Romcom set in Andalucía
Finding Home in the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers
Location(s): Romania, Austria, Canada, England, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands
Genre(s): Historical, Nonfiction
The Fusgeyers were the thousands of Jewish Romanian men and women who, unwilling to tolerate anti-Semitism, left their country on foot between 1899 and 1907, and headed for North America. Destitute but resolute, they supported themselves by giving theatrical performances or selling stories and poems. In North America, some worked as peddlers, shopkeepers, café and restaurant owners, actors, and writers in the famous Yiddish theatre; others helped build the railway west, worked in the gold and silver mines, or created the Jewish agricultural communities.
In May 2001, I walked across what was Romania before the 1920 Treaty of Trianon. I was following in the footsteps of the Bârlad Fusgeyers, the Jews who left for America in 1900. My itinerary was also theirs, as described by Jacob Finkelstein in his, Memoirs of a Fusgeyer from Romania to America, published by YIVO in 1945. I then crossed Europe on the former immigrant trail and continued on to Canada’s former mining boomtowns and the first Jewish farming communities.
Finding Home in the Footsteps of the Jewish Fusgeyers won The Joseph and Faye Tanenbaum Prize in Canadian Jewish History, and was shortlisted for the ForeWord Magazine Prize Book of the Year Award.
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