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Articol publicat in: Cultura


-A hero from Bukovina
- Chronology of his life
video: Ion Gramada’s monument in Suceava
- History of the Gramada family
The Gramada family in Canada
- video: December 1 – ceremonies in Suceava
Bookmark: hero A herofrom Bukovina
…That’s all that will be left after each of us in this world: the good we’ve done to others. The rest is but dust and ashes carried by the wind. Ion Gramada
Writer, historian and journalist, romanian war hero Ion Gramada was born on January 3, 1886 in the village of Zaharesti, county of Suceava, in the Bukovina province of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, todays Romania . Registered at Czernowitz University and afterwards at the University of Vienna, he studied history and geography and obtained his doctorate in those fields in 1913 with a thesis about the contribution of Romanians at the Siege of Vienna. He also published many stories and some studies in numerous literary magazines about the Bukovina of old. He founded the news magazine Desteptarea (The Awakening) in Czernowitz in 1907 and also worked as an editor at the local paper Viata noua (The New Life). Mobilized by the Romanian army in 1916 (World War I), he specifically asks to be sent to fight to the front line, where he is placed in command of a Mountain Hunters Corps platoon (vanatori de munte – elite infantry troops specialized in fighting on difficult terrain). He is shot down during an assault on August 27, 1917, on the heights of Ciresoaia, in Bacau, Romania. Overwhelmed by the remembrance of the hero, the writers distinguished personality remains almost unknown. He dies at the age of 31, without having had the chance to complete his work. Literary dictionaries mention him briefly and conveniently as a traditional writer of his generation, but his short stories, though, which appeared at that time in a disparate manner in various literary magazines, reveal a beautiful prose, with sensitive tension and mystery, specific to the literary trends of Central Europe, and with psychological features and remarkable skills of portrayal. After important efforts are made to assemble his works, Ion Gramadas literary production still awaits to be published entirely.

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Bookmark: chronologyChronology of his life
1886
January 3rd he is born in Zaharesti, a small village in the county of Suceava situated in Bukovina, the ancient province of the former Austo-Hungarian Empire (todays Romania), the son of Paraschieva and Constantin Gramada. He is the first born child and his siblings were: Dumitru, Alexandru, Natalia and Porfira.
1893
Attends four grades at the elementary school in the village
1897
He enrols in the Greek-Orthodox High School in Suceava (today the Stefan cel Mare high school). Fluent in german, french and italian, he discovers literature through substantial reading of foreign authors, mostly French and very popular at the time, and also tries some translations in romanian.
- map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire -
1904
Sends his first writings to some literary magazines. Under the pseudonym Nicu Nalba, his short stories De Inviere (Celebrating the Resurrection) and Intoarcerea (The Return) both appear in Junimea Literara magazine of Czernowitz (1904), and the short story In ajunul despartirii (Before departure) is published in Luceafarul magazine (October 1905).
1905
He wins a writing contest for his short story In Abbiategrasso, and is awarded, through the readers votes, the literary prize of the Junimea literara magazine.
1906
Completes his school-leaving exams and attends the University of Czernowitzs Faculty of Letters, specializing in History and Geography.
He stays in Czernowitz until 1910, and continues writing short stories, novellas and some translations.
He becomes a member of the Junimea Society committee and president of its literary department.
University of Czernowitz
1907
November 15 He becomes the founder of the peoples magazine Desteptarea (The Awakening), the most well-made and finest popular news magazine of Bukovina (cf. Constantin Loghin, Viata si opera lui Ion Gramada Junimea literara, 1923, no. 10-11-12)

1908
Organizes literary meetings and invites authors from the old Kingdom of Romania: Simion Mehedinti, Constatin Sere, St. O. Iosif, Mihail Sadoveanu, Dimitrie Onciul, Nicolae Iorga, etc.
Frequently participating with other young writers in literary meetings at the residence of the priest Constantin Morariu of Patrauti, he makes the acquaintance of his two daughters, Victoria and Elvira. He falls in love with Elvira, a young woman with a distinguished education and many musical and writing talents, which he courts intensely. Prior to his departure for Italy, the two were almost officially engaged.
He is employed as a private educator by the Minister Al. Constantinescu for his son, Atta Constantinescu (future Minister himself in Antonescus government) and has to go to the family residence in Abbazia, Italy. The job , rather financially important, offers him some leisure and tranquility, and the opportunity to visit the country.
1909
He visits Rome, Florence, Venice, Bologna, Ancora on a private holiday tour hell joyfully recall in his letters.
Because of the great distance between them, the relationship with Elvira becomes cold (later, she will marry the writer Ilie E. Toroutiu).
In October he is mobilized for the military service in the austro-hungarian imperial army. He joins a regiment of Mountain Hunters (elite infrantry troops specialized in fighting on difficult terrain) and is stationed in Tirent in the region of Tyrol, in northern Italy. The climate quickly makes him ill. In a letter to his friend Vasile Grecu on Nov 17, he tells him: Ive been sitting in a hospital for the past six weeks, sick with malaria. The suspicion of malaria was not confirmed and the illness proves to be bronchitis.
1910
He is released from the Imperial army, having been diagnosed with a heart deficiency, probably from birth, and bronchitis, which developed into pleurisy due to the severe mountain climate.
In the summer he returns to the kingdom of Romania where he attends the open lectures of Nicolae Iorga, the greatest romanian historian, in Valenii de Munte. On his advice, he starts translating a french authors book about romanian history.
In the fall he enrols at the University of Vienna following his dissatisfaction with the level of education at the University of Czernowitz.
He is a member of the students society Romania Juna and soon becomes the president of its literary department. Determined to write the societys history on its 40th anniversary, he goes to Bucharest to study the necessary documents in Biblioteca Academei Romane (The Romanian Academy Library).
Many of his columns are published in magazines or papers like Deutsches Volksblatt (from Vienna), Tribuna, Romanul, Viata romaneasca (Romania).
His first anthology, Din Bucovina de altadata (From the old Bukovina), a collection of historical stories, is published.
1912
After arriving in Arad, Romania, in May, he is hired as an editor at the Romanul magazine. He is very actively involved in the editorial work and writes more and more engaging articles on the romanian ideals for national unity.
He also contributes to the magazines Tribuna from Cluj and Viata noua from Czernowitz.
1913
January 1 – Dissatisfied with the atmosphere of inner manoeuvring from the editorial staff, he returns to Vienna.
July 16 He obtains his Doctorate of History at the University of Vienna with a thesis on the contribution of the Romanians at the Siege of Vienna in 1683.
In the fall, he becomes a teacher at a high school in Czernowitz, teaching history and logic.
Vienna University
1914
He is an editor at Viata noua.
August Beginning of World War I.
September Joins hundreds of Romanians from Bukovina in refusing to fight against their own romanian brothers. Considers himself a deserter from the austro-hungarian army and crosses the border into Romania where he is elected by the refugees committee of citizens from Bukovina.
He writes a touching manifesto sustaining the Romanian ideals for national unity.
1915
He makes a speech during the swearing in ceremony of Bukovinas volunteers.
Works on a book reuniting some polemic articles showing his commitment for the involvement of Romania in the war against the Central Powers, a book that he would like to be entitled Cartea sangelui (The Book of Blood). For reasons unknown, probably linked to war conditions, the tome was never published. (The book is not to be mistaken for the homonymous work that appeared in 2002, reuniting a monograph and a short anthology of Ion Gramadas writings ).
He teaches German at the Romanian military high school of Manastirea Dealu.
March He is mobilized at the work place.
1916
August 27 Romania enters the war.

“Romania declared war to Austria-Hungary”, title in the
romanian national newspaper “Universul”
He refuses the military status of a working-mobilized reserve or recruit, and asks to be sent to the front.
He again refuses further offers to teach at the military school or to instruct young recruits in the military, services behind the front line which would have saved his life.
He is fully mobilized and sent to the front line, as he wanted, with the rank of Second Lieutenant. Upon reaching his regiment, he also refuses to be a recruits instructor, or observer for his battalion, and asks for the command of a platoon. He is entrusted with a platoon from the first battalion of the 8th regiment of Mountain Hunters Corps, belonging to the second army that is on the large front of Marasti, on the defence line of Moldavia and in the middle of the most intense battles against German troops since the beginning of the war.

1917, August 27
During an assault, he is shot in battle on the heights of Ciresoaia. Wounded, his last words were: Sergeant Donose, take the platoon command and lead itaheadstraight ahead. He then collapses under another fiery blast from the enemy. His comrades try to recover and retract him from the line of fire, to rush him to a medical post and to take care of his wounds, but he dies on the way. He was 31 years old.
After the victory, the officers of the 8th regiment of Mountain Hunters Corps take care of his internment next to another dead officer, in a clearing on the Ciresoaia heights. His tomb is marked with an engraved wooden cross.
December 11 – At his grave is held a religious service, in the presence of prince Carol, the future King Carol II of Romania. A speech is made by lieutenant Tiberiu Crudu, writer and war comrade.
1926, Mai 12
His remains are brought back to Suceava for reburial. The ceremony includes a Mountain Hunters Guard from the 12 Battalion, under the command of Colonel Gheorghe Teodorescu of the garrison in Suceava. The funeral convoy first stopped at the Fortress of Suceava for a memorial service. The casket with its remains was then layed out in the St. Joan Monastery Chapel where it remained for more than a month. On Sunday, June 20, the reburial ceremony took place in the town cemetery. Present, on behalf of the family, was Constantin Gramada, the writers father. With a large crowd present, speeches by the town prefect, the mayor, local officials, delegates, friends and war comrades were given in his honor. At his grave site is erected a troita, traditional massive wooden crucifix . Every year on August 27, on National Day, and on Heroes Commemorative Day, ceremonies and religious services are held to honour his memory
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Bookmark: video Video – Ion Gramada’s monument in Suceava

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Bookmark: history Gramada family History
One of the most well known families of Bukovina, the Gramada family, has descendants in Campulung Moldovenesc , Zaharesti and Suceava, and its roots in Transylvania, in the northern romanian region of Maramures.
Pietrosul Piatra Arsa
Because of the religious and administrative persecutions of hungarian authorities, the Romanians from seven villages in the Varful area, around Borsa, Varful Pietrosul, Toroioaga, Varful Ineu, Piatra Arsa, decided, in 1727, to cross the mountains through the Prislop pass, in one night, with their sheep, cows and all of their belongings, into Moldavia, in today’s district of Suceava. These Romanians were led by a vornic (grand community leader) and twelve village leaders, one of which was Irodion Gramada. The Gramadas were wealthy or middle class peasants.
The author, Ion Gramada, son of Paraschieva (born Gaspar) and Constantin Gramada, had 2 brothers, Alexandru and Dumitru, and 2 sisters, Natalia and Porfira. The writer did not marry and had no direct successors. His brothers left the country to find work in Montreal, Canada and only Dumitru returned; settled there, Alexandru will have three children, John (1934-2003), Rachela (b. 1937) and Varvara (b. 1940). His sisters married.
There are numerous living descendants of the writers brothers and sisters today: Axenia Baltaru (Suceava, Romania), Elena Mindoiu (Bucharest, Romania) and Mircea Gramada (Dusseldorf, Germany), children of Dumitru; Cornelia Atanasoaie (Suceava, Romania), daughter of Porfira; Filita Bandol (Zaharesti, Romania), daughter of Natalia; Rachela Maguire (Toronto, Canada) and Varvara Shields (Ville St-Pierre, Canada), daughters of Alexandru all of them being Ion Gramadas direct nephews and nieces and the continued family bloodline.
Translation edited by
Mario GRAMADA
Montreal, Canada
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Bookmark: canadaThe Gramada family in Canada
by Mario Gramada
The first identified and recorded Romanians who came to Canada settled in the province of Saskatchewan from 1896 to 1900. Many others settled in Boian, an area in the province of Alberta which they named, in 1898, after their hometown, Boian, Bucovina.
The Boian area was rich in grass, lakes, creeks and forests. All these resources were wonderful for homes, crops, and raising livestock. In the spring of 1899 another two groups of romanian immigrants packed their belongings for Canada and the new world.
That period in time also marked the arrival of Romanians in Quebec and in particular, Montreal, where there were 80 Romanians in 1908.
The Romanians built churches and parishes before founding associations, schools and newspapers. The largest romanian church of Eastern Canada, the Annunciation, was built in 1918 in Montreal, Quebec and this is the place where Alexandru Gramadas family story has its beginnings. His ancestors had moved from Maramures county to Suceava county in 1727 and now, in the early 1900s, Alexandru and his brother Dumitru would, by leaving Zaharesti, Romania, create new roots in another land, Canada.
Dumitru Gramada arrived in Canada in 1907. He had travelled via Vienna and the port of Antwerp where he then sailed to Canada. His brother Alexandru followed 3 years later in 1910 at the age of 13 years old. They were the younger siblings of the hero Ion Gramada of Zaharesti village in the Bukovina region of Romania. They had left their village because they needed to buy more farmland, and to avoid being enlisted in the austrian army.
Dumitru returned to Zaharesti in 1920 with his wife and Canadian born children whereas Alexandru remained to start a new life and family of his own. Together, the romanian immigrants from Bucovina established and constructed the first romanian orthodox church in Montreal, St Marys Annunciation Church Buna Vestire. Father G. Morariu was the first priest of the church with members including the family names : Tanase, Gaspar, Casvanean, Ursachi, Catarau, Gramada, Stanutz, Cucu, Teleaga and many many more.
The church organizations have grown to include over 5 romanian orthodox churches in Montreal alone, not to mention the rest of Canada and the United States. Large associations have flourished under the influence, guidance and hard work of the first wave of immigrants and their Canadian born children. Further development of these organizations, associations and churches occurred with the influx of the second wave of romanian immigrants after WWII.
Gramada family members can be found throughout North America, including Montreal, Quebec to Vancouver, B.C. in Canada and south into the American states along the Canada / U.S.A. border, all with their ancestry traced back to Bukovina, Romania.
Ion Gramada lives on in our family as we discover more and more about him through our geneology research. Our amazement at the interest he still commands, after 90 years since his death on the battle field fighting for Romania and the ideals of the romanian people, fuels our passion to continue discovering more about our family history.

Mario GRAMADA
Montreal, Canada
June 2007
m.gramada@yahoo.ca

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Bookmark: ceremonies video
December 1, the National Day of Romania:
ceremonies in Suceava

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