Ruth: Our first two days in Romania have been an amazing surprise. The city of Oradea is home to a collection of Art Nouveau buildings that are being lovingly restored after a century of neglect. It is a city I would love to return to in a decade or two to see even further restoration progress. Gord and I only learned about the Succession school of Art Nouveau in Vienna.  After a fire destroyed much of Oradea, architects trained in Vienna rebuilt the city in the Succession style.  These architects were drawn from the thriving and wealthy Jewish community that numbered more than 30,000, one third of the city’s population, at the turn of the twentieth century.  Only in Barcelona have we seen such a high concentration of fanciful and organic buildings. After Romania was annexed by the Austro-Hungarian  empire during the Second World War, the Jewish community was forced into two ghettos and then, in 1944, almost all were shipped to Auschwitz. 

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