In the mid-1800s, Schmil Elias (or Eliahu) Schmatnik and his wife Mincze Donenfeld both lived in the Sadagora community north of Czernowitz.
Schmil & Mincze had at least three children. Isaac (1866 unknown), Joel (1864) (see my post Galanterie Schmatnik for more on Ioil), Josef (1968) and Moses David/Moishe (1870). Moishe’s birth record reports that they were residing in House #1258 in Sadagora.
Schmil and Mantzi’s birth death dates are still unknown to me. There is a possible fit to Schmil in a found Czernowitz death record for a Schulma Schmatnik dated October 14, 1888. The name “Schmil” could also read as “Samuel” or “Schlomo”, or even “Schulma”.
Sadagora was established in 1770. Jewish traders added to the Jewish population and in 1774 the town was annexed into Austria. Jewish merchants were invited to settle in town and to build a synagogue. Fortunes were still prone to reversal, as only a few years later in 1782, 42 Jewish families were expelled, and several years after, in 1789, Austrian authorities demanded that all Jewish residents leave within two years. But ultimately the Viennese authorities allowed 34 Jewish families to remain. The early 18th century more Jewish families settled, mostly tradespeople, followed by reversals, yet again. Authorities wished at this point to limit Jews to only farming for a living. However, in 1863, soon before my great-grandfather Joel Schmatnik was born to Mantzi and Schmil, a Jew served as the mayor of Sadagora, and Jewish life in the region became more stable.
Among the Jews of Sadagura, there were traders, craftsmen, peddlers, and unskilled laborers, such as water drawers, who brought water to the town from far away. Among them were also estate tenants and even estate owners. The Jewish craftsmen were sometimes found as heads of craft guilds which also had Christian members. There were streets in Sadagura in which certain types of craftsmen were located. For example, there was a barbers’ street and a bath attendants’ street. Wagon owners, blacksmiths, and tinkers were located in a special quarter, close to the mansion of the estate owner, the Baron Mustatza. In these streets, there were also three synagogues. The “Wagon Owners’ Guild” was in the “Poale Zion” [Workers of Zion] building in the aforementioned quarter. This guild assisted its sick and needy members. The quarter also served as a weekly and yearly marketplace for horse trading. The Sadagura traders supplied horses to the Austrian army, to the Viennese aristocrats, and to several Jewish families who dealt in beef export. These professions were passed on from father to son. The Jews also established a number of factories in Sadagura: a beer factory (established in 1791), a vinegar factory, and a match producing factory.
I have often wondered where my Bukovinan ancestors came from. In a translation of a paper delivered by research Florence Heymann, she writes “The golden age of Bukovina’s Jews began with the complete emancipation of the Jews of the Hapsburg Empire in 1848. Most notably, the authorities encouraged the emigration of the Jewish poor of Galicia to Bukovina.”
This could possibly explain how the first of the families of my ancestors, the Blei family and the Schmatnik family first emigrated to the area. In my research, the early 1840s is the first evidence I have of my ancestors in this region.