Yanina Rovinski — Escritora judío-costarricense/Costa Rican Jewish Writer — “Paz y Amor”/”Peace and Love”

61937219_467746970661341_1009175705193283584_n
Yanina Rovinski

___________________________________________

Nací en Costa Rica en 1960, empecé en una escuela judía (Instituto dr. Jaim Weisman) pero terminé en el liceo franco costarricense después de 3 años en París en el lycée Montaigne. Fui a la universidad de Costa Rica donde me gradué en química y después de unos años como química textil me fui a Estados Unidos a hacer una maestría en periodismo con énfasis en ciencias.

A mi regreso a Costa Rica empecé a trabajar para un organismo internacional, la UICN (Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza), creando su departamento de comunicaciones para Centroamérica. Posteriormente trabajé para el Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores en la embajada de Costa Rica en Francia y en la Unesco. Desde que regresé vivo en la costa Pacífica, en Punta Leona, y me dedico a la traducción y a dar clases de temas ambientales en ICDS (International Center for Development Studies) in San José,

 _________________________________________

I was born in Costa Rica in 1960, I began in a Jewish School (Chaim Weitzman Institute,) but I finished in the Franco-Costa Rican High School, after three years in the Lycée Montaigne in Paris. I attended the University of Costa Rica where I graduated in Chemistry, and after a few years as a textile chemist, I went to the United States to do a Masters in Journalism with an emphasis on the sciences.

On my return to Costa Rica, I began to work for an International Organization, the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), creating its department of communications in Central America. Later, I worked for the Foreign Relations Ministry in the Embassy of Costa Rica in France and for UNESCO. Since I returned, I live on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, in Punta Leona, and I dedicate myself to doing translation and to giving classes on environmental themes at the ICDS (International Center for Development Studies) in San José,

_________________________________________

Antes de este capítulo de Una montaña de aserrín, el testimonio trata de la vida de Sarita Giberstein, una niña judía que pasó su infancia de 5 a 10 años de edad durante la ocupación de Polonia de los Nazis por la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Vivía con un miedo constante. Con sus padres, Sarita sobrevivió el horror del Gueto de Varsovia, el levantamiento judía y la destrucción completa de la zona por los nazis. Luego, separada de sus padres, la trasladaban de un escondite ofrecido por polacos comprensivos a otros lugares “más seguros” hasta que llegara en los bosques. Una vez se escondió de un patrol nazi porque estaba cubierta de “un montón de aserrín”.

_________________________

Coming before this chapter of Una montaña de asserin, a heap of sawdust, this              testament presents the life of Sarita Giberstein, a Jewish girl who spent her childhood, from five to ten years old, during the occupation of Poland by the Nazis durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial. She lived in constant fear. With her parents, Sarita survived the horror of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Jewish Uprising and the complete destruction of the zone by the Nazis, Then, separated from her parents, she was moved from one hiding place to another “safer place” by supportive Poles, until she reached the edge of the forest. On one occasion, covered by a heap of sawdust. Sarita successfully hid from a Nazi patrol.

______________________________________________

“Paz y amor” celebra no solamente la sobrevivencia de Sarita y su familia, sino la recepción que recibieron de los judío costarricenses y la solidaridad de esa comunidad. Trata de la adaptación de Sarita a su vida nueva en Costa Rica. También, es una historia de amor entre Samuel Rovinski que llegará a ser un escritor importante y su querida Sarita.

_______________________________________________________

“Paz y amor”

Deslumbrado por las luces de Nueva York, los Giberstein intentaron quedarse a vivir en Estados Unidos, pero no obtuvieron los permisos necesarios, así que finalmente regresaron a Costa Rica.

La de Costa Rica era una comunidad muy solidaria. Cuando llegaron judíos que habían sobrevivido la guerra y exterminación nazi, iban delegaciones a recibirlos y les ayudaron en sus primeros pasos. Los Giberstein pasaron los primeros días donde los Yankelewicz, que tenían una casa grande situada en el Paseo Colón, hasta que consiguieron mudarse justo al lado de los Rovinski, tal y como habían vivido en el pasado. Eran dos casas gemelas, con patios separados por las latas de zinc, que los jóvenes quitaron durante la revolución del 48 para poder verse sin salir a la calle. El destino parecía decidido a volverlos a juntar.

El en relato autobiográfico “Cuarto Creciente”, mi padre describe la llegada de la adolescente que le robó el corazón:

      “No era preciso que nadie me la señalara: la había identificado, aun sin conocerla. Sus largas trenzas le caían por delante, bastante más debajo de la cintura, enmarcado sus cara ovalada, de finos rasgos, que parecía esculpida por un meticuloso artista; boca no muy ancha, algo sensual, dejaba entrever una sonrisa amable y franca. . .”

     “Con Samuel el enamoramiento fue inmediato,” cuenta por su lado Sarita, su primer recuerdo realmente placentera. “No teníamos idioma para comunicarnos. Samuel trataba de hablar Yiddish y era desastroso, nos hacía reír por que decía cosas sin sentido, usaba palabras que se parecían a lo que quería decir, pero significaban totalmente otra cosa.”

De estos primeros intentos de comunicación salió el nombre cariñoso con que mi padre siempre se dirigía a mi madre el futuro: Shura, un nombre que representa su amor por ella. Apenas se instalaron en su casa junto a los Rovinski, los Giberstein consiguieron una maestra para que los niños aprendieran español, y pudieron entrar a la escuela y el colegio.

      “Yo tuve que hacer un examen en la escuela República de Chile para que me dieran el certificado del sexto grado. A los seis meses de haber llegado, lo hice y entré al Colegio de Señoritas, a primer año.”

Rosita y Jerzyck entraron también a la escuela y posteriormente, mi tía estudiaría también en el Colegio de Señoritas, Jerzyck en el Liceo de Costa Rica.

Excelente alumna, Sarita no tuvo ninguna dificultad en convertirse en una de las mejores estudiantes del colegio. Cuando le anunciaron, en su primer año de estudios, que le había otorgado el Cuadro de Honor, ella no sabía de qué se trataba, pero aun así mantuvo durante los cinco años que  pasó el colegio, en los que fue la favorita de las maestras y compañeras, y presidente de su clase por varios años. Por tener el mejor promedio durante toda la historia académica, el último año le entregaron el estandarte del colegio, que llevaba con dignidad en todos los desfiles y actividades estudiantiles.

62255028_623498148131444_1453746717735256064_n-1

Samuel hervía de orgullo por su hermosa e inteligente novia. Él, por su lado, asistía al Liceo de Costa Rica y había pasado los años por la idea del sufrimiento de aquellos judíos víctimas de la barbarie nazi. Su propia experiencia con el antisemitismo había empezado en el primer grado de la escuela, cuando una pandilla de matoncillos lo había molido a golpes por su apellido. Enfrentado a la injusticia y la cobardía del grupo, Samuel había retado individualmente a cada miembro de la pandilla, hasta después del quinto contrincante vapuleado, lo había aceptado plenamente o al menos nunca lo volvieron a atacar. El levantamiento del Gueto de Varsovia lo había inspirado a escribir una novela infantil, que expresaba su admiración de aquellos valientes que, en medio de la barbarie, habían luchado por su libertad. La novela quedó sin terminar, y su admiración se volcó sobre la joven brillante, hermosa y valiente que acababa de reencontrar

Para la familia Giberstein, la vida por fin empezó a normalizarse. León y Dora montaron una pequeña fábrica de camisas, La Mercury, que les permitió ganarse la vida y sacar adelante a sus hijos. Al tiempo, también Zoñek, el hermano de Dora y su esposa Regina se vinieron a vivir en Costa Rica. Zoñek se reunió con su hermana y su cuñado en la fábrica, y los tres trabajaron ahí hasta sus últimos días. Zoñek y Regina tuvieron dos hijos Gilbert y José Félix, que les darían muchas alegrías y varios nietos.

Para Sarita, el polaco fue rápidamente olvidado, porque en la comunidad judía costarricense había un gran odio hacia los polacos, que en su mayoría habían colaborado de buena gana con los nazis, a pesar de raras excepciones de gente solidaria. “En Costa Rica me sentía mal hablando polaco, y eso ayudó a que aprendiera rapidísimo el español.”

Samuel no quiso perder un minuto, y apenas empezaban a entenderse en español, invitó al cine a la hermosa adolescente de trece años. “Mi mamá estaba con el pelo parado, pero Dinche la convenció, y así fuimos. Para mí era toda una aventura, porque solo una vez había ido al cine en Varsovia.”

La comunidad judía costarricense organizaba actividades para los jóvenes durante los fines de semana. Ahí bailaron y se divertían, y Sarita, que apenas estaba redescubriendo la alegría, disfrutaba mucho de esas actividades. Samuel, por su lado, era un adolescente serio que prefería quedarse en su cuarto oyendo la música clásica, pero aprendió a bailar para pasar más tiempo con su novia. Su ardiente pasión reclamaba la atención absoluta y exclusiva de la joven, la que generó entre ellos inesperadas tensiones. Para Sarita, todo era nuevo e intrigante: la retreta en el Parque Central, la tanda de siete los domingos, las excursiones al campo con grupos de jóvenes. Le atraía esa alegría hasta ahora desconocida. Samuel que era mucho más reservado, quería pasar con ella todo el tiempo podía, y hacía lo que podía por complacerla participando en esas actividades. Sarita era una joven inteligente, con una fuerte personalidad, que después de haber vivido toda su infancia no iba a aceptar que la privaran de su libertad, y le hizo entender a su enamorado que quería vivir una juventud tranquila, alegre y normal. A él le interesaban la lectura y el cine. Aprendía tocar el violín y jugaba al básquet, era un estudiante destacado, interesado en el bienestar de sus compañeros, y se convirtió  muy pronto en líder estudiantil y presidente del Liceo. A pesar de las diferencias de carácter y preferencias, ambos jóvenes se fueron acoplando hasta hacerse inseparables.

El cortejo duró siete años. Mientras terminaban el colegio y empezaban sus estudios universitarios. Samuel se fue a México para estudiar ingeniería cuando Sarita aún estaba en el cuarto año del colegio. A pesar de sus inclinaciones literarias, él había elegido una carrera que le permitiera ganarse la vida y mantener una familia. Desde México, le escribía cartas de amor a su Shura, en las que vertía su naciente talento literario. A partir de ese momento, empezó entre ellos la etapa de amores epistolares. Durante cuatro años, intercambian cartas donde se contaban sus vidas y compartían sus sueños. Ambos conservaron celosamente esas cartas, testigo  de su amor ejemplar.

Al terminar el colegio, Sarita ingresó a la Universidad de Costa Rica para estudiar filosofía y letras. Mientras tanto, Samuel seguía estudiando con dedicación y pasaba su tiempo libre jugando al básquet, aunque había abandonado el estudio del violín después de dejarlo perdido en un taxi. En realidad, reconocía que, a pesar de su amor por la música, nunca sería un virtuoso, y prefería escuchar a los grandes maestros antes que reproducir a duras penas los sonidos en su violín. Cuando estaba a graduarse de ingeniero, en el penúltimo año, Samuel no pudo esperar más y pidió la mano de su amada novia.

________________________________________

61763958_351507182218674_1878076408404639744_n
Sarita y Samuel en el Teatro Nacional, muchos años después

_________________________________________

Samuel Rovinski – Post

Un montón

______________________________________

“Peace and Love’”celebrates not only the survival of Sarita and her family, but also the reception they received by the Costa Rican Jews and the solidarity of that community. It deals with Sarita’s adaptation to her new life en Costa Rica. Also, it is adolescent love story between Samuel Rovinski, who would become an important writer, and his beloved Sarita.

_______________________________________________

 

“Peace and Love”

Dazzled by the lights of New York, the Gibersteins intended to stay and live in the United States, but they couldn’t obtain the necessary permits, so they finally returned to Costa Rica.

     “We came in a plane that landed at La Sabana airport, and there an entire delegation of people was waiting for us, including Samuel, who was a very tall and very handsome boy.”

The Jewish community of Costa Rica was very caring. When Jews arrived, who had survived the war and the Nazi extermination, delegations went to welcome them and help them in their first steps. The Gibersteins spent their first days with the Yankelewicz family, who had a large house, located on the Paseo Colón, until they were able to move right next to the Rovinskis, just as they had lived in the past. They were two twin houses, with patios separated by zinc plates, that the young people took away during the revolution of ’48 so they could see each other without going out on the street. Destiny seemed to have decided to bring the two families together again.

In the autobiographical story “First Crescent,” my father described the arrival of the adolescent that stole his heart:

“It wasn’t necessary for anyone to point her out: I had identified her, even without knowing her. Her long braids fell forward, well beyond her waist, framing her oval facce, of fine features, that seemed to be sculpted by a meticulous artist, no so wide a mouth, a bit sensual, let show a kind and frank smile. . .

With Samuel, it was love at first sight,” For her part, Sarita tells of her first really pleasant memory. “We didn’t have a language in which we could communicate. Samuel tried to speak Yiddish, and it was disastrous , it made us laugh because he said senseless things, he used words that were close to what he wanted to say, but they meant something completely different.”

From these first attempts at communication, came out the affectionate that my father always called my mother in the future: Shura, a name that showed his love for her.

They had had barely moved into their house next to the Rovinskis, the Gibersteins  hired a teacher so that the children would learn Spanish and enter school and high school.

     “I had to take an exam at the Republic of Chile School so that they give me a sixth-grade certificate. Six months after having arrived, I took it and I entered the first year at the Colegio de Señoritas.”

Rosita and Jerzyck also went to school, and later on, my aunt would also study in the Colegio de Señoritas, Jerzyk in the Liceo de Costa Rica.

An excellent student, Sarita had no difficulty in becoming one of the best students in the high school. When the announced to her, in her first year of study, that they had awarded her the Honor Award; she didn’t what it meant, but even so, she kept up in that way during the five years she spent at the high school, during which she was the favorite of the teachers and students and was president of her class for several years. For having the highest average in the history of the school, they entrusted her with the school banner, that she carried with dignity in all the parades and student activities.

62255028_623498148131444_1453746717735256064_n-1

Samuel was so proud of his beautiful and intelligent girlfriend, He attended the Liceo de Costa Rica and he had spent the years thinking about the suffering of those Jews who were victims of the Nazi barbarity. His own experience with anti-Semitism had begun in the first grade of school, when a band of young punk had beaten him up because of his last name. Confronting the injustice and the cowardliness of the group, Samuel had challenged individually each member of the group, until after the fifth beat up opponent, they had fully accepted him or at least they never attacked him again. The Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto had inspired him to write a children’s book , that expressed his admiration for those valiant people, who, in the midst of the barbarity, had fought for their liberty. The novel was never finished, and his admiration turned toward the brilliant, beautiful and brave young woman that he had just come to meet again.

For the Giberstein family, life finally began to normalize. León and Dora set up a small shirt factory, The Mercury, that allowed them to earn a living and provide for their children ahead. At the same time, Zoñek, Dora’s brother and his wife Regina joined his sister and brother-in-law, and the three of the worked there for the rest of their lives. Zoñek and Regina had two sons, Gilbert and José Félix, who would give them much happiness and several grandchildren.

For Sarita, Polish was rapidly forgotten, because the Jewish community of Costa Rica had an intense hatred for the Poles, the majority of whom had enthusiastically  collaborated with the Nazis, with only the rare exceptions of people who supported the Jews.

Samuel didn’t want to lose a minute, and when they had hardly begun to communicate in Spanish, he invited the beautiful thirteen-year-old to go to the movies. “It was hair-raising for my mother was  but Dinche convinced her, and so we went. For me, it was quite an adventure, because only once had I gone to the movies in Warsaw.”

The Costa Rican Jewish community organized activities for the young people during the weekends; There they danced and had fun, and Sarita who was just beginning rediscover happiness, greatly enjoyed these activities. Samuel, on the other hand, was a serious adolescent who preferred to stay in his room listening to classical music, but he learned to dance so that he could spend more time with his girlfriend. His ardent passion demanded the absolute and exclusive attention of the girl, which generated unexpected tensions between them. For Sarita, everything was new and fascinating: the public concert in the Parque Central, the seven o’clock show at the movies on Sundays, the excursions to the countryside with groups of young people. This happiness, until now unknown, attracted her.

Samuel was much more reserved, wanted to spend as much time with her as he could, and he did what he could to please her, by participating in those activities. Sarita was an intelligent girl, with a strong personality, who, after having lived hidden all of her childhood, wasn’t going to allow that she be deprived of her freedom, and she made it clear to her boyfriend that she wanted to live a tranquil, happy and normal youth.

He was interested in reading and the movies. He learned to play the violin and play basketball, was an outstanding student, interested in the well-being of his companions, and soon he became a student leader and president of the Liceo. In spite of their differences in character, both young people became closer until they became inseparable.

The courtship lasted seven years. While they were finishing high school and commencing their university studies, Samuel went to Mexico to study engineering, when Sarita was still in her fourth year of high school. Despite his literary inclinations, he had chosen a career that would allow him to earn a living and support a family.

From Mexico, he wrote love letters to his Shura, into which he poured his nescient literary talent. From that moment, there began between them the stage of epistolary love. During four years, they interchanged letters in which the told of their lives  and shared their dreams. Each of them kept those letters jealously, a testament to their exemplary love.

On completing high school, Sarita enrolled in the Universidad of Costa Rica to study liberal arts. Meanwhile, Samuel continued studying with dedication and spent his free time playing basketball, although he had abandoned the study of the violin, after leaving it in a taxi. In reality, he recognized that, in spite of his love for music, he would never be a virtuoso, and he preferred to listen to the great masters, rather than reproducing with great difficulty the sounds on his violin. When he was about to graduate as an engineer, in the next to last year, Samuel could wait no longer, and asked for the hand of his beloved girlfriend.

_____________________________________

61763958_351507182218674_1878076408404639744_n
 Sarita and Samuel in the National Theater, many years later

____________________________________

Samuel Rovinski – Post

___________________

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.