The local newspaper “Bessarabets,” reported the boy was killed by Jews, who wanted his blood for their rituals. This newspaper had stoked tensions for years with headlines such as “Death to the Jews!” The hatred towards the Jewish people ran high.

The Russians were fired up and riots began. For 2-3 days in Kishinev, a city of 50,000 (1/2 Jewish), Jews were killed and the women raped. The wounded numbered 500. Over a thousand businesses and homes were damaged & destroyed.

These riots made worldwide headlines. You can read the story here.


I watched Fiddler On The Roof. During the iconic closing scene – Jews fleeing, forced from their Russian homeland, everything they owned on their backs or in their carts, my body convulsed and I was wracked with sobs. I was shocked by my body’s response.

A thought kept repeating “Thank you Great Grandfather for getting us out, thank you for getting us out…”

In that moment I Grokked the sacrifice he had made and how much it must have cost.

YOSEF’S STORY – (We speculate)

Yosef (My Great Grandfather) was a little boy of 8 or so living in the town of Kishinev, Russia when all hell broke loose and enraged citizens began murdering Jews (Ironically at the end of church services on Easter Sunday). He may have seen neighbors, friends and family attacked and killed. He may have been attacked himself. We don’t know.

We know that 2 years later in 1905 there were further riots in Kishinev (and this time in many other Russian cities as well.) This time 19 Jews were killed and many others injured. Maybe he was 10.

We know that at the age of 20, he was shipped off to America – He was the youngest and the last to leave. He never saw his mother and father again.


(As I understand it) my Great-Great Grandfather (Abraham) and Great-Great Grandmother (Dorothy) had 4 boys, all were sent off to America, a new chance and hope. They were not sent off together though, they were sent off year by year when they were old enough and the family had the money. My Great-Great Grandparents stayed behind never seeing their boys again. We don’t know when they died, but we know they were deceased by 1925.

I can’t imagine what it took to send sons off, one by one, knowing they’d never see them again, to give them a better chance at life…


With the fall of the Soviet Union Moldova broke away from Russian rule and reformed as it’s own country. It has been invaded by the Turks, Russians and more. It has changed hands many times. Moldova is perhaps the poorest country in Europe. They are known for wine and not much else.

Moldova’s capital is Chisinau, formerly named Kishinev. My Great Grandfather’s last name is Kishinevsky, then changed to Kishineff, as is my grandfather’s and my father’s. How “Blackwell” came about is another story.

I’m in Moldova now, re-connecting with the family homeland that had been forgotten and left behind. I don’t know if any of my people have returned here in over 100 years. I don’t think my Great Uncles ever returned.

And it feels good to be here. Feels good in my body and in my Soul. The re-connection with this land, city & peoples.

I don’t know how long I’ll stay. Perhaps a month, maybe more. I don’t have a return ticket, but a tourist visit is limited to 90 days.

I know this re-connection to my ancestral homeland is important for Soul & Being.

I don’t blame the people here, as we have seen, people can be inflamed by a corrupt media at any time. The people here are no different, I am no different.


Let’s share our stories about ancestral homeland trauma. Let’s honor our ancestors and support sisters & brothers in learning about the importance of this. 

Please post your family story – Or comments & thoughts down below. I look forward to reading them.


* Picture of the entrance to the Kishinev Jewish cemetery taken 10/09/22. I looked for my Great Great Grandparents graves, but they were not listed as buried here.

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Vandana Arora

Hello Jack … Thanks for sharing and opening space for us to share.
I am from India and in the year 1947 our country was divided and Pakistan was formed. The partition created all manner of brutality.My grandparents and likes of them had to leave behind every thing they owned back in Pakistan and had to flee for life..it was very very traumatic for everyone who came. As children when we used to hear about all this from our grandparents it would bring shivers down our spines ..not to mention the pain that grandparents relived while narrating all this…and yes till this day I have seen PPL not having been able to progress financially or still carry fear , abandonment issues who had these ancestors.
It’s really really huge .

Shelley Harrison

Thanks for that share Jack. It’s something how those sentences can just break through our consciousness when resonated with.


You’re welcome Shelley. This is probably one of my favorite writings. And yes to the perfect sentence.

Rosabelle Rice

That is a powerful story of love and sacrifice. You shade the story when I learn about to go back to my ancestral homeland on my mother side she left when she was only 22 with two children and a husband. She has lived in the United States and in Mexico, most of her adult life. She happens to be there because my Uncle just died and I sit there and think to myself why is it so hard for me to take in my Homeland? Although there is great pride and my mother’s last name, it is also the same last name of the greatest mass murderer in Ecuador in history “Lope de Aguirre”. Whenever I’ve mentioned that to family, they tend to say well that’s another Aguirre not us.


Hi Rosabelle, it is so hard to own when the Darkness comes from our own families. And yet, so important. Glad you are doing this deep work and talking about it. Hard to do and not many will do it.


Traveling to Bilbao (Spain) in a month, yet again to spend time in my grandfather’s town. I agree with you, it does the body and soul good to reconnect with those places left behind so many years ago…


Hi Sole, yes, I feel much more strength in my body and settled and grounded. Love that you are spending time in your grandfathers home town. Enjoy Spain!

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