In 1936, at General Zadik #4 in Cernauti stood Galanterie Schmatnik, a dry goods store and haberdashery. The proprietor in 1936 was Joel Schmatnik, my great-grandfather.
The building is on the corner of Theatergasse and is built of reddish masonry. The photos above show the area around 1908. At right shows the building present-day.
Joel Schmatnik, Proprietor
Joel was born in 1864 in Sadagora, a Czernowitz-adjacent town. Stylish hat, probably one of his best in stock.
He married twice, to Schlima Apfel and to Rosa Gittel. He had TEN children. Ten. Yes. Max Ahron was born in 1890 (mother was Schlima) .
With Rosa Gittel (my great grandmother), he had nine children – Samuel (my paternal grandfather), Rifka, Sabine, Sigmund, Jenny, Judah, Lotti, Mina and Adolf.
There are Yad Vashem testimonies submitted for both Joel and Rosa by their daughter Mina Berlanchik. Both died in the Shoah. Here is Joel’s bio, from Yad Vashem “Joel Smatnik was born in Czernowitz to Eliahu and Mania. He was a merchant and married to Roza nee Engler.”
I was lucky enough to find two native Czernowitzers who recall shopping at this or other local dry goods establishments.
Berti Glaubach grew up in Czernowitz and recalls her mother buying notions at Galanterie Schmatnik.
Dr. Bianca Rosenthal, author of the book “From Czernowitz to the German Order of Merit” recalls “One of my aunts and her husband owned Galanterie Geschäft.
They were selling notions, i.e. whatever you needed for sewing, threads, buttons, rubber strings by the yardage and everything needed for knitting. As a kid, I loved standing in a corner and watching all the activity.”
Templegasse and General Zadik
The Jewish temple was once a gorgeous, domed, Moorish Revival synagogue built in 1873. In 1940 when Soviets had annexed Czernowitz, they closed the temple and confiscated the property.
On July 5, 1941, German and Romanian soldiers burned down the temple and in 1959 the ruins were converted to a movie theater, The Choral Temple, which is still operational. One Google review lauds it as “Good theater with cheap prices!”. Another reviewer reports that judging by the photos, the synagogue was much more interesting and attractive than the current “sad, dreary cinema building with a strange object on the roof“. Stop by Universytetska vul. 10 if you are in the area.
Street Names…Austria to Romania to Soviet to Ukraine
Before 1908, the city was under Austria-Hungarian rule (Czernowitz) and the street was named Senkowiczgasse, and the primary language spoken in the area during this era was German. Under Romanian rule, German was still a primary language, though signage urged citizens to “Speak Romanian”!
During Romanian times the street address was General Zadik 4. When this area fell under Soviet rule, the street was renamed Vatutine, and under Ukranian rule, in May 2016, according to a Ukranian news site, it was renamed to Stepan Bandera Street, after a Ukranian freedom fighter who unfortunately is also known to be anti-Semitic.
However, an article in Tablet Mag titled Why Are Jews so afraid of Stepan Bandera, suggests Jews might be taking his anti-Semitism too seriously, as while Bandera and his men were responsible for killing Jews, “their ideology wasn’t fundamentally anti-Semitic; rather, it was pro-Ukrainian, and anti-everyone who appeared to be in the way of that.”
The current address of Galanterie Schmatnik is Stepana Bandery Street 4, Chernivets’ka oblast, Ukraine. Non Solo Pizza is located at this address. Like them on Facebook! A very broad menu, from carbonara to meatballs to borscht, and mixed reviews. Don’t expect service with a smile, but some report that the pizza is “tasty” and the greek salad is served with real feta.