STEVEN S. TURNER, D.D.S.
Roslyn, NY, USA, President
Steven Turner was already curious about Galicia as a small boy, when he spent the holidays davening at a Galitzianer shul with his grandparents in Brooklyn, NY. That was the start of his journey into genealogy, as he tried to prove that his family surname was never changed. He has written about this journey as a blogger for the Times of Israel and in various genealogical publications.
Steven is the founder of the Nadwórna Shtetl Research Group and is an active member of the Rohatyn and Sędziszów Małopolski Research Groups. Steven is quite devoted to preserving Jewish heritage in the former lands of Galicia and partnered with the ESJF European Cemeteries Initiative to clean up and fence the Nadworna Jewish Cemetery. He is a member of the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island as well as being a member of the JGS of NY. Steven does research on Ashkenazi DNA and is the project administrator of several Jewish DNA projects on FamilyTreeDNA.
The product of the New York City public schools, Steven has a BA in Sociology from Queens College and a D.D.S. from the NYU College of Dentistry. He has a private practice in General Dentistry and Facial Cosmetics in Howard Beach, NY.
ANDREW ZALEWSKI, M.D.
Philadelphia, PA, USA, Vice President
Andrew Zalewski has served on the board of Gesher Galicia since 2013 and is the past editor of the Galitzianer, the organization’s research journal. He is a frequent speaker at meetings of Jewish genealogical societies and cultural and academic institutions in the US and abroad. Unique archival records—population surveys, maps, and old newspapers—provide the background for his in-depth descriptions of Galicia. His research and writings have focused on Jewish cultural transformation, educational access, modernizing impact of Jewish physicians, and Jewish political and legal rights in Galicia.
Andrew Zalewski authored two books on Austrian Galicia (1772–1918): Galician Trails: The Forgotten Story of One Family and Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots, in which he traced the story of his ancestors in a historical context.
Andrew is a former professor of medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. After leaving academic clinical practice, he held senior executive positions in the pharmaceutical industry and coordinated several global research collaborations to advance healthcare solutions.
MILTON KOCH, M.D.
Bethesda, MD, USA, Secretary
Milton Koch was born in Havana Cuba, where his parents emigrated from Lisbon, in 1942, after leaving Luxembourg following Eichmann’s invasion of that country. They were in Cuba, awaiting entry to the US, which came about in 1946. He has been working on his family genealogy for the past 15 years, that began with opening up some boxes in his basement and finding previously unknown vital records that started him in his searches. He has been acquiring records and related documents for his family research since then. He has been active in the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington and has contributed to their journal. He is a retired physician, having specialized in gastroenterology. He supports work in cystic fibrosis by actively fund-raising and through advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, inspired by a family member who has this disease. He is married, with three children and three grandchildren.
New York, NY, USA, CFO/Treasurer
Charlie Katz has been researching his family history for over 20 years, a journey spanning roots in Galicia, immigration to New York’s Lower East Side and adaptation to America in the early 20th century. His research reconnected family in the US and UK that lost contact 60 years earlier. Charlie has started formally engaging his passion for genealogy by attending the 2018 and 2019 IAJGS conferences and traveling to ancestral towns in Ukraine.
Charlie is an information technology consultant with decades of experience delivering data management solutions for a global financial institution. His expertise includes data engineering, cloud deployment, project management and data governance. Most recently, Charlie was a Senior Vice President of Enterprise Operations & Technology leading big data engineering and advanced analytics initiatives. Charlie has a BA in Liberal Arts from The New School.
Ottawa, ON, Canada, Board Member
John Diener, the son of a Galician-born Holocaust survivor, has been researching his family roots for more than 20 years. As shtetl leader for his father’s birth town of Grzymałów (Hrymailiv, Ukraine), he has indexed records from that region.
John is vice-president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Ottawa, and with its president, has photographed and databased the 6000 gravestones in the two Ottawa Jewish cemeteries, as well as those in Kingston and Cornwall, Ontario and nearby Massena and Ogdensburg, New York. In 2005, he co-sponsored the photographing of gravestones in Zhvanets, Ukraine. For several years, he also wrote a monthly column on genealogy entitled “Connecting the Branches” for the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.
Through his genealogical research, he has reunited hundreds of his family members whose branches have had little or no contact for decades.
Outside genealogy, John is treasurer of two local community-owned Jewish cemeteries, and has volunteered for a number of social service agencies and business associations in the Canadian capital.
Boca Raton, FL, USA, Board Member
Mark Jacobson has been tracing his family for more than 30 years, starting with a paper and pencil tree created during a Passover holiday with his Galician immigrant grandparents. Mark has been active on the board of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Palm Beach County for more than 10 years, including four years as Secretary and four years as President. He also serves as their Galicia SIG leader, writes for their publication, Scattered Seeds, and presents programs at meetings and annual mini-conferences. Mark is JRI-Poland town leader for the Galician towns of Borysław and Drohobycz, where his grandfather was born. Mark led an independent project to index early Drohobycz records filmed by the LDS at the Lviv Archive. Additionally Mark is Ukraine SIG town leader for Belaya Tserkov.
Mark grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He has a BA in History from Brooklyn College and an MS in Science with Specialization in Counseling from Hofstra University. With his sister he runs a small business doing Feng Shui as well as genealogy research for private clients.
London, UK, Board Member
Tony has been involved with genealogical and historical research for over 20 years, on both Galician and Austrian/Czech towns. On Galicia, he led indexing projects on records from several towns, including Zbaraż, where his father was born, and Tarnopol. Tony served as Gesher Galicia Chair between 2015 and 2019. He is currently Gesher Galicia’s Research Coordinator and frequently visits Poland and Ukraine in this role.
Tony has a special interest in Galician records from the Holocaust period. He has presented papers at IAJGS conferences and at the international conferences organized since 2017 in southeastern Poland on “Jews in Galicia”.
Tony worked previously as a writer and editor, at one time on Asian affairs and later with UN agencies on health issues. He also lectured in the social sciences at the University of London, UK.
Warsaw, Poland, Board Member
Michał Majewski is a historian and archivist who graduated from the Institute of History at the University of Warsaw. His master’s dissertation—under the supervision of the distinguished researcher of Jewish topics, Professor Jerzy Tomaszewski—discussed Jewish organizations of the interwar period that were involved in the anti-Nazi protests in Poland during the period 1933–1935.
Since 2007, Michał has been involved in Warsaw with the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland and the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Initially, he held the position of researcher and then of curator of the interwar gallery of the core exhibition of the POLIN Museum.
Michał is a passionate family history researcher. He was the head of the Resource Center at the POLIN Museum, which helps visitors find information on their ancestral hometowns and families. Since 2016, he has runs his own genealogy company, Mishpaha.
Currently, Michał Majewski is Chief Executive of the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland, one of the oldest Jewish organizations in Poland, established in 1951. The Association originally came up with the idea of the POLIN Museum, and presently manages the assets of and seeks funds for the POLIN Museum and the Jewish Historical Institute, as well as for some smaller organizations.
SHELLEY KELLERMAN POLLERO
Severna Park, MD, USA, Board Member
Shelley Kellerman Pollero has been researching her family’s history for almost 50 years. She has been part of Gesher Galicia since before its official founding in 1993 and served as President from 1998 to 2005. Under her leadership, the GG website was developed and the GG Town and Regional Research Groups and Town Historians and the Galicia Discussion Group on JewishGen were started. Currently, she is Chair of Membership. She is also paypal administrator and operations manger behind the scenes of most key functions.
Outside of Gesher Galicia, Shelley is the Zamosc Archive Coordinator for JRI-Poland, having been the Zamosc Town Leader for many years. Shelley has transcribed Polish and Russian vital records and organized the Translation Services at the D.C. 1995, 2003, and 2011 conferences. She has also indexed records for JRI-Poland, FamilySearch, and the Italian Genealogical Group.
Shelley is currently President of the Anne Arundel Genealogical Society (Maryland) and presents Jewish family research and “Getting Started in Genealogy” workshops. She is a longtime member of the JGS of Greater Washington, New York, and Maryland.
In 1971, she moved to the Annapolis, Maryland, area where she raised two children and now three grandchildren. Shelley taught French and Spanish and was World Languages Department Head in Howard County Public School System (Maryland) before retiring in 2007.
RENÉE STERN STEINIG
Dix Hills, NY, USA, Board Member
Renée Steinig began to do genealogical research in the late 1970s, inspired by a cousin in Israel who made it look easy. Many family trees and some 18 years later, she went on to accept client work. Her specialties include New York research, location of lost friends and family, and due diligence for probate cases. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and has testified as an expert witness in New York City courts.
Her personal research interests include towns throughout Galicia, many of which she has visited. In 2008, she also participated in the ground-breaking genealogical research trip to the International Tracing Service archives (now Arolsen Archives) in Bad Arolsen, Germany.
An original member of Gesher Galicia, Renée is proud to be GG researcher #22. She has been the Gesher Galicia discussion group moderator since 2006 and more recently became editor of Gesher Galicia’s Family Finder. Along with Shelley Pollero, she has spoken at several IAJGS conferences about the basics of Galician research. Renée was a session chair at the 2018 AGAD-Gesher Galicia Symposium in Warsaw and currently participates in GG’s Przemysl Identification Project. She is also Mielec town leader for Jewish Records Indexing-Poland and the president of the Young Tluster Society, one of New York’s few surviving landsmanshaftn.
A resident of Dix Hills, N.Y., Renée is a past president and longtime board member of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Long Island and serves on the Board of Trustees of the Dix Hills Jewish Center.