Thursday, August 30, 2012

Street scenes, Tukums, Latvia

Tukums was our primary stop, home of our great-great-grandparents' families, the poor Blumenfelds and the wealthy Klatsovs.
On the square, kitty-corner to the bank which was once the Klatsov store

We met Aleksandrs, a Hobbitish fellow with a great Russian accent, who proceeded to lead us around the central square area, which is pretty much still as David B described it...grey pavings...shops new and old, wood and stone... The prominently located site of David’s maternal grandfather has been replaced by a bank.  It was still functioning as a store and owned by his uncle David Klatsov as late as 1937...however it was torn down as a derelict in 1946 because the owner – David K – had disappeared in 1941. This, Fred deduced via the Yadvashem website of Holocaust victims,  was because David and his son were killed in June ’41 soon after the Nazi occupation.  

We had a long meeting with the director of several Tukums museums, who also showed us around the otherwise closed-on-Mondays history museum.  She was fascinated by our story as there is little written record by inhabitants of the time, let alone Jews, of whom there are virtually zero remaining 1880 57% of the town was Jewish. The old synagogue now functions as a sports court.

Interestingly, the Klatsov property is visible not only in a good many of the historic photos of Tukums but in the main museum display, a lazy-susan depicting the square at three times in history.  We’ver developed a whole new spin where this is not only poor David Blumenfeld’s story but that of his mother, and her wealthy family who opted to stay in Latvia and relish their success only to perish as David found success, free in America. 

Anyway we also found out to our disappointment that David’s father’s house was not actually the original building but built in 1924.  It just looked 150 years old!  

This may have been my great-great-grandmother Leah Klatsov's house

The old synagogue, now a gymnasium

Site of my great-great-grandfather BenZion Blumenfeld's house

In case you get lost in town...

Storage shed

The old Jewish cemetery

Harmony Street


Kristin said...

Nice contrast in that last photo. Thank you for linking from your 200 Sepia Saturday post. There is something so sad about an abandoned cemetery.


A rather modest little town, in my opinion. It look sad to me. Could the collective memory remember despite itself its somber history.
I daresay those who moved away made the smart choice.
Thanks for sharing!!