Distinguished Transylvanian ethnographer and art historian Teréz Mózes celebrated her 100th birthday on the 6th of November. The Museum of the Land of the Körös Rivers in Nagyvárad (Oradea, Großwardein) greeted its former colleague in a communiqué published by the local newspaper, the Bihari Napló.
The accomplished ethnographer had been to hell and back in her youth, as she lived through the horrors of several concentration camps: she had seen Auschwitz, Kaiserwald, Stutthof, and Gutau, and before all that, she had experienced the horrid conditions of the Nagyvárad ghetto as well. She lost members of her family in these camps, and by losing them, parts of her own being. In her memoirs, The Blood-Smeared Stone Tablets, she wrote that the memories related to the concentration camps cannot ever be forgotten, neither forgiven. Nevertheless, she stated that she is not living with hatred against her torturers.
Teréz Mózes was born on November 6, 1919, in the small town of Szilágysomlyó (Şimleul Silvaniei, Shomlenmarkt). Her family moved to Nagyvárad when she was still a child. She was raised in the spirit of Jewish culture and went to the Jewish grammar school for girls, then the girls’ high school named Oltea Doamna. She got her university degree in art history, ethnology, and French language and literature in Kolozsvár at the Bolyai University in 1949. She earned her PhD in Bucharest, with a thesis on North Transylvanian popular costumes. After living through the ordeal of the death camps, she had decided to stay and work in Transylvania. She had a real passion for ethnography and consecrated her life to the development of this discipline and to research on the history of the Jewish communities living in Nagyvárad and the western parts of Romania.
She greatly contributed to the creation of the ethnographic department of the Museum of the Land of the Körös Rivers, and many objects of the ethnographic collection are there thanks to her work. She also donated a large part of her huge library and her collection of ceramics to the museum. Mózes Teréz gave representative objects to the recently opened Museum of Jewish History of Nagyvárad as well. This institution organized a celebration on the 6th of November, celebrating this great lady’s 100th Birthday. As “ambassadors of remembrance,” young students participating at the festivities read 100 passages from her memoirs. Best wishes go to Mózes Teréz from the two museums, the newspaper, and from our news portal as well!
Title image: Teréz Mózes is now living in Israel, but she had dedicated her entire life to Transylvanian ethnographic research