The Rabbis and their Prayer Houses
Rabbi Abraham Mark of Czernowitz

Czernowitz is part
of the Museum's World Jewish Communities program

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In 1872 a split occurred in Czernowitz between the Reform and Orthodox communities. Then, in 1873, construction of a new synagogue commenced. Two years later both communities reunited, and in 1878 the synagogue, designed a bit like a mosque, was consecrated. The synagogue was used mostly by the wealthier Reform group, though services were not so Reform. At the time, the synagogue was the most prominent building in all of Czernowitz.

In 1940 the Russians, who had annexed Czernowitz, closed the synagogue and confiscated its property. On Jul 5, 1941, German and Romanian soldiers burned down the synagogue. In 1959 the ruins were converted into a movie theater.

Rabbi Abraham Jakob Mark served as the head rabbi of Czernowitz from 1926 until 1941 when the synagogue was burned down by the Germans and he, along with many others, were killed.

His wife Perla Mark gave
testimony during the trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961. She talked about her husband, the synagogue and what transpired during those fateful days in Czernowitz in the summer of 1941.

Listen to an eyewitness account of the burning of the great temple of Czernowitz, as given by Professor Julius Scherzer, by clicking on the earphones icon.

Dr. Abraham Mark

Chief Rabbi of Czernowitz


70th Birthday Party of Israel Koch
Israel is seated in the center with the white beard; Rabbi Mark is seated to his left.
Perla, the Rabbi's wife is standing behind him.


Some native Czernowitzers remember the Mark family:

From Hedwig Brenner (née Langhaus):
I knew Mrs. Perla Mark very well. She was a friend of my mother-in-law Paula Brenner. She often would visit Paula's house, and she was also at my wedding. My wedding was officiated by her husband Rabbi Mark in the Rabbinatskanzlei (then on the second floor in the Jewish House located on the Theatre Square), and afterwards they had also come to our home for the dinner. I knew their sons Edi, who was an engineer and a friend of my late husband; Fredy, who was my age and studied in Prague (he disappeared when the Nazi entered the city); Milan, who died three years ago in Israel, and a daughter Hertha.

From Lucca Ginsburg (née Koch):
Dr. Mark was somehow related to my father, and we were often guests in his house. They had a nice and very comfortable home and we were often invited there.

Perla knew how to bake fabulous cakes and I remember her saying:
"First rights go to my own children. After they are fed - the rest goes to my guests!"

Later I was often visiting their daughter Hertha, who had been recently married to a doctor and had an enchanting baby whom they named Marki. Since they did not know exactly if their father, Rabbi Mark, was dead - no one knew then what had happened to him - they gave the baby a tentative name, eventually naming the baby after his grandfather.

I lost touch with the family when I and my own family left for Bucharest and then for Curacao.
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