Thursday, June 4, 2009

Almasu Romania / Varalmas Hungary

Monday when I posted the transcript of my grandfather and his brother discussing their home village in Transylvania, I included photographs of nearby Cluj I had found on the web. Cluj had been mentioned on the tape, but I noted that wasn't the village they were describing. After she saw the post, my mother reminded me that when she had visited in 2000, she had taken some photographs I was welcome to scan and post here. Several photographs appear below from what is now Almasu, Romania, and 100 years ago was Varalmas, Hungary.

Except for the telephone poles, and the partially paved road, the main street of the town might not look much different than it did 100 years ago.

They are still using wells as their primary source of water.

While there are no Jews left in the town, there are two Jewish cemeteries that remain. My parents, who were there with cousins from Israel who knew both Hebrew and Hungarian so they could read the tombstones, searched for the tombstone of Armon Deutsch, a brother of my grandfather who died tragically. They were unsuccessful. It isn't certain that there was a stone marker for the grave, or maybe it had faded beyond readability.

On the tape they made in 1977, my grandfather and his brother indicated that the house they lived in was by the river that ran through the town. There were no other details, so my parents found a house by the river they decided was representative of the ones they saw.

It appears as if the house could be over 100 years old. While run down, it was likely in better shape in its younger days.

My great uncle talks about at age 8 driving a horse and carriage with bottles of plum brandy (slivowitz) to a local brewery. Horse and carriage is still the primary means of transportation in the town. My father shows up in this photograph.

Finally, there is a photograph of the Huedin Train Station. Huedin is the nearest town that had a train station in the early 1900s, and is likely the train station from which my grandfather's family left - his mother in 1912, and the rest of the family in 1913.

The name of the town (Varalmas) means Apple Fort. You can barely see the fort in the distance in the photograph of the cemetery above. A close-up view of the remains can be seen here.

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