Linda Sipprelle’s column on “Lessons from Eastern Europe” in the August 5 issue really caught my attention as she offers an overview on the story of Romania, for one. It was there that my grandparents were born and from where they had immigrated to America.

And Romania was the place my cousin Joyce and I traveled to in 2004 in search of our roots and history of our family. We found none: they were Jewish and so many disappeared during the war. In Iasi (pronounced YASH) the Jewish population in 1939 was a huge 50,000 and today it is around 600.

I made many sketches and drawings along the journey and wrote a series of poems, at least one of which, “The Wild Dogs of Romania,” was published in a past Summer Fiction issue of U.S. 1. I also read the full series of poems I had written about the family in Romania at a Barnes & Noble bookstore program. I thank Linda Sipprelle for her “Lessons from Eastern Europe.” So little is known about these Eastern countries and she presented some important historical insights.

Joan Goldstein, Ph.D

Princeton

Kudos to Linda Sipprelle for her essay “Lessons from Eastern Europe” that provides reasons why it is so worthwhile to see that less visited region. My wife and I have visited Albania and Bulgaria and were enthralled by their beauty, friendliness, and rich history.

One historical clarification, however: Bulgaria was allied, quite reluctantly, to Nazi Germany for most of World War II but by clever diplomatic maneuvering managed both to avoid sending troops to fight in Russia and to fend off Nazi demands to deport its Jewish citizens to Nazi death camps, a request fiercely resisted by the dominant Bulgarian Orthodox Church.

John Vincent

East Windsor

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