My connection to Bessarabia and Bad Burnas

As some of you may know, my background is from Europe. From my mother’s side, I am connected to Bessarabia, the place that no longer exists, except in the memories of the people who were born & raised there. My grandmother/Oma was born in Leipzig, a large village in Bessarabia, grew up in Arzis and married a man from Paris.(Bessarabia, not Europe).

One of the highlights of her childhood was visiting the health resort & spa at age 7.  Then I found a translation about this spa from the “Deutscher Volkscalender” and thought it might be of interest to some of you to either share the heritage or who have never heard of this before.

Source: Deutscher Volkskalender für Bessarabien – 1926 Tarutino
Press and Printed by Deutschen Zeitung Bessarabiens Pages 54-57
Translated by: Allen E. Konrad
December, 2014

Internet Location: urn:nbn:de:bvb:355-ubr13939-6

[Note: An overview of how the health resort of Bad Burnas, located on the Black Sea, between Basyrjamka and Tusla, Bessarabia, was established and the plans there were in 1926 for its future development.]

Bad Burnas by O.E.

The new spa “Bad Burnas” lies on a narrow elevated stretch of country which is protruding between the Black Sea and the salty estuary (Liman) “Burnas,” some 6 km from the German colony of Basyrjamka.

Black Sea Lagoons

Already in earlier times, the sailors sailing in this area admired the “beautiful headland of Burnas” and well-known specialists of medical science have pointed out, on the basis of their chemical investigations, the excellent healing properties of the water and the mud of salt lake “Burnas,” which exceed the well known in ancient times estuaries of Kugälnik and Chadschibei near Odessa,


Before the war, professionals often drew the attention of the residents of Basyrjamka Colony to the “Pearl” that was in their possession, and they themselves even realized it and put hand to the task to establish a spa resort. The municipality had measured out plots of land for “Dachas” and several of them were nicely constructed. When the “Russian Bank for Foreign Trade” established a port facility where it shipped grain abroad and where the passenger steamers of the Black Sea Shipping Company came in regularly, it set up an opportune commerce with Odessa, Nikolayev, Constanta, and other Black Sea harbors, which was cause for great hope that “Burnas” would soon become a proper health spa. But the World War drew a thick line through all the plans. Shortly after the declaration of war by Turkey, 20 Ottomans appeared in Burnas as a port of refuge and landed unnoticed by the Russian guards, so that everything that had been built here so far was destroyed with alarming thoroughness. Only a huge grain warehouse remained standing.


But soon after the annexation of Bessarabia to Romania, the municipality of Basyrjamka was again at work to set up the resort. According to a new plan, villa sites were allocated and the Basyrjamka settler Jakob Schulz, despite snickering warnings, gladly began the “construction.” At this time, it was the thought of the German Bessarabian Company to put up a suitable spa and sanatorium (Heilanstalt) establishment where the German colonists could find accommodation, refreshments, and cure treatment. The question was discussed at a meeting of the People’s Council (Volksrat) and they decided to ask the Basyrjamka municipality to cede a suitable plot of land to the People’s Council on which the sanatorium could be built. The Basyrjamka municipality did just that. Unfortunately, the People’s Council could not realize the thing because they could not come up with the necessary funding. At the beginning of 1924, a group of intellectual German colonists once again took up the idea of a health resort which brought into existence the immediate establishment of a Joint-Stock Company, under the official name: S. A. “Bäile Burnas.” Without delay, the company took on the task of putting up the basic structures. According to the plans and under the skilled leadership of the architect, engineer Christian Beutelsbacher, construction of a large spa facility and a residential building for the patients was begun, which could be completed in spring of 1925 and opened at the start of the bathing season.


The basic layout of the bathhouse is a wide central building with two lateral wings and a centered addition to serve as the main entrance, measuring about 32 meters [1m=3.28 feet) long and containing 3 complexes (Komplekte) for mud baths (with subsequent sea tubs), 11 separate rooms for sea or estuaries baths, 1 room for restricted mud treatment (arm & foot baths), 1 private room for the doctor, 1 room for the medical assistant – masseur and the necessary waiting and service rooms. The building is a single story, with only a small tower rising just above the main entrance, which is a nice room for consultation meetings and spa administration. The living quarters for the visitors has a length of about 43 meters, consisting of 24 single rooms, each with a small, covered veranda completely isolated from the neighbor. To accommodate the diversity of the financial circumstances of patients, larger and smaller rooms were made; double the number envisioned to satisfy the anticipated increasing demand. While the whole bath house is constructed of fired bricks on a foundation made of hard stone, the living quarters’ outer walls only are made of bricks, but the inner walls—to be thrifty—are made of dried clay blocks (Lehmbatzen). Both houses are covered with galvanized roofing and provided with cisterns to collect rain water—which, according to the instructions of engineer Beutelsbacher, were also provided for most of the private homes in the “Villa Village” of which there are currently 20 that can accommodate some 400 guests.


The “Villa Village” is built according to a specific, drawn up plan with beautiful 17 meter wide streets, lined on both sides with trees. The whole spa terrain has a slight gradient toward the “Burnas” estuary, which encourages the rapid drainage of rain water, therefore, drying the streets and paths of the bath house and the sea beach. The distance from the most remote country houses by the sea and estuary beach is not more than 10 minutes; but barely 3 minutes from the nearest. The sea shore is not more than 10 meters high and, therefore, definitely not tiring to climb or descend, even for weak people. The beautiful wide dune with ample sea sand stretching many kilometers to the left and right of the spa site, is completely protected against sharp north winds and, therefore, creates the most ideal place for air, sand, and sun bathers. The beach is also very suitable for children since, due to the flat shore, they can go far into the sea without risk. The sea and steppe air is absolutely pure and very ozone rich; thanks to a persistent movement of air (a slight “Breeze”) via Lake Burnas to the large sand dune, in the direction of the sea, the air in Bad Burnas is not fouled up by the estuary air which the spa public in other health resorts often find so extremely annoying. The complete isolation of the resort from any human settlement guarantees the purity of the air, and also the rest so valued by the sick and suffering people. However, the main healing factors of the resort are what the bathhouse has to offer. The swimming pool is built according to the rules of modern technology: A very spacious recreation corridor with attendants for the public, large, bright, airy cabins providing bathing fixtures of beautiful, new, cast-iron, white enameled tubs. Very good drains in the bathhouse itself and on the grounds, all the way to the estuary, makes it possible for the bathhouse to be extremely sanitary.

Features & Amenities

The institute has a permanent specialist doctor. –spa-cure specialist, an experienced female medical assistant for massage, injections and such things, as well as nurses and a well trained service staff. The bathhouse is equipped with laundry and all necessary bath accessories. In the bathhouse, under the constant supervision of the physician and at a set hourly schedule, the following baths are administered for each individual patient: mud, sea, estuary and carbonic baths, for which a separate space is always available. Special light, airy single bathing huts are furnished for perspiration (sweating). Special baths are also provided for children. In the near future, sulfur baths are also to be installed, using sulfur water from the artesian well. By the way, it is to be noted that this well, belonging to the Joint Stock Company, was 99 Faden [0.16 faden=1 foot] deep and in the years of the war the half destroyed cavern well, after much toil and labor, was deepened to about 103 Faden, cleaned and put in order, and now there is a water flow of around 500 Eimer [1 Swiss eimer=37.5 liters/10 gal.; 1 Austrian eimer=56.7 liters/15 gal] an hour. Currently, the fountain provides great services, for the Joint-Stock Company itself, so also the dacha owners in the putting up of their country houses

The serious question about provisions was resolved by the Board in that a supply house was established so that spa guests would be able to receive good board and lodging or a good middle- class noon meal. During the next bathing season, a bakery and general store is also to be opened, whereby spa guests can obtain all necessary products and, under the control of the spa board of directors, keep the prices moderate. In addition, food will also be brought in by traders and farmers from surrounding villages.


Well aware of how very important the question is about an easy and quick connection to the health resort, a reliable vehicle will be purchased and put into circulation so that the public can be brought from the Kulwetscha Station to Bad Burnas and taken back again. A motor boat should also run back and forth on Lake Burnas to the market place in Tusla, where shops, pharmacy and others are available, and where the market takes place 3 times a week and all necessities of life are available. In the spring, a park is to be laid out around the health resort, putting in different trees and flower beds, well cared for walking paths and benches for the public. Playgrounds are to be established for children and young adults. From time to time, folk festivals, concerts, world cruises on Lake Burnas and much more are to take place. A library is to be launched where newspapers, journals and good books are to be at the public’s disposal for a small deposit. With a motor boat connection to Tusla, a regulated postal service is to be secured. If the above innovations are carried out, Bad Burnas will move forward to a beautiful future.


One can rightly say that great work has been done on this place in the course of the last year. While last year there were only a villa and the large building, as the health institution and residence were still in an unfinished state, now there is a villa next to them and also the building of the Joint-Stock Company in full readiness. This spa is a beautiful work of German creative spirit, but also of German perseverance. It is to be hoped that all sick and suffering people, regardless of religion and nationality, may find full recovery and restoration of their strength at our health resort, and that “Bad Burnas” might stand in first place among all health resorts, an undeniable claim thanks to its excellent location and the very rich natural surroundings.

[End Translation]

Presented by the Vancouver Foreign Film Society

Wednesday, July 11th, 7:45 pm – Vancouver (Canada)

                             at the

Vancity Theatre –  Vancouver International Film Centre

1181 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 3M7, Canada

Q&A with Tanja Cummings (director & producer) with moderator Richard Menkis, Associate Professor of modern Jewish history at the University of British Columbia.

Film description
AnzeigeLINE 41 documents a Holocaust and Lodz Ghetto survivor’s return back to today’s Lodz (Poland). Until now, Natan Grossmann had repressed his desire to learn about the fate of his brother he lost contact with in 1942. 70 years later, Grossmann starts a search for his missing brother. His search crosses paths with Jens-Jurgen Ventzki, son of the former Nazi Head Mayor of Lodz. Ventzki is pursuing his family’s dark secret. In tracing their family histories, they inevitably confront each other.

“A poetic evocation of the process of memory and the
persistence of a nightmare that must never be forgotten.”
–Peter Keough, Boston Globe

Country of Origin: Germany

Year: 2016

Running Time: 91 mins

Languages: German & Polish with English subtitles

Line 41 on

European trailer

Northamerican trailer:

Venue website:

Facebook event:


“Line 41“ available in the USA and Canada

Please contactFilmmovementfor sceening requests in the USA and Canada ———–>

“Line 41” is available on DVD & Digital (North American version):

All best from Berlin and many thanks,

Tanja Cummings
EVA e. V. –Europäischer Verein für Ost|West-Annäherung –

European Association for East|West Rapprochement
Wartenburgstr. 3, 10963 Berlin, Germany
phone: +49-(0)30-55515114

LINIE 41 entstand ohne Filmförderung, war keine Auftragsproduktion eines Fernsehsenders. Wir realisierten unseren Film auf eigene Kosten und arbeitetete das Kernteam unentgeltlich. In kritischen Phasen erhielten wir Unterstützung von Stiftungen aus Deutschland, Polen und der Schweiz und half uns über die Jahre immer wieder großzügig ein Berliner Techniksponsor.

10 Apr 2018
April 10, 2018

Canada’s Concentration Camps

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You might be wondering if I am referring to residential schools.  But no, I am talking about the internment camps in World War I and II – right on Canadian Soil.  For Germans. Japanese. Ukranians. Austrians, Hungarians. For anyone they considered “enemy aliens.” They are listed here:

Amherst, Nova Scotia Malleable Iron Foundry April 1915 to September 1919
Beauport, Quebec The Armoury December 1914 to June 1916
Banff-Castle Mountain, Alberta Dominion Park July 1915 to July 1917
Brandon, Manitoba Exhibition Building September 1914 to July 1916
Edgewood, British Columbia Bunk Houses August 1915 to September 1916
Fernie-Morrissey, British Columbia Rented premises June 1915 to October 1918
Halifax, Nova Scotia The Citadel September 1914 to October 1918
Jasper, Alberta Dominion Park February 1916 to August 1916
Kapuskasing, Ontario Bunk Houses December 1914 to February 1920
Kingston, Ontario Fort Henry August 1914 to November 1917
Lethbridge, Alberta Exhibition Building September 1914 to November 1916
Monashee-Mara Lake, British Columbia Tents and Bunkhouses June 1915 to July 1917
Montreal, Quebec Immigration Hall August 1914 to November 1918
Munson-Eaton, Alberta Railway Cars October 1918 to March 1919
Nanaimo, British Columbia Provincial government building September 1914 to September 1915
Niagara Falls, Ontario The Armoury December 1914 to August 1918
Petawawa, Ontario Militia Camp December 1914 to May 1916
Revelstoke-Field-Otter, British Columbia Bunk Houses September 1915 to October 1916
Sault-St-Marie, Ontario The Armoury January 1915 to January 1918
Spirit Lake, Quebec Bunk Houses January 1915 to January 1917
Toronto, Ontario Stanley Barracks December 1914 to October 1916
Winnipeg, Manitoba Fort Osborne September 1914 to July 1916
Valcartier, Quebec Militia Camp April 1915 to October 1915
Vernon, British Columbia Provincial government building September 1914 to February 1920

World War II Info

German Canadian internment[edit]

During the Second World War, 850 German Canadians were accused of being spies for the Nazis, as well as subversives and saboteurs. The internees were given a chance by authorities to defend themselves; according to the transcripts of the appeal tribunals, internees and state officials debated conflicting concepts of citizenship.

Many German Canadians interned in Camp Petawawa were from a nineteenth-century migration in 1876. They had arrived in a small area a year after a Polish migration landed in Wilno, Ontario. Their hamlet, made up of farmers primarily, was called Germanicus, and is in the bush less than 10 miles from Eganville, Ontario. Their farms (homesteads originally) were expropriated by the federal government for no compensation, and the men were imprisoned behind barbed wire in the AOAT camp. (The Foymount Air Force Base near Cormac and Eganville was built on this expropriated land.) Notable was that not one of these homesteaders from 1876 or their descendants had ever visited Germany again after 1876, yet they were accused of being German Nazi agents.

756 German sailors, mostly captured in East Asia were sent from camps in India to Canada in June 1941 (Camp 33).

World War I Info

In World War I, 8,579 male “aliens of enemy nationality” were interned, including 5,954 Austro-Hungarians, including ethnic Ukrainians, and Croatians. Many of these internees were used for forced labour in internment camps.

The Ukrainian Canadian internment was part of the confinement of “enemy aliens” in Canada during and for two years after the end of the First World War, lasting from 1914 to 1920, under the terms of the War Measures Act that would be used again, in the Second World War, against Japanese Canadians.

About 4,000 Ukrainian men and some women and children of Austro-Hungarian citizenship were kept in twenty-four internment camps and related work sites — also known, at the time, as concentration camps.

Many were released in 1916 to help with the mounting labour shortage. Another 80,000 were registered as “enemy aliens” and obliged to regularly report to the police. Those interned had whatever little wealth they owned confiscated and were forced to work for the profit of their gaolers.Internment[edit]

Most of those interned were young men apprehended while trying to cross the border into the U.S. to look for jobs; attempting to leave Canada was illegal.During the First World War, a growing sentiment against “enemy aliens” had manifested itself amongst Canadians. The British government urged Canada not to act indiscriminately against subject nationalities of the Austro-Hungarian Empire who were in fact friendly to the British Empire.

However, Ottawa took a hard line. These enemy-born citizens were treated as social pariahs, and many lost their employment. Under the 1914 War Measures Act, “aliens of enemy nationality” were compelled to register with authorities. About 70,000 Ukrainians from Austria-Hungary fell under this description. 8,579 males and some women and children were interned by the Canadian Government, including 5,954 Austro-Hungarians, most of whom were probably ethnic Ukrainians.[4] Most of the interned were poor or unemployed single men, although 81 women and 156 children (mainly Germans in Vernon and Ukrainians at Spirit Lake) had no choice but to accompany their menfolk to two of the camps, in Spirit Lake, near Amos, Quebec, and Vernon, British Columbia. Some of the internees were Canadian-born and others were naturalized British subjects,[citation needed] although most were recent immigrants. Citizens of the Russian Empire were generally not interned.

Commemorative statue and damaged plaque at the “Ukrainian cemetery” of the Kapuskasing Internment Camp; Kapuskasing, northern Ontario

Commemorative stone at the Saskatchewan Railway Museum, formerly “Eaton Siding” near the Eaton Internment Camp, one of twenty-four, where 8,579 civilians were interned. It reads “Fortitude. To the memory of those who were interned at this site during the Great War. Eaton Internment Camp 1919.”

Many of these internees were used for forced labour in internment camps.[5] Conditions at the camps varied, and the Castle Mountain Internment Camp where labour contributed to the creation of Banff National Park[7] — was considered exceptionally harsh and abusive.[8] The internment continued for two more years after the war had ended, although most Ukrainians were paroled into jobs for private companies by 1917. Even as parolees, they were still required to report regularly to the police authorities. Federal and provincial governments and private concerns benefited from the internees’ labour and from the confiscation of what little wealth they had, a portion of which was left in the Bank of Canada at the end of the internment operations on June 20, 1920.[9] A small number of internees, including men considered to be “dangerous foreigners”, labour radicals, or particularly troublesome internees, were deported to Europe after the war, largely from the Kapuskasing camp, which was the last to be shut down.

Of those interned, 109 died of various diseases and injuries sustained in the camp, six were killed while trying to escape, and some — according to Sir William Dillon Otter’s final report — went insane or committed suicide[10] as a result of their confinement.