When my brother and I were growing up in Germany my father would sometimes tell us about his military service. He had been born and raised in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In 1913, he was drafted into a Polish-speaking unit of the Austrian Army and, during the first World War, fought on the Italian front. In 1917 he became an Italian prisoner of war along with tens of thousands of his comrades. In late 1918 he was recruited into Haller’s Army as an adjutant and sent first to France for training and then to newly independent Poland to fight against Ukrainians and the Red Army. About a year or two ago, having reached an impasse in tracing my parents’ family lineages, I decided to look into that part of my father’s life and began to research Haller’s Army.
Read More → I have given my little piece a title that might strike you as quaint. I call it “What shall we tell Miriam?” It is thus entitled on the assumption that there must be many Miriams and Sarahs and Samuels and Josephs and Daniels everywhere in the world where Jews have set foot (which means virtually everywhere) who are or very soon now will be asking their parents and grandparents questions to which hitherto they have seemed strangely indifferent: What was life really like in that country where you were born, in that incredibly distant past, before the Second, before the First World War? What were these people like, the grandparents and the great-grandparents, how did they live, what did they do, what did they think, what did the places look like, what did they smell of? In the words of the historian Ranke: "Wie es wirklich gewesen." Posing such questions is part of a natural cyclical process: indifference—then curiosity. I think it is important to tell them—for our sake and for their sake. Who will, if we won't?
Read More → For many years I had desired to see the town my family came from, which I could only envision though the eyes of my twenty-five antique postcards. Ten years ago I made contact with the president of the Tarnobrzeg Historical Society and those postcards had begun to bloom. With his help, I collected photographs of the two houses/businesses my family owned. In 1994, I had planned to make my pilgrimage but the realities of life interfered. The town kept growing, as I could see though the pictures on the internet. In 2001 my trip became a reality.
Read More → I have recently returned from Warsaw where I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to do some work in the AGAD (Archiwum Glowne Akt Dawnych) and briefly visit the Urzad Stanu Cywilnego, the two archives in Warsaw which keep Galicia birth marriage and death records. I would like to share this experience with you and help you understand what a treasure these records area and how important they are to understanding Jewish history in Galicia. The AGAD archives are housed in a lovely, old (probably rebuilt), small palace very close to Old Square in Warsaw. The rooms are bright and pleasant to work in and the staff, although mainly not fluent in English, is most helpful. The security is strict. One is not allowed to take large bags or materials other than a pencil and notepaper into the reading room.
Read More → My maternal grandmother left her home shtetl, Bukaczowze, in what was Austria-Hungary and is now Ukraine, in 1910. When my friend and fellow genealogist, Lucille Gudis, suggested a trip to Ukraine together, I jumped at the chance to finally investigate my maternal roots. After posting a message on JewishGen asking for recommendations for guides and receiving many replies, we decided to employ the services of Alexander Dunai, from Lviv. Alex met us at our first stop, Krakow, which was a sightseeing rather than genealogical stop for us.
Read More → When I was six years old I entered an underground bunker which I would not leave until two years later. The bunker was built in Stryj, south of Lvov, during 1940 and 1941 while the Russians were occupying the area. A house was built on top of the bunker and a Pole named Starko was hired to live in the house in exchange for a monthly payment of gold pieces. When the Germans occupied Stryj in 1941, thirty- five people, including me, my mother, and an aunt and uncle and their son, crowded into the claustrophobic space that had been designed to hold a dozen. The group include six children under fifteen. The bunker was sealed in 1941 and we did not emerge until 1944, when the Russians drove the Germans out of Stryj.
Read More → The following terms describing various definitions of Jewish religion, Jewish “nationality” and generally Jews, were used in Poland and some adjacent Slavic countries throughout history...
Read More → Gesher Galicia is pleased to announce that the Krakow Ghetto Register is now online. The computerization of these 18,000+ records was a cooperative effort by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Gesher Galicia. The information for the database comes from the Document Archives of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The collection consists of registration forms for the Jewish inhabitants of Krakow, Poland, which were created under the direction of the Jewish community in Krakow in response to a Nazi order, mostly during July and August 1940. No forms were made for children under the age of 15. The database is a finding aid to the registration forms.
Read More → If you think that you might have family from Żurów or family that married someone from Żurów, you could learn the house and parcel numbers that belonged to your family; chart who their neighbors were; trace inheritance patterns of how land was handed down through generations; find out how much your ancestors paid in tax and what kinds of buildings they had on their land. I know from records I've obtained that my Haber family lived in house #84. I'm hoping to find other surnames in neighboring houses that connect to my family and will help me piece together my great-grandfather's siblings and cousins. The same could come true for your family from Żurów.
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