Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Balzac in Brody

My mother's family is from Brody.

Did you know that Balzac passed though Brody?

Twice?

It was the major railway crossing point into Russia from Eastern Europe, as the two tracks were of different gauge and a transfer was required from one to the other.

From this book: 

"Brody: A Galician Border City in the Long Nineteenth Century" by Börries Kuzmany



The source is here.

And this:

Jews celebrated their feast; and when the Jews celebrate their rituals, commercial life ceases. Everything from Brody is in the hands of the Jews. I have not read in any work the exact news about this conquest of Poland by the Hebrews. The Jew rules and doesn't rule! It is certain. (...) Jews in Brody, even for millions, would not neglect their rituals, so it was impossible to make a deal for my trip from Brody to Berdyczów, I expected a Jewish banker from Berdyczów, an old Halperin who prayed and addressed my letter of recommendation. This king Berdichev said that he would not leave the synagogue before evening; I had to go to the exchange office of the rich company Hausener, where I exchanged napoleons for rubles, half rounds, third, fourth, fifth and tenth parts of the ruble. What did not tell me the factor of the Russian Hotel, which showed me around Brody!

I seem to recall a Haaretz story on this. In it Balzac adds that he was amazed at the way the Jewish women paraded the streets in their finery and in all their jewels.


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