's family, the Flicksteins, on Graznaya Ulitza (Mud Street) on the Polish side. Around 1917, he and his mother had to cross the river (and nearly drowned) to visit his father's family, the Mishirismans, who were on the Turkish side.
So in 1875, the Mishurisman family lived on Bulvarnaya Nizhnyaya on the Polish side, but by 1917 they had moved to the Turkish side.
There are a number of possible reasons for this. The 1875 registration list was for Grandpa Bernie's great grandfather, Shmul Moshkovich Mishurisman, and family. Shmul Moshkovich was a butcher, and his shop was probably in his house on Bulvarnya Nizhnyaya.
Grandpa Bernie's grandfather, Anshel Mishurisman, however, was a tinsmith, and he would not have needed a shop in his house. So perhaps Anshel moved his family to the less prosperous Turkish side because it was less expensive.
Another reason could have been the 1882 progrom, when a number Jewish homes and businesses were pillaged, see https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/balta. Perhaps the family home was destroyed, so the Mishurisman clan moved to the Turkish side.
Here's a picture of what Bulvarnaya Nizhnyaya looks like now:
As we walked along Bulvarnaya Nizhnyaya, we ran into a number of Vadim's friends and acquaintences, including a reporter for the local newspaper. A good reporter, she gave me an on the spot interview and asked why had come to Balta, and what I thought of of the town.
Afterwards, Vadim led us to a 5-story apartment block by the river, and this is where Graznaya Ulitza used to be, the street where Grandpa Bernie lived with his mother and her parents, Avram and Hinda Flickstein.
The street paralleled the river, and when the river flooded, the street was full of mud. Graznaya Ulitza translate as Mud street, and now it is obvious why.
Here's a picture from behind the apartment building, looking across the river to the south:
Vadim said that the landscape hasn't changed that much, so perhaps Grandpa Bernie used to look at a similar vista.
We're home now, it feels great to be back. It's Father's Day and Suzanne and Sophie have made me nice breakfast of ugly eggs, so I have to stop for now.
Will send another travelogue entry soon -- Dave