Romanians abroad - Stefan Kranzdorf (Israel): If it weren't for corona, I would spend a month crisscrossing the country
As part of our Romania Appreciation Weeks campaign, we’re inviting our readers to share their stories with us and tell the world what Romania means to them. Stefan Kranzdorf is a Romanian abroad who decided to join our campaign and fill in the interview here. Below is his story.
Stefan Kranzdorf left Romania almost 40 years ago when the country was still under the communists' rule. He has been living in Israel since then but kept a special connection with his native country.
Stefan Kranzdorf, 64, is a computer design engineer. He left Romania in 1982, not long after graduating from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, mainly because of the Communist oppression and the impossibility to work in his profession. Back then, Romania was still a Communist country ruled by dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Israel welcomed him back then, offering him a chance to a better, quieter life and more work opportunities. He is still living in Israel today with his family.
But he remained connected with Romania all these years, seeing his native country turn into a free state where people have more rights and professional options. And although he doesn't plan to return to Romania, he still misses the trips in nature and the "Bucharest boulevards full of chestnuts in autumn."
Why did you decide to leave the country?
Communist oppression and the impossibility to work in my profession.
How did you choose the country where you live now?
Israel is the homeland of the Jews, and it was the only country where we could leave for and who welcomed us.
Do you consider returning to Romania or not, and why? If you don't consider returning, what could make you change your mind?
No, all my family is in Israel, and my source of living is here. When I retire, I may want to spend part of the year in Romania.
What do you miss most about Romania in your adopted country? What are the things you don't miss?
I miss my friends from school and student years. I forgot what I don't miss. The years have washed away negative feelings.
How has your life changed after you left Romania?
I earned a useful and prosperous living and put the base to a family of three, something few Romanians think of. My family and I became a solid and integrated part of society.
Do you think that Romania has changed since you left, and in what way?
Absolutely, Romania has become a free country where the citizens can think and speak and freely try their chance in the business and profession of their choice. They can go and come back and be happy wherever destiny takes them.
Please name three things that you believe are better in your new country than in Romania and why.
Israelis are more optimistic and proud of their country than the Romanians, who seem to endlessly complain of politicians and neighbors and everything.
Israelis love to have 3 or more children and enjoy the company of many grandchildren.
Israelis appreciate the gift of having a country of their own and are ready to defend it through hell and fire.
What are the things that you miss most about Romania?
I miss nature trips and walks in the mountains. I miss the perfume of the linden tree in spring and the Bucharest boulevards full of chestnuts in autumn.
I wish to visit all the museums and beautiful country corners that Ceausescu stole for himself, his brood, and his cronies and now are again open to the public.
If it weren't for this bloody corona, I would fly tomorrow to Romania and spend a month crisscrossing it from Bucuresti to Maramures and from Timisoara to Suceava.
What is the most frequent question about Romania that you get from your colleagues and friends in your new country?
My friends who visit Romania ask about the "Palace of Ceausescu."
I tell them that there's no such thing because Ceausescu took every palace and every villa and every mountain (almost) for his family exclusive use. I explain to them that the Palace of the Parliament is impressive, but they should not miss the jewel Cotroceni Palace and the National Art Museum, with both their Romanian and International wings thesauri, that all of them and more were "Ceausescu's palaces."
(Photo source: courtesy of Stefan Kranzdorf)