Corespondența dintre proprietarul ”Casei Joseph Zoller”, Gianina Vera Poroșnicu și nepotul lui Joseph Zoller, Doru Mihail Margulies

De la Alexandru Sava către domnul Doru Mihail Margulies:

Dear Mr. Margulies,

My name is Alexandru Sava and I represent the Joseph Zoller House from Iasi, România. I am aware that up until this point you communicated with Ligia Pricopi, reporter for Digi24 Iasi. I am writing to you both in the name of the historical monument which I represent, and in the name of the restorer, Mrs. Porosnicu Gianina Vera.

In order to present myself leisurely, my mission is to represent the Joseph Zoller House both online and offline.

Online, I will turn the Joseph Zoller House into a digital jewel, an immersive art which will be one click away for whoever is charmed, curious or excited about culture. Furthermore, I started to contribute creatively regarding the visuals of the Joseph Zoller House in social media and I started to apply digitization strategies.

Offline, however, I represent the Joseph Zoller House at cultural events, meetings and auctions. Likewise, I am directly involved regarding the coordination of events that promote this historic monument.

In September, I took part in the art auction held at the Iasi National Athenaeum (Ateneul National din Iasi), on the occasion of the ‘Royal Family in Iasi’ exhibition.

 I got an old photograph from 1904 with the Union Square from Iasi, photograph put up for an auction organised by the Historic Auction House in an unique exhibition, with heritage items, various collections of photographs and documents which have connections with the Royal Family of Romania!

Mrs. Lawyer Porosnicu Gianina Vera, the restorer of The Joseph Zoller House, is a well-known lawyer both in the city of Iasi, but also in Romania. She has three offices for the law firm, the main one being located at The Joseph Zoller House.

Last year, Mrs. Lawyer Porosnicu Gianina Vera was invited at the Louis Vuitton headquarters, where, accompanied by the Louis Vuitton General Manager from Romania and the headquarters’ commissioner, told the story of the jewish industrialist Joseph Zoller, a story similar to that of Louis Vuitton.

If I may, I would like to tell you more about us, what kind of activities are undertaken and how we want to create a brand, so as to keep alive your great-grandfather's name, Joseph Zoller. Revolving around The Joseph Zoller House, must be a national and international brand, a figure which can revive the city, a story aimed towards inspiration and education. It is about how we are perceived in the consciousness of people through cultural digitization and the power of example.

The restoration process of the house took three years. Indoors, the house was decorated in the Belle Epoque style, in the memory of your great-grandfather's achievements.

Inside, there are also valuable paintings of contemporary painters, precisely to recreate the ambiance of a noble palace, but also porcelain collections from the age of Joseph Zoller.

In the Joseph Zoller House there is one of the four original photographs with Mihai Eminescu, who was a poet, prose writer and journalist, considered by Romanian readers and critics to be the most important poetic figure in Romanian literature.

Outside, at the gate, there is an infokiosk which tells the story of the house through multimedia means.

In the yard, there is the 100 years old Arthur Proks piano, which belonged to the famous antiquarian Grumazescu. We intend to create a scene inspired by the Belle Epoque period, with characters and musical instruments.

The team which helped restore the historical monument is the same that restored the Palace of Culture, the most beautiful cultural edifice in Iasi.

Historian Iftimie Sorin, the best historian in Iasi, wrote the Joseph Zoller’s House monograph.

The Romanian State Television (TVR) broadcasted from the Joseph Zoller House.

Many personalities from Iasi entered the house and were surprised by the restoration work.

Prim-ballerina Ailiesei Monica is the image of the Joseph Zoller House. We had a special photo shoot for her, where amazing frames were taken that transcend you to a distant past. I included some pictures in the Photo archive.

The Joseph Zoller House already has office supplies, postal cards, bags, envelopes etc.. In the city of Iasi, there are signs indicating tourists on the path towards the Joseph Zoller House.

We even have Joseph Zoller sweets: chocolate, candy and cakes. They have been created in order to keep alive the memory of Joseph Zoller’s chocolate factory, which had 25 employees in 1912. The candy has your great-grandfather's name on them and they are ordered from a chocolate factory in Bucharest. Likewise, we have dozens of cakes with the J.Z. ensign. We attached pictures with all of these in the Photo Archive.

Well-known photographers came in large numbers to photograph the house, some of them using drones to get stunning shots from above. In the attached archive, there are the following folders:
• Zoller Family
• 100 Years Old Piano
• Porosnicu Gianina Vera
• Mihai Eminescu Rare Photo
• Joseph Zoller Sweets
• Joseph Zoller House (2020/Interior/Outside)
• Funeral Stone + Info/Testimonial
• Giuviaierul Slefuit
• Joseph Zoller House Monograph
• From City Mayor to Joseph Zoller House
• Prim-Ballerina @ Joseph Zoller
• City Sign to Joseph Zoller House
• Joseph Zoller Porcelain

The neighboring house, which also existed in the time of Joseph Zoller, an 18th century aristocratic mansion, was sold recently and we hope that through the new owner it will take the path of restoration.

At the moment, we already have a realistic mannequin which is patiently waiting for its role in an unique scene. It is located at the Iasi Opera, where its vintage costume is designed. In the scene, this mannequin portrays Joseph Zoller’s daughter, the famous pianist. Along with her, there will be two more mannequins depicting children. Hence, we intend to reunite the whole family.

Related to this topic, perhaps you could tell us what were the ages of the five children when your great-grandfather, Joseph Zoller, was in his glory days? Also, what were the ages of Joseph Zoller and his wife in that time? What was the name of his daughter, the one who became a famous pianist?

In the attached archive, you will find a photograph with Joseph Zoller’s grave, but also testimonials from the newspapers of the time from his funeral. We try to maintain the grave as best as possible and we intend to restore it to its initial appearance.

Next year, we are planning to release the Giuvaierul Slefuit (Polished Gem)  book, written by Ion Creanga’s great-granddaughter, Olguta Creanga-Caia. Ion Creanga is one of the most famous writers of children’s books in Romania. The release will be like an exhibition, due to the writer’s reputation and many personalities will be present.

The book will have stories for children, with themes revolving around both Joseph Zoller and the Joseph Zoller House.

The book’s illustrations were made by Violeta Diordiev, awarded with the 1st place worldwide in children’s illustrations.

I attached in the Photo Archive a concept for the cover which I created and also the illustrations made by Mrs. Diordiev.

We kindly ask you to send us anything related to Joseph Zoller and the Zoller family, so we can take this story further in time. Any information is vital to us and we ask you to tell us everything you can remember. Thank you in advance, we are looking forward to seeing you at the book’s release!

You can find us on Facebook, where we have almost 3000 followers and post almost daily about the Joseph Zoller House, our activities, the Zoller family, the history that surrounds the historic monument and the chocolate factory annexed to the house.

We are also on Instagram, where we are constantly building a community:

You can find Mrs. Lawyer at:

Personal Facebook Profile:
Webpage: (RO) & (EN)
Mobile Phone Number: +40 763 111 111

You can find me at:

Personal Facebook Profile:
Mobile Phone Number: +40 757 140 889
Email: / /

We are also on Wikipedia:

-și (Here we are working to improve the article’s content) 


Yours faithfully,
Sava Alexandru

Răspunsul domnului Doru Mihail Margulies către Alexandru Sava:

Dear Mr.Sava,

Thank you for your mail of today, which I read with great interest. I was awaiting for some time news from Ligia Pricopi and I am glad they arrived through you. How is she? 

Please extend my best regards to her if you speak or see her.

I do not follow facebook or Instagram, so the various youtube videos are already an interesting development on my side

I would like to mention the following points:

1)  Joseph Zoller was my grand-father , the father of my mother Elsa, and not my great grand father
2)  I have supplied to Mrs Procopi most of the information I had in hand, so I suppose you have a copy of it
3)  There were 4 children not 5 -   Filly 1902/1967 – Paula 1907/1907 – Henri Millo 1910/1991 – Elsa 1910/2001
4)  Only Filly (Theofila I suppose) had 1 daughter Josette who worked with Radio Bucarest (German section as she came from Cerneuti) and wrote articles under the name of Josette Dan. Millo and Paula no heirs.Josette passed away in 2016
5)  The pianist you seem to mention would be my mother Elsa ; she was actually a very talented pianist but never undertook a professional career
6)  The same Elsa had vivid records of her , as a small child, kissing Queen Maria when she visited the house when the French diplomats stayed in it as you mention in your documents. Also she adored her father (lost when she was only 13) and spoke about him almost every day of her life
7)  You mention the Photo Archive which is quite impressive. Maybe the piano was my mother’s ? I don’t know.  In any case all the creations made around the name Zoller are beautiful (the sweets look great) and my compliments to the creator.  Really Mrs.Porosnicu has done a great development job and I am proud the name of my grandfather to be revived in such a way.

At this point I would be interested to know if and how I can participate to the development you are orchestrating ? I live in Italy and in Switzerland , so not so near Iasi ! I was there in 1968 and visited the Copou cemetery + other places of course.

I have no claim on my mother’s past assets as the house was sold as you say long ago, it is emotional and unexpected, especially knowing the love there has been for this man.

My real interest and involvement would be into recovering my share of the Palatul Braunstein which is in Piata Unirii as you know ; this building was built by my great grandfather Adolf Braunstein and  belonged afterwards to my grandparents (I.Margulies + Maria Braunstein) . It was managed by my grandfather Isidore Margulies. Actually my father Aurel, when in Iasi, bought back most of the shares of the other heirs and was the main owner, but I have no proof of such.In any case through his mother Maria he was a legal heir to the building.

I tried in 2001 to claim something (please see copy of fax attached) but I was brutally dismissed from my quest when I know that some members of the family with whom I have no or little relation made similar (and undue actually) claims. If you and Mrs.Porosnicu think something can be done after so many years, I would be more than happy to receive your comments. I know now that the European Community is also entering into the picture.

I look forward for further exchange with you and I thank you again for all the information you have supplied to me

Best regards,
Doru M. Margulies

De la Ștefan Năstas către domnul Doru Mihail Margulies:

Dear Mr. Margulies, 

My name is Nastas Stefan and I work with Mrs. lawyer Porosnicu Gianina and with Sava Alexandru. 

I am a student at the “Vasile Alecsandri” High School in Iasi and I am olympic at english, astronomy and linguistics. Among my passions there are astronomy, but also research and documentation in various subjects. I like to find more about the world around me everyday and try to understand it as best as I can. 

I know that you corresponded with Alexandru Sava by now and that you answered to some of his questions. Likewise, I would also like to ask you about your family, if I may. 

Firstly, what was your grandfather’s age when he passed away? What were the ages of his children and his wife and how did they look like? What were the ages of the children and of the wife at the time of your grandfather’s decease? What were their hobbies? What were their studies, reffering to college or university? What moral traits were the most important, that made them who they were? How would you portray each one of them? We are asking all of this in order to replicate your family as close to reality as possible, with the mannequin scene that will be displayed at the house. 

Secondly, I regrettably announce you that Palatul Braunstein is in the possession of the city hall of Iasi, and the ex-owners have been compensated, according to the information that Mrs. Porosnicu has, which may not be official. Not much data on the history of the owners of the Palace is available, hence why an option that might help in gathering data is recruiting someone who can undertake a responsible work towards this purpose. Mrs. Porosnicu does not deal with civil law, so she cannot offer you advice from this point of view, and we find ourselves unable to do anything concrete to help you. 

I must mention that today is the 1st of December, The National Day of Romania, and the Joseph Zoller House has made preparations for this day! Firstly, we ran the flags up the poles, flags which were hand-crafted from velvet with gold and silver threads, contributing to the subtlety and the vintage feeling of the house. Likewise, we also had a “sweet flag” , that represented a cake with the national flag on it, ordered just for this unique day! At the infokiosk the national anthem of Romania is being played right now, in the interpretation of the Filarmonica Iasi (Philharmonic orchestra Iasi), always charming people curios about the house’s history. Below you can find pictures with the preparations. 

Yours faithfully, 
Nastas Stefan 

Răspunsul domnului Doru Mihail Margulies către Ștefan Năstas:

Dear Mr.Nastas,

I thank you for your mail and all the latest information contained.

My grandfather was 47 when he passed away 1875/1924 and you have most of the chronology answers already in the mail sent to Mr.Sava

Point 3) There were 4 children not 5 -   Filly 1902/1967 – Paula 1907/1907 – Henri Millo 1910/1991 – Elsa 1910/2001
Filly was Doctor in Philosophy and lived in Cernauti
Millo was stomatologist in Bucarest  (studied in Vienna)
Elsa was housewife

My grandmother was born in 1877 and dyed early 50’s in Bucarest.

Unfortunately for you, I was 1 year old when I left Rumania with a big age gap in generation. So I did not meet or hardly knew the previous generations  which were blocked (or already dead) in Rumania and therefore I am just unable to answer seriously to your questions. Furthermore my parents would not talk gladly about the past obviously and always preferred to look forward and not backwards.

The situation with the Braunstein Palace is probably a good example, and the so-called “owners” are people who left Rumania much later so they probably kept useful links that allowed them to claim whatever they did. Same with my father’s other companies and the last factory he built in 1946 under my name.

I was brought up with a French education and French was the language at home. Sorry.

Have a Happy National Day!

Kind regards,

De la Ștefan Năstas către domnul Doru Mihail Margulies:

Dear Mr. Margulies,

Thank you for your prompt answer. I come back with more questions, in order to have this mannequin scene sorted out. 

As far as Mrs. Porosnicu knows, she believes that Millo and Elsa were twin siblings. Is that true? Also, by any chance, do you have any recollections at least on the hair's colours of the 4 siblings? What were they doing for a living? Did they do anything related to Joseph Zoller's house?

Yours faithfully,
Nastas Stefan

Răspunsul domnului Doru Mihail Margulies către Ștefan Năstas:


Sorry but it is hard for me to understand your mail!

How can they be twins if one is born in 1905 and the other in 1910?

You should know that hair colour changes during the lifetime of a person, so difficult to answer this question. Furthermore often women dye their hair!

Finally I answered to last question in my first mail as Millo was a stemmatologist (doctor + dentist) if you don’t know the speciality.

D. Margulies

De la Ștefan Năstas către domnul Doru Mihail Margulies:

Dear Mr. Margulies,

I tend to believe that there is a mistake in the information you provided me with. In your first mail from 1st of December, you mentioned that Henri Millo was born in 1910 and lived until 1991, and Elsa was born in 1910 and lived until 2001. My question was if these two siblings were, by any chance, twins, and in the response you sent me on the 2nd of December, you mentioned that one of them was born in 1905 and the other in 1910. Could you please, verify the dates of their births one more time? We would like to solve this as soon as possible.

Mrs. Porosnicu sends the best wishes!

Yours faithfully,
Nastas Stefan

Răspunsul domnului Doru Mihail Margulies către Ștefan Năstas:


Sorry it is my mistake as I wanted to answer asap to yr mail and I copied without checking my mail to Mr.Sava which already had the initial mistake 1910 instead of correct 1905 for Millo.

As I have supplied already all these info last spring to Mrs Pricopi and to Mrs.Porosnicu  I didn’t bother checking again.

Best apologies,

De la Ștefan Năstas către domnul Doru Mihail Margulies:

Dear Mr. Margulies,

I am writing to let you know that tomorrow is the National Culture Day here, in Romania, and we decided to prepare for it. 

One of the most notable figures in Romanian culture is Mihai Eminescu, poet, prose writer, journalist and so much more. He was a genius who left a mark in the history of his country, but also in worldwide history. I am sending you some information regarding his personality for further reading. 

January 15 is the Day of National Culture and the day we pay respects to the great poet Mihai Eminescu who, according to Constantin Noica, was "the absolute man of Romanian culture". 

Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889) was a poet, prose writer, dramatist and journalist and was considered by posthumous literary critics as the most important poetic voice in Romanian literature. 

How do we remember Eminescu today? Judging by the photo from literature books: nearly sculptural profile, high forehead, hair on the back and a bow tie. But his work transcends the appearance of the great poet. One thing is well known today: the occasions when the great poet was photographed were rare. 

During the 39 years of his life, only 4 pictures of him made it to our days. 

The first photo of Mihai Eminescu was taken when he was 19 years old by Bernhard Brand. 

The second photograph was taken by Franz Duschek in 1878 when Eminescu, 28 years old at the time, was settled in Bucharest. 

This photograph, which is also found in the Junimea literary society medallion, is said by biographers to be the most representative for Eminescu. It depicts the great poet as he was and as how we should imagine him. 

This photograph was written about at the beginning of the twentieth century as follows: "it dates from the time of the poet's maturity when his extraordinary personality had manifested itself in all its brilliance and vigor - both in literature and in public life. It shows us the image of the poet from the time he was, as much as fate and the environment have forgiven him to be, more than ever his own, or rather his genius. " 

The third photograph dates back from the time when the poet was 34 years old and was taken in Iasi, in the photography studio of Nestor Heck (around 1884-1885). It is a photograph taken after the first disease symptoms, as the result of a trick. 

It was well known that the great poet did not like to be photographed. However, his friends from Junimea literary society convinced him to take a group photo. Furthermore, they agreed with the photographer, Nestor Heck, and when he was preparing to shoot, they withdrew and only Eminescu remained. One of the poet's friends, A.C. Cuza, about the circumstances in which the visit to Heck's studio took place and the photography related the following: "Finally, one day, in the summer, taking advantage of the good mood, I took Eminescu from the terrace of the Traian Hotel in Iasi. Together with Wilhelm Humpel and Petru V. Grigoriu, since he was dressed in his white suit, we all went to the Nestor Heck's photography studio, 42 Lapusneanu Street, where he agreed to take pictures, but only in a group with us when we sat down together. According to our instructions, however, the photographer captured only him, which upset him a little later, seeing himself deceived as a child. " 

This original photograph is today in a place of honor in the Joseph Zoller House in Iasi, a reference building for local and national architecture built in 1912 and restored by Gianina Vera Porosnicu. The photo depicting Eminescu has a solid handmade wood frame made of walnut. 

It is part of lawyer Gianina Vera Porosnicu's private collection, along with other original photos. On the back of the photo is the stamp with the name of Nestor Heck's company. The last photo dates from 1887 and was taken by Jean Bieling in November, in Botosani, when he was in the care of his sister Harieta.

Yours sincerely,
Nastas Stefan

Răspunsul domnului Doru Mihail Margulies către Ștefan Năstas:

Good morning,

Thank you for this information and I am sure it is a great honour to associate Eminescu and my grandfather's home.

They probably never met, but I am sure that like every Rumanian he must have respected this great author's work.

Unfortunately I am only familiar with the name and the tree which I saw when I was in Iasi.

I wish you and Mrs. Porosnicu a good return on this exhibition and a lot of interest

Kindly yours,