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Original Articles

The Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA] electronically publishes peer reviewed articles. We invite articles for submission, which may be about any subject that touches global Jewish genealogy, most especially those that will improve research skills, or open new streams of research from which the reader can learn. Articles must not have been published previously.

You are encouraged to send your articles electronically to: articles@genealogy.org.il, including a short biography of just a few lines and a photo of the author. Please note that all material published by IGRA becomes the property of IGRA and may be reprinted only by the written permission of IGRA. Any websites noted in the article should use the format http:// . In addition to links within the article, we encourage you to include visuals: photographs and/or illustrations should be sent individually as .jpeg, .png, or .gif files at a resolution of 250-300 pixels, along with their captions. The bibliography for your article should be standard and complete, including the publisher, the date, and the place of publication.

WWI and Its Aftermath in Ivanik and Pinsk, by Ellen Stepak

WWI and Its Aftermath in Ivanik and Pinsk, by Ellen Stepak

Before World War I, the Polesian city of Pinsk was in Czarist Russia. The city had a strong Jewish majority. In 1897, there were approximately 21.000 Jews, or 74% of the city’s population. In 1939 over 90% were Jewish, and the city center was dominated by Jewish homes and places of business. My ancestors and their cousins lived in both Pinsk and the all-Jewish agricultural village of Ivanik, which was located seven kilometers north of Pinsk. During much of World War I the city was occupied by the German Army and was located along the war front. Residents suffered from hardship, deprivation and hunger. After World War II Ivanik as a separate entity ceased to exist and became part of Posenich. It is impossible to separate the effects of World War I on Pinsk from the effects of events immediately following the War, until 1920. This is because the state of War continued until the Poles completed establishing their hegemony. Following the World War, two wars over the borders of Eastern Europe took place, with great effect on Pinsk: 1. The Polish-Ukrainian War: until the end of WWI, there had been no independent Polish entity, since the third Polish partition in 1795. The People’s Republic of Poland was established in 1918. But the final borders had yet to be determined. The Polish-Ukrainian War took place between 1918 and 1919. Afterwards, Poland was granted Eastern Galicia and Volhynia at the Paris Peace Conference in November 1919. Ukraine remained divided between Poland and the Soviet Union (as Ukrainian SSR). Pinsk is just north of Ukraine. 2. The Russo-Polish War took place between 1919 and 1920. Both the Soviet Union and Poland tried to seize Ukraine. There had already been strife between the two countries, but war actually broke out at the end of the aforementioned Polish-Ukrainian War, “when the Polish head of State Jozef Pilsudski forged an alliance with the Ukrainian nationalist leader Symon Petlyura (April 21, 1920) and their combined forces began to overrun Ukraine, occupying Kiev on May 7. In June the Soviet Red Army launched a counteroffensive, reaching the former Polish border by the end of July.” The Soviets continued to conquer more of Poland, reaching the outskirts of Warsaw, until rebuffed by Pilsudski’s forces. [1] “An armistice was signed in October 1920. The Treaty of Riga, concluded on March 18, 1921, provided for the bulk of Ukraine to remain a Soviet republic, although substantial portions of Belorussia (today Belarus) and Ukraine were ceded to Poland.” [2] At this time Western Ukraine and the region of Polesie, including Pinsk, were annexed to the new Polish state, until 1939 and the outbreak of World War II. The borders between Russia and Poland were fixed until 1939. My great grandparents, Lazer (ca. 1867-1951) and Miriam (Posenitzki) Brenn and their two sons had all emigrated by 1907 to the United States. Lazer’s brother and sister, Yossel and Gitel, had emigrated before Lazer to the US. Both had been labor organizers in Pinsk during the days of the Czar, and each fled Russia before being arrested. But the other sister of my great grandfather, Shifra (Brenn) Nimzovich (ca. 1876-1938) and her family remained behind. Most members of this branch of the family were eventually caught up in the Holocaust. Shifra, Shlomo and their seven children resided in Ivanik. This village had been established ca. 1855, during the reign of Czar Nikolai I, with the purpose of encouraging Jews to engage in agriculture. A wealthy philanthropist of Pinsk, R. Wolf Levin, purchased a “large parcel of land where he settled fifteen families from Lahishin and Pinsk”[3]. The results were mixed, and mostly unsuccessful. At first there were problems inducing Jews to move there from the comforts of the city. One enticement which helped was an exemption from military service for the sons of the families who resided in the village. [4] (The sons were needed to manage the farms.) Residents of the village who desired to, lived close enough to the city to be able to work there during the week, returning home on weekends; whereas working in agriculture was physically very demanding. The farmers’ days began very early, with milking the cows, and the working hours were long. However, I believe that my ancestors did indeed engage in agriculture before the War. Sarah (Hazanov) Kirshner (1921-2012), the granddaughter of Shifra, whose parents were farmers after the Great War—they were married in 1919 or 1920—was the source of much of my information about my family in the village. She remembered her mother Nehama Raizel saying about her mother Shifra, “Let me not have to work as hard as my mother does.” Sarah later said the very same thing about her mother, in her life, which was also very difficult. Sarah, the oldest of six children, was born in Ivanik. Her father Paltyel had begun veterinary studies when he was compelled to leave his home town. He found his way to Pinsk, and I don’t have any details about this, but in Ivanik, aside from his work as a farmer, he served as the village vet. People from the adjacent mixed Christian-and-Jewish village of Posenich also knocked on his door at all hours with their sick animals. During the German occupation of WWI, all residents of the village were forced to leave, and they moved to the adjacent city of Pinsk. Had they been allowed to remain in Ivanik, they might have been able to raise enough food on their farms. Eventually, a large part of the population of Pinsk was exiled to interior provinces of Poland, among them former residents of Ivanik. (Yossel Brenn, bouquet in hand at right, with the Nimzovich family in Ivanik 1921 (Shifra, Shlomo and their 7 children and 2 oldest granddaughters: Top, from left: Nehama Raizel & Paltyel Hazanov, Leizer & Fruma (Goldman) Nimzovich, Yossel/Joe Brenn Seated, center: Sarah (Hazanov) Kirshner, Shlomo & Shifra (Brenn) Nimzovich with baby Golda Nimzovich Bottom row: Shmuel, Teibl, Gitel, Todras/Ted, Motl (all Nimzovich) There is a taped account from 1979 of a relative of mine, Todras/Ted Nimzovich [see the above photo], who was born in 1905 in Ivanik. In heavily accented and broken English, he related how he survived during the War as a boy: “...we had to move out, because that was the front right there, [the German Army] couldn’t go any farther and they stayed there, and they didn’t want to have no civilians staying [in Ivanik]. So they chased us out of our home, they stayed in the town, there was nowhere to run, we couldn’t go no place. We didn’t have nothing to eat, and we practically were out of food altogether. So finally I got a job for a German officer, a Lieutenant Karl, and I looked after the cow for him, and I was getting something to eat, and getting a little clothes, and from then on, I helped my folks; they didn’t have nothing to eat, so they used to go to the soldiers and ask them for bread and all that stuff, but later I used to take some to my folks, and they had something to eat. Then it was going on like this for several years” [during the German occupation of WWI]. When the War officially ended, the residents of Ivanik returned to rebuild their village. By this time, more of them had become aware of the economic advantages of working in the field of agriculture. At least their families would not go hungry. Technical assistance became available, at first through ORT (Society for Trades and Agricultural Labor among the Jews in Russia) and later through IKA (Jewish Colonization Association). The American Joint Distribution Committee also provided assistance. Soon progress was made; there was a ready market for their produce, with Pinsk nearby, and there were transportation links to other parts of Poland. The cucumbers of Ivanik were prized in Warsaw. Some of the farmers learned to grow vegetables in greenhouses, thereby prolonging the growing (and selling) season. Still, much of the most difficult labor was done by peasants. However, the official end of WWI in November 1918 was not a time of peace. On the contrary, it was a time of great instability. The next two years saw great anti-Semitism and pogroms. The most infamous of the pogroms, if one may call it that, was carried out on 5 April 1919, by Polish soldiers newly occupying Pinsk at the time. There exist a few sources of information about these pogroms, but especially the book by Avraham Asher Feinstein, Megilat Puranuyot , written in archaic Hebrew, and published in Tel Aviv in 1929, after Feinstein had immigrated to Palestine. The young and future leadership of the Jewish community had gathered in the community center (Beit Ha’am) in order to decide upon kamkha da’pascha, or sharing of charity for Passover, donated to the community by the American Joint Distribution Committee and by former Pinskers living abroad. The planners of the meeting had requested and received permission from the Polish police to hold this meeting. Avraham Feinstein was present early in the fateful evening, and as a community leader, was involved in planning the meeting [5]. A Jewish Polish soldier had told the Polish occupiers of the town, that this was a Bolshevik meeting to plan the overthrow of the new Polish government. Then soldiers stormed the meeting, killing at least one participant, and arrested the mostly young men. The soldiers added a couple of other young Jews they encountered along the way to the police station, where all of the men were held overnight. The following morning, without trial, over thirty men and teenagers were taken out and stood up against an external wall of the local monastery, where they were shot by a firing squad. Altogether thirty five died. There was an international uproar over this massacre, which became known as The Pinsk Affair. Another major pogrom was perpetrated in October 1920 by Cossacks under the leadership of General Stanislaw Bulak-Balachowicz. Feinstein personally travelled to the villages in the vicinity of Pinsk and spent much time and effort in investigating and documenting the atrocities. And he personally appealed to Bulak-Balachowicz to stop the murder and rape. Like so many of the great anti-Semites in history, Bulak-Balachowicz is revered as a hero in Belarus. “For his resistance against Bolshevik forces that killed local Belarusian peasantry, members of [the] Belarusian minority in Poland regard him as their national hero.” [6] According to an article I have found online [7], “an estimated 70,000 to 250,000 Jewish civilians were killed in the atrocities throughout the former Russian empire” between 1917 and 1920. Timeline of History in Pinsk, 1914-1920 [8] Pinsk 1914-1920 Ted Nimzovich, In his taped account, related what happened to him personally at the end of the War: “Then when the Germans moved out, then the Polish came in to us. And then they come in, and we didn’t have nothing, to eat or nothing. So my father what he had was a poor old horse, he could hardly walk. We had to raise him up, and then I used to go out in the field, at night, sleep with the horse, in the pasture, and then in the morning, I used to go out and to plow the ground so that at least we would have something to eat. And that was going on, and then finally, a couple of years later, we finally got settled, they had something. We had something and then, and then I was away, I was only I would say around 15 or 16 years old. “Then the Russians moved out, when everyone went out, they’d lost my birth certificate. Then the Polish wanted me to serve them, to go as a soldier. And we didn’t want it, because they robbed us and they killed my uncle, and everything else, and I didn’t want it. So I told my mother, I want to go to Israel, as a soldier, as a khalutz [pioneer]. But then they kept us back, and we couldn’t go. So a bunch of us boys, then we decided to go to Argentina. They had a way there, we can go there.” At first I didn’t know how to find the name of this uncle, but, from the Yad Vashem page of testimony for Shlomo Nimzovich’s sister Doba (Nimzovich) Plotnik, I have identified him as Yehuda, her husband. The family was living in Pinsk, but after the murder of Yehuda, Doba returned to live in her home village of Ivanik with her son David, who had been shot in the foot in the same incident when his father was murdered; and her other son Motl. The information about the shooting comes from talks with Sarah Kirshner. The information about the Plotnik family moving to Ivanik comes from The Pinsk Historical Volume.[9] According to Sarah, Plotnik was killed by the Balachowiczes, which puts the date at ca. October 1920. Motl later died at the age of twelve from tuberculosis. David Plotnik, born in 1916, joined the partisans in World War II and survived, but he lost his wife in the Shoah. Before World War II he had been apprenticed to a carpenter, and that became his livelihood in New York. After he immigrated, he made and sold office furniture. At Ancestry.com I believe that I have found his US entry record from 1948; there is a record of a David Plotnik, 34, with his wife Rachela, 20, who both arrived “stateless” to New York. At the time when Ted Nimz/Nimzovich decided to leave Ivanik, the doors to the US were pretty much closed to immigration from Eastern Europe, and it was very difficult to get a “certificate” to Palestine; therefore, Ted and some friends emigrated from Ivanik to Argentina, where they found work and lived for a few months. From Argentina Ted was able to immigrate to the US, and from there he made his way to his relatives in Chicago. He literally spent his last penny in order to get there.His life in the United States was extremely difficult. As he had been in Ivanik, he became a farmer in Michigan on a farm owned by his Pinsker aunt and uncle. It took years until he was able to earn anything, and for several years, he and a friend bought day-old bread, which was the mainstay of their diet. They surely grew some things they could eat, as well. My great grandfather Lazer’s brother Yossel Brenn returned to Pinsk from Chicago in February 1921, as a representative of a Pinsker Aid Committee, sponsored by the New York and Chicago branches of the Bund organization, with a great amount of aid money to disperse in the community, both to individuals from their relatives in the US, and to the community at large. One of a few committees formed to investigate the Polish massacre of April 1919 was the Morgenthau Commission appointed by US President Woodrow Wilson, and headed by Henry Morgenthau III. I mention this because we have the account of Morgenthau’s, as related by his son Henry Morgenthau IV[10], that even while the Commission was in Poland in 1920 to investigate anti-Semitic events, the murders continued; over 300 Jews were killed at that time. In the following years, anti-Semitism never ceased to plague the Jews of Pinsk, until and, of course culminating with World War II. Of approximately 30,000 Jews in Pinsk at the beginning of WWII, including Jews from nearby villages exiled to the city by the Nazis, only about seventeen came out of hiding at the end of the War. [1] Encyclopedia Britannica online, www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/514051/Russo-Polish-War. [2] ibid [3] “The Jewish Agricultural Colony Ivanik”, Toyzant Yahr Pinsk, Pinsker Branch 210, Workmen’s Circle, New York, 1941. Editor: B. Hoffman.in translation to English by Esther Newman and Roberta Newman, found at the website of Julian Ilicki, of Uppsala University in Sweden. [4] Ibid. [5] Feinstein, A. A., Megilat Puryanot, Tel Aviv, 1929 [6] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belarusian_People’s_Republic, p. 3 [7] “History of the Jews in Ukraine”, Part 9, World War I Aftermath, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_Ukraine [8] Shochet, Azriel, “Pinsk between Ukrainian, Bolsheviks and Poles,” Galed II, Book 9, Editor: Moshe Mishkinski, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 1978. This table is based upon facts in this article, among others [9] Boneh, Nahum, Pinsk Historical Volume, Volume I, Part 2 (Engish), “The Holocaust and the Revolt in Pinsk, p. 142 [1o] Morgenthau, Henry IV, Mostly Morgenthaus Ellen (Goldenberg) Stepak After graduating from the U of Wisconsin/Madison, in 1969 Ellen moved to Israel, and lived on a kibbutz for over a year. It was her second time in Israel. When she left the kibbutz, she moved to Jerusalem; for the past 40 years, she has lived in Ramat Gan. When her husband Zvi decided to go into business for himself, and started an investment business, she became a "silent partner". She has three children: Avner, Amir, who lives in Washington D.C., and Raquel; three granddaughters; and two cats. Since 1995, Ellen has been actively researching her family's roots, with ancestors from five modern-day countries. This has included traveling to ancestral towns, documenting old Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania and Germany, writing articles on topics related to her research, and translating material from Hebrew to English. It has been a rewarding, educational experience, involving contacts on four continents, not including Israel which is in Asia. Ellen has published two family books: about the Klots family of Lithuania, and the Werthans of Rotenburg an der Fulda.[...]
Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel:  Part Two – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - second half by Rose A. Feldman

Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part Two – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - second half by Rose A. Feldman

The first half of this article is available at - Part Two – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - first half Employment & Licensed Professions The immigrants and residents of the Yishuv worked hard to build a self-supporting community in Eretz Israel and while visiting various archives, documentation has been found that might help you find out more about your ancestors way of life. There are two different ways to approach your research, and it depends upon how your ancestors may have been employed. For the occupations that required certification, there may be official lists of licensees from the government. Examples of such professions are doctors, dentists, veterinarians, midwives, nurses, advocates, and land surveyors. These lists were published in the Palestine Gazette[1] and HaIton Harishmi[2]   , and sometimes in pamphlets for distribution.[3],[4]. In addition, the government publications contain official announcements of appointments by the British Administration. The other approach is to look for information relating to the place where they were employed or sought employment. In the public sector lists have been found of teachers, and workers in some of the government offices; in the private sector you can look at archives of factories, industries and the Histadrut archives and publications. As can be seen from the list, this is an additional avenue for finding information and fleshing out the time line of your ancestor. The following is a partial list of the documents the Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA] has found and is working to add to its All Israel Database [AID] collection: Advocates who paid fees to appear before the courts 1921-1948, Staff List of the Government of Palestine 1935, Lists of teachers belonging to the Histadrut Morim (Teachers’ Council), List of Teachers of the Dept. of Education of Havaad HaLeumi 1940, Partial Index of Workers’ Forms from the Association of Eretz Israel Diamond Industry found in the Netanya Municipal Archives 1942-1946, Short List of the Governmental Departments of Government Clerks of the Government of Palestine that are in Direct Contact with the Jewish Ishuv 1940-41, Members in Agricultural Organizations in Petah Tikva 1931-1936, Nurse Certification 1923-1948, Midwives found listed in registries of birth, Candidates for the 1941Histadrut Haklalit (General Council Elections), Candidates for the 1941Va’adat Hapoalot (The Women’s Workers’ Council), Workers at El-Ar 1940-42, a factory in Petah Tikva, Candidates for the 6th Clerks Council of the Histadrut 1945. Community Activities and Payment to Local Authorities An additional part of your ancestors’ lives was their participation in community activities. These activities might be recorded in ledgers or published in newsletters or on posters. These publications can include lists or mention of people who have donated to various causes and institutions or participated in their organization. The following databases of such activities are already part of the IGRA AID collection: Donors from UK for Safed Old Age Home run by Simcha Shulman 1924-1929, Earthquake Donations 1927, Executive of the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO) 1927, List of collections at the end of the 1927 harvest in the area of Zikhron Ya’akov 1927, Members of Kinneret 1928, Queries about Land Registries 1928-1929, List of goods – Customs agreement between Palestine (Eretz Israel) and Syria 1929, Debts collected in the Zikhron Ya’akov area 1930 Beit-Yaakov Beit Haknesset HaGadol in Petah Tikvah Report 1933, Voters List from Petah Tikva for the 18th Zionist Congress 1933, Rehavia Address Book June 1935 & June 1937, National Youth Aliyah Committee of Hadassah 1937, Names of Members of Friends of Mikveh Israel 1945, Delegates to the Zionist Congress 1921 – 1933 A vital resource, often overlooked, and one that gives a feel for life in the Jewish community is the Yishuv and State of Israel press section of the Historical Jewish Press website. The newspapers published in Eretz Israel found on this site to date for the Mandate period are: Ha-Po’eel Ha-Tsa’air, Doar Ha-Yom, Davar, Ha-Mashkif, Ha-Tzofeh, Hed Ha-Mizrach, and Al HaMishmari in Hebrew, and  Palestine Post in English.They contain a variety of personal announcements in addition to their articles and can be searched by name or event or date, but only in the language the newspaper was printed in. Political Involvement Due to the influence of socialism in the development of the Yishuv, it is possible that our female ancestors were involved in various levels of politics; international, national, and regional or municipal. The following are just examples of where lists can be found. The Yishuv had a multi-party system as is found in Europe. For this reason various parties often submitted a list of candidates equal to all the seats available in that election. Though this may seem unrealistic, from the point of view of the genealogy researcher this reveals information as to the political inclination of our ancestor that might otherwise remain hidden from us. On the international level the IGRA AID collection includes the following databases: Delegates to the Zionist Congress 1921 – 1933, and Voters’ List from Petah Tikva for the 18th Zionist Congress 1933. The women were allowed to vote for the representatives and be a representative in the Zionist Congress starting in 1898.[5] On the national level our female ancestors can be found in: The VIII National Conference in Tel-Aviv Revisionist Zionist Alliance in Eretz Israel 1934, Candidates for the 1941, Histadrut Haklalit(General Council Elections), Candidates for the 1941 Va’adat Hapoalot (The Women’s Workers’ Council), Who’s Who in Palestine 1944, and in the various voters’ lists for the Vaad HaLehumi and municipal government. Each municipality could decide who had the right to vote in municipal elections. In Petah Tikva, women were allowed to vote starting in 1936. In Tel-Aviv the right to vote was restricted to property owners in the 1920s and early 30s. In addition various ultra orthodox groups did not participate in the elections, and may not be found in these lists. A new project in cooperation with the Central Zionist Archives is the building of databases based on voters lists to Knesset Israel which includes most of the Jewish settlements in 1942, and some lists from the 1930’s and 1944. The page on the IGRA website British Administration (1917-1948) includes an up-to-date list of those voters’ lists available. The lists are often called “Rishimot Bogrim” meaning “adult lists”, all those of the ages 18 and above. Armed Forces (paramilitary & military) In 1924 the Hagannah called for Jewish women and men females and males to volunteer.[6] The female members usually fulfilled the jobs filled by female soldiers in armies around the world. In 1936 a number of female members from various kibbutzim met and demanded to participate in guard duty and defense. In 1937 the first course was held for female officers. During World War II 4,000 women from the Yishuv volunteered to serve in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (A.T.S.) and the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service (W.A.A.F.), including three volunteers who parachuted behind enemy lines in Europe. If your relatives were part of any of the paramilitary units before the State of Israel, then they should be researched through the various websites of these units: Hahagana, The Irgun Website, Lehi, Palmach, The Palyam & Aliya Bet Website . The databases in the IGRA AID collection in this area which include women are: Graduates of Platoon Commander Course – Haganah 1921-1948, Hebrew Soldiers of the Yishuv who fell and perished in World War II 1940-1945, Etzel Service Card Applications 1949-1953. Since the publication of the first half of this article, a new website has come to our attention. It is the website of “Bintivey Ha’apala” Clandestine Jewish Immigration Information and Research Center in Memory of Admiral Mordechai (Moka) Limon. It has information on the immigrants and activists who accompanied them. Manuscripts & Biographies Aside from researching archives and museums, one should also try the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem. Their Archives Department has over 450 personal archives as well as a small number of institutional archives. The initial research stage of their collection can be conducted online. They also have a growing collection of digitalized materials, including a collection of Ketubot (marriage contracts).  If your family was Sephardi and living in Jerusalem, you might look for resources in the Eda HaSfaradit העדה הספרדית collection, which is housed in the Jerusalem Municipal Archives. It best to contact Mr. Ephraim Levy, who represents the Eda HaSfaradit at the Jerusalem Municipal Archives. Another resource to locate groups in which your ancestor might have been active, and may be mentioned, is in manuscripts and personal papers in the CZA or Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP).  Note that the key words for the research in these catalogues will most probably not be your ancestor’s name but rather the location where she lived, or the society in which she was active. For a more thorough list of institutions in Israel that may have manuscripts limited to repositories in Israel try Repositories of Primary Sources: Africa and the Near East. For institutions in the United States and Europe that may have manuscript collections, try Repositories of Primary Sources. An additional indispensable worldwide resource is WorldCat, which connects to the online catalogues of collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. Cemeteries Presently, there are records available for a number of cemeteries that existed in the 20th century, but most are not online. A list in English of all the burial societies in Israel can be found on the IGRA website, and the list in Hebrew is on the website of the Ministry of Religious Services. A partial list of the burials for Safed, Cemetery of Kibbutz En Harod Ihud, Cemetery of Kibbutz En Harod Meuhad, Cemetery of Ganne Am, Geulim Cemetery in Kefar Saba. Cemetery of Ramot HaShavim, Cemetery of Moshav Tsofit and En Tsurim Burials at Shafir Cemetery can be found on the AID site. Also searchable online are the  Petach Tikva Cemetery, the Jewish cemetery in Yafo and the Trumpeldor Cemetery in Tel Aviv founded in 1902, the Old Hevron Cemetery and part of the Mount of Olives Cemetery. Some of these websites are searchable only in Hebrew. Other possible resources are lists from Old Age Homes, if they exist and can be located. An example of this is the yahrzeit list from an old age home in Safed that was found in the street outside of a house that was being renovated. A new project in this area is the Billion Graves, which is built on volunteers photographing tombstones in Israel and around the world and cataloging them in the language of the tombstone. Photographs The Library of Congress had digitized thousands of photographs of the Holy Land in its collections and made them available online. A website which daily presents one or two of these pictures is Israel’s History – a Picture a Day. A number of archives now have websites with pictures from this period. Some of the archives are: the photo archive of Keren Kayement  http://salkkl.kkl.org.il/form/photos/ArchivePrePage , the photo archive of Yad Ben Zvi http://www.ybz.org.il/?CategoryID=159 , the photo collection of the Central Zionist Archives http://www.zionistarchives.org.il/en/collections/Pages/photograph-collections.aspx , and the photo collection of the State Archives of Israel http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov/ArchiveNavigation.aspx?ID=137 . If you are interested in a specific settlement or town, check to see if they have a website or a page on Facebook. Notes & Resources A number of the above documents are in the process of being transcribed into databases and the names of the people will be transliterated. Keep an eye open for periodical additions to the IGRA AID collection. IGRA has an online list of archives and museums in Israel, which is updated continuously. A Genealogy Advisory Service at the National Library was instituted and appointments can be arranged by telephone 074-733-6400 or email reference@nli.org.il. Such a service was also instituted at Beit Ariela in Tel Aviv and appointments can be arranged by telephone 03-691-141-5 or email ben-david_o@mail.tel-aviv.gov.il . There is a form to fill out at www.tel-aviv.gov.il/ariela on the left side. The form is in Hebrew. The Yad Ben-Zvi Institute has a number of journals published in Hebrew dealing with the History of the Jewish Nation and Eretz Israel. One of them is Pe'amim: Studies in Oriental Jewry  http://www.magnes.org/research/research-resources/peamim-studies-oriental-jewry For those of you with Sephardic and Oriental ancestors, I would suggest referring to the Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel[7] by Mathilde Tagger and Yitzhak Kerem. It surveys the important archival collections of various institutions in Israel. The Journal of Israeli History: Politics, Society, Culture   Special Issue Women’s Time New Studies from Israel Editor Hannah Naveh volume 21 Numbers 1 / 2  Spring/Autumn 2002 Frank Cass London להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי הראשון: אשה ויהדותה שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש אב תשנ"ט - יולי 1999    http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ000483586     Woman and her Judaism להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי השני: אשה ויהדותה, שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש תמוז תשס"א - יוני 2001   http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ00092   Woman and her Judaism להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי השלישי: אשה ויהדותה שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש תמוז תשס"ה   http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ001357518 להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי הרביעי 'אשה ויהדותה' שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש סיוון תשס"ה  http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ001432249  להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי החמישי: 'אשה ויהדותה', שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש תמוז תשס"ז   http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ001493575  http://www.kolech.com/show.asp?id=33385  Woman and her Judaism  http://www.kolech.com/show.asp?id=33385  להיות אשה יהודיה - כרך חמישי The many of the universities and colleges in Israel now have tracks for Gender Studies לימודי מגדר which may have courses and bibliographies with additional resources. Listed below are a few of them.   http://www.huji.ac.il/huji/info_gen_lafer.htm  מרכז לייפר ללימודי נשים ומגדר באוניברסיטה העברית  http://wgsuh.haifa.ac.il/index.php/he/  לימודי נשים ומגדר באוניברסיטת חיפה   http://humanities.tau.ac.il/gender/  התכנית ללימודי נשים ומגדר באוניברסיטת תל-אביב   http://gender.biu.ac.il/  התכנית ללימודי מגדר באוניברסיטת בר אילן לימודי מגדר במכללה האקדמית בית ברל http://beit-berl.co.il/wise/gender.php?gclid=CNWAzZWEybkCFURY3godn1kAHA [1] The Palestine Gazette is available on line at http://sesame.library.yale.edu/fedoragsearch/ameeltreeresult [2] HaIton HaRishmi will be digitalized by the National Library of Israel in the coming years and will be available at the following site http://jpress.org.il/view-hebrew.asp [3]  List of doctors, pharmacists, dentists and midwives who have been licensed in accordance with the various ordinances regulating their professions. Jerusalem : Government of Palestine, Department of Health, 1930-. [4] List of doctors, dentists, dental practitioners pharmacists, Assistant pharmacists and midwives who have been licensed to practice their professions in Palestine including a supplement of licensed veterinary surgeons.  Jerusalem 1935 [5] Shilo Margalit, Zionist Women’s Struggle for Suffrage in Mandatory Palestine 1917-1926, Keter Publishing House 2013 (The book is in Hebrew) [6] http://moreshet.raanana.muni.il/Web/Story/Defense/Women/Default.aspx [7] Tagger, Mathilde A. & Kerem, Yitzchak, Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel, Avotaynu, 2006. Author: Rose Feldman Born in Chicago, Rose has lived in Israel over 47 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Research Methods and Measurement from the School of Education at Tel-Aviv University. Rose Feldman is on twitter as jewdatagengirl, Israel Genelogy, and IGRA_Hebrew, one of the administrators of the IGRA facebook, and in charge of developing new databases for the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). She was the webmistress of the Israel Genealogical Society for nine years. She has lectured at 6 IAJGS conferences starting in 2003, at the annual seminars of the Israel Genealogical Society and their branch meetings. She has been instrumental in the building of various databases on the IGS website and participates in the Montefiore Censuses Project. Rose was also the webmistress for the 2004 International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies’ conference which took place in Jerusalem and has four Kehilalinks sites on JewishGen for Mscibow, Ruzhany & and neighboring Kossovo in Belarus, Litin and Kalinovka in the Ukraine. She has a website.[...]
דולניק – האיחוד המשפחתי בסנט פטרבורג, מאת מרים גיל

דולניק – האיחוד המשפחתי בסנט פטרבורג, מאת מרים גיל

לאחר חילופי מכתבים ותמונות, גישושי היכרות, שיחות בסקייפ, השלמת פרטים חסרים (שהיוו "חורים שחורים") זה אצל זה, כל שנותר היה להיפגש עם מירה (1944) וסרגיי (1946), בני דודי יעקב יאשה דולניק שהיה אחיו הבכור של אבי – זלמן זְיָימַה דולב דולניק ובכן, לאחר כשנה, שלושה חודשים ותשעה ימי טיול במוסקבה ובסנט-פטרסבורג הגיע היום. בערב יצאנו, אישי - יהודה ואנוכי, עם קבוצת המטיילים שלנו לצפות במופע פולקלור רוסי מרהיב, המוסיקה סוערת הרקדנים והזמרים נפלאים ואילו אני, בתוך תוכי הולך וגואה סף ההתרגשות לקראת הפגישה. הנסיעה בחזרה למלון מהווה פאוזה בין לבין. בכניסה ללובי המלון הגדול עיניי סורקות בזריזות כל פינת ישיבה. בפאתי הלובי אני מזהה קבוצת אנשים שקמה לקראתי, לפי התמונות אלה בני דודי. מן הסתם גם הם זיהו אותנו, שכן הם קמו ונגשנו אלו אל אלו בחיוכים רחבים. לחיצות הידיים מתמשכות משהו והופכות מאליהן לחיבוקים ונשיקות נרגשים. בעיני כולנו דוק דמעות. מבעד לדמעותיי אני מבחינה בחברנו לטיול המקיפים אותנו בהתרגשות, חלקם מצלמים את המפגש. אני מדברת באנגלית ושני ילדיו הצעירים של סרגיי מתרגמים סימולטאנית את דבריי ואת דברי אביהם ודודתם מירה. תחושות חום ואושר שאין לתארם מציפים אותי, אושר המלוּוה בניסיונותיי להכיל את עוצמת הרגע שאמנם מתממש. כל הסיפורים של הורינו על רוסיה, כל ילדותינו ונעורינו "בצל" מסך הברזל שהוגף על משפחותיהם ועל מידע מהן, כל געגועיו של אבי שנמסכו בתוכי משך כל חייו מתמצים ברגע הזה! והנה, אני נמצאת ברוסיה, חבוקה בזרועות משפחתי האבודה כשבליבי – ולנגד עיני דמותו של אבי מתוך האהבה ותחושת הקִרבה הרבה ששררה בינינו, סיפר לי אבא כבר מגיל צעיר את תולדות משפחתו. הוריו הקימו את משפחתם בגורודוק שליד ויטבסק. לאחר המהפכה הועברה המשפחה לעיר סטארייה-רוסה שהייתה כתובתו האחרונה של אבי ברוסיה. בסיפוריו העביר אלי את רגשות געגועיו אל משפחתו וכמיהתו להתאחד איתם. אבי לא זכה לחיות איתם מאז היותו בן 9 (אז עבר לחיות בריגה אצל דודיו - אחות אמו ובעלה. סיפור שלם בפני עצמו). בשנת 1938 עלה באופן לגאלי לארץ ישראל. ועתה, נפל בחלקי לפוגש את בני דודי ורגשותיי מעורבים. מחד אושר ממלא אותי והחיוכים מאוזן לאוזן. ומאידך, בפנים ... כאב לב בשל ההחמצה, החמצת הפגישה בין האחים יעקב וזלמן דולניק אשר חיו במקביל, כל אחד בעולמו, ללא כל יכולת תקשור ואיחוד משפחתי אליו שניהם כה כמה התיישבנו בפינה שקטה בבר, הזמנו שתייה והתחילה שיחה. בתחילה יותר מבטים. אני בוחנת את תווי פניהם, את כפות ידיהם, מחפשת קווי דמיון, מחפשת את עצמי בהם... בהמשך כל "צד" מוציא מסמכים, מכתבים, תמונות.... אחדות מהתמונות זהות. בין המסמכים שנפרשים על השולחן מבצבץ קצה גלויה בלויה שהצהיבה מרוב שנים ועליה אני זיהיתי בהתרגשות את כתב ידו של אבי! ברוסית ובעברית. בזהירות שלפתי מהמסמכים את הגלויה וראיתי את כתובת השולח בעברית, בכתב ידו המחובר והקטן: ז. דולניק, בנימינה, פלשתינה. (קיבוץ כפר בלום התחיל דרכו (כקיבוץ) בבנימינה טרם עלותו על הקרקע בעמק החולה) שכן הקשר עם משפחתו ברוסיה נשמר במכתבים וכך נודע לו כי בשנת 1937, אביו - לזאר (אלעזר) נחטף ונרצח ע"י הנ. ק. ב. ד. ואמו מירה ואחיו הצעיר אליה הוגלו מסטארייה-רוסה לישוב מרוחק  - MEZEN בשיחותינו בהמשך, למדנו שדודי יאשה(יעקב) ואשתו נינה (הנוצרייה) למדו יחד בטכניון ורכשו את המקצוע טופוגרף. היו מומחים בתחומם. יאשה שהיה פקיד ממשלתי בכיר, ניהל משלחת ממשלתית (שבה השתתפה גם נינה אשתו) לצפון רוסיה לחבלי ארץ בתולה שטרם נחקרה באזור מפרץ מֶזֶן בתקופות הקיץ היו "בשטח". משימת המשלחת הייתה למפות את חבל הארץ הנידחת, לחקור את הטבע, את אוצרות הטבע, מזג אויר וכד'. בתקופות החורף היו בישוב הקבע הצפוני קוֹטלס במחוז ארכנגלסק מקום בו פענחו, סיכמו והעלו על הכתב את כל הממצאים. כאשר ההורים נעדרו לתקופות עבודה ארוכות, גידלה הסבתא הנוצרייה בביתה את מירה וסרגי הקטנים בעזרת בני משפחתה וכמובן ברוח הנצרות. לכתובת זו הגיעו דברי הדואר של יעקב ונינה. גם מכתביו של אבי מארץ ישראל הגיעו אל בית הסבתא. מאחר והמשפחה כבר נפגעה ע"י השלטון הקומוניסטי והטרור הסטליניסטי, כדי להגן על בני משפחתה השמידה הסבתא מכתבים, מסמכים ותמונות שקשרו את יאשה חתנה ליהדות בכלל, ולארץ ישראל בפרט. בית הסבתא היה מחוץ ובמרחק מה מלנינגרד ולא נכבש ע"י הנאצים. כך ניצלו ושרדו במשך הזמן עלה בידו של הבן יאשה להביא ללנינגרד את אמו-מירה ואחיו הצעיר-אָליה (אהרון). בתקופת מלחמת העולם השנייה היו יאשה ונינה בצפון הרחוק ואילו מירה ואליה נותרו מאחור בלנינגרד. כמו שאר התושבים שנותרו בעיר הנצורה סבלו אף הם נוראות ממחסור, מרעב, מהפצצות, קור וכד'. מתוך ההתכתבות עם בנה בצפון (מצורף מכתב אחד בהמשך) ניתן לעקוב כיצד מירה ואליה החלו מוכרים כל דבר שרק ניתן תמורת מזון וחימום. עד שנותרו ביחד במיטה (כדי להתחמם) עם מעיל ושמיכה אחת לשניהם, ללא חימום, ללא מזון ללא מים זורמים, הם כותבים על עצמם בתיעוד מצמרר כיצד כוחותיהם הולכים ותשים. אליה מת ראשון בפברואר 1942. חודש אחריו מתה מירה. היה זה אחד החורפים הקרים ביותר בתולדות רוסיה. את המכתב האחרון כתבה השכנה.... בשובנו ארצה, קראנו את הטרילוגיה מאת פאולינה סיימונס - פרש הברונזה, - טטיאנה ואלכסנדר, - גן הקיץ. (מומלצים ביותר! ) הכרך הראשון - פרש הברונזה, רצוף קטעים שלמים המתארים את ימי המצור הנוראיים, והם כאילו נכתבו לפי מכתביה של סבתי, שאמנם הייתה אחת מהמיליונים, אבל היא ואליה הם הכאב הפרטי שלנו כל הנ"ל נכתב כהקדמה ליום המחרת בו עלינו לקברות מירה(סבתנו), אליה(אהרון - דודנו הצעיר) ויאשה(יעקב -אביהם ודודי הבכור). הגענו אל מתחם בית הקברות הענקי של קורבנות המצור. כמותו פזורים ברחבי העיר עוד כ- 6-7. רק במתחם זה קבורים מעל 400 אלף בני אדם(!) בקברות האחים. בכניסה ניצב ביתן-ארכיון שבו לכל נפטר תיעוד מדויק וניתן לאתר במחשב את חלקת קבר האחים "הפרטי" של המבקר מצ"ב תיעוד אתרי הקבורה של מירה ואליה תרגום מהספר, לנינגרד בלוקדה 1941-1944 המצור על לנינגרד  א. דולניק ארון לזרוביץ', תאריך לידה 1920, גרה בזמנו ברחוב 2 דירה 52 נפטרה במרץ 1942ת קבורה בבית הקברות פיסקרסקוא בקבר מס 8  ב.דולניק מירה אהרונוב שנת לידה ג1884 רה בזמנו ברחוב 2 דירה 52 נפטרה במרץ 1942ת קבורה בבית הקברות פיסקרסקוא בקבר מס 6 אתר הקבורה " פיסקריובסקוא" נפרש ע"פ שטח נרחב למדיי, עצום. הכל מגונן ומטופח ונקי. המימדים כל כך גדולים, ממש בלתי נתפסים, שאנו הרגשנו "כחגבים היינו...". כל קבר נראה כערוגת ענקים! מידותיו הן לערך: רוחב: כ- 10 מ'; גובה: כ- 0.80 ס"מ ; אורך: בין 50 מ' ועד כ- 200 מ' ויותר . בכל חלקת קבר קבורים אנשים שנפטרו באותו חודש. לא פעם ראינו כמה חלקות קבר עם ציון אותו חודש. כולן מכוסות דשא ירוק. בחזית כל חלקת קבר גוש בטון מסוגנן עם סמל המגל והפטיש, חודש ושנת מות הקבורים. על דופן ימין מופיע המספר הסידורי. מימין חלקות הקבר "הקצרות", בסופן מאחורי שביל ושדרת העצים חלקות הקבר "הארוכות". ברקע במרכז פסלה הענקי של "אמא רוסיה מבכה את בנייה" מצמרר לדעת שמדובר במאות אלפי בני אדם וּשניים ממאות אלפי הפרטים הטמונים כאן היו אמו ואחיו של אבי, משאת געגועיו. התרגשות מציפה אותי ועדיין קשה לי להאמין שאני אכן פוקדת את קברותיהם אנו פוסעים בשביל המוביל אל החלקות הגדולות, מירה ואני פוסעות וזרועותינו חבוקות יחדיו, ללא שפה משותפת מגע הגוף והעיניים מדברים ללא מילים. והנה הגענו אל הקבר של סבתנו המשותפת. סרגיי מוודא שאכן זה המקום, והם מפזרים ציפורנים אדומות על לוח הזיכרון בקדמת סוללת העפר הירוקה. יהודה חובש כובעו ואומר קדיש, אני עונה אחריו אמן ומאחרינו עומדים במרחק כמה פסיעות בני דודי ומוסיפים בכוונה רבה את ה"אמן" שלהם תוך כדי שהם מצטלבים בקידה עמוקה ממותניהם ומטה עם מחצית גופם המתוח. אחר אני מוציאה מתיקי אבן ושקית העפר שהבאתי מגינת ביתי ומפזרת על פני שולי "ערוגת הענק", מניחה את האבן על לוח המצבה. ואנו - שלושת נכדיה של מירה - מירה, סרגיי ומרים נצמדים יחדיו חבוקים ובוכים. אין צורך במילים. חשתי דחף וצורך פנימי לגשת לבדי אל "ערוגת הענקים" בה נחה סבתי. בבכי כבוש, דמעותיי זולגות, ספרתי לה שבאתי אליה, שסוף סוף נפגשנו, כך או אחרת... וגם עם אבא דיברתי, סיפרתי גם לו... אלכס-המתורגמן-שלנו, בנו של סרגיי, נמצא לידינו. ה"ילד" (27) המתוק הזה מוחה דמעות אף הוא. יחד אנו פוסעים אט אט אל אחד מקברי ההמונים הבא, שם טמון דודנו אליה הצעיר לנצח שהיה כבן 22 במותו ומקיימים שוב אותו טקס עצמו. מסרתי את השקיות הקטנות למירה למשמרת תוך הסבר על מנהגיי האבלות היהודים. בהמשך טיילנו במתחם הענק שבו שורות שורות של קברי המונים נפרשות ככל שמרחיקה העין לראות. באחת מפינות המתחם נחפר אגם מלאכותי ובתוכו אי קטן גדוש כולו עצים גדולים המשתפלים אל המים כמקוננים. סביב האגם. שביל הליכה, ספסלים. גינות קטנות של פרחים וירק - מקום מרגוע למבקרים. הרושם הוא אדיר וממחיש את גודל הטרגדיה והקורבן משם נסענו לבית קברות אחר, לפקוד את קברו של יעקב-יאשה דולניק אחיו הבכור של אבי ואביהם של מירה וסרגיי. כאן מדובר בבית קברות אזרחי וגם צבאי (גמלאי הצבא). הקיץ בעיצומו. כל בית הקברות שופע פרחים וצמחייה תרבותית ופראית אך גם....הרבה פרחים מלאכותיים. הגענו אל הקבר. גם כאן קיימנו טקס קצר. מירה וסרגיי הפנו תשומת ליבנו והדגישו בפנינו חזור והדגש ש"אין צלב" על קבר אביהם (שהיה 100% יהודי). לנו היה הדבר מובן מאליו, קיוויתי שגם להם. על מצבתו של יאשה מוטבעת תמונתו וכן דרגותיו הצבאיות ואותות הכבוד שקיבל. סיפרתי להם על המנהג היהודי לציין על מצבת הנפטר, לרגלי המצבה, את שמות קרוביו מדרגה ראשונה שמקום קבורתם לא נודע. סיפרתי להם שעל קברות הורי הוספתי את שמות ופרטי יקיריהם שנספו. בני דודי מאד התרשמו מהמנהג ואמרו שכך יעשו גם על מצבת אביהם מירה הזמינה את כולנו לסעוד צהריים על שולחנה. בהתקרבנו לשכונת מגוריה, ערכה בירור קצר איזה סוג בשר אנו מזמינם. "לא חזיר" הדגישה והלכה לקניות ואנו הלכנו אל ביתה שבאחד מבתי הדירות שבסמוך. הבניין הגבוה ישן מאד. שביל הגישה ומשטח הכניסה אכולים ומתפוררים. נכנסנו למבואה. המקום צבוע בצבע שמן ירוק עז וניכר שנצבע כבר בכמה שכבות במשך השנים... מדפים עמוסי עציצים במיכלים מזדמנים. הכל נקי ומטופח ונראה ...נורא. הובלנו לאחת מהכניסות הרבות שהיו באותה מבואה. נכנסנו פנימה וניצבנו בפני קיר גבוה שבמרכזו היה חריץ בצורת האות "ח". סרגיי נעץ מפתח באיזה חור. חתיכת קיר סבה על ציריה ונגלתה דלת כניסה מסוגננת מעץ. מסתבר שמאחר וזו קומת הקרקע, השלטונות ממגנים את הדירות, כולל סורגים חזקים על כל החלונות.... חלצנו נעליים כנהוג ברוסיה ונכנסו לדירה קטנטנה (3 חדרים). משהו כמו דירה קיבוצית של פעם. המטבח הקטן שכולל גם פינת האוכל מאובזר במיקסר, תנור, מיקרו. חדר שירותים אחד ובנפרד מחדר האמבטיה. סלון בינוני ושני חדרי שינה. כל הדירה מתוחזקת היטב בידיי בעלה עם ידי הזהב של מירה. הדירה חמימה ובסיסית ביותר. כאן גידלו את בתם ובנם. שניהם נחמדים ולבביים מאד, כבר פנסיונרים. בהמשך למדנו שנוהגים לקנות בדיוק את שצריך לבישול ארוחה. הוגש לנו מרק טעים מאוד עם כדורי בשר עוף קטנטנים, אותם חילקו לפי הכבוד ולנו נתנו מלוא הצלחת. העברתי את רובם לסרגיי שקיבל רק 2... כמנה עיקרית הוגשה צלחת עם חתיכונת עוף וכוסמת. על השולחן הונחו 2 צלוחיות עם עגבניות פרוסות ועלי חסה רעננים "מהדצ'ה שלנו" התגאו. כמנה אחרונה הוגש תה צמחים ונפתחה חבילת עוגיות מקמח מלא וללא סוכר, שנרכשה לכבוד יהודה... לאחר מכן עברנו לסלון ופתחנו אלבומים. התפעלנו מהדמיון ביני ובין מירה כילדות. מי - היא - מי ? למחרת אספו אותנו סרגיי ונינה – צעירת ילדיו (27) ונסענו לבקר במפעל המשפחתי "מרלן" - מפעל השמלות שלהם שבו עובדת כל המשפחה. הייתי מופתעת. המשפחה אכן ממשיכה בעסקי הביגוד מהם התפרנסה משפחות דולניק בשנים שעברו, ו"בגדול". המפעל היה עמוס ודחוס במכונות רבות הקשורות בתפירה, גלילי בדים וסחורה ארוזה בניילון על קולבים, מוכנה לשיווק. המקום שוקק פעילות ויצירה. יש להם 3 חנויות מפעל ברחבי העיר. התרשמנו מאד. משם נסענו לביתו של סרגיי לסרגיי וולנטינה 4 ילדים. יש להם דירה בת 5 חדרים! עוד מימי חרושצ'וב, אז קיבלה משפחה שנולד לה ילד 3 ו- 4 דירה גדולה. מרבית בני המשפחה עדין חיים באותה דירה. יוליה הבכורה חייה עם בנה בקנדה. לבת השנייה אלנה הנשואה (37) עם 2 בנות קטנות, יש בית פרטי בפרברים. מאחר והיא מנהלת את 3 החנויות ואת שרות הלקוחות. לעיתים קרובות עליה להישאר בעיר, לפי כך ההורים הקצו להם את הסלון, החדר הגדול שבבית ואחד מחדרי השינה הפך לסלון. אלכס (29) ונינה (27) חיים עם ההורים בדירתם בצניעות הבולטת לעין. גם פה הוזמנו לארוחת צהריים והתפריט היה כמעט זהה. מנות קטנות בדיוק לפי כמות הסועדים. נראה לי שאפשר לבטל את הקומוניזם ברוסיה אבל אי אפשר להוציא את השפעת הקומוניזם מהאנשים גם עוד כמה דורות במעלה הדרך... לאחר הארוחה הוצאו מסמכים, תמונות, תעודות מכתבים. כאב לקרוא את המכתבים מסבתא שלנו. בכל מכתב ציינה את התקווה ואת השמועות שהנה ממש בקרוב הכל ייגמר, אך גם כתבה על עצמם, כיצד הם הולכים ונגמרים. הלב נקרע ובכינו. למחרת הגיעו כולם למלון כדי להיפרד. נפרדנו ללא שפה. בחיבוקים ארוכים ונשיקות רוסיות על השפתיים, היה ממש קשה להתנתק. סרגיי הסיע אותנו לשדה התעופה וליווה אותנו פנימה עד שנאלצנו להיפרד ובן דודי המאופק חיבק אותי חזק חזק ונשק לי על שפתיי 3 פעמים בהמשך לביקורים בבתי הקברות: אליה היה בן 22 שנים במותו. סטודנט מוכשר ובחור חמד. יום יום הלך "לעבוד" בבית החרושת, כי מנת הלחם "המוגדלת" שקיבל שם וצלוחית המרק הדליל היוו את מזונו לאותו יום ומהם הפריש גם לאמו. יום יום הלך לעמוד בתור לקבלת מנת הלחם של אמו תמורת תלושים, ואולי איזו תוספת שמדיי פעם סופקה. הלך בשארית כוחותיו למרות חולשתו והדיזנטריה בה לקה. וכך, חולה ומיובש הועבר מבית החרושת לבית החולים ובו נפטר. לפני אמו הסתלק לעולמו והשאירה אחריו לשתות את כוס יגונה עד תומו, שהריי התייתמה מאמה בגיל רך, לאחר מכן מת תינוקה והוא בן פחות משנה. בהמשך נאלצה להיפרד מבנה (הוא אבי) בהיותו בן 9 ויותר לא נפגשו לעולם, הקשר ביניהם התנהל רק במכתבים (הנמצאים ברשותי והם קורעי לב). מספר שנים לאחר מכן לקתה בסרטן השד והשד הוסר. לאחר עוד כמה שנים נחטף בעלה מביתם באישון לילה בידיי סוכניי N.K.V.D.- ונעלם. ואילו היא ובנה הצעיר הוגלו לעיר מרוחקת, עד שבנה הבכור הצליח להביאם ללנינגראד. בסופו של דבר בשיא המצור מת בנה הצעיר חודש לפניה... מירה נותרה לבדה. משקפיי הראיה שלה אבדו ובלעדיהם הייתה כמעט עיוורת. העיוורון, החולשה והקור ריתקו אותה למיטה. לא היה מי שיביא לה את קצבת הלחם היומית. גורלה נחרץ והיא בת 58מכתב מסבתי מירה דולניק מ- 23 בפברואר 1942. מסנט פטרסבורג בשיא המצור, אותו הכתיבה לשכנתה. השכנה משלבת את דבריה במכתב: (בסוף המכתב ניסתה סבתי לכתוב משהו אפשר לזהות "מאמא"...) וזה לשון המכתב יאשה! לנינגראד 23/2/1942 אמא עכשיו קיבלה מכם מכתב מכיוון שלא יכולה לכתוב בעצמה, בקשה ממני. כותבת פנייה. יאשינקה, מה כבר אפשר לכתוב. כל מה שידוע לכם זה רק חלקי... אי אפשר לתאר. חושבת שהקשה ביותר כבר אחרינו. אליה עכשיו בבית חולים, הוא מאד רַזה ובנוסף משלשל. המצב שלו מאד קשה. אמא גם היא במצב לא כל כך טוב. לא חסה על הדברים, החליפה הכל עבור אוכל. נשאר רק מעיל חורף שבהזדמנות הראשונה גם הוא יימכר. ככה, כמו שאתם רואים מסרנו הכל למען השאר בחיים. אמא מהלכת, כמו שאתם רואים אפילו הגיעה עד אלינו אבל לא יכולה לכתוב כי אין לה את המשקפיים כמובן שלי מאד לא נעים לכתוב לכם דברים כאלה, מכתב כל כך קשה. אבל האמת הכי מרה עדיפה על שקר מתוק. מקווה שבפעם הבאה אוכל להודיע על חדשות יותר משמחות. בדרישת שלום, פנייה (בסוף המכתב כותבת מירה ביד חלושה ורועדת וללא המשקפיים) : לבן היקר ישינקה, חבל שאי אפשר להתראות איתכם........(השאר לא מובן) mama   בשנת 2005 הגיעו לידיי המסמכים הבאים: Всего записей: 135022. Удовлетворяют запросу: 3. Статистика слов: Показываем с 1 по 3 Дольник Лазарь Самуилович, 1885 г. р., уроженец г. Витебск, еврей, беспартийный, закройщик артели Промодежда, проживал: г. Старая Русса Лен. обл. Арестован 3 октября 1937 г. Особой тройкой УНКВД ЛО 15 ноября 1937 г. приговорен по ст. ст. 58-10-11 УК РСФСР к высшей мере наказания. Расстрелян в г. Ленинград 19 ноября 1937 г. Дольник Лазарь Самуилович, 1885 г. р., урож. г. Витебск, еврей, беспартийный, закройщик Промодежды, проживал в г. Старая Русса. Расстрелян 19 ноября 1937 г. в Ленинграде. (НовгКП: т. 1, с. 281; Старорусский р-н Новгородской обл.) Дольник Мира Ароновна, 1884 г. р., урож. г. Невель, еврейка, малограмотная, беспартийная, официантка, проживала в г. Старая Русса. Выслана 2 октября 1938 г. с сыном в Валдайский район как жена репрессированного. (НовгКП: т. 8, с. 226; Старорусский р-н Новгородской обл.) Фамилия להלן התרגום לעברית של הנ"ל דולניק לזאר סמואלוביץ נולד בשנת 1885 בעיר וִיטֵבְּסק ( במזרח רוסיה הלבנה ), יהודי, אינו חבר בשום מפלגה, גזרן בחברת "פרומאדז'דה"  חברה לייצור בגדים גר בעיר סְטָארָאיָיה רוּסָה שבמחוז לנינגרד נאסר בתאריך 3 באוקטובר 1937 על ידי יחידה מיוחדת ( טרויקה ) של ה-"אֵן קָה וֵה דֵה" ממחוז לנינגרד ( УНКВД-ЛО ) בתאריך 15 בנובמבר 1937 נשפט ונידון על פי סעיף ( УК РСФСР 58-10-11 ) בחוק הפלילי באשמת חתירה נגד המהפכה ונשפט לעונש חמור. הוצא להורג בירייה בעיר לנינגרד בתאריך 19 לנובמבר 1937 דולניק מירה ארונובנה נולדה בשנת 1884 בעיר נֵבֵל, יהודיה, אנאלפביתית, אינה חברה בשום מפלגה, מלצרית, גרה בעיר סטאראייה רוסה , הוגלתה בתאריך 2 באוקטובר 1937 ביחד עם הבן שלה למחוז ווֹאָלָאדֵיְיסְקִי כאשת עבריין הערות שלי בהתייחס לנ"ל • כל סיבה שעולה על הדעת יכולה הייתה להיות "סיבה מוצדקת" להוצאה להורג באשמת בגידה לפי סעיף 58 • מירה הציגה עצמה כ"אנאלפאביתית" בכוונה, למעשה למדה באוניברסיטה בפינלנד את מקצוע הסייעות לרופא שיניים • "יהודייה", "אינה חברה בשום מפלגה", "אשת עבריין" – 3 סיבות "המצדיקות" את הגלייתה עם הבן הקטין כיצד מצאתי את בני הדוד שלי מאז מותו של אבי (1993) לא עזבה אותי התחושה שיש לנו משפחה ברוסיה. לאחר 1968 נודע לאבי בדרך עלומה ועקיפה שאחיו יאשה-יעקב ומשפחתו לא נספו. אבי ניסה ליצור קשר עם אחיו אך האח כתב לו (ברמזים כמובן ולא בשפה מפורשת) שהם פוחדים ולהיות יהודים בגלוי והקשר עם ישראל יכול להזיק למשפחה. בלית ברירה נטש אבי את הקשר עוד לפני שנוצר. לפני מותו (1993) דיבר איתי אבי רבות על הניתוק ממשפחתו וכמה צער וכאב ליוו אותו כל ימיו לא ידעתי איך ניתן "למצוא מחט בערימה של שחת". לא ידעתי אם ישנה משפחה בכלל ואם כן, היכן המשפחה מתגוררת. האינטרנט "מדבר" באנגלית בעיקר ורוסית אינני יודעת. כך חלפו השנים עד שבשלהי 2010 החלטתי שאני אמצא את משפחת דודי ברוסיה ויהי מה. אלא שהחלטה לחוד וביצוע לחוד וכמעט בלתי אפשרי. בין שאר האפשרויות פניתי לעצתם ועזרתם של מיטייה וברוניה דוברנקו, מיטייה הוא בן דודי מדרגה שלישית מצד אמו (הסבים שלנו היו אחים) שעלה לארץ עם משפחתו בתחילת שנות השבעים ואז התברר לנו שיש למיטייה קרובה בשם סופייה (מצד אחר של משפחתו) שגרה בסאטרייה רוסה. ליותר מזה לא הייתי צריכה. מילת "החיבור" סטארייה רוסה הפיחה רוח גבית במפרשיי. ניסחתי מכתב, המצ"ב. ברוניה תרגמה אותו לרוסית. ביקשתי מסופייה שתפרסמו בעיתון הראשי של סטארייה רוסה בצירוף 2 תמונות. והיה ויתקשר משהו, יהיה עליו לענות על 2 שאלות מזהות שסופייה אמורה להציג לו. העניין יצא לדרך החלו להתקשר לסופיה כל מיני דולניקים. איש מהם לא היה קרוב משפחתי. גם מהעיתון התקשרו, הם ראו במכתב משהו דרמתי ורצו להמשיך לדווח לקוראיהם בשלב מסוים ראתה סופייה שהנושא נכנס לבוי סתום. אז נזכרה כי אי פעם כאשר התפרקה ברית המועצות, ותוהו ובוהו שררו ברחבי ברית המועצות, היא קנתה מרוכל בתחנת רכבת קובץ דיסקים פיראטיים של ספריי טלפון של ערים שונות ברוסיה. כעת חיפשה את הדיסקים, מצאה, והחליטה להעלות על המחשב קודם כל את סנט פטרסבורג. היא זיהתה "רק" 20 משפחות דולניק והחלה להתקשר. הטלפון הרביעי היה "בינגו" אנו הדולניקים בני הדוד. ילדיהם של זלמן ויעקב דולניק, התחלנו להתכתב. נקשרו הקשרים החמים, לאחר כמה חודשים כאשר הייתי בטוחה "שהם זה הם" בישרתי להם על כוונתנו לבקרם בקרוב. בקיץ 2013 ביקרנו את הדולניקים בסט פטרסבורג ולפני כחצי שנה ארחנו לשבוע את הדולניקים בביתנו בישראל המכתב שפורסם בעיתון ראשי בעיר סטראייה רוסה, רוסיה שלום רב שמי - מרים (דולניק/דולב) גיל (1946), חיה בישראל . שם אחי - ישראל (דולניק) דולב (1950), חי בקנדה. אנו מחפשים את קרוביי משפחתנו ברוסיה שם אבי המנוח היה זלמן דולניק/דולב. הוא נולד בשנת 1917 בעיר גורודוק. אבי נפטר לפני שנים. לאחרונה העברנו את אמנו הזקנה (95) לבית אבות וכאשר פינינו את דירתה, מצאנו מסמכים ודברים אישיים של אבינו המנוח, הנוגעים לאחיו יעקב (יאשה) דולניק. אנו רוצים מאד לאתר את צאצאיו או מי מבני משפחתו. ראשית, כדי ליצור קשר וגם כדי להעביר לידיו פריטים אלה. אציין כאן פרטים מזהים על משפחת אבי בתקווה שאולי יהיו מוכרים לך סבי - היה לאזר דולניק . 1937-1885 . נולד בויטבסק . משפחתו התפרנסה מחייטות. נתפס והוצא להורג ע"י הנ.ק.וו.ד. ב- 1937 סבתי - מירה (מֶרי) אהרונובנה חָרלוֹב, דולניק. נולדה בנבל – 1884. יש לנו ידיעות (לא מבוססות) כי נספתה עם בנה הצעיר במצור על לנינגרד, WW2. שמי הוא מרים/מירה, לכבודה ולזכרה. אחים של מירה: אחות - יוכה (תמונה מצורפת). שם אביהם היה – אהרון חָרלוֹב  למירה ויאשה היו 3 בנים. שלושתם נולדו בגורודוק (ליד ויטבסק). לאחר שנולדו הבנים, עברה המשפחה לעיר סטארייה רוסה ובה חיו מרבית חייהם. בכל אופן עד WW2 עד המלחמה יעקב (יאשה) דולניק, נולד בערך ב1913 זלמן (זיימה) דולניק, נולד 15 ספטמבר 1917 אהרון (אליייה) נוךד בערך 1915 במלחמה.. היה החור צעיר לאחר תיכון יעקב (יאשה) דולניק – היה נשוי לאישה נוצרייה והייתה להם בת ראשונה (להערכתי צריכה להיות היות כבת 70). מצורפת תמונה. בשנת 1937 המשפחה עדיין התגוררה בסטארייה רוסה. יאשה שירת בצבע קבע והיה לו מקצוע צבאי מאד ייחודי. נודע לאבי כי בשנת 1968 היו יעקב ומשפחתו עדיין בחיים זלמן (זיימה) דולניק – עבר לחיות בריגה בערך בשנת 1927, אצל אחות אמו יוכה אהרונובנה חרלוב פייקין ובעלה פסח פייקין. לא היו להם ילדים. בשנת 1937 הגר לארץ ישראל המלחמה השניה אהרון (אלייה) דולניק – נשאר עם אמא מירה בסנט פטרסבורג ואנו מניחים שגם הוא ניספה במצור על לנינגראד אם הנך מזהה פרטים מוכרים, אני מניחה שתוכל/י לענות על 2 שאלות שרק בני משפחה יודעים 1. מה היה מקצועו הצבאי הייחודי של יעקב (יאשה) דולניק? 2. איזה מקצוע, והיכן, למדה מירה (מֶרי) אהרונובה חרלוב (לפני נישואיה) ? לסיכום, המכתב הזה אינו תעלול או מתיחה. אנו אנשים אמיתיים המחפשים את שרידי משפחתנו שאולי נותרו בחיים לאחר WW2. אנו מאמינים שאף פעם לא מאוחר מידיי, ולא מאבדים תקווה תודה רבה לזמן שהקדשת לנו בכבוד רב מרים (דולניק) גיל אפשר לענות באנגלית או ברוסית) ואלו התשובות הנכונות ל- 2 השאלות 1. מקצועו של לזאר היה - גזרן 2. מירה למדה סייעות לרופא שיניים בפינלנד ימין לשמאל: סרגיי; מירה; נינה (בת סרגיי); מרים; יהודה; אלכס בן סרגיי   מרים כהן-גיל בת דבורה וזלמן דולב ז"ל ממייסדי קיבוץ כפר בלום, בו נולדנו וגדלנו אני ואחי ישראל דולב נשואה, אם לששה ילדים וסבתא לעשרה נכדים במקצועי – מורה לחינוך מיוחד מתעניינת ועוסקת בקורות הוריי ומשפחותיהם, אוספת, לומדת ומתעדת את פרטי משפחתי לדורותיה בעץ המשפחה הענף והמסועף שבניתי[...]
Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale, by Chanan Rapaport

Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale, by Chanan Rapaport

A major goal of the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center is to develop scientific research tools and technologies for the use of Jewish genealogists and social scientists generally. One such tool for which there has long been a compelling need, is a standard chronological system to record generations on family trees. Additionally, there has been a need for a system that permits the synchronization of generations within kinship groups and their harmonization with other family trees, whether related or unrelated, and with wider frames of reference, both historical and societal.  The "Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale", devised by the late Dr. Paul Jacobi almost half a century ago, which fully answers these various needs is thus recommended by the Institute for general use. This paper begins by addressing areas illustrating some of the problematics involved, both in enumerating the generations using the “Relative Generations” system and in identifying individuals bearing identical names within them. A. "Relative Generations" The simplest way to register generations on a family tree is to define the length of a generation as 25 or 30 years, and then to tie individuals on the tree to a recognized dating system, such as the Julian, Gregorian, Hebrew or Muslim calendars. Unfortunately, this arbitrary approach is inadequate from a number of perspectives, starting with the fact that it depends on knowledge of years of birth and death of individuals on the tree, and these facts often are unknown. As a result, family historians, in grappling with the problem, often adopt a different approach. They opt to designate generations by the number of generations known to them, generally assigning the number 1 to the earliest generation recorded on their particular tree.                 Despite the prima facie logic of this system of “relative generations,” it can lead to confusion, inconsistencies and even errors. One obvious danger may be demonstrated in the case of a family historian who fixes the third generation back (the earliest known to him) as number 1, while another researcher of the same family, who has traced the common lineage further back in time, assigns the number 1 to the fifth or even the fifteenth generation back. The resultant confusions are self- evident. However, the potential pitfalls associated with this system run deeper. To cite but two problem areas: 1.  Homonymous individuals In certain Ashkenazi Jewish traditions, it is customary to memorialize deceased relatives by calling new-born children after them. While several considerations may come into play in selecting given names, a first son is very often named after his grandfather or, if the latter is still alive, after his great grandfather.  Other children, both male and female, are named in accordance with various conventions and, in some communities, in a well-accepted (though not iron-cast) order. These customs lead to regular, consistent naming patterns, usually repeating themselves in every third generation and often throughout parallel branches within the same family. Since family historians frequently use naming patterns as a guiding light to fix generations in time and to determine the relationships between individuals, the recurrence of people with the same given name – known as “homonymous individuals” - in a single family lends itself to misidentification and outright mistakes. The problem may be compounded when the same naming pattern is found in another, unrelated family that bears the same surname, sometimes in the same community. Among Sephardim, especially Ladino-(Judeo-Spanish) speaking Jews, it has been, and to an extent it still is, the custom to name a child in honor of maternal and paternal grandparents, even while they are still alive. Again, the same names may appear many times within a single timeframe, and not in clearly defined generations, thereby increasing the risk of errors in identity. 2. Married names In Jewish usage, women tend to be recorded as “so-and-so” the daughter of “so-and-so” [her father], wife of “so-and-so.”  Although in some cases this form of appellation may help identification, it frequently leads to confusion, given the multiplicity of the same masculine name in repeated generations within a given family. The problem is compounded by the propensity for cousins to marry cousins in certain Jewish societies. These factors complicate and hinder comparisons between independently produced family trees, especially where the "relative-generations" system is used for recording purposes. Harmonizing such trees and reconciling inconsistencies between them is far from easy, while the establishment of complex family relationships becomes all the more difficult the longer the lineages. Errors are hard to spot and "skipped generations" may be overlooked, with all the attendant genealogical blunders likely to arise therefrom. In brief, the "relative generations" system can become an obstacle to serious genealogical research. Attempts to synchronize the arbitrarily numbered generations with a standard time-line may not lead to accurate correlations. Hence, the historical background and cultural context surrounding an individual may be skewed and marred by anachronisms or the opposite (“prochronisms”). Equally, the influences on his behavior and life choices, his educational and occupational opportunities, residential possibilities, communal affiliations and societal networks, and migrational decisions, to mention but a few aspects of life relevant to the genealogist, may be improperly understood and even totally misinterpreted. B. "Absolute Generations" Aware of these difficulties, the late Dr. Paul Jacobi (1911-1997) developed an alternative system for registering generations, now known as the Jacobi “Absolute Generations Scale (JAGS). In this system, genealogists employ an absolute time line  that is stable, recognized and linked directly to the years as enumerated in the accepted system in use in the Western world today (“BC” and “AD”, or, for Jews and some others, “BCE” and “CE”).                 On the basis of his extensive genealogical knowledge and experience, Jacobi determined the average span of a single generation as 75 years, with each successive generation set to follow the previous one at intervals of 30 years. Thus, on the basis of the Common Era dating system: •“Generation 1” is fixed as 2040–1965 (a period of 75 years). •Working backwards, “Generation 2” begins 30 years earlier and covers the period 2010-–1935. •Successive generations are counted retrogressively every 30 years prior to 2010. With the designation of the current generation as “Generation 0,” Jacobi’s absolute generational scale for the last 900 years is as follows: Jacobi consciously drew his scale back to “Generation 32” (1035-1110) which corresponds with the life of the great Jewish biblical and Talmudic commentator, Rashi (1040-1105).                 Theoretically, Jacobi’s scale could be extended back to the dawn of recorded history, or indeed of history itself, but Jacobi preferred not to be drawn into unnecessary theoretical discussions over when history began and, according to whose historical tradition. As a practical matter, he regarded it as sufficient to use the scale as it is, since scientific Jewish genealogy scarcely pre-dates Rashi.* An individual, who lived the larger part of his life within the time-frame of a given generation, is designated as belonging to that generation. Thus, the outstanding Jewish scholars Samuel Eliezer ben Judah Halevi Edels (1555-1631) [the “Maharsha”] and Maimonides (1135-1204) [the “Rambam”] belong to generations 15 and 29, respectively.  Within each absolute generation, the scale allows for flexibility. On occasion, it is necessary—and possible—to split a generation or to skip one. For example: A man lived from 1725 to 1755 and had a son who lived from 1744 to 1790. Both belong to Generation 9. For the sake of clarity, however, the father should be assigned to Generation 9b and the son to Generation 9a. A woman lived from 1775 to 1830 and had a daughter who lived from 1815 to 1890. The mother belongs to Generation 8, but the daughter to Generation 6—hence the need to skip a generation in this case. When the need eventually arises, the scale can be extended forward in time by adding Generation–1 (2100–2025), Generation–2 (2130–2055), and so on. Conclusions                 Several advantages arise from adopting the Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale (JAGS).   First and foremost, the JAGS offers a standard chronological system to record generations on family trees and to synchronize them within kinship groups. Every individual on a specific family tree—and on parallel trees drawn up independently–can be assigned to an absolute generation. An individual’s generational position is identical on all trees, thereby providing positive identification when trees are compared, merged or interchanged. The JAGS minimizes the possibility of misidentification and of coalescing discrete individuals bearing the same given name and patronym. The JAGS readily illustrates anomalies, requiring further investigation, such as a married woman whose father was born in generation 12, but whose supposed husband was born 100 years earlier, in generation 15. It sometimes suggests solutions to these anomalies because facility in using JAGS leads to an ability to place an individual in his correct generation, even in the absence of precise dates of birth and death for the individual concerned. The JAGS indicates the precise time-frame in which a person lived the majority of his life and thereby places him in the correct historical context, even when some vital genealogical information is lacking. Assignment of an absolute generation to all family members reveals who an individual’s contemporaries were, both within his own family and beyond.  The JAGS permits the reconstruction of generational relationships even when full genealogical information is missing. For instance, if an individual can be located in generation 26, one may reasonably assume that his father belonged to generation 27, his children to generation 25 and his grandchildren to generation 24. The subsequent discovery of a critical piece of vital statistical information almost invariably substantiates these assumptions, proving the reliability and value of the scale. Finally, use of Jacobi's Absolute Generations Scale points the way to the creation of a common terminology and chronology between genealogists and researchers from other scientific disciplines, as well as scholars from diverse cultures, speaking different languages. In the light of these advantages, the Genealogical Institute highly recommends that Jacobi’s scale be adopted as widely as possible. Dr. Neville Lamdan, the Director of the Institute, contributed to this article. A) For those seeking greater historical depth, herewith the Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale drawn from “Generation 0” to “Generation 69”, during which time (-30 – -4), according to tradition and to many Biblical Archaeologists and Historians, Jesus Christ is held to have lived. B) For those seeking greater historical depth, herewith the Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale drawn from “Generation 0” to “Generation 101”, during which time, (-1049 – -970), according to tradition and to many Biblical Archaeologists and Historians, King David is held to have lived. C) For those seeking greater historical depth, herewith the Jacobi Absolute Generations Scale drawn from “Generation 0” to “Generation 109”, during which time  (-1275 – -1250), according to tradition and to many Biblical Archaeologists and Historians, the Jewish Exodus from Egypt occurred. 1)The above paper was written for "The International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and Paul Jacobi Center IIJG http://www.iijg.org Born in 1928, Chanan Rapaport served as a commander both in the Haganah underground, before and during the War of Independence and subsequently in the IDF. He studied, after the War of Independence, at the Hebrew University. He holds a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and completed also his post-doctoral studies in psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and research, both in the U.S. He served for eighteen years (1965-1982) as General and Scientific Director of the "Szold Institute – the National Institute for Research in the Behavioral Sciences". During those years he also served two Prime Ministers, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin, as their advisor for societal problems. He was also the psychological adviser to the Minister of Education and culture and supervisor of the research conducted at that Ministry. Today he is the Director General of the "The Center for the Study of the Rapaport Family" founded in 1990. Since the death of the famous genealogist, Dr. Paul Jacobi, he serves as the executor of his scientific estate. He is a member of the Executive Board of the: "International Institute for Jewish Genealogy and the Paul Jacobi Center" at the Jewish National Library in Jerusalem. Additional information about Chanan Rapaport, can be found at the Hebrew Wikipedia, under his name. [...]
The Domiciles of my Direct Forebears, by Esther Rechtschafner

The Domiciles of my Direct Forebears, by Esther Rechtschafner

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article is an excellent example of genealogical methodology.  The author shows intellect, patience, persistence, creativity, imagination, curiosity and generosity.  She goes far beyond collecting names of family members.  She uses as her springboard the native villages of her four grandparents and investigates them thoroughly, involving mostly inhabitants who were no relation to her ancestors.  She publishes widely and solicits and responds to messages from readers. She visits many archives and repositories, interviews experts and corresponds with relevant people all over the world.  She collects and utilizes media, sharing material with public archives.  She teaches and involves children. I am dedicating this article to the memory of my good friend and mentor Dr. Martha Lev-Zion (1940-2014) זכרונה לברכה I am Esther Rechtschafner from Kibbutz Ein-Zurim. I am not a lecturer; but would like to tell you about my research. My research deals with the places that my family came from in Eastern Europe, rather than being family centered. I have written a few articles about these places. It is nice when I do find a connection to my own family; but I am not always sure that such a connection is 100% correct. The elusive connection that I am actually looking for is proof of the family story that my Father was a descendent of the Gaon of Vilna. As timegoes by, I began to realize that I may never find the link. Ever since I was a child, I was interested in family history, and enjoyed the little episodes that I heard from my maternal grandparents. Yet that was the entire length and depth of my interest. I also enjoy reading history. About 10 years ago, due to some blood test results, our family doctor questioned me about my family’s medical records. I wrote to relatives of my parents’ generation. A cousin of my father’s replied with the requested medical information. He also wrote that my paternal grandmother was born in Rezekne, which is located in southeastern Latvia. This was news to me.  For reasons later to be revealed, my father rarely spoke about his family. I decided to do a little research about this place. I used encyclopedias at first, but didn’t find enough depth of information. Then I went on to libraries and archives: the National Library in Jerusalem, Yad VaShem, the Zionist Archives, the Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People and the Archives of Latvian and Estonian Jewry.  I tried to contact every person who had donated material about Rezekne. A friend of ours, Dr. Yona Katz, suggested, that I contact Professor Dov Levin, of the Hebrew University (Contemporary Jewry department). He gave me a few more ideas on where I could possibly find information. All at once, I had a lot of information. I summarized it for myself, hoping that it might interest someone in my extended family. The summary turned out to be an article! Professor Dov Levin said that it should be published and told me where to send it.1 Somewhere along the line I also became acquainted with Ziskin Yefet, Dr. Evelin Waldstein and Dr. Martha Lev-Zion. Using online vital databases, I was able to find information about people with the same name as my family, but I am not 100% sure of the familial relationships. Possibly a few Jews remain in Rezekne today. There were about 50 elderly Jews living there in 2006. There is a Jewish community in Riga. Evelin Waldstein is very active in the development of the Jewish Museum there. One fact bothered me in connection with the history of the Jews of Rezekne: The Jews of Rezekne had bought land in Ein-Zeitim  near Safed around the turn of the last century.2 I enjoyed the fact that Rezekne citizens invested in land in Eretz Israel. However something about this troubled me: To whom did this land belong? As far as I was concerned this land belonged to the Jews of Rezekne, who had paid their good money for it. However, there were two Jews from Safed who worked this land, officially preparing it for its owners. At the time, they claimed that the land belonged to them. I couldn’t understand this, for I couldn’t believe that there could be such a problem in the history of the resettlement of our country and at the beginnings of Zionism. I was sure that then everything was ideological, straight, beautiful and wonderful. I decided that I had to check this out. I went again to the Archives of the Latvian and Estonian Jewry and to the libraries and archives in Jerusalem pursuing material. I found some very helpful material in the files of the Zionist Archives. More important though, the archivist remembered an article she had seen about Ein-Zeitim. I found this article in the Harmon Science Library on Givat Ram. I used the bibliography at the end of this article for further reference. The article paid a great deal of attention to the problem. The original plan had been that after the land was prepared, and houses were constructed, which was to take about 10 years, Jews from Rezekne would come and settle the land. A few did come. They wanted their settlement to be built according to Halacha (Jewish law). Therefore HaRav Kook and HaRav Maimon were in contact with these settlers. I contacted the library at Merkaz HaRav to try to locate this correspondence but the librarian-archivist was unable to help me. Since the two people who had worked the land wanted ownership, there was much correspondence, telegrams, and even a trial. In the end it was decided that the land belonged to the people who worked it, and did not belong to the Jews still in Rezekne. The people from Rezekne who lived in Ein-Zeitim were the owners of their land; the people who had come on Aliyah and who had lived on Ein-Zeitim but had left and lived in another part of our country, did not receive any financial compensation. Nachman Yardeni, a member of Kibbutz Kinneret, and a native of Rezekne tried very hard to try to change this matter. The day before I was to go up north to meet with him, I received a phone call from his son informing me that he had passed away. The settlement was unsuccessful. It was re-organized a few times without success. I learned that this was the case with a few settlements in this period. There is even a book called: Abandoned Settlements. I managed to locate a few people in Israel whose families had bought land in Ein-Zeitim. As happens I knew more of this story than they did. Interestingly, Ein Zeitim was previously settled in the 16 century, when it was a thriving agricultural community and a center for Jewish learning. When doing this research, I stayed over in Jerusalem in the house of a good friend of mine, Riva Pinx Lutfi, so as to be able to spend as much time as possible in the libraries and archives. Upon returning to her house, after a day’s research, I told her of my findings. She suggested that I write it up. In this way, my article about the connection between Rezekne and Ein-Zeitim came about.3 Unfortunately she passed away 9 years ago; and therefore my article "The Connection Between Rezekne and Ein-Zeitim" was dedicated to her memory. Something very interesting happened as a result of last year's IGS Conference in Beit HaTfusot. Museum DorLeDor had an exhibition there. I spoke to the representative and told her of my interest in Ein-Zeitim. She believed they had some information. I sent her the link to my article and she sent me clippings of newspaper articles concerning Ein-Zeitim. I could have gotten to these articles myself, after hearing the lecture by Martha Lev-Zion about historical Jewish Newspapers, but I didn’t. The idea simply didn’t occur to me. These articles provided additional proof of many facts written in my article. A fact that is both interesting and sad is the comparison of the lives of the settlers in Rezekne and in Eretz Yisrael: There they faced Anti-Semitism. Here they had the problem of Arab raiders. There, they couldn’t rely on the local police. Here they had reason to complain about the protection that they received from the police force of Safed and other Jewish guards. The only solution was to work the land by day and be their own watchmen at night.  I suppose this is a case of “אם אין אני לי, מי לי?” or “every man for himself”. After finishing the article on Rezekne, I felt that I had to write about Cherkassy, the place from which my maternal Grandmother came and a place about which I had heard stories.4  Cherkassy is located in the southeastern part of the Ukraine, near the Dneiper River (150   kilometer southeast of Kiev and 100 kilometer north of Odessa). I was happy when I found information that corresponded with what my Grandmother had told me such as Anti-Semitism, the pogrom of 1888, Chassidim and the growing of sunflower seeds. I learned a lot about the history of Cherkassy, the Jews of Cherkassy and the derivation of the name – CHERKASSY. I received the latter information from the director of the Cherkess Museum in Rechana.  A member of that community telephoned me for information on the history of the city Cherkassy which the director of the museum had told him he could obtain from me. He told me that the Cherkess people envy the Jews because we were able to return to our land. He said that some of them dream that they should be able to return to their ancient homeland. I found an interesting newspaper article on microfilm.  I didn’t use this information, in my article because I thought that it described an impolite action: During a community meeting, the women in Cherkassy threw etrogim, because they didn’t like what was going on politically in their kehillah-congregation. I now think that I may have made a mistake and could have put this information into my article. It seems clear to me that this was a planned action. Perhaps it was a sign of the beginning of "womens’ lib"? I remembered that in one of the books that my Mother’s Uncle, my Grandmother’s brother, the British Jewish author Louis Golding had written, he had referred to Cherkassy. I found the book, The World I Knew,5 and found the information I was looking for. While skimming through the book I found something he had written about his father. His father had also been an author, a writer of commentaries about Jewish books. After lecturing in the local Beit Midrash (Study-Hall), he would keep this material all to himself in his drawer. Louis Golding wrote that he did not want to be like his Father in this respect, that he wanted to share what he had written with others. I then decided that this was the correct thing to do a far as my articles were concerned. After World War II, the city of Cherkassy developed into a nice modern city. There is now a Jewish community there. It is obvious that these Jews are very dependent on sh’lichim (representatives) from Israel and charity from Jews from the rest of the world. The Jewish community could not exist without this aid. The community is adopted by a joint project of the communities Afikim in Israel and four New Jersey towns.6 I managed to locate a Jew who came recently from Cherkassy and who was very active in the Jewish community there. He told me about the strong desire of the Jewish community to know about Judaism. A young student from there, (who studied in the "Ofek" progam for young Russians in Ein Zurim) told me he didn’t understand what being Jewish meant until he was about 16, and met with Anti-Semitism. A Russian doctor, who I met in Kupat Cholim, can’t pronounce my name; so she calls me “Cherkassy”. I decided to write about Sveksna7, the shteeble (small town) that my Maternal Grandfather came from. It was clear from stories I had heard, that Sveksna was a very beautiful place and that the Jewish community there had been very organized, especially in education. My Grandfather and his sisters managed to pass on the love for the beauty of Sveksna to their children, grandchildren and it was passed on even to some great-grandchildren. Sveksna is located in the southwestern part of Lithuania. It is a small place, especially in comparison to the other places that I have written about. The largest population was when it had 200 Jewish families there. The majority of the inhabitants were Jews. I found a folder containing information about Sveksna in the Association of Lithuanian Jews in Israel Archives in Tel Aviv. Most of it was in Yiddish and Russian. I tried to get help with the translations but was only partially successful in this respect. I was told that this was a Lithuanian Yiddish. I knew that if my Father were alive, he would not have had a problem. The Russian was hard to decipher because of the handwriting. By way of the internet, JewishGen and other websites, I was able to locate others that expressed interest in Sveksna. I wrote emails to all of them. Therefore I received information that aided me greatly. I was happy when information that I found related to what my Grandfather had told me. For example:  the river, the gardens, the system of education for children, the Anti-Semitism, the Church and conscription. I came across the website of Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz. There were photographs there of the remains of Synagogues in past Jewish communities in Lithuania. Among them was a picture of the Synagogue in Sveksna. I contacted her by email, and was happy to receive other photographs of Sveksna from her. The more I found out about Sveksna, the more I realized that it was a small place in Jewish Lithuania. I believed that the history of the Jews of Sveksna could not stand alone; but needed to be based on the history of the Jews of Lithuania. Therefore I began my article with a synopsis of the history of the Jews of Lithuania. When JewishGen accepted my article, the condition was only to publish the part about Sveksna.8 The Jews of Sveksna, as the Jews of so many other places, suffered greatly during the Holocaust. I came to understand that only six Jews had survived the Holocaust. I tried to locate them but with no success. Then, I decided to look for information in Yad VaShem about the small work-camps in which these people had suffered in order to see who donated this material. The librarian in Yad VaShem had no idea what I wanted, but in the end, helped me find the information. I found an interview with a man from a neighboring village, who had been together with the young men of Sveksna. I telephoned him. He told me about what had happened in those camps. They had been transferred as a group from camp to camp. He told me a bit about the Sveksna survivors, and if he thought they were still alive. I also saw a film in Yad VaShem, which had a connection to Sveksna. It showed the women and children being marched to their death, to the pit which they themselves had previously dug. The film began with Nazi propaganda. There was a bit about Nazi culture. Our youngest daughter saw an advertisement for students to write about Jewish communities in Eastern Europe that were and are no more, and to thereby get scholarships to the Hebrew University. She translated my article into Hebrew and received a partial scholarship. She was honest and told them that the article was mine. After my article appeared on the web, I received many emails, letters, and/or phone calls from people who also had come from there or had relatives who came from there. Some had heard stories about it, or had visited it.  All commented on the beauty of Sveksna. We received an email from a Christian French lady. She wrote that her father–in-law, who was a Christian, had told his family that he had come to France as a soldier at the time of World War I, from a small town in Lithuania. After he died, his family went through his private belongings. He was born a Jew, in Sveksna. There were documents to prove this which she sent on to me. By information, which she sent recently, we both believe that this man was a cousin of my Grandfather’s. A man from England wrote me that he has a cousin in Rechovot, Rivka Zur, who was the daughter of one of the six survivors of Sveksna. I wrote him asking for some information about this cousin. I telephoned her. She came to visit me. She described in detail about her family and about her father. She and her husband had gone on a trip to Sveksna and she showed me the movie they had taken there. The house where her father grew up is now used as a laboratory. I showed her the pictures that I had found in the Lithuanian Archives in Tel Aviv. One was of her aunt, who was then still alive and living in Tel Aviv. She told me that she had another aunt who had come on Aliyah in about 1935, and was still alive and living in Rechovot. Afterwards her aunt Zipporah (Sandler) telephoned; I visited her a few times. Even my husband Mordechai accompanied me. She is a very interesting person. To listen to her life story is like listening to the history of our country. Her oldest son Ya’akov Sandler was formerly the mayor of Rechovot. This is an honor for the Jewish community of Sveksna - that was. I spoke to him and his wife on the telephone. They had also visited Sveksna and sent me copies of their photographs. His wife Nili commented that upon entering and touring Sveksna, everything was just as Zipporah had described it. A few years ago, at the national meeting of the Israeli Genealogical Society in Givatyim, the keynote speaker was Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz. During a recess, I approached her to introduce myself and to ask her about the list of user names that appeared on her website. She confirmed that Hanna Seiff of Sydney, Australia was the wife of Naphtali Ziv, one of the six survivors of Sveksna. She was kind enough to send me Hanna’s e-mail address. A wonderful connection has developed between us, via e-mail. I sent them copies of my articles about Sveksna. Naphtali is always willing to answer any questions that I may have. I once asked him if during the war, he thought that the war would ever end. His answer was that he knew it would end; but thought that he would not make it. He was able to decipher the Yiddish letters that I had gotten from the Sveksna file in the Lithuanian Archives in Tel Aviv. Most of the letters were written by Naphtali’s sister Liebe (who later came on Aliyah, and is buried in Herzliya). She had spent the war period in Russia. She sent the letters to her cousin Gittel who lived in Israel. She wrote of how elated she was to find out that Naftali was still alive, and asked Gittel to please tell her brother Max, who lived in South Africa, that he should not worry about her,  but rather devote all of his attention to Naftali’s welfare. This is the story of how Naftali and Liebe found each other: Liebe was still in Russia. She wrote to a cousin who lived in New York, asking her to please inform all the Jews who formerly lived in Sveksna that no one from Sveksna had survived. The cousin had this letter printed in a Jewish newspaper there and added her name and address at the end of it.  A copy of this Jewish newspaper found its way to a displaced persons camp in Germany, where a friend of Naftali’s was lying sick in the hospital. When visiting him, Naftali was shown the article and asked if his sister had written it. Naftali wrote to his cousin and through her, was then able to get in touch with his sister in Russia. A short while ago Naphtali and Hanna sent me a copy of his DVD interview about the Holocaust. They also sent something else of great importance. Naphtali had in his possession quite a few old photographs of Sveksna. He decided that I should have them and then decide what should be done with them. About three years ago I donated them to The Central Archives of The History of The Jewish People in Jerusalem. Naphtali and Hanna were very happy to receive a nice “Thank-You" note, from Hadassah Assouline, who was then the director of this Archive. About three years ago, I received an email from a Christian family in northern California. They wrote that they had seen my article about Sveksna and were sorry that they had not seen it before their trip there. They had taken a trip to visit friends who had gone to Lithuania as messengers of goodwill. While in the area, they also visited Russia, and were jailed there because of a problem with their documents. They fell in love with Sveksna because of its beauty. They decided that they would like to open up an orphanage in the hotel there. They are willing to pay the price - one million American dollars. Yet, it seems that more money comes in by the way the building is currently being used: It is being used as a brothel. They needed the name of the countess of Sveksna. I was able to get it for them by way of Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz. I tried to hint to them that they should donate this money to any place/organization in Israel, but they love Sveksna. The wife has a nice name: Holly Wood. She once studied here as an exchange student. They sent me photographs of their trip to Sveksna. They sent quite a few photographs of the beautiful church there, which was first built in the 16th century. I received a very interesting email from a Christian Englishman, who is of Lithuanian descent. He wrote that his Grandfather had come from Sveksna and had told him a great deal about it. My article had provided him with important historical information, and some information corresponded with what his Grandfather had told him. This sounded interesting. I wrote him an email, asking him if he had MSN CHAT. He contacted me in this way. I was lucky enough to succeed in transferring this conversation to a word document, thereby saving it. It became clear to me that his Grandfather had been a Nazi. I shall relate two key sentences from this CHAT: In particular there is a small valley in Sveksna which has a small stream running through it. He witnessed there the murder of a group of Jewish people; he said it was an awful sight to see, and the stream ran red. I would like to tell you though that my grandfather was in the SS. I often have wondered whether he partook in the brutal atrocities as something he could not talk about. He always told me he saw so much, but would never tell me if he did anything to any of the people. He told me about the rejection of the Jewish population before the Germans and the war came... As is now obvious, I had collected much material, particularly pictures of Sveksna. I had enough material to write another article. This article is entitled: "Pictures of Sveksna". It should appear on the web soon9. Ralph Salinger of Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin happened to see the Vitebsk website which I organized and wrote me an email about it. He also described what he has done and is now doing. In my opinion, he is a real Zaddik. I am referring to the fact that he has gone to Lithuania a few times and spends time cleaning gravestones with shaving cream;10 and lecturing in schools.  At the time, he wrote me about his then pending trip and his destination- Vilkaviskis. I looked on a map and realized that he would be very close to Sveksna. I asked him, if he would mind going into Sveksna to find out any information he could about the Jews that once lived there. Ralph was most kind and did so. He met the local historian, a man named Peter. Ralph forwarded me Peter’s address and suggested that I write him a “thank-you" note, which I did. Thus began a correspondence between Peter and myself. I learned how to translate to Lithuanian by way of the internet. Peter first made it obvious to me why he thinks the Nazis were right in doing what they did to the Jewish citizens of Sveksna and Lithuania as a whole. This is based on the economic talent and intelligence of the Jews. He sent me a copy of his pamphlet about Sveksna, which includes a bit of information about the Jews.  I sent him copies of my articles about Sveksna. He made a few comments. He was willing to answer my questions about life in Sveksna today and about the past. Sometimes his answer was “it was not documented," "we have no records”. He carried on a bit of a correspondence with Naphtali and sent me the high school records of Naphtali and his older sisters. Then he commented that Naphtali hadn't finished high school. He seemed to have conveniently forgotten where Naphtali was from 1941 onward. Peter gave my name to a politician and a Jewish tourist guide in the area. The politician, who is also a biology professor in a University there, wrote me a few emails. He asked me to join an organization to become a citizen of Europe; but I wouldn't agree to this for political reasons. The tour guide telephoned us. He had seen a copy of my article and had no further information to give me. He asked me to recommend him as a tour guide to people going on trips to this part of Lithuania. Peter wrote me that he was writing a book about the history of the town of Sveksna and wanted to use my article as information about the Jews. I discussed this matter with few people, whose opinion I value, and received negative replies. Finally I decided to let him do it, but on my terms. My thought here was that if my article could influence one Lithuanian to think more kindly of the Jewish, it would be worth it! There is a Memorial Monument in the Sveksna area. Until recently, there was an annual ceremony. It was usually organized and financed by Mr. Sam Sherron, one of the survivors, whom I located with the help of Naphtali. He lives in Pennsylvania. Up until a few years ago, he would go to Sveksna every year for the Memorial Ceremony. Now he is a sick man and for the past few years, there has been no ceremony. The year 2011 had been proclaimed as the Memorial Year for the Holocaust in Lithuania. Therefore there was a Sveksna ceremony in September. I wrote Peter to enquire about it. He said that it was good but that only a few people participated. After the war, there were no longer any Jews in Sveksna. I wrote in my article about a woman whom Jewish tourists had met in Sveksna and who claimed to be Jewish. When I wrote the article I did not know any more details. I believe that I have found out the whole story with the help of Zipporah and Peter. This is an example of Jewish identity and a Jewish Neshama-soul. Here is the summary: A baby girl was born, out of wedlock, in Sveksna, between the wars. Her mother was from Sveksna and her father was a refugee who had passed through Sveksna. The mother’s family did not want her to keep the baby because the mother would have been scorned by the Jewish community should she have done so. The Rabbi did a big mitzvah in cooperation with the Priest. The baby was given to a local farmer and his wife who did not have any children. The baby was baptized, brought up as a Catholic, and was very religious. An important factor in her upbringing and education was hatred for the Jews. Since she had all the proper papers, she had no problems during WWII. Everyone in the area knew her story, and in fact, she looked Jewish. Her black hair and black eyes testified to this. After the war, she became a Nun and a nurse and worked in the local hospital. After the Holocaust, she was given the house that had previously belonged to her Jewish grandfather and she lived there. She had many crucifixes in her home. Her biological family left Sveksna before the Holocaust. Her mother had gone to France, married, had two children but was killed in the Holocaust.  Her mother’s sister and two of her brothers had gone to Belgium and the oldest brother had come on Aliyah. After the war, the girl wanted contact with her biological family. She wanted to leave Lithuania. She met with her aunt in Latvia since her aunt couldn’t get a permit to enter Lithuania. She met with her Father. She wanted to come to Israel. She was not allowed to do so, for she was a Christian and no one would sign for her. It is not known if her Uncle was still alive then but she was unable to leave Lithuania. In the 1990’s, she evidently decided to return to her Jewish origins. She then became known as the only Jew in Sveksna. She was happy to show Jewish tourists around. Even if she did so for economic reasons, this does show a sign of love of our people! She died a few years ago and was buried in the Catholic Cemetery in Sveksna. Recently I received an email from a Catholic Irish woman. Professor Dov Levin had referred her to me, as the "Sveksna Expert". She discovered who her real father was and that he was from Sveksna. She has recently learned about Jewish history, due to this searching. Her family name does not appear on any of my lists, but they may not be complete. Currently I am unsure whether her Father was from a Sveksna family. However, the place she found listed as the place where he came from, was listed under the following names: Sweksna/Sveksna, Kovno, and Smeksna,Vexna,Veisknai. She may be referring to Veisknai, which is also known as Vexna. She now is almost finished with a book and still has the feeling that her Father was from Sveksna. I received some new information about Sveksna. Zipporah gave me information about the layout of the shtetl and her family home. I have collected maps of Jewish Sveksna. Naphtali recently sent me a very detailed map of what he remembers. I am presently in contact with the young curator of the Sveksna museum. Somehow, I feel that I have a responsibility to my grandfather and perhaps even more so to those of Sveksna who were murdered in the Holocaust, to collect as much material as I can about Sveksna. Perhaps this will provide the basis for yet another article. Now, it is time to write about Vitebsk, the home town of my Paternal Grandfather.Vitebsk was different. Vitebsk has a Memorial book, which is printed both in Hebrew and Yiddish. The book is over 400 pages long. Vitebsk is located in Eastern Belarus and was once included in the Pale of Settlement of the Russian Empire. My great-grandparents left Vitebsk in 1919, to Velikye Luke. They left after all of their children had left and when the Zionists were being badly persecuted. Their youngest son, Matityahu Gerschman, had been jailed a few times for Zionist activities. He afterwards came on Aliyah and was a judge here. The Jewish community of Vitebsk was a very cultured community. However, I think that if I would put the Jewish culture on one side of a scale and the suffering from Anti-Semitism on the other side- they would both weigh about the same. After the war, the city of Vitebsk developed into a nice modern city. The city is very proud of Marc Chagall. There is a Jewish Community in Vitebsk now. It is obvious that these Jews are very dependent on sh’lichim from Israel and charity from Jews from the rest of the world, and that the Jewish community could not exist without this aid. After this article which appeared on the web,11 I received many emails and comments about it. I received more information and pictures. A young man from Vitebsk, who is not Jewish, sent me material and asked if he could help me acquire more material. Mr. Dave Fox, who happens to have been the founder and past coordinator of the Belarus SIG (Special Interest Group), sent me photographs and picture postcards of Vitebsk, that he had received and didn’t know what to do with.  A student in the Yeshiva on Ein-Zurim, where I then worked as house-mother translated the Russian captions of these pictures for me. I located the places that were in these pictures on the map of old Vitebsk that I had found in the Vitebsk Memorial Book, and on a new map from the internet. This was good, for after a while, I felt that I knew my way around Vitebsk. This feeling was similar to the feeling that I had when I came on Aliyah and felt that I knew my way around our country. A short while afterwards two girls from Vitebsk participated in the Ofek program in Ein-Zurim, and I was able to find out more about these places, and what still exists today. One of these girls came from one of the oldest Jewish families in Vitebsk (400 years). The fact that the Nazis killed many Jews at the river bank, spoiled the joy of looking at some of these nice pictures. I wrote an article titled “Pictures of Vitebsk”.12 Someone who was impressed by my articles contacted me. I was asked to organize a Vitebsk website for JewishGen. It was explained that I had enough material in my article to do so, and that I would receive help organizing the technical side of the website. I asked for a few weeks to think it over. Since Yeshivat HaKibbutz HaDati, where I had worked as house-mother for over 22 years, was to close after Yom Kippur, 4 years ago, I knew that I would have the time. I accepted the offer. I worked hard. I wrote many emails to people who looked for information about Vitebsk on the internet. This is how I received so much information about families from Vitebsk. I was happy to put pictures of my family on the title page. Perhaps this was an expression of hope to find a relative. I still receive emails, letters and telephone calls from people who are interested in Vitebsk and the other places that I researched. I try to help them. By mere luck, I happened to be able to match two parts of the same family. After finishing the organization of the website, I realized that I had an omission. Via my research and correspondence, I learned a lot about the BUND (Algemeyner Yidisher  Arbeter Bund In Litepoyln Un Rusland Jewish Workers Union) in Vitebsk. Many people had written me that members of their families had been active in the BUND there. I understood that the few sentences that I had written about the BUND were not enough. I also knew that my Father was against the BUND, probably because of the position of the BUND regarding Zionism and religion. I made a conscious effort not to be biased and collected material. I decided that I should start the article explaining the BUND. I found a pamphlet in the educational library of Yad VaShem about the BUND in Belarus, and was allowed to copy it. Ok, very good, but I needed information about the specific subject. I contacted various offices here and abroad that appeared to be connected to the BUND and related organizations. Each one told me to try another place. Someone suggested that I try YIVO (Yidisher Visnshaftlekher Institut) Institute for Jewish Research.  Previously, I had had some contact with a librarian in YIVO, Leo Greenbaum. When another office notified me that all the files had been transferred to YIVO, I contacted him again. Yes, they had the information, but I would have to come there to be interviewed about why I needed it, and then perhaps be allowed to see it. I reminded them, that I do not live in New York. They asked if I couldn’t send a friend or a relative. I realized that this would be a bit complicated. I do still have a few relatives and friends in the New York area, but was not sure that I could actually explain and make them understand why I wanted this material. The only cousin that I have there, who actually would have had the time and patience to do so for me, is a bit of a character. I explained all of this to them. About two weeks later, I received a big envelope in the mail, containing many documents about the BUND in Vitebsk. I was delighted. I only had one small problem: about 50 documents were in Russian, and about 35 in Yiddish. I asked the leader of the OFEK program, to help me. He didn’t know what he was getting himself into. He distributed documents to all of the students, and they gave him Russian summaries. He translated and typed up all of these summaries and returned everything to me. I was lucky. I went to friends of ours in the area who knew Yiddish, and asked for their help in translation. This was not easy. Quite a few people returned the documents to me saying that this was not a Yiddish that they understood. Professor Dov Levin explained to me that the BUND had developed expressions of their own. I then needed my Father so much, for he would have been able to help me easily. After I finally got all this information, the writing of the article13 came easily. Afterwards I donated these documents to the Central Archives of The History of The Jewish People. I think it important to add here, that from the beginning, Hebrew was to be the official language of the BUND. The change to Yiddish was to make it easier for people. I understand that the BUND in Vitebsk was similar to the BUND in all other places. The members faced much Anti-Semitism and great economic problems. There was also the problem of Jew against Jew (the Jewish boss versus the Jewish worker). The BUND organization was able to ease the conditions of the Jewish worker. A friend of mine told me that her Father, a religious Jew and a Zionist, once made the following remark in connection with the need for the BUND: “Zionism was very nice, but we had to eat!” The history of the BUND is similar to the history of the Jews in Eastern Europe, and perhaps the world over. The BUND stood for changes for the good of the Jewish people. The BUND suffered a great deal, as did all the Jews of this period. I learned something very important from the writing of this article: I learned that I should study Yiddish, which I am now diligently undertaking. I was proud of myself for writing all these articles, but felt that I had left out something important my husband Mordechai’s family. After all, I am part of this family almost 47 years. The Rechtschafner Family has a very interesting story, particularly during the Holocaust. Everyone in the family knows something of the story, but no one knew the whole story. For example, our oldest daughter knew the story of how her grandmother offered a border guard her wedding ring when they were asked to pay a high sum of money to cross the border from France into Switzerland. Some parts of the story were written as school “Roots Projects”: Our youngest daughter interviewed a cousin of her grandmother’s before her first trip to Poland; one nephew interviewed his grandmother; Mordechai’s sister’s granddaughter interviewed her; three of our grandchildren wrote about their great-grandparents for their Bar/Bat Mitzvah projects; our oldest granddaughter wrote about the family before her trip to Poland this past summer. I started to write up what I myself knew and to collect material. There are many documents and pictures. Mordechai’s siblings live in Australia. His niece Debbie, who also happens to be the vice-president of the Melbourne branch of the Australian Genealogical Society, invited her mother, aunt and uncle to her house once a week to interview them. Mordechai’s brother, who is the oldest child, said he did not remember a thing. After a few weeks, the brother began to look forward to these meetings. A good part of the article is based on what he remembered. He was about six years old when the war began. This article14 was very long and heavy and it gave our computer problems. I added appendices with stories of the families of relatives with whom we are in contact. Up until a bit over two years ago, this marked the end of my written articles. There is a common thread in all of my articles. I refer here to the plight of all of these Jewish people and communities, the problems of Anti-Semitism and the desire to continue living as Jews. One day, out of the blue, I found material for a new article, not about the suffering of the Jewish people; but about my own father’s suffering. I was present at a lecture that Dr. Martha Lev-Zion gave about International Historical Newspaper Sites. I played around with these sites a bit but I didn’t find any information. Then I found the name HERSCHMAN (my maiden name). The name appeared many times in newspapers in the small town of Catskill in upstate New York, beginning from the year 1922. A good find, but very sad… I located information about how my paternal grandmother and uncle were killed in an automobile accident. The articles made it obvious that my father, who was driving and was then 18, was NOT guilty. The other car was driven by a drunk driver who was driving on the wrong side of the road. There were a few trials. The last one was about 12 years after the accident.  The last verdict was: "no verdict". I discussed this with our middle daughter, and she said that now I should let myself understand the obvious: that my father had always felt himself guilty for the deaths of his mother and brother, even if objectively, he was not guilty. I also found information about the education of my father and his brother and about my grandfather’s business. I copied these newspaper articles and wrote up a summary of what had happened.15 It was difficult because it was so sad. Having a summary of part of my father’s life, I felt that I had better write about his entire life and how he continued his life after the accident because he was not a sad person. He was very educated, both in Jewish and in secular subjects. He was often described as a "scholar". If I have to sum up my Father’s life, I would say that he loved his family, the Jewish people, the Jewish religion and perhaps most all, he loved the State of Israel. This is the only article which I translated into Hebrew. I did so for our grandchildren. Recalling that my grandmother and uncle were buried in Kingston, New York, I decided to do a bit more research on this subject and I wrote to the town municipalities and the area's Jewish communities. A Rabbi Hecht from Chabad wrote back asking for more details. My Father had been friendly with a Rabbi Hecht in Brooklyn and this Rabbi who responded turns out to be his grandson. I decided to write an article about my mother and her family.16 This was the only article that I was actually pressed to finish. Many cousins sent me information. I received wonderful help and information from Rosemary Eshel, who deals with English genealogy. Now the article is finished and has been forwarded to family members and family friends. I am happily receiving comments, corrections and additions from cousins. I learned how to use the application Dropbox because I needed to find a way to share a huge photographic supplement which was too large to send by email. Since I first wrote this article I have been continuing with my research. I hope that this summary of my research has interested you and has shown how unexpected results can be attained through such research and with a bit of luck. Notes 1. Rezekne: The History of the Jews in the City of My Roots http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Ludza/Rezekne/histories/Rezekne/History_Rezekne.html 22 pps. Rezekne website: now in preparation 2. Interestingly, this is where my husband, Mordechai, used to do his military reserve duty. 3. The Connection Between Rezekne and Ein Zeitim      http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Ludza/Rezekne/EinZaitim/EZ_enter.html  17 pps. 4. Research on Cherkassy    http://www.jewishgen.org/Ukraine/Kiev/chergassy/cherkassy_3.htm     31 pps. Cherkassy website:  http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Cherkasy/default.asp 5. Golding, Louis, The World I Knew, Viking Press, New York, 1940 6. The United Jewish Federation of Metrowest – Essex, Morris, Sussex and North Union 7. Sveksna website:  http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/sveksna/ 8. Sveksna:  Our Town   www.jewishgen.org/LITVAK/HTML/OnlineJournals/sveksna.htm 50 pps. (My original article contains a synopsis of the history of the Jews of Lithuania) 60 pps. 9. Pictures of Sveksna (appears on the Sveksna website) 26 pps. 10. Often people would spray shaving cream on tombstones and then level off the stone so that the depression of the letters showed up in photographs in bright white.  Subsequently, it was found that this process could damage the inscriptions, so this action is NOT recommended. 11. Vitebsk   http://www.jewishgen.org/Belarus/newsletter/MyVitebsk.htm 38 pps. Vitebsk website:  http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Vitsyebsk/ 12. Pictures of the Vitebsk That Was http://www.jewishgen.org/belarus/newsletter/MyVitebsk_2nd.htm   28pps. 13. The BUND in Vitebsk    http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Vitsyebsk/bund.html                       19 pps. Sharsheret HaDorot, June 2011, Volume 25 14. The Rechtschafner Family    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51079919/2006.03.04%20The%20RECHTSCHAFNER%20Family2.doc https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51079919/Photos%20Rechtschafner.pdf 95 pps. 15. The Story of Oscar Herschman and his Family https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51079919/OH1. https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51079919/Photographs%20OH2.docdoc  23pps. 16. My Mother; Nettie (Marcus) Herschman and Her Family   https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51079919/My%20Mother.doc, https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/51079919/Photographs%20Appendix%205.doc I was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Religious Zionistic family. I found my place in Bnei Akiva. I attended public schools and graduated from MarshalliahHebrewHigh School. In 1962, I participated in Hachshara Bnei Akiva. Thereafter, I attended Brooklyn College and T.I. of Yeshiva University. However, my place was not there, but here in Israel, and came on Aliya in 1964. In 1965 I married Mordechai Rechtschafner. We made our home in Kibbutz Ein Zurim. We have 3 married daughters and 11 grandchildren. I received a BA from the Open University in History and an MA from the Hebrew University in librarianship. I worked at various jobs on the kibbutz, and for 22 years as house-mother in Yeshivat HaKibbutzHaDati. Now I work as librarian /archivist. I was always interested in my family background, and I began writing articles about the places that my grandparents came from. My father (Oscar H[G]erschman) was a descendent of the Vilna Gaon.[...]
History and Geography As Crucial Factors In  Determining Where to Look for Baltic-Area Archival  Records—with Emphasis on Latvia  by Martha Lev-Zion, PhD

History and Geography As Crucial Factors In Determining Where to Look for Baltic-Area Archival Records—with Emphasis on Latvia by Martha Lev-Zion, PhD

History and Geography reprint from Avotaynu This is a reprint of the article History and Geography As Crucial Factors In  Determining Where to Look for Baltic-Area Archival  Records—with Emphasis on Latvia written by the late Martha Lev-Zion that appeared in AVOTAYNU Volume XXIX, Number 3, Fall 2013 Please follow the link above to read the entire article. Dr. Martha Lev-Zion was an historian of modern European intellectual history. She was founder and president of the Negev branch of the Israel Genealogical Society and presently serves on the founding committee of the Israel Genealogical Research Association. She was a former director on the IAJGS board of directors and past president of the international Latvia SIG. She was co-founder and serves on the steering committee of the Courland Research Group. Dr. Lev-Zion was one of three founders of the annual one day seminar for researching genealogy in Israel and until recently actively served on that committee. Dr. Lev-Zion has written extensively about the Jews of Franconia & Thüringen [Germany] and Courland [Latvia]. She also authored the book Taking Tamar http://www.avotaynu.com/books/tamar.htm Martha passed away on 11 February 2014 in her home in Ber Sheva, loved  and cherished by all.[...]
Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part Two  – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - first half, by Rose A. Feldman

Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part Two – The British Administration of Eretz Israel - first half, by Rose A. Feldman

Introduction When researching your female ancestors as you go back in time, do you hit a brick wall? This need not be. As more is discovered about their daily activities, suddenly new venues for research present themselves. This article is the first part of the second in a series that covers a variety of resources in which your female ancestors in Eretz Israel may be mentioned, and points to the type of documentation to look for. Due to the great amount of information that becomes available with the British ruling of the country and the increase in immigration, the article is divided in to two parts. It cannot be all inclusive, but hopefully it will help you think of new places to research. The most basic information sought for an ancestor would include vital data on birth, marriage and death. Frequently official records were not kept in the 19th century, and therefore this information often needs to be inferred from other documents. If a woman gave birth to a child and the age of the child’s mother is recorded, then the mother’s year of birth can be deduced.  The same might be possible with her marriage registration. But what if the two don’t match? It is therefore very important to record the exact source of each piece of information. This will allow you to assess the information and to conclude which source is the most reliable.  However, the lives of your ancestors involved many more events than just birth, marriage and death. And these events may be recorded in different types of official and unofficial documents. Did your ancestor make aliyah? Did she move from one place to another within the country? Did she receive any form of formal education? Did she earn her living? Did she volunteer in community activities? When researching your female ancestors - in any country - it is wise to start with a timeline in order to help you recognize what type of archive or collection would be the likeliest starting point. This is a smart thing to do for all genealogical research, but in this instance, it will help you to understand the official and semi-official administrations in Eretz Israel at that epoch and to focus on the location of documents. In researching in Eretz Israel, you are dealing with three different administrative powers, each with its own official language. The three eras are: Ottoman Administration (- 1917), British Administration (1917-1948), and Israeli Administration (1948- ). A separate article will be devoted to each era. Histadrut Membership The British Administration Official Registrations In the first few years the British administration relied on the Nufus, the official census of the government, which was recorded in Turkish. The Nufus can be found in the Israel State Archives http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov_eng in Jerusalem and on microfilm at the Family History Library https://familysearch.org/locations/saltlakecity-library in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. In the early settlements [moshavot] such as Petah Tikva, Zikhron Yaakov, Rishon Lezion, Nes Tsyiona, Gadera and others, records were already kept in Hebrew and can be found in their archives. Examples are the registration of births in the archives of Petah Tikva http://www.ptarchive.co.il/he/TheArchive.aspx and Zichron Yaakov http://www.zy1882.co.il/index.asp?id=1799; marriages between the years 1931-1941 in the archive of Emek Yizrael and between the years 1920-1940 in the archive of Zichron Yaakov; and registration of deaths in the archives of Petah Tikva and Zichron Yaakov. Some of these are already available in the All Israel Database [AID] http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php of the Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA] ] http://genealogy.org.il/. Others presently are being worked on. An additional source of information is the Hevra Kadisha records. Those that can be searched on-line, as of the printing of this article, are: Greater Tel-Aviv Hevra Kadisha, Haifa Hevra Kadish, Mount of Olives Cemetery, Old Hevron Cemetery, and Petah Tikva Cemetery. Eretz Israel burial databases are presently being published on-line through the JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry [JOWBR] http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/cemetery/ and IGRA websites. A new project is in its first stages where the tombstones in cemeteries are being photographed with a new “app” from My Heritage http://www.myheritage.com which will include the Global Positioning System [GPS] and the information will be available on the IGRA site, My Heritage and BillionGraves http://billiongraves.com/.   In addition some older settlements are making available online their lists of residents who died, such as Petah Tikva, and Zichron Yaakov. One might also consider the compilation of the list of Jews exiled within Palestine by the Turks during World War I, researched by Prof. Gur Alroey, as well as Yahrzeit lists from old age homes in Safed and Jerusalem located by IGRA. As of the writing of this article, the following cemeteries have been databased or are being worked on: Kibbutz En Harod Ihud, Kibbutz En Harod Meuhad, Ganne Am, Kefar Saba, Ramot HaShavim, Moshav Tsofit, En Tsurim, burials at Shafir Cemetery and Safed. Although there are no ledgers kept for the female births like the “Mohel Ledgers” of Rabbi Benyamin Kalir http://www.ptarchive.co.il/he/ArchiveItem.aspx?t=1&p=59&iid=66 and Rabbi Yitzchak Matalon http://www.ptarchive.co.il/he/ArchiveItem.aspx?t=1&p=59&iid=132 in the Oded Yarkoni Historical Archive of Petah Tikva , the ledger of Nahum Weinstein that is in the Rambam Library at Beit Ariela http://www.tel-aviv.gov.il/Tolive/Education/Pages/SpecialSections.aspx?tm=2&sm=5&side=152#p3 and others in the National Library of Israel http://web.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/Hebrew/collections/Pages/default.aspx, there are records for this period which include the names of all children born as well as of the midwife who helped the birth along. Examples of this type of record are Sefer Ledot (Registry of Births) ספר לידות, Ledgers of Births רישום לידות, Certificates and testimonies אישורים ועדויות, announcements הודעות על דבר לידה, and birth certificates תעודות לידה of Zichron Yaakov.   Names During this period many women were involved in various Socialist movements, and one can  assume that this influenced their choice of surnames. Already by the 1920’s some women kept their maiden name after their marriage and in the lists from the settlements connected with the socialist movements they appears with a double surname. It is important to understand some documents with hyphenated names may denote a name change – a combination of a former name and a new name that was chosen in Eretz Yisrael. One cannot assume that a hyphenated name is a maiden name plus a married name. There are instances where women took for their surname the format “bat בת” daughter of ….  It could be “daughter of the father” as Bat Giora  בת גיורא; Bat Yaakov בת יעקב; Bat Tvi בת צבי; Bat Shalom בת שלום; Bat Avraham  בת אברהם; Bat Shaul בת שאול; Bat Gurion בת גוריון; or it could be “daughter of the mother” such as Bat Rahel בת רחל; Bat Sara בת שרה;  Bat Hava בת חוה; or it could be a patriotic name or a religious connotation such as Bat Ami  בת עמי; Bat Israel בת ישראל; Bat El בת אל, Bat Tzion בת ציון; Bat Eli בת אלי; Bat Horin בת חורין; Bat Artzi בת ארצי; and so forth. Immigration Lists of immigrants starting from the year 1919 can be found in the State Archives http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov_eng and the Central Zionist Archives (CZA) http://www.zionistarchives.org.il/en/Pages/Default.aspx. The State Archives have made available on-line their lists from 1919-1935. The Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) is in the process of creating the following databases from a number of immigrant lists and requests for certificates for immigrants to enter the country which were found in the State Archives, Jabotinsky Institute Archives http://www.jabotinsky.org/Site/home/default.asp, the Central Zionist Archives and the National Archives UK http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/: Ruslan Passenger List Dec. 19, 1919; Third Aliyah List Dec. 1919 – Apr. 1921; HaHistadrut Hazionit Hahadasha Rescue Committee; Requests for Certificates 1943-44; Illegal Immigrants Deported to Mauritius  1944; Refugees in Mauritius 1944-45; and Swiss Aliyah Requests 1945. Immigration under the Mandate was not open to all and requests had to be submitted to British governing body. The permit was called a “certificate”. This “certificate, to those who were not financially independent, would be granted on the confirmation that the immigrant would be supported by the Jewish community and that his livelihood would not be the responsibility of the British government. Another resource is the data base of illegal immigrants developed at the Atlit Camp. At the present time, the database is not available on-line but inquires can be sent to shimurm@netvision.net.il . Town & Settlement Development When Eretz Israel came under the British administration in 1921 there were already 40 towns and settlements with Jewish populations. By the end of 1939 the number of Jewish towns and settlements had  grown to 232. In the 1942 voters’ lists for Haifa and Jerusalem[1], each city had over 40,000 adults over the age of 20 with the right to vote. On various documents people gave the names of neighborhoods and/or settlements that were later incorporated into the larger nearby town. In such instances IGRA has tried to give the name of the town or settlement that includes this place today. There are a number of settlements that no longer exist. There are a number of resources that are searchable online or as databases which deal with various towns and settlements: In the Palestine Gazette[2] and the HaIton HaRismi[3] העיתון הרשמי there are announcements dealing with queries about the land registries of 1928-1932, stating that the government is looking for specific people to prove their ownership of plots of land and in 1929 queries about compensation for loss of property during the “disturbances” of 1929. A number of lists of residents and founders of various towns and settlements have been found and added to the IGRA AID collection http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php and http://genealogyindexer.org/, such as: Drishat Shalom (Regards) 1919, Ra’anana Founder Families, Members of Kinneret 1928, People in Raanana in 1930. As of the printing of this article the following directories are available on line: in the IGRA AID collection the Rehavia Address Book for June 1935 and 1937 and on the Genealogy Indexer http://genealogyindexer.org/ website the 1932 Palestine Directory and Handbook. The National Library of Israel will be scan a few directories found in her collection within the next few years. Education In the last few years of the Ottoman Empire in Eretz Israel there was the harbinger of coeducational and secular education among the Jewish population. One of these is the Gymnasia Herzelia which began as the Gymnasia HaIvrit in Yafo. Many of its students came from abroad to study there in the first years of its existence and where even accompanied by their mother, as they were young children. The first graduating class was in 1913. A list of the graduates from 1913 through 1948 is available in the IGRA AID collection[4]. Other institutions that have celebrate 100 years in Eretz Israel are the Beit Sefer Reali Haifa http://bogrim.reali.org.il/Default.asp, the David Yellin College http://www.dyellin.ac.il/graduate in Jerusalem, the Levinsky College http://www.levinsky.ac.il/?cmd=bogrim in Tel Aviv and the Gymnasia HaIvrit in Jerusalem. In 1962 a book was printed to celebrate the jubilee year of the Gymnasia HaIvrit in Jerusalem. This book includes an almost complete list of instructors and graduates and those that finished their 11th year of studies.[5] During this period a number of institutions of higher education developed in Eretz Israel. If your ancestor completed her studies at any of these, it might be worthwhile contacting their archives. The institutions are the Technion[6] (1912) http://www1.technion.ac.il/, and the Hebrew University[7] (1925) http://new.huji.ac.il/. Archives in various moshavot and towns have the students’ lists from the schools. So far such lists have been found in Raanana http://moreshet.raanana.muni.il/Web/Default.aspx, Haifa, and Zichron Yaakov http://www.zy1882.co.il/index.asp?id=1799. There is also the The Aviezer Yellin Archives of Jewish Education in Israel and the Diaspora http://www.tau.ac.il/education/arch/earch.html.and part of the archive of the WIZO School in Nahalal that was started in the 1920′s. The archive is now found in the Emek Yizrael Archive http://www.emekyizrael.org.il/350-he/Emekisrael.aspx and has been partially indexed in the IGRA AID collection http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php. The organization of schools for girls from the orthodox sector in Eretz Israel called Beit Yaakov began in the early 1930s, and their first teachers’ seminar opened in 1937.[8] The results of various examinations were published in the Palestine Gazette and HaIton Harishmi, such as officials who received completed degrees abroad, results of matriculation examinations of the University of London that were held in Jerusalem, and language examinations of officers of the Palestine Government. Notes & Resources A number of the above documents are in the process of being transcribed into databases and the names of the people will be transliterated. Keep an eye open for periodical additions to the IGRA AID collection http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php. IGRA has an online list of archives and museums in Israel http://genealogy.org.il/resources/israel-resources/, which is updated continuously. A Genealogy Advisory Service at the National Library was instituted and appointments can be arranged by telephone 074-7336-400 or email reference@nli.org.il. The Yad Ben-Zvi Institute https://www.ybz.org.il/?CategoryID=171 has a number of journals published in Hebrew dealing with the History of the Jewish Nation and Eretz Israel. One of them is Pe'amim: Studies in Oriental Jewry http://www.ybz.org.il/?CategoryID=186. The second part of this article will include: employment & licensed professions, community activities, political involvement, armed forces (paramilitary & military), manuscripts & biographies, cemeteries, and photographs and will appear soon. For those of you with Sephardic and Oriental ancestors, I would suggest referring to the Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel[9]  http://www.avotaynu.com/books/TaggerKerem.htm by Mathilde Tagger and Yitzhak Kerem. It surveys the important archival collections of various institutions in Israel.   The Journal of Israeli History: Politics, Society, Culture   Special Issue Women’s Time New Studies from Israel Editor Hannah Naveh volume 21 Numbers 1 / 2  Spring/Autumn 2002 Frank Cass London להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי הראשון: אשה ויהדותה שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש אב תשנ"ט - יולי 1999 / Woman and her Judaism      http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ000483586 להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי השני: אשה ויהדותה, שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש תמוז תשס"א - יוני 2001 /   Woman and her Judaism   http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ00092 להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי השלישי: אשה ויהדותה שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש תמוז תשס"ה /   http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ001357518 להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי הרביעי 'אשה ויהדותה' שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש סיוון תשס"ה /  http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ001432249  להיות אשה יהודייה : דברי הכנס הבינלאומי החמישי: 'אשה ויהדותה', שהתקיים בירושלים בחודש תמוז תשס"ז /  Woman and her Judaism   http://hufind.huji.ac.il/Record/HUJ001493575  http://www.kolech.com/show.asp?id=33385  להיות אשה יהודיה - כרך חמישי http://www.kolech.com/show.asp?id=33385 The many of the universities and colleges in Israel now have tracks for Gender Studies לימודי מגדר which may have courses and bibliographies with additional resources. Listed below are a few of them. מרכז לייפר ללימודי נשים ומגדר באוניברסיטה העברית   http://www.huji.ac.il/huji/info_gen_lafer.htm לימודי נשים ומגדר באוניברסיטת חיפה http://wgsuh.haifa.ac.il/index.php/he/ התכנית ללימודי נשים ומגדר באוניברסיטת תל-אביב  http://humanities.tau.ac.il/gender/ התכנית ללימודי מגדר באוניברסיטת בר אילן  http://gender.biu.ac.il/ לימודי מגדר במכללה האקדמית בית ברל http://beit-berl.co.il/wise/gender.php?gclid=CNWAzZWEybkCFURY3godn1kAHA [1] Article on voters’s lists [2] The Palestine Gazette is available on line at http://sesame.library.yale.edu/fedoragsearch/ameeltreeresult [3] HaIton HaRishmi will be digitalized by the National Library of Israel in the coming years and will be available at the following site http://jpress.org.il/view-hebrew.asp [4] Gymnasia Herzlia: A Hundred Years, 2004. [5]   ספר היובל של הגימנסיה העברית בירושלים: תרס"ט-תשי"ט / העורך: ח. מרחביה; חברי המערכת: ד. קמחי, א. ברתנא, ז. תוחמן  ירושלים : אגדת שוחרי הגמנסיה העברית, תשכ"ב 1962 [6] http://www1.technion.ac.il/ [7] http://new.huji.ac.il/ [8] http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%91%D7%99%D7%AA_%D7%99%D7%A2%D7%A7%D7%91 [9] Tagger, Mathilde A. & Kerem, Yitzchak, Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel, Avotaynu, 2006. Author: Rose Feldman Born in Chicago, Rose has lived in Israel over 47 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Research Methods and Measurement from the School of Education at Tel-Aviv University. Rose Feldman is on twitter as jewdatagengirl, Israel Genelogy, and IGRA_Hebrew, one of the administrators of the IGRA facebook, and in charge of developing new databases for the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). She was the webmistress of the Israel Genealogical Society for nine years. She has lectured at 6 IAJGS conferences starting in 2003, at the annual seminars of the Israel Genealogical Society and their branch meetings. She has been instrumental in the building of various databases on the IGS website and participates in the Montefiore Censuses Project. Rose was also the webmistress for the 2004 International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies’ conference which took place in Jerusalem and has four Kehilalinks sites on JewishGen for Mscibow, Ruzhany & and neighboring Kossovo in Belarus, Litin and Kalinovka in the Ukraine. She has a website [...]
                                         הביקור שלי בארכיון בצ'רניגוב, מאת יחזקאל שץ

הביקור שלי בארכיון בצ'רניגוב, מאת יחזקאל שץ

לפני זמן לא רב חזרתי מביקור מוצלח מאד בארכיון בצ'רניגוב, וברצוני לשתף אחרים בחוויות שחוויתי שם. אני מקווה שהסיפור שלי[...]
Enjoying the IGRA  Occupation Databases, by Esther Rechtschafner

Enjoying the IGRA Occupation Databases, by Esther Rechtschafner

Recently, I was checking family names on the some of the various IGRA databases.  My father had relatives, from the[...]
מחקרי הגניאלוגיים,  מאת אסתר רמון

מחקרי הגניאלוגיים, מאת אסתר רמון

התחלתי את חקר משפחותי עם משפחת הומבורגר מקרלסרוהה, המשפחה של סבי מצד אמי. היה בידי העתק של הפריבילגיה שקיבל אבי המשפחה,[...]
Selected Lectures on Genealogy: An Introduction to Scientific Tools, עורך: פרופ' דניאל וגנר

Selected Lectures on Genealogy: An Introduction to Scientific Tools, עורך: פרופ' דניאל וגנר

Selected Lectures on Genealogy: An Introduction to Scientific Tools עורך: פרופ' דניאל וגנר הודפס במכון ויצמן למדע 204 עמודים כל מי שניסה אי פעם[...]
Book Reviews, by Irwin M. Pikus

Book Reviews, by Irwin M. Pikus

Selected Lectures on Genealogy: An Introduction to Scientific Tools, edited by H. Daniel Wagner, Printed.  Rehovot, Israel: Weizmann Institute of Science. Cost $30. Order from the International Institute for Jewish Genealogy (www.IAJG.org): go to “Publications: The field of genealogy, particularly Jewish genealogy, is evolving into a multi-disciplinary endeavor that increasingly employs and intersects with scientific and technical fields. The gem of this book, probably the first of its kind, explores in its 204 pages an extraordinary span of intriguing aspects of modern genealogy. To his credit, the editor appears to have given his authors wide-ranging license to probe and develop their themes as they saw fit. The result is an eclectic sampling of particular subjects, each one worth of a book-length exposition. Certainly, additional topics might have been included; perhaps they will be ripe for presentation in later volumes. The first two lectures (by Morse and Dershowitz/Reinhold) deal with calendars, the Jewish calendar in particular, but not exclusively. They discuss the origins, interrelationships, complexities and anomalies of a number of calendars and provide useful guidance in the application to genealogical needs. These discussions are detailed and probing; they provide more than a mere introduction to the topic. Egbert and Roekard discuss geospatial genealogy, an unusual juxtaposition of words, but a new field combining the technologies of remote sensing from space, computers and GPS location techniques with traditional genealogical research methods. The result is an exciting cross-disciplinary excursion into a field that promises to add a new dimension to genealogy. The already available capability to display records by geographical location is just one early example of what this field may offer. The authors consider in detail the combination of the mapping and sensing capabilities available through programs like Google Earth with original cadastral maps yo provide information not otherwise accessible. That is clearly just the beginning. We may expect to see this field expand rapidly and productively. Morse provides a second lecture, this one on DNA and the role of genetics in genealogy. The burgeoning field often confuses the uninitiated and misinformation abounds. Although confessing that he is neither geneticist nor biologist, Morse in his typically thorough and clear way provides a primer on the subject that is both readable and detailed. This paper is an excellent starting point for any genealogist interested in delving into the mysteries of genetic genealogy. He illustrates his paper with captivating example of the use of genetics in genealogy including the legacy of Genghis Khan, Thomas Jefferson’s affair and the Anastasia claim. Demography is an established academic discipline relevant to genealogy and to the history of Jewish communities. Shnerb, Maruvka and Kessler have provided a lecture dealing with demography, surnames and statistical processes. They begin with a discussion of Malthus’ consideration of the exponential growth of the population and the adequacy of food production, an early conundrum in demography. They then consider what it means to be “a shoot out of the stock of Jesse” the prophet Isaiah’s condition on the Messiah. The authors then consider several problems with surnames: their extinction; changes or mutations in surnames; and their fate in a growing population. The editor, Wagner, provides a lecture on several related problems in genealogy including the ancestor paradox, dealt with also in a previous lecture, and mating between close relatives. He shows how this problem might be dealt with using the perturbation in the mathematical formulation of the number of persons in a generation - a coefficient of inbreeding as he calls it. He then proposes an analytic analogy based on the science of crystallography that better illuminates the problem. A persistent problem in Jewish genealogy concerns the validity and applicability of data in the multitude of databases available both online and in various collections. A key challenge in this area is determining whether different specific records pertain to the same person. The book includes four lectures relating to this central problem in genealogy today. Beider provides a lecture that discusses ambiguities and discrepancies in the recording and transcription of names. He explains various soundex and phonetic systems, some of which are in use today while others that he proposes are in earlier stages of development. These are innovative techniques that are intended to provide computerized searches encompassing all reasonable variants of names without including names that could not be in that category – a problem that extends well beyond the boundaries of genealogy onto a variety of applications that compare names in various databases, for example, no-fly lists. Detecting and correcting errors in the records of names is the challenge addressed by Stroweis. His lecture examines the various ways in which errors in name records can arise and proposes a methodology to detect them. Once problematic names are identified, Stoweis offers a proposal for correcting them and applies his methodology to several examples. Again, this innovation approach may well find application beyond the confines of genealogy. Klauzinska discusses basic principles of computerized database merging – that is, combining data from various sources that pertain to the same persons. Her Lecture focuses on the down Zdunska Wola, for which there are several databases covering a few thousand persons. She illustrates the use of both manual and computerized database merging with several examples and demonstrates the feasibility of computerized merging. She ends her lecture noting some challenges for further work in this area. Nairn’s lecture probes the use of quantitative measures in resolving ambiguities in data sets to be merged. He suggests that development of “quality scores” in comparing data from various sources and provides a detailed example in the case of matching dates. He concludes that computerized database merging will remain an elusive goal, but there are ways in which computers may assist in the merging process that will be quite valuable. ** This article is reprinted with the permission of Avotaynu, Volume XXIX, Number , Spring 2013. Author: H. Daniel Wagner Born in Israel, Daniel Wagner grew up in Brussels, Belgium. He has MSc and PhD degrees in materials science from Hebrew University, and has been at the Weizmann Institute since 1986, where he holds the Livio Norzi Professorial Chair in Materials Science. Daniel Wagner is the author of 30 genealogical papers. He has researched his Polish roots since 1995, and is a member of the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). He was a Co-Chairman of the 24th International Conference of Jewish Genealogy Conference held July 4-9, 2004, in Jerusalem. He is a member of the JRI-Poland Board, the Coordinator of the Grodzisk Mazowiecki Archive Project, the Zdunska Wola JRI Shtetl CO-OP Coordinator and Town Leader, and until recently the Chairman of the Organization of Former Residents of Zdunska Wola in Israel. Daniel Wagner has a genealogy page on his web site where he has copies of many of the articles he has written, as well as information on his own family genealogy. Prof. Daniel Wagner[...]
The IGRA Voters' List Project, by Dr. Martha Lev-Zion

The IGRA Voters' List Project, by Dr. Martha Lev-Zion

The Israel Genealogy Research Association [IGRA] has been feverishly working on obtaining as many Israeli records as possible to database as an aide to your family research. It has been said that every Jewish family in the world has a branch in Israel. Whether precisely true or not, the likelihood of your having relatives in the Land of Israel is quite high. The Voters' List Project http://genealogy.org.il/british currently includes 21 lists that range from the earliest list found for voters in Tel Aviv in 1922,  through the elections for the local council of Ramat  Gan in 1946. Areas covered include Jerusalem Haifa , Petah Tikva, Safed, Rehovot, Ra'anana, Bnai Brak, various small settlements, Rishon Lezion, Magdiel [presently part of Hod Hasharon], and Ramat Gan, Different periods are covered for different areas. Some lists are for local council or municipal elections and some are for national Knesset elections.There is even one database of electors for the 18th Zionist Congress of 1933! What sort of information can you expect to find in these lists/databases? The minimum would be the surname and given name of an individual. You might find the street address and neighborhood. The minimum would be the surname and given name of an individual. Or perhaps the name is crossed out, so you would know that they once lived in that area but then had moved on.  There might be a notation that the person was living abroad. There are even incidences where name of the country to which they had moved was noted. Sometimes the father's name was written, as were titles such as Rabbi or Dr. Ages, however, were not usually noted. Oft times, the ultra orthodox were not included in the voters' lists because they refused to participate. In order to understand what some of these elections were about, perhaps you would like to read a bit of background information which can be found in the Wikipedia online. Just write in the name of the organization, for instance, the Jewish National Council [JNC], http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_National_Council and read all about it. The databases themselves are available at IGRA’s “All Israel Database”. You will need to register in order to perform a search. IGRA is actively searching for other surviving voters' lists and expects to expand this database as they are located. If you would like to help, you can volunteer by contacting Rose Feldman . Dr. Martha Lev-Zion is an historian of modern European intellectual history. She was founder and president of the Negev branch of the Israel Genealogical Society and presently serves on the founding committee of the Israel Genealogical Research Association. She is a former director on the IAJGS board of directors and past president of the international Latvia SIG. She was co-founder and serves on the steering committee of the Courland Research Group. Dr. Lev-Zion is one of three founders of the annual one day seminar for researching genealogy in Israel and until recently actively served on that committee. Dr. Lev-Zion has written extensively about the Jews of Franconia & Thüringen [Germany] and Courland [Latvia]. She also authored the book Taking Tamar http://www.avotaynu.com/books/tamar.htm[...]
The Shtetl of Dolina and the Origins of the Weinbergs, by Rabbi Dr. Norbert Weinberg

The Shtetl of Dolina and the Origins of the Weinbergs, by Rabbi Dr. Norbert Weinberg

The Jews of Dolina, Galicia ( now Dolyna, Ivano-Frankivsk region,Ukraine) trace their origins back to the times of the Polish kings who had conquered the Ukrainian territories to their southeast. Jews served the Polish nobility as their agents in administering the new lands they had conquered under a system known as “arenda”; the Jews obtained a lease on the lands, and in exchange for the payments were able to collect fees from the local Cossacks for use of the land for farming. In 1648, the Ukrainian Cossacks that had come under Polish domination revolted against their Polish overlords; in the process they carried out extensive massacres of Jews, whom they saw as agents of the hated Poles. (Centuries later, this long-simmering conflict between Poles and Ukrainians would create the perfect storm that made genocide that much easier for the Nazis). The borders of the Ottoman Empire at this time ended at the Dniester River near the town of Dolina, and it is recorded that the Cossacks sacked this town as well. At some point, Sephardic Jews came as administrators or merchants into those territories.    My uncle, Dr. Benjamin Weinberg (Munio), an attorney who traveled extensively in the former territories of the Austro-Hungarian Empire searched ancient land records in the town’s archives. He reported having found documents dating to the 16th Century, when a progenitor of the Weinberg family, with name registered as Turteltaube, came from Turkish held regions to Dolina. Presumably, Turtletaube is a later Germanized rendition of what may have originally have been a Spanish name, perhaps akin to “ Paloma” or “Tortola”. This first ancestor of record established the Jewish cemetery and built a house there, which was still in use at least till 1917; the family members were always given the choicest burial plots. He opened and operated salt mines under contract from the local aristocrat. By the 17th century the first Weinberg was registered in the Grundbuch (land registry) of Dolina in Latin, German, and Polish. (Note: This Dolyna/Dolina is not to be confused with a current Dolina, which was formerly called Janow. Such confusion of place names is common in East Europe where cities have changed nations so often in the past century). The first of the Weinbergs of whom we have greater detail, Mordecai Weinberg, was born at the time Napoleon delivered the Austrians a sound defeat in 1800. He was reported to be unusually strong, and could smash a table, but like so many of his contemporaries he made his success by his business acumen. He bought up rights to farms and owned a 100 acre farm himself. In time he established a lumber business. Typical of the Jews of his day he was devout, and was eager to support his community. He established one building in Dolina to house 3 synagogues under one roof, gave land for the Klos, a small chapel for the very pious mystics, a Beis Midrash (House of Study), a Mikveh, (ritual bathhouse), and house for bath supervisor. To each son he gave a house, and a set of Shas, Talmud, in shining leather. He then set off, at the age of 80, in 1880, with his wife, to Palestine just ahead of the Bilu (a pre-cursor to the later Zionism of Herzl). He came not as a colonialist nor as a usurper of someone else’s land but as a pious Jew who wished to live his last days in the mountaintop village of Safed, home of the great Kabbalists. He brought with him his sterling silver cutlery and jewelry. Sadly he and my great-great grandmother were murdered by Arab marauders in 1896. One of the sons to receive a Shas and a house was Hirsch Zvi Weinberg, born in 1835. He married Rachel Schumer, born in 1846, the sister of a wealthy man; and it is said that she was the businessman in the family. They operated a clothing business in Dolina. Rachel passed away in 1906, and Hirsch Zvi in 1918. They had several children. One daughter, Sarah, married the editor of the Hebrew language paper of Vienna, Jonah Gelernter. There was also Perl, whose daughters, Rachel and Ada, would make Aliyah to the Jewish settlement of Palestine, and Lippe. Another, Marcus, whom I met as a student, became a successful international import-exporter in Milan. I met my some of my father’s cousins: Boaz Gelernter of New Jersey, Ada Ben Esther and Rachel Stricker of Israel. Another of my father’s cousins, Wolf Weinberg, remained very pious, became a Chasid, and settled in Bnai Brak. Other relatives in the family included an attorney by the name of Geller, who wrote the Austrian law codes (perhaps this refers to Dr. Leo Geller, who authored the Oestereichische Justizgesetz and other law books towards the waning years of the Austrian Empire), a family by the name of Fox , an attorney named William Weinberg in the New York area, an Oscar Strumwasser in Los Angeles; another relative was both Rabbi of Stanislau, Poland, and a colonel in the Polish army. It is said that one relative emigrated to Argentina, became a Catholic, then a priest, and finally Archbishop of Buenos Aires!) One of their children, Shmuel Weinberg, born in 1872 was energetic; and already as a young man had nudged his father out of the family clothing business and took over operations., One of his nieces, whom I met when I was in Israel as a college student, was impressed by something clever I had said, and commented,” I can see you are a Weinberg”. That was the family reputation—sharp and clever, shrewd in business. He married Binah Zarwanitzer a few years before the turn of the century. They had two children, first my uncle Dr. Benjamin (Munio) Weinberg, born in 1899, who became an attorney and businessman, and my father, Rabbi Dr. Wilhelm (Zeev William) Weinberg, a Zionist activist and Rabbi, born in 1901. In Dolina, he ran a General Store with ready to wear clothes, hats and food on ground floor; the family lived on second floor. The house had what was considered in those days, a luxury, a roof that could be opened up so that on Sukkoth a pious Jew could delight in sleeping in the Sukkah, while still being in the comfort of home. (Other Jews would have to suffice in living outside in impromptu structures with all the attendant chill of the Fall.) He and three partners owned a bank in a second house, and a staff of one book keeper who was paid the equivalent of $15 a month. He accrued assets of ½ million Austrian Krone (approximately $US 100,000, equivalent to $2,150,000 today. 5 Krone=2 ½ ruble=$1) up to outbreak of World War I. His income was derived from the purchase of bankruptcy liquidations. For example, he would purchase 1000 suits and sell them $4,$6,or $8.  The entire fortune was wiped out by the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Galicia became the center of fierce fighting between the Kaiser’s and the Tsar’s armies. Samuel dodged being drafted into the desperate Austrian army, and fled battlefront with his family to Vienna. He came to Vienna a poor man with wife and sons to feed. He and the sons, my uncle, Benjamin, and my father, William, young teenagers, made insulation for the Austrian Army- the sons shredded paper to stuff in the coat lining. Samuel knew the expression of the Talmud-“Hacham, Eynav berosho”—The wise man keeps his eyes in front, wide open. He saw how the coat was being made, looked at the cloth, the stitching, the lining material. Within a short time he determined who were the suppliers, then went to the officials in charge of military acquisitions and sweet-talked them into a contract for manufacturing the coats. He then continued to buy up textiles and sell to other refugees. His business operation was to send silk to Poland, bring Polish merchandise to Trieste, bring rice and steel to Vienna, and around again. He eventually once again opened a small bank with easy lending policies and, among other projects, financed a flour mill. He was generally trusting, for all his acumen, and often lost much to bad borrowers. As my uncle Benjamin stated it, the word in Vienna was, “Munio cannot make money as fast as Shmuel can lose it.” Among his partners was the father of Professor Moshe Zucker, of the Jewish Theological Seminary, my teacher, and an elderly gentleman whom I met by chance one day during Sukkoth in a synagogue in the Bronx! With the Nazi Anschluss, the prelude to World War II, all was lost again. For example, he had 80,000 Marks in Fiat stock alone that would have been worth $16,000,000 by stock market average growth. At some point, after the Anschlus my grandmother was beaten. I have a photograph of my grandmother, her hair disheveled, a mark of some kind of trauma; it bears the stamp of the Polish consulate and I can only presume that after the Anschluss they were relegated to being citizens of their land of birth, Poland. They fled to Italy and then survived the war in Zurich, Switzerland (most of what he had saved probably went to pay for a visa in to Swizterland) . Binah died in Switzerland after the war. In 1950’s Shmuel came to Canada to be with his son, Munio, and then commuted between son, Munio, in Canada, and son William, in the US. While always observant, he was a self-educated Maskil (enlightened modernist) who sent his sons to modern schooling, even while he did all his business dealings in Yiddish. He became deeply pious in his old age, studied Talmud with angels who sat at his bedside with him, left notebooks of Kabbalistic prayers, and went to Chasidic shtiebelach to worship. This strange confluence of ancient and modern in Shmuel Weinberg was typical of the currents that passed through European Jewry in the previous centuries. He was the only one of my grandparents that I knew. When he stayed with us, he would sometimes walk me to school and try to help me with my Hebrew reading. We could not really communicate, since he spoke only Yiddish, and while I now can follow it, then, it was, as Shakespeare phrased it “Greek to me.” Like all Jews until the rise of the State of Israel, he lived in only one city “Yerushalyaim shel Maalah”, the mystic Jerusalem of eternity, and on his entry visa to the United States his nationality was “Stateless”. He passed away a few days before my Bar Mitzvah in Washington, DC in October of 1961, still “ Stateless”. The Zarwantizer line-- How it came to be that my great-grandfather was also my great-great-grandfather and that I am my own third cousin When the Rabbi of Dolina sent his Gabbai (assistant) to invite my father’s grandmother to his daughter’s wedding, she did not attend. When the Rabbi asked why, she replied,” You did not invite me in person; you only sent your Gabbai!” Yichus—Ancestry- played a great part in Jewish circles. After all, the very Bible itself is a list of “begats” from Adam down to the lists of returnees from Babylonian captivity ; from the “ Hebrew “ Scriptures it goes on into the “ Christian” Scriptures as well. Thus it turns out that Jesus and I share the same yichus : King David and Aaron the first Cohen, High Priest. While this may be wrapped in myth or faith, what is clear is that, in 11th century France, there lived the shining light of Biblical and Talmudic clarity, the Sage, Rashi, who, by tradition, was a descendant of Kind David. Centuries later , the descendants of Rashi became the leading Rabbinic scholars of European Jewry and prominent European intellectuals and political figures, such as Karl Marx or Lazar Kaganovich (Number Two Man in the Soviet Union under Stalin—not all is honorable). Somewhere in the mix of families there is one Rabbi Saul-Wahl Katzenellenbogen, who was reported to have been King –for- a- Day of Poland. One of these descendants was Rabbi Yom Tov-Lipppman Heller, Chief Rabbi of Prague and later Cracow in the end of the 17th century. Every popular printed edition of the Mishnah has his marginalia, the Tosafos Yom Tov , printed alongside the text; he himself was the object of false accusation by fellow Jews and persecution by Christian authorities. His daughter, Reziel, married Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Heller-Kahana, himself was a descendant of R. Nathan of Rome, a Cohen, who appended the Aramaic version, Kahana, to his name. Years later, the Kahanas settled in Sighet or Maramarossziget, Hungary (now Sighetu Marmatei, Romania) and became the prominent Jewish family of Hungary. ( Perhaps the best know native of Sighet today is the Nobel-Prize winning voice of the Shoah, Elie Wiesel, also a descendant of the same Tosafos Yom Tov). One of the descendants was a Benjamin Kahana , born around 1810; he married a woman by the family name of Kurtz, and their daughter, Devorah, was born around 1840. In her old age, she would come to live with her daughter, Binah. My uncle recalls her making claims of “ yichus”, of sleeping on only silk sheets, and referring to relatives who were “dayyanim” , Rabbinic judges, of the cities of Sighet, Teczo, and Huszt. All of these cities straddled the border region between Hungary and Galicia at that time and just to the south of Dolina. She had an uncle who was Rabbi of Kalusz , a town to the east of Dolina; she claimed he was revered by the local Christian peasants for his wisdom and his blessings , as “maly bozek”-a little god.” (a term which have seen old Polish website used to refer to movie stars). As my uncle recalled, she was an elderly woman when she told him these accounts, and he did not think much of it till, later on, in his travels, after the Holocaust, he met a Dayan Friedman (himself a member of the Czortkower Chasidic dynasty) from Teczo who assured him the she was indeed correct. She was referring to three brothers, Rabbis Ḥayyim Aryeh, Joseph Mordecai, and Jacob Gedaliah Kahana, contemporaries of my great-grandmother, and from that very same region; they may have been her cousins, once or twice removed. My father kept a copy of one book, a fragment from the work by R.Joseph Mordecai, “Divrei Tzadikim” (Sayings of the Righteous) and I can only guess that his father had kept it as a reminder of the family connection. (She also made mention of another book,” Revid Hazahav”(Golden Chain), attributed in other sources to one R. Israel Dov Ber Gelernter, a work on transmigration of the soul which I found quoted in hand-written notes of my grandfather.) How does this “yichus” enter the Weinberg clan and how does it make me my own third cousin? Success can trump “yichus”. Moses Zarwanitzer was born in 1835 the town of Kalusz, to the east Dolina, (and where one of the Kahana family served as Rabbi). The family may have gotten its name from a town further east, Zarwanica . Moses was both my great-grandfather through my father and my great-great grandfather through my mother. He was said to have been a tall man, and my uncle remembers him with grey bearded and pipe smoking in his old age. (Note: Kalusz in Galicia is not to be confused with Kalisz in Poland). His parents died in a plague when he was only 4 or 5 and he never attended school; without formal schooling he started in life without being born into “yichus”, so he had to make it on his own. He became a builder and contractor for the government and proved that intelligence and diligence beat formal schooling. He built a railway station, a slaughter house, and schools, distributed wine and liquor, opened a salt mine operation, and operated a rail line for lumber transportation from the forests to the mills; he did this all the while by keeping his reputation unsullied, and he and never broke a contract. “We never had trouble with him,” was the word . Only once was he outbid on a government job, by a Polish engineer, who then went bankrupt; he took over the job and succeeded.  (A brother of his owned a lumber mill near the railway, 40 miles away from Dolina, and also produced barrels. He passed away when he was in his high 90’s, in 1941. He had 5 sons and 1 daughter, all of whom died in the Holocaust). He became President of the Kultusgemeinde (Jewish community) of Dolina and kept the Keter Torah ( the silver crown placed on the scroll during the service) in his house for safe keeping.  His first wife, a woman whose name I could not find in my records, would be my great-great grandmother, through the daughter born to them, Sossia, my great-grandmother, through her son, Nachman Gottdenker, my grandfather on my mother’s side (he would marry a great-granddaughter of Rabbi Akiba Eger). The first wife, however, died at a young age, and my grandfather by this time had become a prominent leader of his community. He had created his own “ yichus”.  Therefore, he came to ask for Devorah Kahana’s hand. They had a daughter, Binah, who married Shmuel. Moses also had a son, Judah, whether from the first or the second wife, I cannot tell. His son, like his father before him, was also President of the Dolina Jewish community after him. Judah remained close friends with his nephew, through his sister, Sossia ,Nachman Norbert Gottdenker. (Norbert Gottdenker married Helena Iger (the descendant of Rabbi Akiba Eger) and had two children, Irene and Karol.  William and Irene married and I, Norbert Weinberg, am their son.) Moses and Devorah had a daughter, Binah, or Biniah as she was sometimes called, was born in 1876. She was the only other grandparent, besides her husband Shmuel, to have survived the Holocaust, but she, too, passed away before I could know her.  I have only a few recollections about her from my father. When he was a young man, in Austria, he was an eager Zionist pioneer. He volunteered for Hachsharah ( Preparation Camp) and spent time on a farm, preparing to be a chalutz, pioneer, in Israel. He gave up on his dream when he realized that his mother wouldn’t stop crying.  When my father went to Berlin to Rabbincal School, Binah baked a special cake for him and packed it in his suitcase. When he arrived, he unpacked everything into the dresser in his room. At the end of the school year, he dutifully repacked his belongings, only to find the cake, still uneaten, in the drawer.  When she and Shmuel were living in Switzerland, my mother, Irene  young and beautiful, wrote her, “I don’t understand your son. Here I am, an attractive young woman, and he shows no interest in me. Tell him to look at me.” She told him and he proposed. She died a few years after the end of World War II. My father explained that she had suffered so much from worry for her children when they were in exile deep in the farthest regions of the Soviet Union, that when she knew they were well, the strain took its toll on her heart. When my uncle, Munio, was in his high 80’s, he took the long and uncomfortable flight to Zurich. He claimed it was to exchange dollars for Swiss francs. He really went to visit her graveside. Rabbi Dr. Norbert Weinberg has had a distinguished career in the Rabbinate and in education and was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinities, honoris causa, by his alma mater the Jewish Theological Seminary in recognition of his service. He and his wife, Ofra, run the Huntington Learning Center School Services in Encino where they work with children in providing supplementary education for children under the Federal No Child Left Behind Act. From 1996 till 2013 they ran the private students program at the center as well. He is currently working on historical research on the Jews of 20th Century Europe, “The Courage of the Spirit: The story of Europe's Jewry in the 20 th Century, from family accounts and documents”. His work is posted on line at http://www.courageofspirit.com. He is President of A Place to Care, a new social media service for health and wellness, http://www.aplacetocare.org and has set up a resource group on the site for families of Holocaust survivors to share concerns and suggestions as they seek help for their aging relatives. He authors the blog, Courage of the Spirit, http://www.courageofthespirit.com He served as Rabbi to Hollywood Temple Beth El in Los Angeles from 1990 to 1996 where his main focus was the integration of the new wave of Russian Jewish immigrants into American Jewish life. Prior to that, he directed the Central Institute for Jewish Studies at Bet Berl, Israel, under the auspices of Israel’s Federation of Labor. His mandate was to help bridge the gap between  the secular and religious Jews within the labor movement and to emphasize Jewish societal values. He has also served as Rabbi in Whittier, California, Newport-News , Virginia, and Houston, Texas.            .[...]
Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel:  Part One – The Ottoman Empire Period, by Rose A. Feldman

Researching Your Female Ancestors in Eretz Israel: Part One – The Ottoman Empire Period, by Rose A. Feldman

Introduction When researching your female ancestors as you go back in time, do you hit a brick wall? This need not be. As more is discovered about their daily activities, suddenly new venues for research present themselves. This article covers a variety of resources in which your female ancestors in Eretz Israel may be mentioned, and points to the type of documentation to look for. It cannot be all inclusive, but hopefully it will help you think of new places to research. The most basic information sought for an ancestor includes information on birth, marriage and death. Frequently official records were not kept in the 19th century, and therefore this information often needs to be inferred from other documents. If a woman gave birth to a child and the age of the child’s mother is recorded, then the mother’s year of birth can be deduced.  The same might be possible with her marriage registration. But what if the two don’t match? It is therefore very important to record the exact source of each piece of information. This will allow you to assess the information and to decide which source is the most reliable.  However, the lives of your ancestors involved many more events than just birth, marriage and death.And these events may be recorded in different types of official and unofficial documents. Did your ancestor make aliyah? Did she move from one place to another within the country? Did she receive any form of formal education? Did she earn her living? Did she volunteer in community activities? When researching your female ancestors - in any country - it is wise to start with a timeline in order to help you recognize what type of archive or collection would be the likeliest starting point. This is a smart thing to do for all genealogical research, but in this instance, it will help you to understand the official and semi-official administrations in Eretz Israel at that epoch and to focus on the location of documents. In researching in Eretz Israel, you are dealing with three different administrative powers, each with its own official language. The three eras are: Ottoman Administration (- 1917), British Administration (1917-1948), and Israeli Administration (1948- ). A separate article will be devoted to each era. The Ottoman Empire Period Official Registrations The official language of this period was Ottoman Turkish, which is Turkish written in Arabic script. The Nufus, the official census of the government, was recorded in Turkish. The Nufus can be found in the Israel State Archives http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov_eng in Jerusalem(1). The most comprehensive records for most of the Jewish population of the mid 19th century are the five Montefiore Censuses. The fact that they are in Hebrew makes them more easily understandable to anyone knowing the language. These census records were recorded in 1839, 1849, 1855, 1865, and 1875. Unfortunately, in the 1839 census, the names of the wives usually were not recorded.  Another problem is that many Ashkenazi family names were not recorded, making it much hard to decide exactly which Lea might be your great great grandmother. If the family immigrated to Eretz Israel during that period, the name of the town or settlement from which they came is often mentioned, as is the year of aliyah. This does not mean that the wife came from the same town as the husband.  By comparing the aliyah year of the father with the ages of the children, one can deduce whether the children were born in Eretz Israel or in fact came as infants, but this cannot necessarily be done for the mother. With a high young mortality rate, the widower often remarried, especially if small children were involved. Yet it was rarely noted whether the wife was a second spouse, which leaves only an assumption that both were parents of the children listed with them in the census.  Additional possible information found in these censuses could be: material status, occupation, comments about financial status and, in the case of those listed as Ashkenazim, kollel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kollel to which the husband belonged. The censuses of 1839, 1849, 1855, and 1866 can be searched online at the Montefiore Endowment Website http://www.montefioreendowment.org.uk/census/ both in English or Hebrew. The 1875 census should be completed and online by the end of 2013.The original documents are in Hebrew and have been translated into English. Not all the Jewish residents in Eretz Israel in the 19th century were Turkish citizens. Those Jewish residents who were not Turkish citizens registered themselves with foreign powers and were either subjects or protégés of that foreign power. The Israel Genealogy Research Association http://genealogy.org.il/  (IGRA) has been able to find a number of these registration lists and is in the process of adding them to its “All Israel Database (AID)” http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php. There is a list of 464 registered with the Germany Consulate on the IGRA database(2), a list of 34 births registered at the British Consulate in Jaffa(3)    an index of the names of British Subjects registered at the British Consulate in Jerusalem(4) and in the district of Jaffa(5)(6). Documentation from the beginning of the first aliyah, can be found in archives from the new settlements, such as Rehovot http://www.rehovot-archive.org.il/ (7),  Rishon Lezionhttp://rishonlezion-museum.org.il/%D7%93%D7%A3%D7%94%D7%91%D7%99%D7%AA.aspx (8)(9)(10), Gedera http://www.gedera-m.org/archive/search.asp, Petah Tikva http://www.ptarchive.co.il/he/TheArchive.aspx, Rosh Pina http://www.hist-roshpina.com/%D7%90%D7%A8%D7%9B%D7%99%D7%95%D7%9F-%D7%A8%D7%90%D7%A9-%D7%A4%D7%A0%D7%94.htm, Hadera http://www.khan-hadera.org.il/index2.html and Nes Zionna http://br.nzc.org.il/ and the Central Zionist Archives (CZA) http://www.zionistarchives.org.il/en/collections/Pages/information.aspx. The CZA has papers dealing with the Jewish Colonization Association (JCA) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Colonization_Association that might not be found in the archives of the settlements. The only school records that included female students that IGRA has located to date for this period are the graduating class lists for Gymnasia Herzlyia(11). This does not mean that there are no lists, but rather that IGRA has not yet located them.  Some possible locations might be at Mikveh Yisrael http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikveh_Israel and the Alliance Israélite Universelle http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alliance_Isra%C3%A9lite_Universelle records at CAHJP http://cahjp.huji.ac.il/. During the first aliyah there were about 2,500 immigrants who came on foot from Yemen. This was called A'aleh Batamar. The initial document that IGRA found relating to the Yemenite settlement of Eretz Israel and added to its collection, was a list of 278 members of Yemenite families(12) near Rehovot. A vital resource, often overlooked, and one that gives a feel for life in the Jewish community is the 19th Century Hebrew press section of the Historical Jewish Press website http://jpress.org.il/view-english.asp  in the 19th Century. The newspapers  published in Eretz Israel found on this site to date are: Ha-Levanon, Ha-Zvi, Hashkafa, Habazeleth, Ha-Po’eel Ha-Tsa’air, and Moria. They contain a variety of announcements of marriages, donations to charity, lists of patients in the hospital, crimes, etc. A number of articles with lists of names have been indexed and appear in the AID collection http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php. Community Activities In addition to being homebodies, your ancestors might well have been active in community activities which might be recorded in ledgers,such as the Linat Hazedek, a voluntary benevolent society of Rishon Lezion(13). This group was organized with the aim of having volunteers sit with sick people during the night. In the first Zionist Congress in 1897, there were already women delegates although not from Eretz Israel. The first woman delegate from Eretz Israel was Rachel Goldin, in 1909(14).  One famous woman activist in Eretz Israel was Sara Aaronsohn http://www.nili-museum.org.il/default-en.aspx, who at one point ran the N.I.L.I spy ring against the Turks in World War One.  Manuscripts & Biographies Aside from researching archives and museums, one should also try National Library of Israel http://web.nli.org.il/sites/nli/english/Pages/default.aspx in Jerusalem. Their Archives Department http://web.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/collections/personalsites/Pages/default.aspx has over 450 personal archives as well as a small number of institutional archives. The initial research stage of their collection can be conducted online. They also have a growing collection of digitalized materials, including a collection of Ketubot (marriage contracts).  If your family was Sephardi and living in Jerusalem, then you might look for resources in the Eda HaSfaradit העדה הספרדית http://www.jerusalem-love.co.il/?page_id=2506. Another resource to locate groups in which your ancestor might have been active, and may be mentioned, is in manuscripts and personal papers in the CZA http://www.zionistarchives.org.il/en/collections/Pages/information.aspx or Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP) http://cahjp.huji.ac.il/.  Note that the key words for the research in these catalogues will most probably not be your ancestor’s name but rather the location where she lived, or the society in which she was active. An unusual and very special resource is a series of pamphlets published in the 1930s and subsequently republished as one book. They were written by Pinchas Gravesky and are a collection of short biographies of women who lived in Jerusalem during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century(15). For a more thorough list of institutions in Israel that may have manuscripts limited to repositories in Israel try Repositories of Primary Sources: Africa and the Near East http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/special-collections/africa.html. For institutions in the United States and Europe that may have manuscript collections, try Repositories of Primary Sources ibid. An additional indispensable worldwide resource is WorldCat http://www.worldcat.org/, which connects to the online catalogues of collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.  Cemeteries Presently, there are records available for a number of cemeteries that existed in the 19th century, but most are not online. A list in English of all the burial societies in Israel http://genealogy.org.il/resources/burial-societies/ can be found on the IGRA website, and the list in Hebrew is on the website of the Ministry of Religious Services. A partial list of the burials for Safed http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php can be found on the AID site. Also searchable online are the  Petach Tikva Cemetery http://www.sgula.org/, the Jewish cemetery in Yafo and the Trupeldor Cemetery http://www.kadisha.biz/ in Tel Aviv founded in 1902, the Old Hevron Cemetery http://www.pikholz.org/Hevron/Hevron.html and part of the Mount of Olives Cemetery http://www.mountofolives.co.il/eng/cemetry.aspx?CID=420. Other possible resources are lists from Old Age Homes, if they are extant and can be located(16). Photographs Pictures of ancestors can tell you many things. The photograph may put them in a specific time and place. Some photographers had their names and location printed on the photograph. If the photograph is one of the following types, you will be able to give an approximate date to the photograph: daguerreotype (1839-1860s) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daguerreotype,  ambrotype (patented 1854) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrotype , ferreotype or tintype (patented 1856) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintype , or paper print (in North America 1859 to the present). The Library of Congress had digitalized thousands of photographs of the Holy Land http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=holy%20land&sg=true in its collections and made them available online. A website which daily presents one or two of these pictures is Israel’s History – a Picture a Day http://www.israeldailypicture.com/2012/06/whats-inside-introducing-table-of.html.  Notes & Resources A number of the above documents are in the process of being transcribed into databases and the names of the people will be transliterated. Keep an eye open for periodical additions to the IGRA AID collection http://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php. IGRA has an online list of archives and museums in Israel http://genealogy.org.il/resources/israel-resources/, which is updated continuously. A Genealogy Advisory Service at the National Library was instituted and appointments can be arranged by telephone 074-733-6400 or email reference@nli.org.il. See the bibliography at the end of this article:  Turkey: Ottoman and Post Ottoman http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/turkey-ottoman-and-post-ottoman. The Yad Ben-Zvi Institute https://www.ybz.org.il/?CategoryID=171 has a number of journals published in Hebrew dealing with the History of the Jewish Nation and Eretz Israel. For those of you with Sephardic and Oriental ancestors, I would suggest referring to the Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel http://www.avotaynu.com/books/TaggerKerem.htm  (17) by Mathilde Tagger and Yitzhak Kerem. It surveys the important archival collections of various institutions in Israel. For more extensive reading dealing with Sephardic Jewish women: Lamdan, Ruth. A Separate People: Jewish Women in Palestine, Syria and Egypt in the Sixteenth Century. Leiden: 2000. Makovetsky-Bornstein, Leah. “Immigration to Erez Israel from the Ottoman Empire in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries” (Hebrew). Shorashim ba-Mizrah: Kevatzim le-Heker ha-Tenu’ah ha-Zionit ha-Halutzit be-Kehilot Sefarad ve-ha-Islam 5 (2002): 71–96. Shilo, Margalit. Princess or Prisoner? Jewish Women in Jerusalem 1940-1914. Waltham, Mass. : Brandeis University Press, c2005 Footnotes and References (1)  Rosh Pina and the Early Census Data http://israelsdocuments.blogspot.co.il/2012/12/rosh-pina-and-early-census-data.html (2)  Liste des protégés allemands dans l’Empire Ottoman, Israel State Archives http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov_eng (3)  Register of Births at British Consulate Jaffa 1900-1904, National Archives (UK) http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ (4)  Index of Names of British Subjects Registered at the Consulate, Israel State Archives & Family History Library – microfilm collection (5)  Register of British Subjects in the Consular District of Jaffa 1860-1914, Israel State Archives http://www.archives.gov.il/ArchiveGov_eng & Family History Library https://familysearch.org/#form=catalog– microfilm collection (6)  Registry Forms of British Nationals Registered at the Vice-Consulate in Jaffa 1865-1914, Israel State Archives ibid & Family History Library ibid – microfilm collection (7)  Yemenites in Rehovot 1914, Archive of the History of Rehovot (website in Hebrew) http://www.rehovot-archive.org.il/ (8)  Register of Landowners Rishon Lezion 1881-1911, Museum for the History of Rishon Lezion (website in Hebrew) http://rishonlezion-museum.org.il/%D7%93%D7%A3%D7%94%D7%91%D7%99%D7%AA.aspx & Family History Library – microfilm collection (9)  Register of Rishon Lezion Residents Who Were Not Landowners 1882-1911, Museum for the History of Rishon Lezion (website in Hebrew) & Family History Library – microfilm collection  (10) Old Birth Registry 1900-1930, Museum for the History of Rishon Lezion (website in Hebrew) & Family History Library https://familysearch.org/#form=catalog – microfilm collection (11) Gymnasia Herzlia: A Hundred Years, Media, 2004. (12) Yemenites in Rehovot 1914, Archive of the History of Rehovot http://www.rehovot-archive.org.il/  (website in Hebrew) (13) Linat Hazedek, Museum for the History of Rishon Lezion (website in Hebrew) & Family History Library – microfilm collection (14) List of delegates in the Protocol of 9th Zionist Congress 1909 Central Zionist Archives Library http://www.zionistarchives.org.il/en/Pages/Default.aspx (15) בנות ציון וירושלים: ספר זכרון, פ.ב.גרבסקי – a second edition combining all the pamphlets was published in 2000. (16) List of the Deceased from the United Home for the Aged 1865-1904, Jerusalem City Archives http://www.jerusalem.muni.il/jer_sys/picture/Atarim/site_form_atar.asp?site_id=11638&pic_cat=1&icon_cat=5&york_cat=8&FromDate=  (website in Hebrew) & Family History Library – microfilm collection (17) Tagger, Mathilde A. & Kerem, Yitzchak, Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental Genealogical Sources in Israel, Avotaynu, 2006. Author: Rose Feldman Born in Chicago, Rose has lived in Israel over 47 years. She has a Master’s Degree in Research Methods and Measurement from the School of Education at Tel-Aviv University. Rose Feldman is on twitter as jewdatagengirl, Israel Genelogy, https://twitter.com/jewdatagengirl and IGRA_Hebrew https://twitter.com/IGRA_HEbrew, one of the administrators of the IGRA facebook https://www.facebook.com/israelgenealogy, and in charge of developing new databases for the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA). She was the webmistress of the Israel Genealogical Society for nine years. She has lectured at 6 IAJGS conferences starting in 2003, at the annual seminars of the Israel Genealogical Society and their branch meetings. She has been instrumental in the building of various databases on the IGS website and participates in the Montefiore Censuses Project http://www.montefioreendowment.org.uk/census/ . Rose was also the webmistress for the 2004 International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies’ conference which took place in Jerusalem and has four Kehilalinks sites on JewishGen for Mscibow http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Mscibow/, Ruzhany & and neighboring Kossovo http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Ruzhany/ in Belarus, Litin http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/litin/ and Kalinovka http://kehilalinks.jewishgen.org/Kalinovka/ in the Ukraine. She has a website http://www.tau.ac.il/~rosef/.[...]
Finding Tante Fanni, by Jeanette R. Rosenberg

Finding Tante Fanni, by Jeanette R. Rosenberg

No matter how experienced we are as genealogists, we probably all have brick walls in our personal genealogical research.  Here is a short article about one of my genealogy brick walls.  So far I have not managed to make any significant progress with this area of my personal family history research. Tante Fanni was my paternal Grandfather’s sister, my Great Aunt.  She lived in Israel, and when I was a young girl I can remember my parents receiving blue airmail letters from her on crinkled and very fragile see-through paper.  The letters were all handwritten, on both sides of the page and in very spidery looped writing, in German.  To be honest, I never really paid too much attention to the letters which arrived seemingly fairly regularly, at least as far as I recall, because I was unable to read them, let alone to understand what they said. Once when I asked my parents about Tante Fanni, I was told that even though I did not remember her personally, I had met her when I was almost 3 years old, when I visited Israel in 1967 with my parents and maternal KRACKO grandparents.  My Dad told me that we had been in Israel visiting his paternal cousins just at the start of the Six Day War. At some time (before I became interested in genealogy), Tante Fanni died.  This would have been sometime after the mid-1960s since I can remember her letters arriving, but before 1994, when I first started getting interested in my family history.  My task now is to find out what I can about her accurately identify her, and then to put her story into my family tree. What do I know? Since Tante Fanni was my paternal grandfather’s sister and I know that he was born in Czernowitz, Rumania, now Chernivitsi, Ukraine, it is likely that was as well.  However I don’t know exactly when she was born.  According to Uncle Joe, my Dad’s older brother who was born in 1922, who is 10 years older than Dad, and who can usually be relied upon for all the important facts about the family, my grandfather, Opa Markus was born on 16 August 1883. He was the son of Jona Mechel MERFELD and Jette or Jutte ROSENBERG.  Unfortunately, even Uncle Joe couldn’t help me with detailed information about Tante Fanni. The MERFELD or MEERFELD or MEHRFELD and ROSENBERG and TRESSER families lived in Czernowitz and, according to the family, there are multiple connections among the 3 families. For example, cousin Aharon TRESSER in Israel is a cousin twice over, and cousin Fifi SEGALL born in Israel as Sofia ROSENBERG, is her own cousin twice, because her parents were first cousins on both sides of their family. Also, our family name should be MERFELD (or MEERFELD or MEHRFELD) and not ROSENBERG. Opa Markus’s parents had only a Jewish marriage which required their offspring to bear their mother’s surname rather than that of their father.  I am told that having only a religious marriage and not a civil one, is called a “Stille Chuppah”. When Tante Fanni died, she was known to the family as Fanni LANDESMANN , who lived in Benei Brak with or near her late second husband Anschel LANDESMANN’s grown up married daughter from his first marriage. Asking other older members of the family for more information didn’t help much.  Nobody had any information; nobody knew the name of Tante Fanni’s step-daughter; nobody remembered the address where she had lived nor exactly where she was buried.  Looking for Fanni LANDESMANN, who had lived in Bnei Brak and was buried somewhere in Israel, was becoming impossible.  However, I know she existed, I have her photo:  This version of her photo is scanned and much enlarged from a larger photo of her standing with her brothers. What else could I find out? Uncle Joe gave me some old documents, including information about Opa Markus’s family that he had written down many years ago. The document, which is quite hard to read, but not as hard as I remember Tante Fanni’s letters to have been, contains a list of Opa Markus’s siblings, including Tante Fanni. The key part of the document is this: Roughly translated it says: My parents had 7 children, 4 are living and 3 are dead.  The 3 girls who died in Czernowitz were Gusta, Rosel and Cilli, and the living children were Markus, Maier Abram, Moses, and Fanni. Someone, most likely Uncle Joe, told me that Tante Fanni was married and had been sent with her family during the war to Transnistria, and that her first husband and children died there. My next task was to find out if there were Pages of Testimony [PoT] for her dead family.  I searched repeatedly for PoTs submitted by Fanni LANDESMANN, but found nothing.  Then I found PoTs for members of the MERFELD, TRESSER and ROSENBERG families submitted in Hebrew by Sidonie or Sidonia LANDESMAN.  By using the advanced search facility, I discovered that the same submitter had submitted no less than 47 names on Pages of Testimony.  The last names on all the PoTs are as follows: Tresser 14 Sztejnbach 2 Merfeld 7 Tutnower 2 Katz 6 Ungar 2 Pauker 3 Bader 1 Chusl 2 Cohn 1 Huczneker 2 Laufer 1 Rosenberg 2 Teper 1 Through various PoTs, I have worked out that Fanni and Sidonie or Sidonia are the same person.  When I asked others in the family about this, they have consistently denied ever knowing about it before I told them! When I got as far as the MERFELD PoTs, I found one submitted by her for Tzvi MERFELD who was born in Cernauti, Romania in 1898 to Arie and Etel.  He was a wood merchant and married.  Prior to WWII he lived in Cernauti, Romania.  During the war he was in Cernauti, Romania.  Tzvi was murdered in 1943 in Transnistria, Ukraine (USSR).  This information is based on a Page of Testimony (displayed) submitted by his wife.  Here was proof of what previously I had been told about Tante Fanni’s family. The wife’s name on the POT was shown as Sidonia LANDESMAN.  The same POT gives details of the couple’s 4 children, who had all died in Transnistria in 1943.  This was Tante Fanni’s family who had died in the Holocaust.  She had lost her husband and all 4 of her children: Michael Yona, aged 16 Rivke aged 12 Lea aged 7 Etel aged 2 This saddened me terribly, but I was also pleased that the entire family was recorded at Yad Vashem, so that they will always be remembered.  Finding the PoT that she submitted made me even more determined to find out about Tante Fanni. For a long time that was all that I could find, but during mid-2012, some of the Czernowitz birth record indices went online. [see: Czernowitz BMD Index Database http://czernowitz.ehpes.com/ then choose databases.] I found my grandfather Marcus’s birth record, and those of all his siblings, including those who had died.  Here is the reference for my Grandfather’s birth record:  Czernowitz Birth Record for 1883 Marcus MEERFELD son of Jona Mechel 1883 Page 258 Entry No 381.  For Tante Fanni, the record index read: Czernowitz Birth Record for Sidonie MEHRFELD, daughter of Ioine Mechel, Volume XIV, 1899, Page 292, Entry No 124.  As I write this, I await my copies of the 8 children’s birth records, ordered through a professional genealogist who will copy them for me from microfilms in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.  I will then know Tante Fanni’s exact date of birth.  Perhaps after that I might locate something more about her. Where else have I looked? I have researched in quite a number of different places to find out more about Tante Fanni.  When the Israeli cemeteries went online, I tried to see what I could find.  I found nothing.  I even had some help from a native Israeli professional genealogist who looked on the cemeteries websites in Hebrew for me, and she found nothing either.  Since I am sure that Tante Fanni is buried somewhere in Israel, I have to assume that maybe she is buried in one of the cemeteries where the records are not yet online.  I also attended a webinar about how to use the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) online databases in Hebrew and in English [see http://genealogy.org.il/] but again, I found nothing, neither about Tante Fanni nor about her second husband, Anschel LANDESMANN. What other information exists about Tante Fanni? Cousin Avital SAMOCHA has put the following on her family tree at MyHeritage,  http://www.myheritage.com.    My (very basic) Hebrew tells me this photo is of Anshel LANDESMANN, who was Tante Fanni’s second husband.  But, I don’t know if I can rely on this because she also labeled him Herman LANDESMANN in another photo. Cousin Avital does, however, have a copy of the same photo of Tante Fanni as I do. I can’t help wondering if perhaps it was I who sent it to her in the first place, since I am now sole custodian for all of our family’s old photos, as far as I am aware.  I know that much of Avital’s original data and quite a few of the photos she has on the website were taken from information I sent her. Postscript Since I began writing about Tante Fanni, the Czernowitz Birth records I had ordered have arrived.  The records were clearly written by someone who never contemplated having anyone read them afterwards.  They are a yet another example of totally illegible handwriting. The index had already told me that Tante Fanni was the youngest of the 8 children born to her parents.  Her birth record, above, notes the following, as far as I can tell: Birth Record for Sidonie MEHRFELD, daughter of Ioine Mechel, Volume XIV, 1899, Page 292, Entry No 124.  LDS Film Reference: 2395738-1897-66-Mehrfeld.  Born 5 August 1899, registered 10 August 1899.  Address Kalizanka 297, Czernowitz.  Daughter of Jütte, daughter of the late Mordche ROSENBERG and Rifke.  Ioine Mechel MEHRFELD attested that he was the father of the child. My work in reassessing all my papers and looking again for information about Tante Fanni suggests that one of my cousins in Israel believes that she died in 1968, which is much earlier than I would have thought, and that she is, according to one of her other nieces in Israel, most likely to have been buried in Zichron Meir Cemetery at Bnei Brak.  The same cousin suggests that Tante Fanni had 5 or 6 children, rather than the 4 listed on the PoT she wrote for her family.  This may well be true, given the high mortality rates of that time in Czernowitz.  If that is the case, then at least 2 would have died as infants, since they were not named on the PoT.  The search goes on. Next Steps I still don’t know when Tante Fanni died nor exactly where she was buried, and I would still like to contact her step daughter’s family, if only I knew her name.  Can you help?  If you can help me to find out more about Tante Fanni, I would love to hear from you. Jeanette Rosenberg London UK mailto:Jeanette.R.Rosenberg@googlemail.com Jeanette.R.Rosenberg@googlemail.com Phone: +44 208 958 5249 Skype: Jeanette.R.Rosenberg Jeanette Rosenberg is a professional genealogist & member of AGRA,(Association of Genealogists & Researchers in Archives) and holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies from Strathclyde University.  She’s a frequent researcher at archives in Germany, where she’s participated in local history seminars.  Jeanette is also a popular Jewish genealogy speaker around the UK.  She was appointed a GerSig Director in 2009 & leads for JGS Great Britain on Education & Mentoring, managing exhibitions, & is chair of the German SIG. Jeanette is a member of the Society of Genealogists, Anglo-German Family History Society & Guild of One Name Studies. [...]
Discovering our Past: The Good, the Bad and the Sweet by Michael Salzbank

Discovering our Past: The Good, the Bad and the Sweet by Michael Salzbank

My genealogical journey began, I imagine, like many others begin, while sitting shiva for a parent. In my case it was my mother who had passed away in 2002.  With so many relatives paying their respects it was only natural to wonder how we all were connected. I went to the attic to retrieve some old pictures to share with our visitors and there I discovered a treasure trove of genealogical information. Boxes that belonged to my mother's father, my grandfather, Joseph Freiman, untouched for nearly 36 years, filled with names, dates, and letters to and from my grandfather to countless relatives. There were scraps of paper where he listed the chronology of his life starting from his birth in 1886 in Gorodok to the burial locations of grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. He clearly wrote and saved all of this for this moment in time, when a descendant would come and want to learn about his ancestors. As an only child whose father passed away while he was only 2 years old, my grandfather longed to keep extended family very close. In 1919 he wrote his first letter to relatives urging them to stay in touch. His "Relatives Cult" came to fruition in the mid 1940s with family gatherings and a family newsletter. The mailing list he compiled and used from 1945 was my starting point. Some of the names had obvious connections but many were just mysteries of how and why they were included. It didn't take  long to learn that many of the people were relatives of his wife, my grandmother, Rose (nee Jorrisch) Freiman. This story is about the details I have pieced together about Rose's maternal grandparents, Leib and Chuma Honig - my great- great grandparents.  Anyone who has done even a minimum of research on his family tree knows that if you shake hard enough, a few "nuts" are bound to fall out, and it is also true that some of what we discover can be unsettling. The story of Leib and Chuma Honig is in part a sad one and I struggle not to be judgmental. We always knew of the Jorrisch name that was well documented within our family as we grew up. Rose's mom was Jennie who was married to Max Jorrisch. From my grandfather's lists and subsequent discussions with newly discovered cousins, I learned that Jennie’s maiden name was Honig. In fact it became quite clear that Jennie had 9 siblings all of whom made their way to America. I further learned that the youngest sibling, Gussie Honig was born in New York around 1880. Family lore apparently had it that when Gussie married in 1899, her parents decided to make "Aliyah" to Eretz Yisrael. As an observant Jew, without many observant relatives, I found that tidbit fascinating. What would compel a couple advanced in age (later I would learn they were in their 60s) to leave their 10 adult children and grandchildren in the United States to go to Jerusalem? I must admit I fantasized over their religious Zionism. My first order of business was to put first names to the Honig parents that now sat prominently atop my family Tree. The matriarch name was easy. I am fortunate to have a second cousin who shares my genealogical interest. During the past 10 years we have gotten to know each other fairly well. She had two incredible documents saved from our common great grandparents, Max and Jennie Jorrisch.  The first was a the Last Will and Testament of Chuma Honig, dated 1910, Jerusalem, Turkey that named Max Jorrisch as executor of her estate (attached). The second was a letter from the U.S. Consulate in Cairo, Egypt dated 1919 which informed Jennie Jorrisch that her mother, Chuma Honig, passed away some 18 months earlier, essentially from poverty and that her husband (no name) died shortly before that from cholera  . This letter was in response to a request from Jennie to learn of her mother's whereabouts. One can only imagine how difficult it was in the early 1900's to be in touch with relatives an ocean apart as well as living in Jerusalem under the Ottoman Empire during the upheavals of WWI. Learning her name was Chuma, probably a derivative of the name Nechama, was small "solace” after finding out that she died from poverty. What was Chuma's husband's name? As most of us are wont to do, we visited countless cemeteries. With 10 children (for 7 of whom I had detailed information), it should have been rather simple to determine his name from their headstones. I quickly learned that discrepancies can arise.  Some headstones had Leib and Leibish, but others had Yehuda Tzvi. From various sources I was able to quickly to dismiss the notion that there were half-siblings. It occurred to me that maybe the answer literally lies in Jerusalem. I wrote a letter to the Jerusalem Chevra Kadisha explaining that I am researching Leib (Yehuda Tzvi) & Chuma Honig who passed away around 1917 and I asked where indigent people may have been buried. I felt it was a long shot, since record keeping during the Ottoman Empire was suspect at best and  any deaths during WWI would be quite difficult to track. A few months after sending my letter, my wife and I were in Israel for a family simcha. After 10 days of a leisurely trip, we were having seudat slishi with my sister-in-law in Efrat, a few hours prior to our return flight to New York.  Out of the blue she asked me, "Did you contact the Rabbi?" I asked, “What Rabbi?" She responded,  "The one from the Chevra Kadisha." My wife's expression, as she realized that between our travel plans and the simcha, she had forgotten to tell me about the call, has become a comical adjunct to our Tree. It didn't take very long upon our return to call the Rabbi only to hear him say he couldn't find them. As he wished me luck he asked, "By the way do you know where they came from?” I told him, Galicia. He asked for a few more days. You can imagine my delight when the phone rang two days later with his words, “I found them; they are buried on Har HaZeitim and your great, great grandfather's yahrzeit is this coming Sunday, Asara B'Tevet”.  He then faxed me a copy of the hand written register, which listed their full names, including their respective fathers' names. I was shocked to see that the very same confusion over Leib's name was indeed reflected in this register. His death in 1906 lists his name as Leibish Tzvi on line 45 and under Chuma's death in 1916 it lists his name as her husband, Yehuda Tzvi.   My next adventure was to follow the paper trail, if any existed, for the letter from the government informing Jennie that her mother Chuma passed away. I contacted the National Archives in Washington, D.C., wondering if they would like a copy of the letter from 1919. In my description I referred to a file number on the letter to which the gentlemen told me a file at one time must have existed and he would look into it.  Within two weeks I received a set of copies of the entire file. Included was the original letter sent by Jennie Jorrisch (attached) to the Secretary of State and all the correspondence between the U.S. Consulate in Cairo and the British military. Through Ancestry.com I have been able to locate a few items on Leib, including an 1880 census, his petition for citizenship and even his passport application.  Using my grandfather’s lists and many hours chasing clues, I have pieced together 7 of the children and their descendants, with the hope that, in time, I will discover information about the remaining 3 children of Leib & Chuma Honig. As an epilogue, I mentioned above that sometimes our discoveries raise more questions than they answer and that those answers can be somewhat unsettling. Yes, I may have fantasized that Leib and Chuma were driven by a Zionistic zeal, but unfortunately I came across the index cards my grandfather used in 1951 to eulogize his wife, Rose. "Poor grandparents (Leib & Chuma) who couldn't live in peace here among their many children, so they went to the Holy Land to die there in peace.”  Rather depressing words.  Perhaps it gives some insight into why, with 10 adult children in the United States, they had to endure such financial hardship in Eretz Yisrael. I often wonder if this is something for which the descendants of Leib & Chuma need to “atone”.  One day I hope to unite their many children to form a fund to help the impoverished in Israel, which would aptly be called, “Sweet Consolations” (Nechama = consolation, Honig = honey). Michael Salzbank, 52, with his wife Barbara and two sons, Yosef and Zev, live in Kew Gardens Hills, New York. Through his research over the past 10 years he has discovered hundreds of new cousins living all across the United States and in Israel. [...]
New Strategies in German Jewish Research by Karen Franklin

New Strategies in German Jewish Research by Karen Franklin

From a lecture to the Colorado Jewish Genealogy Society January 14, 2013 I recently began working on a project to organize 50 years research files for a Jewish genealogist, Jon Stedman. The papers were fascinating. In addition to his family story, they documented how Jewish genealogy research has changed in the last half century. When Jon first sent for vital records in the 1960s, the cost was $1.00 each. Researchers charged him $2.50 or $3.00 per hour for their services.  Jon inhabited libraries and copied microfilms of newspaper articles; some he simply transcribed (pencil and paper).  He corresponded with mayors and archivists in Germany, and labored with scholars (including Cecil Roth) to extract the fine nuances of translations.   His trees were published in Malcolm Stern’s First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies. By the 1990s Jon was following JewishGen “religiously” to tutor himself about new methodologies. He had his DNA tested early on and kept up with every advance and discovery. He began to correspond with dozens of genealogists whose names would be familiar to those who have worked in the field. He cooperated with other genealogists who had already created family trees for large branches of their (mutual) families, lines that he had been unable to trace. The changes in Jon Stedman’s research strategy are a reflection of the growth and opportunities in our field.  There are now major genealogy sites, Geni, and MyHeritage (the former bought out by the latter) and its rival Ancestry, that include extensive family trees. Complete trees are also available on JewishGen’s Family Tree of the Jewish People, Geneanet, and a several other sites.  As a researcher, I always begin my research on these sites, to see if anyone else has already posted a tree.  And I also Google the family names (with two or three related ones in order to narrow down the options), because there could be personal family sites as well. Nowhere do these database opportunities affect the way family historians work than for German Jewish genealogists. There have always been a plethora of existing family trees for German Jewish families, and they are prominent among those on the databases mentioned.  As digitized archives collections go online (Leo Baeck Institute www.cjh.org), these trees also become more easily accessible within archival institutions. Thousands of researchers who have already completed trees have made them available online on their own web pages.  I recently had a breakthrough connecting an ancestor I found mention of only in a death record in NYC and was able to connect to a tree Alex had traced into the 17th Century. Digitized collections, general and geographically specific, have made documents so much more accessible. With dozens of sites offering networking (JewishGen) and digitalized or geographically specialized records, individual sites and DNA, new and experienced genealogists are challenged to rethink their strategies. Data from DNA testing continues to become more specific and as more people are tested, it becomes more valuable.  Not only can one find cousins, but sometimes a more detailed nuance of the relationship. DNA testing offers help for “brick wall” cases, and there are many success stories. But the most valuable treasure for researchers, one that has transformed opportunities for German Jewish research in the last decade, is the work of hundreds of dedicated historians in German towns who document, collect and make available genealogies and histories from their local area. These records may be available only in the towns or through local historians. These individuals, and now often organizations and museums, are often in contact with former residents and their families, but may not have the resources to locate the descendants of all emigrants who left in the 19th or early 20th century. On a recent trip to Germany, I discovered three towns that had a complete or almost complete genealogical record of all the families who had lived there. None of the documentation was to be found local archives. In the tiny village of Braunsbach, Elisabeth Quirbach and her husband Hans Schultz , founders of the Rabbinats Museum Braunsbach , have spent a decade documenting the former Jewish residents and their descendants. The same work has been done by the Jewish museum in Veitshochheim for its former Jewish residents. The Dokumentszentrum in Ulm has an extensive database of Jewish citizens of Ulm; the records are constantly updated. How can one locate these individuals and organizations? I Google the name of the town and “juedische” , which brings up the pages of Alemannia Judaica (http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/), a series of web pages developed for former Jewish communities in Germany. The bibliographies are helpful in identifying local historians. Colleagues who are listed in the family finder on JewishGen, and those who post on the Gersig discussion groups may suggest names of local experts with whom they have worked. Over ten years ago, Arthur Obermayer established the Obermayer German Jewish History Award. This honor is given to five individuals each year in Berlin to bring international attention to their activities that “study, interpret and reconstruct information about the Jewish life that flourished in Germany….” Recipients of the award are listed on the web site http://www.obermayer.us/award.  More about the award and the individuals who have been nominated is available online or through Arthur Obermayer’s office, a valuable resource for researchers. In closing, here is a story by way of illustration: I helped a friend whose grandmother had committed suicide bare two months before my friend was born. The grandmother had emigrated from Germany at the end of the 19th century and died shortly after the Second World War.  My friend was always puzzled and saddened that her grandmother had timed her death so cruelly. My friend knew little about her grandmother – not where in Germany she came from, nor anything about the family history. After identifying the grandmother's hometown, we sought to learn what resources were available and discovered a recently-published, lovingly prepared book by Hanno Mueller, Monica Kingreen and others about Jews from that area. The two-volume set had extensive histories for each family. It turned out that days before deportations began from the region in 1942, the grandmother’s cousins were found floating in the river and the father, whom the grandmother must have known as a child, was dead from an overdose of pills, surely a fate they found preferable to the camps.  We may never understand the complete story, but knowledge of the situation gave clarity and context to her grandmother’s life and death, and provided solace as well.  Could these stories have been found in some archive? Perhaps, but more likely, perhaps not. Karen S Franklin, an exhibit researcher for the Museum of Jewish Heritage, is Co-Chair of the Board of Governors of JewishGen.  A past president of the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies and chair of the Council of American Jewish Museums, she is currently a vice-chair of the Memorial Museums committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums). She serves on the Advisory Board of the European Shoah Legacy Institute. Karen was awarded the 2012 ICOM-US Service Citation. The citation is the highest honor of ICOM-US.[...]
Images of the Holocaust

Images of the Holocaust

(Note: This article, having been edited by the IGRA editorial board, was published as modified simultaneously in Mishpacha Volume XXXIII, Issue 2) by Peter Lande Over the past twenty years I have helped to develop and make available databases identifying hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims and survivors.  However, at least for me, the real image of the Holocaust remains elusive.  Perhaps it is the sheer immensity of the event that makes it difficult to envisage.  At the risk of offending survivors and family members of those who perished, the quotation “The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic” unfortunately seems to apply. This contrast was reinforced most recently when I attempted to identify by name and fate a collection of Auschwitz prisoner photos.  A word of explanation—in 1941 and much of 1942, prisoners were both assigned a number and were photographed. Unfortunately, most of these photos have been destroyed or lost, but of a small sample of the 30,000 that remained, about 2,500 men and women, was sent by the Auschwitz Museum to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), where I work as a volunteer. In addition, several thousand additional photos were sent to the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany. The photos are full face, right and left profiles, prisoner number, and, through the insignia on the uniform, type of prisoner, e.g. Jew, Jehovah’s Witness or Political Prisoner.  What was lacking was the name and ultimate fate, without which information the prisoners could forever remain anonymous. Although prisoner numbers were often used more than once, it was usually possible to narrow the search by consulting the picture for gender and type of prisoner. It was also possible to eliminate from consideration prisoners who arrived  after photographing had largely ceased due to a shortage of photographic paper.  Once I had a name, it was usually possible to develop further information, including the individual’s fate, by utilizing International Tracing Service and USHMM files.  I cannot guarantee 100 percent  accuracy,  but I am convinced that almost all are correct.  The resulting database for USHMM photos is available on the Steve Morse website (http://stevemorse.org) and will also appear on JewishGen. Family members may request copies of individual photos by contacting the Photo Archives at the USHMM.  I am also gradually, but separately, adding identification of the photos from the ITS, and at some future time, this list will become available on the web. Most of these prisoners perished in Auschwitz, often within a few months of the time that they were photographed.  In such cases, these are their last signs of life and death.  A small minority of the prisoners survived, in almost all cases, as a result of transfers from Auschwitz to other camps, and sometimes I was able to follow what subsequently happened.  Whether they perished or survived, these photographs are living images for me, far more than lists or even group pictures. In a different sense, the photographs illustrate the random nature of fate – why did prisoner XX survive while prisoner X perished, even though they both arrived on the same day and were the same category of prisoner?  What follows are a few examples taken at random that illustrate what occurred.  The first five were Jews, the next two Polish political prisoners and the final two Jehovah’s Witnesses.  There follows an unusual story of a different kind of prisoner. Bergsohn, Chaim #63038 born Feb 1 1919 in Makow, arrived September 1942 Transferred Gross Rosen/Dachau. Survived.  Emigrated Israel. Lyser, Wolf  #63041  born August 10,1910 in Hochenbourg,  arrived September 1942, Died December 24, 1942 Goldenberg, Wolf #67224 born June 22, 1911  in Galatz, arrived October 1942, Died January 31, 1943 Hakman, Alter Chaim  #37493 born August 22, 1901 in Wierzbica, arrived June 1942, Died June 27, 1942 Hakman, Rachmil #37495 born March 18, 1925 in Radom arrived June 1942, Transferred Greiffenberg.  Survived Porczek, Johann #21783 born October 7, 1900 in Birkental, arrived October 1941 Died March 15, 1942 Grosicki, Leonard #62441  born 1925 or 1926 in Ostrowiec, arrived September 1942, Transferred Buchenwald.   Survived. Returned Poland. Conclowski, Klara #45295  born 9 August 1899 in Tannhausen, arrived May 1943 Transferred Ravensbrück/Sachsenhausen.  Survived. Returned Germany. Solik, Heinrich #20049  born February 2, 1900 in Rybnik.  Arrived August 1941, Died November 22, 1941 The first thirty arrivals who received numbers in Auschwitz were Germans, and many appeared to have been “Berufsverbrecher” i.e. habitual criminals.  The prisoner who received the number 2 was Otto Küsel, born May 16, 1909 in Berlin and transferred from Sachsenhausen in May 1940.  He and others were assigned the role of “Kapos”, privileged prisoners and de facto overseers of other prisoners.  In December 1942, Küsel walked out of Auschwitz with three Polish prisoners. They went to Warsaw where he reportedly helped the Resistance.  In September 1943, he was captured and sent back to Auschwitz.  While escapees who were captured were usually publicly hanged, he was merely put into solitary confinement for some time and then transferred to Flossenbürg.  He survived there as well, and after the war testified at a war crimes trial.  He was offered honorary Polish citizenship, but declined. Knowing how unsatisfactory this might be for a family member, there can be no closure for most who seek information on family who were sent to Auschwitz since there is neither a date of transfer nor a date of death.  Only for a minuscule few do we have prisoner pictures.  For a tiny percentage of these, we might even have more.  In the case of Rachmil Hakman mentioned above, for instance, we know that he survived three years in Auschwitz, that he was transferred and that he survived.  Actually, we know a great deal about him, e.g. he was born 23/6/1926 or 1928 in Radom.  His parents were Ajzyk and Rojza Hakman.  He lists his professions as tailor, butcher and student. After the war, up until 1948, he lived in various displaced persons camps in Germany and sought to emigrate either to Israel or Canada.  Alas, we do not know where he finally ended up but perhaps a reader does and could let us know? Peter Landé was born in Germany of German parents but came to theUnited Statesas a young child.  He received a BA from Haverford College in 1952 and a MA from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.  He also studied at Hamburg University on a Fulbright grant. He joined the Foreign Service of the Department of State in 1956, serving in New  Zealand,Germany,Japan,India,Canada and Egypt, as well as in senior positions in the Department.  He retired in 1988 as Economic Minister in the US Embassy in Cairo. Since retirement, he has been active in genealogy research, writing and lecturing, with special emphasis on Holocaust records.  He works as a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington,D.C.In July 2001 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies for work in identifying sources of information on Holocaust victims and survivors. [...]
Hebrew genealogy terms

Hebrew genealogy terms

English Phonetics Hebrew Search chipus חיפוש Name shem שם Given Name shem prati שם פרטי Family Name shem mishpacha שם משפחה Father av/abba אב/אבא Mother em/ema אם/אמא Spouse ben / bat zug בן / בת זוג Son ben בן Daughter bat בת Brother ach אח Sister achot אחות Cousin ben dod / doda bat dod / doda בן/דוד[...]
Vabolnik Revisited: A Cemetery Documentation Project

Vabolnik Revisited: A Cemetery Documentation Project

by Ellen Stepak The cemetery is located just outside of the village of Vabalninkas, known by its Jewish inhabitants as Vabolnik, or Abolnik. Vabalninkas [55'58"/24'45"] is located in the Panevezys (Ponivezh) region, of the former Kovno guberniya, and is near Kupiskis (Kupishok) and Panevezys. The cemetery is spacious and green, with tall trees, and a quiet, restful atmosphere—in my mind, like an ideal place to "rest in peace". My husband Zvi and I have visited the cemetery twice. First of all, we were there in our first visit in Lithuania in 2002. At the time we were lucky to have Regina Kopilevich with us as our guide. In 2002, after visiting Belarus and Poland in 2001, we were already aware of the fact that most of the cemeteries of Eastern Europe had been destroyed during Soviet times, when the gravestones were legally taken as free building material. In Seta (Shat), for instance, the stones were taken to build a neighboring kolhoz, or Soviet collective farm, which now lies abandoned and in ruins. In other places, sidewalks were paved with gravestones. In Kupishok and in Janeve (Jonava in Lithuanian), a few gravestones have been found, removed and returned to the former cemetery, but presumably they are: not in their former positions (Jonava), or only approximately in their former position (Kupiskis). So in our two-days' shtetl visit, as part of Howard Margol's annual Lithuanian trip of 2002, when we found the Vabolnik cemetery in excellent condition, we immediately decided to work on documenting it. We soon learned that Regina is an expert in the field of cemetery documentation. In parts of two days we were able to document and photograph about 180 gravestones in nine rows, a large number of which were not legible. Also, many more gravestones awaited identification by another volunteer. However, meanwhile, that volunteer had not materialized. Therefore, since that visit, almost every year I have said, "next year in Lita". Finally 2011 came along and I had no good excuses for not going back. At the last minute Zvi decided to join me. We arrived in Vilnius on May 7th. Our driver for the next few days met us at the airport. Later that day we met with Regina to discuss our plans for the next three days. My great grandmother, Nehame Zlata Klots daughter of Shlomo and Sprintza Kling was probably born in the village of Vabalninkas. There is scant documentation for this village, but I found the record of her marriage in Kupiskis, among the records collected by the Kupiskis research group, and now part of the All Lithuania Database ofwww.jewishgen.org. This is our only source of information about her possible birthplace. Nehame married Movsha Klots, registered in Seta, on June 10, 1883 in Kupiskis. Why Kupiskis, which was neither the home of the bride nor of the groom? We don't know. Recently a new idea has taken over my thinking: just as my Klots family moved from town to town a few times, but remained registered in Seta, perhaps Nehame Zlata was living in Kupiskis, but registered in Vabalninkas. Contributing to this conclusion is the fact that much later her parents died In Kupiskis. Not a lot is known about the Jewish community of Vabalninkas. Recently a book was published, with photos taken by a talented photographer in the town, Juozas Daubaras. The name of the book is They Lived in Vabalninkas, 1925-1941, and it was published by the Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum in 2009. The book includes individual portraits, and group photos of members of the Jewish community at the time. The book’s introduction gives a brief but important description of the community. The famous and revered Rabbi Eliezer Menachem Man Shach, who later became Rosh Yeshivat Ponivezh in Israel, was born in Vabalninkas. There are no known gravestones in Lithuania for any member of my own family, either Klots or Kling. Still, I have left "no stone unturned"; although nothing of value to me personally has turned up, I have hopes that the data from the Vabolnik cemetery will at least be of help and value to others. (With so few records available for the town, and no spouse name, the grave for a woman named Bluma may or may not be for my ancestor of this name.) For whatever reason, documenting this cemetery had become something of an obsession of mine in the intervening years. Meanwhile, I have worked on other cemetery documentation projects, and therefore am aware of the work required. In Vabalninkas we drove to the Jewish cemetery, just outside the village, and immediately went to work. The cemetery has more or less three parts. The main section begins at the entrance, to the right of a large stone (see the above photo), identifying the cemetery. The marker gives the name of the cemetery in Yiddish as the alter beis olam (old cemetery).  The second section is also at the entrance, and consists of three short rows to the left and behind the cemetery marker, although the borders of these two sections are not entirely clear-cut. Many of the graves in this second section are for Rabbis of the community. In the data I have provided to JOWBR at JewishGen.org, I gave these three rows the letters AA, AB and AC. Other Rabbinical graves [see below for an explanation of Rabbinical] may be found scattered throughout the cemetery. The third section is at the back of the cemetery and extends up to the rear fence, but we did not give it a separate naming system. In addition to these concentrations of gravestones, there are a few scattered stones between the first and third sections. In our estimation, many more stones lie buried underground, in addition to those we found partially buried. On the first afternoon, Zvi and I worked on reviewing and photographing all of the first five rows of gravestones again. We were able to add a handful more gravestones in these rows to our documentation project, and to correct some data. Meanwhile, Regina worked on the section to the left at the entrance. We used no chalk or shaving crème, which, I have heard, may harm the stones. Altogether very few of the men were Cohens (3), judging by the cemetery, but many were Levis or children of Levis (26). The earliest burial we found dates from the very end of 1848 or the beginning of 1849 (Natan son of Yaakov, Tevet 5609); the latest burial we can confirm is from 1933 (Shimon son of Benjamin SLAVIN). 43 out of 166 men on the gravestones we were able to decipher—a large proportion of them—are listed as Rabbis or Rabbani, meaning Rabbinical, or men who had completed Rabbinical studies, though obviously not all were official town Rabbis. However, I have used the term Rabbi or Rabbinical for these burials. In about 95% of the cases, there is very little information on the gravestones. Most of them have the traditional P.N. (po nikbar=here is buried) on top—although many begin with “the memorial for…” (matzevat)—and most end with the traditional “May his/her soul be bound in the knot of life”. Most record only the given name of the deceased, the given name of his or her father, and the date of death. No spouse names were found, nor dates of birth. Therefore generally it is not possible to know if the deceased person was young or old, although occasionally we found a stone for an elderly man or for a woman who had lived “half her days”. One interesting exception to the lack of information on a gravestone is the one for Liebe daughter of Zalman, whose life is described in a long epitaph as a tale of woe. "Most of her life her mouth was sealed; she suffered sorrow most of her days." We wish someone could tell us the meaning of this stone. Only a handful of memorials have surnames, and it is not always possible to know if a second (or third) name is another given name or a surname. Many have the addition Halevi to their father's name, but I believe that this is not likely to have been a surname; therefore, I have not recorded Halevi as such in the database. Absolutely every letter of every word is in Hebrew, with the exception of a Yiddish spelling of some of the women’s names. The dates too are inscribed only in Hebrew. Altogether, we recorded data from rows A-X, and AA-AC. Some rows have only a few visible monuments. There are some typical Hebrew expressions on the tombstones. The expression eshet hayil (woman of valor) is not common, but exists. Almost every woman is tsnuah (modest). Muflag is a commonly used word describing deceased men. This word could mean elderly, or could mean learned in religious matters (or both). One expression which we have found on many stones is: shavak haim l'chol hai, meaning, roughly, "he left life to all the living". This expression appears on monuments for both men and for women; often this sentence is abbreviated. The condition of the gravestones is not good. A large number of them are illegible. They are generally primitive, and without symmetry or, in many cases, orderly lettering. There are almost no decorations whatsoever. There is no pitcher for a Levi, nor candlesticks for a pious woman. This may be an indication of the poverty of the community, because generally, the family had to pay the stone carver according to the number of letters, with more for decorations. Or, on the other hand, perhaps it is a sign of their piety, and lack of desire to use decorations. The soil is damp and uneven, and the rows are irregular, attesting to the shifting of the positions of the stones over the years. A few are under tree roots or have been incorporated into massive tree trunks. We couldn't expect ideal sun conditions, or else would have been able to work only an hour or so per day. Aside from the first day, our usual mode of working was as follows: Regina deciphered the inscriptions on the stones, with occasional help from Zvi and me; Zvi wrote the words of the inscriptions; and I mostly did the photography. When I had time, I tried to find additional stones hiding at the surface, or cleared away weeds from the stones not yet documented. In this manner, we worked quite efficiently, and dedicated only a couple of minutes or so per tombstone. Altogether we spent 14 hours at work in the cemetery. On the second day, we took a break in the middle of the day to visit Kupiskis, where we saw the large plaque placed in 2004 for 850 victims of the Holocaust in the former synagogue/current town library. In addition, we visited the town library of Vabalninkas, where we met the librarian, who showed us a ceremonial circumcision bowl. Then we searched for the ancestral villages of Baksenai and Klingi, two very old Kling ancestral villages mentioned in the 1842 Revision List for Vabalninkas. We drove through Baksenai (pronounced Bak shen’ eye). We believe we found the correct village of Klingi, from which, presumably, came the surname Kling. Currently it is a cluster of about four homes, without even a sign to identify it. The Revision List entry, as received from the Kaunas archives, reads as follows: Revision List 1834 of Vabalninkas Jewish Community of Upyte (later Panevezys) District Kling Getsel ben Shlioma and his wife Seine and daughter Iente, his sons—Shlioma and Leib Kling Gesel ben Shlioma and his wife Haia and sons—Shlioma and Tzemakh; Gesel's brother Mendel with wife Bluma and sons—Aron and Shlioma    [My conclusion: the latter Shlioma ben Mendel ben Shlomo was my great great grandfather; and Aron was his brother.] Under the heading Vabalninkas: 1842 list of Jews living in taverns and estates of Count Tyshkievich and paying box tax in Vabalninkas (I-49/11364) Mendel, son of Shlioma (Shliomovich), lives in Klingai (Klingi) village, pays 4 rubles Getsel, son of Shlioma (Shliomovich), lives in Baksenai (Bakshany) village, pays 4 rubles These two villages are near each other and near Vabalninkas. And that is as far as I am able to go back in time, unless and until someone finds more information in the records for Count Tyshkevich. On the third day, we returned to complete the section to the left of the entrance, and completed reviewing rows F through I, which were part of the original project from 2002. At midday, we took a break and traveled to Birzh for lunch. Regina took us to see the local Holocaust memorial. There, to our surprise, a lighted candle was burning. We returned to complete the work in the cemetery. From Vabalninkas, we traveled to Latvia, not far to the north, which, like Lithuania, is now a part of the European Community. So there is no border stop at all. Some questions remaining open are: (1) where were people buried before 1849? (2) did most of the Jews leave Vabalninkas by the early 20th century for other places, in Lithuania or abroad? This is because of the small number of gravestones from after 1910, in comparison to the last half of the 19th century. (3) when was the Jewish cemetery established? If they had used wooden grave markers, this might explain why there are no older grave markers; wood would have disintegrated in the damp environment of the cemetery. There is no way of knowing whether some of the gravestones were stolen, for use as building material, as in other towns. But the fact that few descendants of the Vabalninkas Jewish community have been able to find family graves in the database, seems to confirm that some were. There may have been another, earlier, cemetery. Or the community may have been given permission to establish its own cemetery late in history, and until that time, may have used the cemetery in a neighboring town. In any case, as far as I know, there are no remaining cemeteries in neighboring towns, and therefore no additional gravestones for the Vabalninkas Jewish community. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, in 1969 Ellen moved to Israel, and lived on a kibbutz for over a year. It was her second time in Israel. When she left the kibbutz, she moved to Jerusalem; for the past 40 years, she has lived in Ramat Gan. When her husband Zvi decided to go into business for himself, and started an investment business, she became a "silent partner". She has three children: Avner, Amir, who lives in Washington D.C., and Raquel; three granddaughters; and two cats. Since 1995, Ellen has been actively researching her family's roots, with ancestors from five modern-day countries. This has included traveling to ancestral towns, documenting old Jewish cemeteries in Lithuania and Germany, writing articles on topics related to her research, and translating material from Hebrew to English. It has been a rewarding, educational experience, involving contacts on four continents, not includingIsraelwhich is inAsia. Ellen has published two family books: about the Klots family of Lithuania, and the Werthans of Rotenburg an der Fulda. [...]
גנאלוגיה באיתור יורשים לרכוש

גנאלוגיה באיתור יורשים לרכוש

 גנאלוגיה באיתור יורשים לרכוש , מאת מיכאל סטרוד תחביבי כעיסוקי הינו איתור יורשים לנכסי נדל"ן נשכחים (לכאורה) בארץ ישראל אשר בעליהם[...]
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Elvis Presley’s Jewish Ancestry

Goodness… It’s been 35 years since the King passed on. According to an article in Tabletmag.com, Elvis’s great great maternal grandmother was Jewish and had a daughter who had a daughter who had a daughter that was Elvis’s mother. For a guy with Jewish ancestry, he sure did sing great gospel. I’ve spent hours relaxing and listening to Elvis sing some of the best gospel music ever recorded. Historian and biographer Elaine Dundy writes about Elvis Aron Presley’s Jewish heritage in her book “Elvis and Gladys”:  “…Nancy Burdine was married to Abner Tackett (Elvis’ great great maternal grandmother). Nancy was of particular interest to Gladys for her Jewish heritage, often remembering Nancy’s sons for their Jewish names Sidney and Jerome. Nancy and Abner had a daughter Martha who married White Mansell. The daughter which they named Octavia, nick-named Doll, who was Elvis’ maternal grandmother.” “…Doll and Robert had nine children. Gladys Love was the fifth daughter born followed by 3 more brothers and one sister. After his mother died, Elvis personally sought to design his beloved mother’s gravesite which included a Star of David on Gladys Love Presley’s tombstone. The decision was made by him in honor of his Jewish heritage. Something his mother was proud of and acknowledged to Elvis at a very early age. Read the full article. This article is republished with the permission of Leland Meitzler, author of GenealogyBlog [...]
Israelis who lectured at the 32nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Paris 2012

Israelis who lectured at the 32nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Paris 2012

Israelis who lectured at the 32nd International Conference on Jewish Genealogy Paris 2012 Alexander Avraham Yad Vashem Name lectures Behar Doron Prof. Rambam Medical Center Genetics of the Jews Roundtable: “Genetics vs Cultural” Bernhardt Zvi Yad Vashem Use of the International Tracing Service material YAD Vashem resources (for beginners) Yad Vashem resource (advanced level) Chelouche Evyatar Chelouche of Algeria – Legend vs Reality Corcos Sidey Director of Natural Museum, JerusalemGenealogy, Onomastic and migration in Morocco: The case of the Jewish community of Mogador / Essaouira (Morocco) Eshel Rose Mary Israel Genealogy Research Association Merchants & Potentates: Between North Afica (Lybia) & Europe Feldman Rose A. Israel Genealogy Research Association A New Resource to Find Your Relatives In Eretz Israel Golan Rony International Institute for Jewish Genealogy Jewish genealogy Halacha and ethics Gath Isak Nehtanel Prof. Haifa University A family tree hidden in a list of books [deliver by Laurent Kassel] Goldstein Michael President International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies, IGRA, IGS Jewish Genealogy in Europe Hayoun Victor From Genealogy of a family to a genealogy of a community Tombstones: a source for the onomastic search on the Jewish community of Nabeul (Tunisia) – with a slideshow Hoffman Carol Israel Genealogy Research Association, Litvak SIG Research your Litvak roots Litvak SIG General Meeting Horowitz Daniel IGRA, IAJGS, My Heritage Mobile applications for family data sharing Research Genealogical Resources in Israel from your couch My Heritage: the ultimate genealogy super search engine Kerem Yitschak Prof. Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece, Hebrew University of Jerusalem The descent of the Grana King Paul Israel Genealogy Research Association The 1724 Rural Census of Bohemian Jewry Kraus Avrohom Israel Genealogy Research Association Calendar Conundrums Levinson Lev-Zion Martha Prof. Israel Genealogy Research Association The Central Archives of the History of the Jewish People (CAHJP): an unparalleled resource [read by Garri Regev] Morozov Boris Prof. Russian State Humanities University, Tel-Aviv University Jewish sources in Russian Archives and how to find them Regev Garri Israel Genealogy Research Association Genealogy Societies in the age of Technology Stroweis Jean-Pierre Israel Genealogy Research Association International Institute for Jewish Genealogy A Methodology for Error Detection and Correction of Jewish Names Tagger Mathilde Israel Genealogy Research Association International Institute for Jewish Genealogy Virtual Reconstruction of a Destroyed Community during the Holocaust: The Sephardic Community of Vienna, Austria [read in English by Garri Regev] [read in French by J. Allouche] Zilberman Peninah Israel Genealogy Society Bon Voyage! Visiting your Family's Addresses: Strategeis, Planning, and Tips [...]
Jewish Cemeteries in Jerusalem**

Jewish Cemeteries in Jerusalem**

Jewish Cemeteries in Jerusalem** by Mathilde A. Tagger From antiquity, people have chosen a place outside the village or the settlement for burying the dead, with the graves being close to each other. This is how cemeteries were created. Throughout history, Jews have lived in the Holy Land, especially in Jerusalem, the spiritual center of the Jewish people. In time, Jerusalem became holy to Christians and Muslims, as well. Many cemeteries of all three monotheistic religions are located in Jerusalem, all of them outside the walls of the Old City. This article describes the Jewish cemeteries in our 3,000-year-old city. Mount of Olives Cemetery, the holiest and most ancient Jewish cemetery, is located on the western slope of the Mount of Olives opposite the eastern wall of the Old City. The Kidron Valley separates the Old City from the cemetery. The holiness of the Mount of Olives has been observed for centuries. According to tradition, it was the last place where the Divine Presence resided before leaving it with the destruction of the Temple. According to Zachariah's prophecy (Zach. 14:4), the End of Days will take place on the Mount of Olives. For dozens of generations, this cemetery was chosen as a burial place by the Jews of Eretz Yisrael, as well as by Diaspora Jews who came to die in the holy city of Jerusalem. Some tombstones date from Biblical times and are 3,000 years old. The famous 12th-century traveler, Benjamin of Tudela, who traversed the Mediterranean Basin, arrived in Jerusalem in 1173. In his detailed and valuable report of his trip, Benjamin relates that the Crusaders had destroyed many graves and used the stones as cheap building material. This sad situation has continued throughout subsequent generations. In his book, Yerushalayim Birat Israel, Zeev Vilnai cites Sfat Emet (Language of Truth), by Rabbi M. Hages, who wrote in 1707 that Jerusalem Jews had to pay large sums of money to the Arabs in order to ensure that the Arabs did not spoil the tombstones in the Mount of Olives Cemetery. After the War of Independence in 1948 and until the Six-Day War in 1967, the Mount of Olives was under Jordanian rule. During this period, not only were Jews prohibited from visiting the burial places of their relatives, but thousands of graves were totally destroyed. Since the 1967 war, many graves have been restored, and various hevrot kadisha (burial societies) have rehabilitated some of the plots. The Mount of Olives Cemetery, however, has a major maintenance problem. The cemetery lies in close proximity to the Arab village of Silwan. Especially during the last two years of severe confrontation between Israelis and Arabs, the marble covers of graves have been broken and many graves desecrated. Restoration of Mount of Olives Graves Project acts from 2009. It has an Information Center where one can get information about the various Mount of Olives sites and the cemetery. Staff members are available to help located the graves and names of people buried on the Mount of Olives. They can also assist you in arranging a memorial service. There are maps and books about the Mount of Olives available for purchase at http://www.mountofolives.co.il/eng/cemetry.aspx?CID=40 The Information Center also coordinated the activities of the volunteers on the Restoration of Mount of Olives Graves Project. Sambusky Cemetery is situated on the eastern slope of Mount Zion, close to the Zion Gate of the Old City. Rabbi Elazar Gelbstein, deputy director of the General Burial Society (hevra kadisha) in Jerusalem, reports that this cemetery is 300 to 400 years old; the last burials took place 200 years ago. Here, too, many graves were vandalized during the 1948-67 Jordanian rule. No burial society in Jerusalem takes care of this cemetery today. Rabbi Gelbstein states that as far as he knows, only Doron Herzog, a private researcher, has made a detailed survey of this cemetery. Herzog relates that the cemetery was to have been used primarily for extremely poor people who could not afford burial in the Mount of Olives Cemetery. In 1972, Herzog found 214 extant tombstones with short inscriptions. Asked about the origin of the cemetery name, Herzog speculates that the only plausible answer is that Sambusky derives from sambusek, a typical Jewish oriental food. Sambusek is a salted pastry shaped in the form of a crescent and stuffed with fried onions and mashed, boiled chickpeas, the whole pastry well-peppered. Indeed, this cemetery is shaped in the form of a crescent. Sanhedria Cemetery is named after the neighborhood in which it is located and where the famous burying places of the members of the Sanhedrin were excavated.* It was situated on the city limit bordering the Jordanian-controlled part of the city. Today the cemetery is no longer on the edge of the city, but is surrounded by the new neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol, Maalot Dafna and Shmuel haNavi. Opened in 1948 at the beginning of the War of Independence, when funerals at the Mount of Olives Cemetery became too dangerous with Arabs shooting anyone in sight, the first burial at Sanhedria took place in March 1948 for the 42 victims of a car bomb that exploded on Ben Yehuda Street, today part of the downtown pedestrian zone. Soldiers who at that time fell on the Jerusalem front also were buried in the Sanhedria Cemetery. Today, one can find there the graves of many Israeli personalities, and the cemetery is nearly full. The Jerusalem Burial Society also takes care of this cemetery; its records are fully computerized. Sheikh Badr (or Givat Ram) Cemetery is located near the new buildings of the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the central-western part of Jerusalem. This cemetery was opened in 1948 when burials in Sanhedria Cemetery became too dangerous because of heavy bombing close to Mount Scopus. Sheikh Badr Cemetery has approximately 2,000 tombstones. When the military cemetery on Mount Herzl was established in 1950, all the soldiers who were buried in the Sheikh Badr Cemetery were reinterred there, except for those whose families opposed reopening the graves. On September 9, 1950, a funeral procession of nearly 200 fallen soldiers crossed the city to Mount Herzl, where they found their final resting place. The General Burial Society and the Jerusalem Burial Society both take care of the Sheikh Badr Cemetery. Shaare Zedek Plot is located in the yard of the old Shaare Zedek Hospital building, close to the Mahane Yehuda Market on Jaffa Road This cemetery holds about 70 graves, all under the supervision of the General Burial Society of Jerusalem. The first burial occurred on July 20, 1948, and the cemetery remained active for about two years. Since then, few burials have taken place there, the last of the one in 2003. All the computerized records can be found at the Burial Society office. Mount Herzl Cemetery may be divided into three sections: Herzl's Grave. Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism, died on 20 Tamuz 1904 in Austria and was buried in Vienna. His remains were transferred to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, on August 17, 1949, 45 years after his death. His grave is on the peak of the highest hill in the city (835 meters). Bags of earth from all the Israeli cities, villages and new immigrant camps were brought to the burial place and emptied in the grave to cover it. Close by are the graves of Herzl's family; Vladimir (Zeev) Jabotinsky, the Zionist Revisionist leader, and his family. The Plot of the Nation's Leaders. Situated close to and north of Herzl's grave are buried all the former presidents of Israel as well as their wives. The exceptions are Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, and his wife, Vera Rivka née Chatzman, who are buried in Rehovot, close to the Weizmann Institute of Science and Ezer Weizmann, 7th president of Israel who is buried in Or Akiva, along his son and daughter-in-law. Israel's prime ministers and their wives are also buried here. Exceptions are David Ben Gurion and his wife, Paula née Monbaz, who are buried in Sde Boker in the Negev, and Menahem Begin and his wife, Aliza née Arnold, who are buried in the Mount of Olives Cemetery Knesset (Parliament) speakers and their wives are buried here. All the tombstones are identically designed, except that of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was murdered on November 5, 1998. Mount Herzl Military Cemetery is located on the northern slope of Mount Herzl, close to the Memorial Mount of Yad Vashem Soldiers who fell in the battlefields of Jerusalem and Hebron during the War of Independence in 1948 were the first to be buried here. A special memorial to the soldiers who fell during the cruel battle in the Old City of Jerusalem and other memorials were established here. One is in remembrance of Eretz Israel volunteers who served in the British army, and another commemorates the victims of Dakar, the submarine that sank in the Mediterranean Sea on its way to Haifa. The tombstones of the officers and soldiers are identically designed. This cemetery is under the care of the Department to Perpetuate the Memory of Fallen Soldiers (Hamhlaka Lehanatzahat Hehayal), part of the Israel Ministry of Defense. British Military Cemetery. Jewish soldiers who served in the British army during World War I and fell by the end of 1917 during the battle for the conquest of Eretz Israel are buried in a special plot of the British Military Cemetery on Mount Scopus, close to Hadassah Hospital. Har haMenuhot (Mount of Quietude) in Giv'at Shaul, the largest cemetery in Jerusalem, is situated at the entrance to the city on a hill along the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway. The cemetery opened in December 1951. Burial Societies Funerals in Jerusalem are conducted by several burial societies (hevrot kadisha), some of them connected to specific communities, such as the Babylonian (Iraqi) or the Yemenite community. Each hevra kadisha is allowed to bury the deceased only in plots determined beforehand in either of the two active cemeteries, Mount of Olives and Har haMenuhot and recently at the somehow enlarged Sanhedria Cemetery.  The burial societies maintain registers in which they record the details of the deceased. The records include surname, given name, father's given name, death/burial date and grave plot/row. Some societies have kept their records for more than a century, and many records are computerized or will be in the near future. All existing burial records throughout Israel, not only in Jerusalem, are written in various Hebrew scripts, such as Ashkenazi, Sephardic Solitreo and Oriental cursive handwritings. Generally, burial societies' personnel speak only Hebrew, although Yiddish is spoken by the Ashkenazi personnel. Requests for information should be written in Hebrew or in Yiddish for Ashkenazim; most do not know English. Helkat Mehokek Database When speaking of cemeteries in Jerusalem and of death records, one cannot ignore the contribution of Rabbi Asher Leib Brisk, a yeshiva student who lived at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries. Brisk planned to transcribe all the tombstone inscriptions in the Mount of Olives Cemetery but died before he could finish his work. The inscriptions he succeeded in transcribing cover the period 1760-1906 and gradually were published in Hebrew in four booklets entitled Helkat Mehokek. In 1913, all the booklets were bound into a single volume, arranged by the numbers of the plots and rows. For some entries, the author added information he found in the registers of the burial societies. The original booklets are available only at the library of the Ben Zvi Institute (13 Ibn Ezra Street, Rehavia). Each booklet includes an index arranged by given name. The book, bound in 1913, does not have an index. A searchable database in Hebrew and the transliterated data has been built using all the numerous details found in this book One that includes 8,083 tombstone inscriptions: 1,400 for Sephardic Jews, 2,000 for children (many of them without identity), and 4,600 for Ashkenazi Jews. Details for each person are surname (mostly missing among the Ashkenazim); given name; spouse's given name (especially for widows or widowers); father's given name; burial place (plot, row, place in the row); date of death; place of birth (mostly Ottoman Empire cities for the Sephardim and Eastern Europe localities for the Ashkenazim); and biographical details when available, such as a family link, a position, a physical problem (generally when the deceased was blind or lame). A major difficulty was to decipher the birthplaces in Eastern Europe, whose spellings are mostly in Yiddish. The book, Where Once We Walked, by Mokotoff and Sack, was of great help, as were old maps. Another difficulty society volunteers encountered in some of the transcriptions was the use of unusual abbreviations of names and words and the dozens of acronyms, some invented by the author without explaining their meaning. Notes and bibliography: * The Sanhedrin was the legislative and executive authority from the time of the Second Temple. This council was composed of 71 sages. References Levinson, Yehoshua. Har Hatsofim (Mount Scopus). [Hebrew]. Tel Aviv: Maarokhot, 1960. Mokotoff, Gary and Sallyann Amdur Sack. Where Once We Walked: Revised Edition. Bergenfield: Avotaynu, 2002. Pickholz, I. "Report on a Visit to the Sheikh Badr Cemetery in Jerusalem." Sharsheret HaDorot 14, no. 2 (2000). Tal-Toledano, Yaakov. Letter to the Editor (on Sheikh Badr Cemetery). Sharsheret HaDorot 14, no. 3 (2000). Vilnai, Zeev. Yerushalayim, Birat Israel. (Jerusalem, the capital of Israel). Jerusalem: Achiever, 1960. ** This article is reprinted with the permission of Avotaynu, Volume XIX, Number 3, Fall 2003. It has been updated for publication here July 2012. Mathilde Tagger has an MA degree in Library & Information Sciences from the Hebrew University (Jerusalem) and has been involved in genealogical research since 1986. In 1997 she created the Sephardim SIG, the very first one of its kind in the world. She has published many articles in various genealogical journals (Israel, US, France). Jointly for the last years, she built tools for Sephardic genealogical research that are parked in www.sephardicgen.com (a total of almost 100,000 surnames). She was the coordinator of the genealogical projects prepared for the 24th IAJGS International Conference held in Jerusalem in July 2004 and has conducted half of them. She is the co-author of "Guidebook for Sephardic and Oriental genealogical Sources in Israel. Avotaynu, 2006" awarded by the Association of Jewish Libraries.  She received the 2007 IAJGS Lifetime Achievement Award. She received the 2008 award of "Yakir IGS". From 2008 she is the head f the Digitization team of the five Montefiore censuses of Eretz Israel Jewish population in the 19th century.  Mathilde Tagger is an active member of the Israel Genealogy Research Association since its creation in July 2011. [...]
History, Fiction and Genealogy

History, Fiction and Genealogy

 History, Fiction and Genealogy by Hank Skirball Genealogy - An account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor; the study of family pedigrees History - A chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes; a branch of knowledge that records and explains past events Although, I assume, most of us have come to genealogy through an interest in learning about our own forbears and roots, we have already, long ago come in contact with this discipline through literature and history. These disciplines overlap and, at times, it is difficult to determine when one begins and the other ends. For example, when one studies the history of England, he or she has to learn the list of royalty.  We often speak of pretenders to a throne or fratricidal wars and intrigues. In literature, including historical fiction, such as novels by Charles Dickens, James Michener's The Source and librettos by W.S. Gilbert (of Gilbert and Sullivan fame), the denouement often involves pedigrees and family history.  With regard to history, when we write our own family history, we can not ignore the setting and the contemporary events which shaped the lives of our predecessors. Recently I read three books which utilized genealogy.  One I would call horizontal, one vertical and the third an intriguing hybrid of "vertihorizontal". Reconstructing a Shtetl The horizontal is entitled Konin: One Man's Quest for a Vanished Jewish Community.1  The Konin Jewish community in central Poland was founded around 1300 CE and disappeared during the Nazi occupation.  Theo Richmond, a descendant of Jewish inhabitants of that village, spent seven years traveling  across the US, Europe and Israel, interviewing survivors of that Jewish community and their progeny.  "In Manhattan he meets tailor Louis Lefkowitz, chairman of a Konin society, a survivor of 21 Nazi camps. In Florida he interviews Sarah Trybuch, who, carrying her baby daughter, fled into a forest and joined a Jewish partisan group fighting the Germans. Other survivors tell of Jewish prisoners' doomed, courageous revolt in a Gestapo-run Konin slave labor camp."2 He searched in a number of archives and ended up interviewing present day non-Jewish denizens of Communist Konin. From this he was able to reconstruct in detail the Jewish community - socially and geographically - of the prewar period. It was almost a time warp in reverse when he visited Konin decades after the destruction of its Jewish quarter.  Fletcher, William and Dorcas The vertical is entitled The Grave Tatoo.3  The book opens with a five generation descendant family tree chart for one Dorcas Mason4 who, according to the story, was a loyal house servant to the British romantic poet William Wordsworth (1770-1850).   This is a whodunit which takes the background from the historical conundrum of the true fate of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the mutiny on the Bounty and of his indirect (friendship) and direct (distant relative) relationship with Wordsworth.5  I won't be a spoiler and reveal the denouement, but merely point out that the plot unfolds as Dorcas's current descendants are murdered one by one.  The Missing Denizen of Leopoldstadt6 The intriguing  hybrid of vertical and horizonal is entitled The Little Book, 7 written by an educator, Seldin Edwards, of the southwest California area,8  This is his first book which he worked on for 33 years. The protagonist of this time-travel adventure is Wheeler Burden9 born in 1942, a scion of a Boston Brahman family who is a handsome, successful athlete, rock singer, philosopher and all around personality.  In prep school, he is mentored by Arnauld Esterhazy, a former Viennese intellect and inspired to love Vienna "as it was" in the late 1890's. We learn a good deal of Wheeler's parents and grandparents. Wheeler's paternal grandmother may have descended from Jewish stock and his mother, Flora Zimmerman Burden, was Jewish, making him halachicly Jewish, even if he did not practice Judaism. In 1988, at age 47, he is injured in San Francisco and wakes up in Vienna 1897.  He meets and befriends many of the greats of the mostly Jewish born Young Vienna group and the Secessionist painters.10 He supports himself in Vienna by telling the story of his life to a doctor named Sigmund Freud, who was then 41 years old. He also meets his father who was a hero and martyr in the French Maquis (underground resistance group) during World War II, his paternal grandmother and grandfather and many others including Mahler, Churchill, Mark Twain and the seven year old Adolph Hitler.  The recreation of Leopoldstadt II,11 the former Jewish Quarter, is thorough and competent. One of the overall themes is the increasing Viennese anti-Semitism, fueled by the infamous mayor, Karl Lueger.  The overall portrayal is brilliant, but I was left with a question.  Where was Theodor Herzl, then 37 years old? Having looked at Edwards's background and pedigree for four generations, I do not think he is Jewish.  There is a Talmudic expression, "If one embraces too much, one has embraced nothing." or "If you take hold of too large a thing, you may lose your hold".12 Certainly, he could not be all inclusive and had to make decisions where to stop. Perhaps I am parochial, but when one sees who was included, however, it is mystifying that with some of his main themes, he has omitted even a mention of Theodor Herzl. Amos Elon has written, "Like Freud, Mahler and Schnitzler, [Herzl] epitomizes the very essence of the Viennese soul."13 A major theme in Edwards's book is the rise of anti-Semitism.  In 1881 Herzl, at University of Vienna, joined the Albia fraternity (Germanophiles).  He quit two years later due to their anti-Semitism.  As is well known, Herzl covered the infamous Dreyfus trial and considered political Zionism an answer to anti-Semitism. On the internet, I found maps of Vienna's inner city from the years 1895 and 189814 and a city directory from the year 1898. By cross checking, I could find out who were neighbors of whom and, perhaps most likely to go to Cafes Griensteidl and Central as their "watering holes".15 From 1896 to 1898, Freud and Herzl lived on the same small street. Freud had his home and clinic at 19 Berggasse16 and Herzl lived at 6 Berggasse.17 Herzl's wife Julie suffered from severe depression.18  Could he have sent her to Freud's clinic? We know that Freud did visit Max Nordau in Paris and we are told that Freud, not a nationalist, nevertheless sympathized with Herzl whom he felt was a soul mate in that, like himself, Herzl was berated and derided for his ideas. Herzl published  The Jewish State in 1896, wrote many sketches and was a successful playwright, having written 15 plays, several of which played at some of Vienna'a most prestigious theaters,  including the Burgtheater Wein.  Freud entered in his diary that after seeing Herzl's play The New Ghetto in 1894, he twice dreamt of him.19 More than once, Edwards mentions the major influential liberal European newspaper which Freud read almost daily, (including news about the First Zionist Congress in 1897) Neue Freie Presse of which Herzl was feuilleton writer, Paris correspondent and finally, literary editor.  Freud wrote to him, asking him to review his book The Meaning of Dreams. Both men were close to Arnold Schnitzler, but Freud's friendship did not commence until after Herzl's death. Freud's daughter, Anna said that she did not think her father ever met Herzl.  It is said that they both frequented the same coffee house Cafe - Restaurant Griensteidl20 and later Cafe Central, often at the same time, but that they never met nor spoke. Freud spoke of mysticism and prophecy.  Herzl wrote in his diary on  September 3, 1897,  a few days after the First Zionist Congress  in Basel, "Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word — which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly — it would be this: At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. Perhaps in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it." In fifty years plus three months, (November 29, 1947) the United Nations passed a resolution giving international recognition of a Jewish state in Palestine. Winston Churchill, addressing Parliament in 1949, said: "The coming into being of a Jewish state in Palestine is an event in world history to be viewed in the perspective, not of a generation or a century, but in the perspective of a thousand, two thousand or even three thousand years."  If Herzl was the father of political Zionism, certainly in this day and age, his influence - through the State of Israel - rivals that of Freud and overshadows many others featured by Edwards. Perhaps I am being petty or oversensitive, but while it is true that a Hungarian family named Esterhazy was prominent in Vienna and its surroundings, (we know that Josef Haydn was one of the count's musicians), still, I wonder, with all of the myriad names he could give his sub-hero, why did he pick Esterhazy when the man who framed Alfred Dreyfus was Major Ferdinand-Walsa Esterhazy? In sum: Genealogy is ubiquitous in studies of the past and present. It deals with nature and often nurture. When people enter this fascinating field, they will meet it in history and mythology, sociology and literature.  It is more than collecting names of relatives.  One learns of new tools and sources to solve puzzles and conundrums and, hopefully, will discover and meet new relatives. 1. Richmond, Theo. Konin: One Man's Quest for a Vanished Jewish Community (New York: Pantheon, 1995) 2. Publishers Weekly 3. McDermid ,Val. The Grave Tatoo (New York: St. Martin's Minatour, 2007) 4. I find it interesting at how many Dorcas Masons turn up on Google from England and the US.  Several of them are in the right time span and are parts of noted family trees.  McDermid probably created the character as a montage from the Westmoreland Church notes in Grasmere parish in the Cumbria Lake District in Northern England. http://www.northofthesands.org.uk/westmoreland/parish/43/grasmere, under Carr, Carter, Dixon, William Mason and William Waters of Thornhow. 5. Also some claim that he was in touch with Samuel Taylor Coleridge and is the "Ancient Mariner" of Coleridge's epic poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. 6. I wish to acknowledge help I received in this research from Michael Livni and Joseph Hoffman (no relation to the renowned architect of the same name in fin de siecle Vienna). 7. Edwards , Selden. The Little Book (New York: Dutton, 2008) 8. A fourth generation Californian, born in 1940, he graduated Princeton, earned a masters in education at Stanford and a doctorate at Pacifica Graduate Institute, he taught English and was headmaster of a number of private schools in Illinois and California.   At last sighting, he lives in Carpinteria, CA. 9. He resonates with me, in addition via Viennese visits, since we are both native Bostonians who attended prep schools in the Boston area and graduated Harvard.  (Edwards attended Nobles and Greenough prep school in Boston, I attended Browne and Nichols in the same athletic league). 10. A few of the prominent Jewish members of the Jung Wein and the Wiener Sezession  were Raoul Auernheimer, Hermann Bahr, Reichard Beer-Hoffman, William Hechler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Oscar Kokoschka. Karl Kraus, Fritz Mautner, Felix Salten (author of Bambi), Arnold Schnitzler and Otto Weininger. 11. Now known as Die Bermudadreieck (Bermuda Triangle) 12. .b.Rosh Hashannah 4b; b.Yoma 80a, etc. 13. Elon, Amos. Herzl (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1975) 14. Among others, http://www.historicmapworks.com/Map/WM/1119/Vienna/; http://img1.etsystatic.com/il_fullxfull200971369.ipg; http://alabamamaps.ua,edu/historicalmaps/eorope/central_europe/vienna.html 15. http://www.digital.wienbibliothek.at/periodical/titleinfo/5311  Choose 1891 – 1900.  From that you choose 1897 and 1898. There are two volumes: Namenverzeichnis [names] Volume 2 and Strassenverzeichnis [streets] in Volume 1). 16. Today a Freud museum 17. After marrying, (1889) he lived in Mark Aurelstrasse -east of the Altes Rathaus.  Today near that site is the Theodor Herzl Stiege (staircase) on Sterngasse.  At the time of his death, (1904) he was domiciled on Haizingergasse A-1180 Vienna 5. 18. Julie was a "severely disturbed young woman ... she was hysterical, given to temper tantrums and to childish moods, impulsive and spoilt. She suffered from a very serious borderline personality disorder." - Avner Falk, Herzl, King of the Jews, A Psychoanalytic Biography of Theodor Herzl (New York: Lanham, University Press of America, 1993) pp104, 108.   "From the psychiatric point of view, there is no doubt that the psycho-pathology of Julie Herzl, her excessive irritability and instability of character, as well as the elements of degeneration of the Naschauer family, have contributed to the heritage of disease and to the decadence of the Herzl children." - Arthur Stern, The Genetic Tragedy of the Family of Theodor Herzl (Israel Annals of Psychiatry and Related Disciplines 1965) 3:110-111.  For a while Herzl considered sending her to Freud's teacher, but was afraid that if he did, she might become suicidal.  It is ironic that Herzl's son Hans went to Freud for help in London a few days before he committed suicide. 19. http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=cps.014.0357a;  Leo Goldhammer, Herzl and Freud (New York: Herzl Year Book, Volume I, 1958) pp 194-196 20. 1010 Wien, Michaelerplatz 2 Hank Skirball is an amateur genealogist who has worked discovering his roots for over a quarter of a century.[...]
My REZEKNE

My REZEKNE

My REZEKNE by Esther Rechtschafner Introduction A few years ago, a cousin of my father wrote me that my paternal grandmother was born in Rezekne, Latvia. Since my Father was orphaned of his Mother at an early age, he did not speak much of his family. I decided then, that I wanted to know more about this place. This was the goal of my research. This was the beginning of my research on Rezekne, which subsequently led to my research of the places in Eastern Europe that my family came from. Historical Background of Jews in the City Rezekne is located in eastern Latvia, in the Latgale district. The city changed hands a few times: in 1561, the local government was then under the rule of Poland-Lithuania; with the first division of Poland, it became part of Russia. It became the capital of the district of Vitebsk, in 1802.The Latvian name of the city is Rezekne, the old German name is Rositten, and the old Russian name is Rezhitsa; the Jewish name is Rezhitse, other used names are Rezehne, Rezhitza, Rezitza, Rjeshiza, Rjetschiza, and Rzezyca. Rezekne was considered one of the important Jewish communities in Latvia. Jews in Latvia were culturally influenced by German Jewish culture, Lithuanian and Byelorussian Jewry; however assimilation didn't develop here as in Western Europe. The languages that the Jews spoke were Yiddish and Russian. The Jewish community in Rezekne was founded in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The Jews were then expelled from the neighboring village of Makashani (about 18 kilometer away). They took the “Holy Ark” with them, and placed it in the “Brick Study-Hall". A Study-Group for learning Mishnaot began in 1786. At this time the Jewish population of the city was about five hundred, which was about seventy-five percent of the total population. Some Jews were still buried in the Makashani Cemetery until the 1880's. This Jewish community became an important segment of the city. The Jewish population was constantly changing. In 1815 the Jewish population was 1,072, which was 90% of the total population and in 1847 there were 542 Jews in the city. Jewish Life in the City at the End of the Nineteenth Century Most Jews worked as merchants, or artisans, such as tailors. Many merchants sold their goods in the Vitebsk district. Jewish community life consisted of: schools, synagogues, social organizations and charity organizations. There were eleven synagogues and ‘study-halls'. Children studied in “chedarim”, in modern “chedarim”, and in “Talmud-Torah”. A library was founded, as the community recognized the importance of books, and collections of books. until 1858, the Chief Rabbi of the city was Jona Mann. In 1858, he and his family came on Aliyah and lived in Jerusalem. His son a was teacher and judge. The next chief Rabbi was Rabbi Azriel Jephet, who was descended from a long line of Rabbis and scholars. The Chief Rabbi of the city from 1861 to 1900 was Isaac Zioni, known as “Reb Itchala”, the son of the Rabbi Naphtali Zioni of Ludza. He was the author of “The Ascending of Isaac”. Religion was very important in community life. In 1851, Jewish merchants were permitted to live in the new part of the city, except for the vicinity of the Russian Orthodox Church. Then most of the Jews lived on the outskirts of the city. The Jewish population grew steadily. In 1863 there were 1,731 Jews, in 1883 there were 7,216 Jews, and in 1897 there were 6,478 Jews in the city. This was 60% of the total population.  At this time many Jews immigrated to the U.S.A. or South Africa. The Jewish community suffered from economic problems in the 1880's. This caused problems between licensed and not licensed teachers. The police fired all of the teachers who were not licensed and teaching in “chedarim”. The Jewish community board succeeded in making an arrangement with the local government. In 1888, the Jewish civil workers and notaries were suddenly fired. At approximately the same time, the body of a Jewish boy was found. He was killed because the horse that he was riding wasn't galloping fast enough. The police were associated with this murder. The conditions of the community institutions improved in the 1890's. The “Talmud-Torah” moved to a larger building, which was donated by an honorable member and philanthropist of the community. It was operated by government funds, and with the hope that this would help raise the education level, and the problem of conscription to the army; but the latter didn't improve. The local prince came to visit this school, and gave his approval. A government boys' school was opened, which offered a four year education program, and was open to Jewish boys from the surrounding area. The Russian teacher Savko founded a private girls' gymnasium. Most of the students here were Jews. There were also problems with the youth who didn't want to study and made friends with the Christians. They spent time with them in the cleaner, southern part of the city, on the other side of the brook, which separated the Jews from the Christians. They were known as “American children”. The school children didn't always act with respect to school property, and some seemed to be only interested in nice clothing. An attempt at organizing Zionist activities was made by Rabbi Chaim Joseph Jaffa. He preached the importance of Aliyah, and of cultural and financial backing. He collected books that praised the land of Israel, and stated that sometimes these books were more important than meetings. The organization was discontinued when he left Rezekne to come on Aliyah. Zionist Activities officially began in 1891, when the “Chovevei-Zion” (lovers' of Zion) Organization acquired land in the Land of Israel and were among the founders of the agricultural settlement of “Ein-Zaitim”, located in the vicinity of Sefad. The original plan for this settlement was made by the “Dorshei-Zion” organization and “Organization of the Thousand” of Minsk who in turn sold land to members of the Jewish community of Rezekne, in 1891. A few Jews did settle there. The song "במחרשתי", which explains the joy of working the Land of Israel, and signifies the beginning of the settlement of the Land of Israel, was sung by the youth of this period. One of the few things that my father did tell me of his mother was that she used to sing this song, and that she learned it together with other young people in her hometown.  Jewish Life in the City at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century From the beginning of the twentieth century, there were two Chief Rabbis. The Rabbi of the poor segment of the population was Rabbi Dushovich, known as “the Chadrinker”, and the Rabbi of the wealthier was Rabbi Chaim Lubocki, known as the Kablinker. He was in this post from 1913. He was a Zionist, a member of the Mizrachi organization, and an enlightened person. He wrote “Chaim's  Additions”, a Torah composition. Former Chief Rabbis were Rabbi Isaac Zioni, Rabbi Aaron Judah Shulman, Rabbi Lieb Perl, Rabbi Moshe Shakrota and Rabbi Yafin. The “government” Rabbi was Rabbi Jacob Pollak. Most of the workshops in the city were owned and run by Jews. There was a Jewish loan society, which was founded by Rabbi Dushovitz and was called ‘The Rebbe's Bank”. There were Jewish doctors, nurses, teachers and lawyers. There were a few Jewish clerks in the municipality. Four Jews were representatives in the city council in 1917. They managed to cancel the decree that General Assemblies were to take place on Friday nights and Sabbaths. At this time most of the boys began to study in the government run Jewish elementary school and gymnasium. Afterwards a public elementary school for girls was opened up. A rich Jewish woman, who had previously left the city, funded this school. The language of instruction in the Jewish elementary school was changed from Russian to Yiddish. A second school was opened and a quarrel developed between the Yiddishists and the Hebraists on the language of instruction there. The education minister decided in favor of Hebrew. The Latvian Directorate (1934-1940) decided to combine these two schools. Then there were corresponding classes with instruction in Yiddish or Hebrew. A government run Jewish high school was founded in 1922. A Yeshiva called "The House of Joseph” operated from 1921 and 1934. In the same period a Yeshiva was opened, which was called “Torah and Musar”. Students from other communities also attended. There was also a traditional school called “Torah and Derech Eretz”. At the beginning of the century, the Zionist Organizations in Rezekne were: Chovevei-Zion, which was replaced by Kadimah, Mizrachi Zeiray-Zion, the Zionist Revision Organization, Hanoar Halomed, Hachalutz, Hatchiah, Bar-Cochba, HaShomer Hazair, Betar, Borochov, Herzliah, Hapoel, Hakoach. They had strong influence on the youth. Many came on Aliyah. Jewish cultural life centered around the Yiddishist (Bund) Shalom Aleichem Club and the Zionist “Bialik Club”. The “Bund” and other youth were responsible for the defense of the community. The "well-to-do" members of the community financed this. The revolutionary units were connected to the underground. In October 1905, there were anti Jewish uprisings in the city, and the Jewish youth organized themselves to protect the community. Six of them were killed. Members of the Bund were among the leaders of the strike in a social uprising in 1905.   The Yiddish poet Nachman Dimenstein, who was one of the heads of the “folks' party” was born and lived in Rezekne. Before World War One there were eleven synagogues in the city: the Gumiatur; the White Study House; the Zemdlediker,; the Greener Study Hall”; the Revitur Study Hall; Hillels' Study Hall; the Merchants” synagogue; the “Planaver” Study Hall; the “Large Minyan of Chasidim”, which was followed by four more minyanim of Chasidim: the first was Lubavitch, the second was founded by Uri Ribush; the third was Chaim's Minyan; The fourth was Kaminsky's Minyan.  The Jewish population was 11,000, just before the First World War, which was fifty percent of the total population. Rezekne and World War One   Many Jews, including most of the communal leaders escaped into Russia, during the summer of 1915 after the outbreak of World War One. Afterwards Jews from Courland and Lithuania began arriving in the city. The community's charity organizations weren't working properly since many of the pillars of the community had left. A government representative of The Central Committee from Petrograd was in charge of giving aid to these refugees. This included financial help to needy members of the community. The Russian army suffered a few defeats in this area. The Jews were suspected as guilty of treason. In 1916, the entire community almost got expelled from the city. The Russian general Nazomov claimed  the Jewish tavern owners guilty, because of the drunkeness in the units of Russian soldiers. Rabbi Lubocki went to speak to an army official and succeeded in getting the decree cancelled. After the revolution of February 1917 there were democratic municipal elections and 2 Zionists were elected to the city council. Jewish community life was re-established. Another 2 Zionists were elected on the local creditors and the socialist block lists. Because of these 4 Jews, there no general meetings on Friday evenings. Members of the “Bund” voted against this. The head of the local police was a Jew. The community was allowed to send five representatives to the General Jewish Meeting of Latvia which took place in 1917. Rabbi Aaron Judah Shulman was in charge of picking the representatives. The city was under Bolshevik rule from November 1917 until February 1918. Rabbi Lubocki interveved and was able to save the community by making an appeal to the commissioner when the Jewish Commissioner put out a warrant to put an embargo on the synagogue, when German army officials planned to convert a few of the synagogues into army hospitals,  in saving Jewish property, and was able to acquire wheat for baking matzoth. At the end of 1918, the Bolsheviks again took over the city. There were a few Jewish soldiers who were from the community among the Latvian soldiers who entered the city. Soldiers began breaking into Jewish stores. Young Jews stopped this uprising. In June 1920 there were three Anti-Semitic uprisings, due to lack of food and black-marketing. In one of them 27Jewish stores in the center of the city were broken into. The Jews were able to stop these uprisings. From 1920, the city served as a station for Jews that were being sent from Soviet Russia. Many Jews worked as artisans. This was easier, than being a merchant because of the Latvian competition, which had more of a chance at selling to government institutions. The Jewish bank wasn't capable of giving credit to Jewish merchants, according to their needs. Some Jewish merchants received credit from the “Latvian Bank for Industry and Credit”, but had to pay an exorbitant interest rate(48%). This bank had a local Jew as a board member. The complaints of the Jews reached the Latvian Siem, but to no avail. Even so, a majority of the shops remained in Jewish hands. Rezekne after World War I In 1922, the Jewish population reached 5,500, but most of these Jews were refugees. Almost the entire Jewish community received aid from the Joint. The city had become the center for Jews migrating back from Russia. Quite a few of the Jews who returned to Rezekne after the War decided not to stay there, and immigrated to countries where they had relatives. Thus the Jews for the first time were a minority of the total population. A feeling of pessimism enveloped in the community. However there were also Byelorussian positive developments: the “Joint” gave financial aid to the community, and to needy families; and American landsmen sent one thousand dollars to help reorganize the community. The credit plan, which was funded by the “Joint”, began operating in 1923; by then the community was capable of also being able to give credit. A few years later the Bank of Latvia also gave loans to this credit plan. Its' official name became “The First Jewish Credit and Savings Fund”. During the period of Latvia's democratic regime (1918-34) the communal life in the city once again began to flourish. Then there was Jewish cultural autonomy. This centered around religious activities, and social aid institutions, such as charity for the needy, help for the sick, and help an old-age home. Real-estate properties that belonged to the community since the nineteen hundreds' were listed as property of the community charity. In the elections for the city-council, in 1922, there were 13 Jews, from the various Jewish lists, out of the thirty members. This number of Jews on the City Council diminished because soldiers based in the city received permission to vote. The reason was to increase the number of Latvians serving on the council. Up to the beginning of the 1930's, the job of vice-mayor was held by Jews. There were elections for the Jewish Community Council in November, 1920. More than 70% of those who were able to vote did so. There were 25 council members, and the distribution was as follows: “Bund” and Independent Socialists- 6 members; Folks Party- 5 members, Young Zionists-3 members, and the remainder was distributed between members who were not affiliated with parties, such as the wealthy and synagogue representatives. Jewish youth belonged to the Bund, the Communist Youth Organization and Independent Socialists down. Many were Zionists. The Jewish population was 3,342 in 1935, 25.4% of the total population. The percentage of the Jewish population went down from more than 40% in the end of the 1920's, and to 25% in 1935. This was due to Aliyah to the Land of Israel, immigrating to America, or young people moving to the capitol city, usually to find jobs. The government influenced Latvians to settle in the city, and a new neighborhood was built for them on the north side of the city. Jews were not allowed to have government jobs. After the First World War the government in this area changed hands from the Russians to the Germans, and once again to the Soviets. Rezekne was the capitol of “Red Latvia” from May 22, 1919, to January 21, 1920. The city was part of (free) Latvia from 1920 to 1940, and from then on was called “Rezekne”. In 1934, the Latvian Dictatorship put an end to Jews working as municipal clerks. Latvian merchants were favored over Jewish ones. In 1935 most of the shops (75%), in the center of the city were owned and run by Jews. The number of Jewish workshops diminished. Jews owned only 14 of the 36 workshops. The majority of the Jews continued to work in trade or as artisans. The Joint stopped giving aid. About 1/3 of the eighteen doctors, and 2 of the 10 lawyers were Jews. Quite a few of the Jews were able to support themselves nicely. After the National revolution of Olmanius, in 1934, all the social aid in the community, was handled by the municipally run government institution known as “The Society for Jewish Aid in Rezekne”. The community rabbis succeeded in getting financial aid for this institution from the well-to-do members of the community. Every Jewish community member was listed as a potential “giver”. Therefore there was much cooperation between the government run organization and the community aid. Kosher meals were given out to the needy and to children of the unemployed. This formed the Jewish section of the public kitchen which was once again known as “the Jewish uncle”. Because of the bad financial situation which developed in the community in the years of 1938-9, help was extended by the distribution of clothing, shoes, and wood for heating; and a “childrens' kitchen' run by a women's committee (which gave out 14,770 meals). The community charity organization found new sources for financial aid. A new building for the old-age home was dedicated in 1938. The local branch of the AZA Jewish Health Organisation, that was founded in 1927, now did good work. From the beginning of the 1920's the baby care unit gave care and medicines for free. Now, there was dental care and a day-camp (run with the help of the women's committee). The community marked the twenty-five years of devoted rabbinical service of Rabbi Lubocki, in 1938.   Rezekne and the Holocaust The Soviet Regime began in 1940, in Latvia. A few Jews were part of this new government, some of them in key positions. The Jewish community institutions were cancelled and gradually a new method of education was applied. In June 1941, Jewish property owners, active Zionists, members of Non-Communist organizations were exiled to Siberia, or sent to work-camp, where they were put on trial, and sent to jail; many of them died there. Some, who had been sent to Siberia, succeeded in remaining alive. After the declaration of war between Germany and Russia the city became a center for those who were escaping into Russia. Many Soviet officials, who were exiled from their positions in Lithuania and Latvia passed through the city on their way to Velkiye Luki. Also Jewish refugees  passed through the city and received help from the local Jewry. The borders were not as yet officially open. Hundreds of Rezneke's Jews succeeded in crossing the border as there was andromosity at the time of the bombings. Many became Russian soldiers. Small groups of refugees (many were “Betar” members) tried to escape by way of the southern Russian borders and come to the Land of Israel. They were all caught by the Soviets and put in jail for long periods. The Germans began to bomb the city at the end of June. The official deportations began on June 26 and June 27. It seems that some asked the local Rabbis what to do, and that Rabbis Lubocki and Rabbis Yafin replied that they were remaining in the city, but everyone should follow their own conscious. The Nazis occupied Rezekne on July 3, 1941. Red army soldiers, communist party members were in the forests. Fire broke out in the city, and the corpses of 60 anti-Soviet Latvians were found there. The Jews were declared guilty of this incident. A local police auxiliary was organized from previous members of the Latvian police and from members of the patriotic Latvian organizations, which received reinforcements from Riga. One day after the occupation, all the Jewish males between the ages of 18 to 60 were ordered to gather in the market place. The number counted was 1,400. Those who evinced power were murdered. The others were taken to the local jail afterwards. The artisans were taken to various work camps. On July 10, a regiment of the German security forces came to the city for a weeks' stay. Over 140 Jewish males were murdered, in 2 separate actzias. This was executed by the auxiliary police, under the supervision of the German security police commanders. They defined their doing as a reaction to the murder of the 60 Latvians, and the fires. Thus, the planned murders of the Jews began. These first killing took place in the Jewish cemetery. At the end of the month, Rabbi Lubocki was invited to the Gestapo headquarters. Then he was sent to the Jewish cemetery (or nearby forest) where there was a call-up of all the Jews who were to be killed. The Rabbi spoke to them very sympathetically before they were shot to death. It is said that he led his congregation wrapped in his tallith to the pit where they were murdered. Rabbi Yafin also was killed in the Holocaust together with the members of his congregation. One young Jew succeeded in killing three Latvians before being shot. The remaining Jews were taken to the Ghetto of Daugavpils, where most of them were killed. In August, the number of murders continued to rise. Jews were taken from the jail, in over crowded trucks, to the rifle range. They were told to get undressed in the hut and then were sent to the pit. German certificates testify that the auxiliary police under the supervision of the German security police did the killings, on August 1 and August 5. The women who remained in their houses were subject to robbery, beatings and rape. They and their children were taken to jail, then to the Jewish cemetery or the rifle range, to be murdered. A group of women were raped the day before they were taken to be murdered. On August 23, the last groups were taken in thirty-three trucks to the rifle-range. This was the last “actzia” and the end of the Jewish community of Rezekne. By the autumn of 1943, the ghetto was finished with, and the remaining Jews were taken to the Kaiserwald Concentration Camp, near Riga. According to another report, the murders continued to take place in the Jewish cemetery; and when this was filled, in the old rifle practice range of the “Eizasargis” in the Anchupani Mountains, a distance of five kilometer from the city. The head of the police auxiliary issued a command to look for Jews who had converted to Christianity. In October 1941, the police discovered 12 converted Jews, who had been converted by the priest of the Russian Orthodox Church, in order to save their lives. The Jews were killed and the priest was fired. The Jews who worked for the Germans continued to do so, until they were sent to their deaths in 1943. In the summer of 1944, before the German withdrawal, the Germans brought a group of 30 Jews from the Riga ghetto to Rezneke, and ordered them to take the bodies out of the pits where they had been buried and burn them. After their task was completed, they were murdered. In the city of Rezneke, 2 Jewish adults and a few children had remained alive. They had been helped by local residents. The Russian army freed the city on July 7, 1944. Rezekne after World War Two Some of the Jews who had escaped to Russia returned to Rezekne, and were joined by Jews from other communities. Young people aided those who wanted to come on Aliyah. In 1950, the Jewish population was a few hundred. Jews were heads of the Construction Ministry and the Planing Ministry. The government allowed minimal religious services for Jews. The Jewish cemetery, which was slightly damaged during the War was renovated. In the 1960's, a fence was built around it. The synagogue “The Greener Study Hall” was re-opened, and there was a ritual slaughterer. After his death, the Jews received this ritual service from the Rabbi of Lodza. His service continued until 1956. A monument was constructed in the center of Jewish Cemetery in memory of those who died in the Holocaust, with the inscription in Hebrew. In 1960 there was 1 Synagogue in the city, but matzah baking was prohibited. In 1970 the Jewish population of the city was 250. Most of them left Rezekne afterwards for Riga and religious services weren't continued. In the 1970's there were only a few Jewish families in the city. In 1965, the members of the Latvian auxiliary police, who had participated in murdering Rezekne Jews, were put on trial in Riga. According to German sources, 3,219 Jews were murdered in Rezekne and the surrounding area; and in the general area 5,128 Jews were murdered. Of the 95,000 Latvian Jews, only 15,000 managed to escape into Russia. Only 10% of Latvian Jewry remained as survivors of Concentration Camps. Latvia had the lowest percentage of Holocaust survivors. Conclusion Writing this paper has enlightened me both education wise and as far as family roots. I always felt part of the Jewish people, and now I feel even more so. As I have written in the introduction, my goal in writing this was to do “something” in memory of my father and his mother. Now, feel that I have also done a little “something” in the memory of all the Jews of Rezekne. My original goal was to research the city of Rezneke at the time that my grandmother was there. After reading about the history of the city I understood that I had to be fair to all the Jews of the city and include the period of the Holocaust. Now I feel that I am doing the minimum to honor their memory. I realize that the city of Rezekne was not a very special place, as far as important historical facts go; but now I know that it was important as a part of Jewish history. Bibliography Encyclopedia Ariel, on Israeli Geography, Am Oved, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1978, volume 6 Encyclopedia Judiaca , Keter, Jerusalem, Israel, 1972, volumes: 5, 6,10,14 Encyclopedia Hebraica , Encyclopedia Publishing Company, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1969, volume 21 Card Catalog, Eastern European Archives, Hebrew University, Israel Archive File-REZEKNE, Organization of Past Latvians and Estonians, Shefayim Regional Council, Israel File: A, J, Sirkin, Central Zionist Archives,Jerusalem, Israel Database-REZHITZA, Diaspora Museum, Ramat Aviv, Israel Letters, Oscar Bechman, Vivian Omerberg, saved in my house The Book (Pincas) of the Latvia and Estonia , Yad VeShem, Jerusalem, Israel, 1988 Encyclopedia of Israeli And General Literature , Mitzpe, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1943 Conversation, Nachumi HarZion, researcher of Hebrew songs Ben Hillel, Mordechai, Olami (My World), Mitzpe, Jerusalem, Israel, 1936, book 4 Dimenstein, Zalman, Illustrated Almanac-1939-40 , Rezekne, 1939 Drewaner, Alter, Articles about “Chibat-Zion” and the Settlement of the Land of Israel Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel, 1988, volumes : 4, 5 Eliav, Mordecai, editor, Book of the Fist Aliyah, Yad ben-Zvi, Jerusalem, Israel, 1982, V. 1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishnah http://www.iajgsjewishcemeteryproject.org/latvia/rezekne-lat Esther Rechtschafner was born in Brooklyn, New York, to a Religious Zionistic family. She was in Bnei Akiva; and she attended public   and Jewish schools. In 1962, she participated in Bnei Akiva Hachshara. She came on Aliya in 1964. In 1965, she married Mordechai Rechtschafner, and they made their home in Kibbutz Ein Zurim. They have 3 married daughters and 10 grandchildren. Esther received a BA from the Open University in Jewish History and an MA from the Hebrew University in librarianship.  She worked at various jobs on the kibbutz, and for 22 years as house-mother inYeshivat HaKibbutzHaDati, Now she works as the Kibbutz librarian/archivist. Because of a keen interest her family background, she began writing articles about the places that her grandparents came from. Her father (Oscar H[G]erschman) was a descendent of the Vilna Gaon.  [...]
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