Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pre-Conference Update

Posted by: Nolan Altman


JewishGen is proud to announce its 2012 pre-Conference update to the JOWBR (JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry) database. The JOWBR database can be accessed  here. If you’re a new JOWBR user, we recommend that you take a look at the first two explanatory screencasts by clicking here

This update adds more than 105,000 new records and 21,000 new photos.  The database is adding 244 new cemeteries along with updates or additions to an additional 343 cemeteries. 

In our continuing effort to broaden JOWBR’s coverage worldwide, we are adding or updating records to cemeteries from 46 countries literally spanning from A to Z, Algeria to Zimbabwe.  This update brings JOWBR’s holdings to 1.86 million records from almost 3,600 cemeteries / cemetery sections. We’ve also added initial data sets for 16 new countries bringing the number of countries represented in JOWBR to 80 on 6 continents!

Once again, donors for this update include a mix of individuals, Jewish genealogical societies, historical societies and museums.  We appreciate all our donor’s submissions and the transliteration work done by a faithful group of JewishGen volunteers. 

I want to particularly thank Eric Feinstein who has been helping me to find and gain permission to add many of the records from under-represented countries.  In addition, without our volunteer transliterators, led by Gilberto Jugend, we would not be able to add the information from some very difficult to read photos.

Of particular note in this update are the following additions:
  • US Veterans buried in Non-Veterans Administration Federal and State cemeteries. Thanks to Randy and Aliza Fishbein who have been working on US veteran records, we are adding 20,700 records for US veterans who requested VA markers and buried in local cemeteries.
  • Czech Republic.  We are adding close to 10,000 records from 34 different cemeteries thanks to Achab Haidler from the Chewra organization in the Czech Republic.  
  • Switzerland.  Thanks to Eduard Benjamin of the Israelitische Cultusgemeinde Zürich (ICZ), we have added 7,200 records from 2 Zurich cemeteries.
  • St. Louis, Missouri.  Our thanks to the United Hebrew Congregation for permission to add 7,000 records from the United Hebrew Cemetery.
  • Morocco.  Thanks to Guy Dvir-Ovadia for his submission of 6,100 records from cemeteries in Fez, Meknes, and Sefrou.
  • Massachusetts Cemeteries.
    • Thanks to David Rosen of the JGS of Greater Boston for submissions of 5,750 records and 950 photos from 2 Lynn and 1 West Roxbury cemeteries.
    • Thanks to Diane Lurie Berg for her submission of 1,050 records and photos from the  Jewish Benevolent Cemetery in West Roxbury
    • Thanks to Marjorie Duby for adding 800 records and 2,700 photos from 3 cemeteries in Waltham, Woburn and West Roxbury.
    • Thanks to Jeff Kontoff for submitting 400 records and 2,300 photos from 3 Springfield and 1 Chicopee cemeteries.
  • Passaic Junction Cemetery, Saddle Brook, NJ.  Thanks to Mark Pollack who has already submitted 3,500 records from this cemetery and continues to work on indexing remaining sections.
  • Quebec, Canada.  Thanks to Alan Greenberg and the JGS of Montreal for updating 129 sections and adding 3,200 records from the Back River and Baron De Hirsh cemeteries in Quebec. 
  • Venezuela.  Thanks to Ignacio Sternberg, founder and president of the Asociacion De Genealogia Judia De Venezuela for submitting 2,900 records from 5 cemeteries in the Caracas area.
  • Italy.  Thanks to Angelica Bertinelli of the "Mantova Ebraica" Associazione Culturale and the Jewish Community of Mantova, Italy for submitting 2,500 records from 11 cemeteries in Italy.
  • Austria.  Thanks to Charlotte Lugmayr-Frantz from Linz, Austria for submitting 2,300 records from cemeteries in Ebensee, Hohenems, Linz and Steyr.
  • Zdunska Wola, Poland.  Thanks to Dr. Kamila Klauzinska and Prof. Daniel Wagner who have completely indexed and submitted an additional 2,100 records bringing the total number Zdunska Wola records to 3,100.
  • Aachen, Germany.  Thanks to Dieter Peters for submitting his 2.050 Aachen records.
  • Brazil.  Thanks to Denis Minev, grandson of Samuel Benchimol, professor emeritus of the Universidade Federale do Amazonas, who wrote Eretz Amazonia: Os judeus na Amazonia, which includes cemetery burial records from 17 cemeteries throughout Amazonia.
  • Ontario, Canada.  Thanks to Allen Halberstadt, coordinator of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Canada, Toronto’s Cemetery Project, for updating 165 cemetery sections resulting in 1,400 additional records from various cemeteries. 
  • Petach Tikvah / Segulah and Trumpeldor, Israel.  Thanks to Gilda Kurtzman for her ongoing submissions of 600 new records and 2,600 new photos.
  • New Countries.  This update includes our first listings for Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Martinique, Morocco, Myanmar, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Trinidad, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.  Although some are small in number, these listings help achieve JewishGen’s goal of permanently memorializing Jewish communities around the world.
  • Whether your name or records are listed above, we appreciate all your submissions!  Thank you to all the donors that submitted information for this update.

We appreciate all the work our donors have done and encourage you to make additional submissions.  Whether you work on a cemetery / cemetery section individually or consider a group project for your local Society, temple or other group, it’s your submissions that help grow the JOWBR database and make it possible for researchers and family members to find answers they otherwise might not.  Please also consider other organizations you may be affiliated with that may already have done cemetery indexing that would consider having their records included in the JOWBR database.

Stay tuned for our inaugural upload for JewishGen’s Memorial Plaque project.  We currently have approximately 9,000 records to start with and are very interested in your help to add to those figures.  We’re still actively looking for additional files for the launch.  Please contact me to find out more about this project and how you or your JGS can help.

Nolan Altman
JewishGen VP for Data Acquisition
JOWBR – Coordinator
June, 2012

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Growing Trend For Governments For Reducing Funding for Archives

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

With government budgets being squeezed due to the worldwide fiscal situation we are seeing governments reduce funding for national archives and in some instances merge their archives with other government agencies.  The latest is the proposal in Ireland to merge the National Archives of Ireland with the National Library of Ireland.  Such a merger would negatively effect accountability for public records.  Needless to say the National Archives of  Ireland is opposed to this merger. Evidently there has NOT been a cost benefit analysis--just that a former minister thought this would save money. There are several interesting newspaper articles and editorials regarding this government proposal. To read more about this see:
http://www.learnaboutarchives.ie/news/116-araiagainstmerger.

[While we may not think many Jewish ancestors came from Ireland, remember some may have stopped in Ireland on their route to Canada or the United States--let alone the thousands of Jews who lived in Ireland since 1700. Therefore, there are records of interest for us in the National Archives of  Ireland]

In 2010 the National Library and National Archives in New Zealand were merged into the Department of Internal Affairs which raised concerns about the Chief Archivist retaining his independence.

The (USA) National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), the grant-making arm of the National Archives and Records Administration, is facing a $2 million reduction in budget in the Administration's FY13 appropriations budget request. The request is $3 million where the current
level is $5 million. This funding assists local/state archives with projects.

The Library and Archives of Canada (LAC) is currently experiencing draconian budget cuts--and already 20 percent (over 400) staff persons have been laid off, and services are being reduced--including hours of operation. These cuts negatively effect the ability of the LAC to provide a high level of  service to researchers and will affect the public's ability to access records housed at LAC. Small and medium-sized archives throughout the country have been dependent upon funding administered through LAC.  The
elimination of this funding puts their ability to preserve their collections at risk.The Interlibrary loan program where archives  throughout the country may borrow materials from the National Archives in Ottawa is scheduled to cease in February 2013.

It is likely that we will see more funding cuts proposed in more countries. Archives are the way to preserve the history of a country. With archives access decimation, it deprives future generations from being able to
document what actually occurred and preserve their heritage.  As genealogists we need to be concerned about this worldwide trend.  If you are aware of other such cutbacks please let us know.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Professor Rebecca Boehling Appointed Next ITS Director

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

Professor Rebecca Boehling will become the next Director of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen. She was appointed unanimously by the eleven-member state International Commission which
supervises the work of the ITS . She will assume this new role January 2013.

Professor Boehling, is an expert in the history of the Holocaust, World War II and early postwar period in Germany.  She is currently Director of the Dresher Center for the Humanities, and Professor for History and Affiliate Professor for both Jewish Studies and Studies and Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

The current ITS director has to be replaced  since the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will withdraw from the management of the institution at the end of 2012.  Starting January 2013, the ITS will be run directly by the International Commission of the U.S., Israel and nine European nations, with advisory support from the German Federal Archives, but funded completely by the German government.

To read the press release go to: http://tinyurl.com/7n5qmbx
original url:
http://www.its-arolsen.org/en/press/index.html?expand=6235&cHash=1c40605f50

More information is included in a recent  Baltimore JewishTimes article:
http://tinyurl.com/7v84mou
original url:
http://www.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/news/jt/local_news/professor_to_head_international_tracing_service/%2031781?utm_source=June+22%2C+2012&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=JT+weekly+email+-+June+22%2C+2012

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

Welcome Two New Members to IAJGS

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

The IAJGS is delighted to announce two new members:  The Michiana Jewish Historical Society and the Sephardic Heritage Project.

Michiana Jewish Historical Society. 
Its officers are: David Piser - President; Judy Shroyer - Secretary; Mara Boettcher -Treasurer; and Maggie Goldberg - Executive Director.
To contact them e-mail to: mjhsociety@gmail.com

They are located in South Bend, Indiana--our only current member located in Indiana!

They are working on developing a website and as soon as it is "live" it will be linked after their name on the IAJGS membership list located on the IAJGS website [ www.iajgs.org ].

The Michiana Jewish Historical Society has a genealogy project to collect information on the Jewish families living in their area: northern Indiana and southwest Michigan. At the end of 2011 they had collected information on over 6,000 people.



The Sephardic Heritage Project.


Its officers are:
President: Sarina Roffe; Vice President: Bracha Melzer; Secretary: Karen Erani; Treasurer:  David Roffe

You may reach the Sephardic Heritage Project through its website, facebook page and twitter page--all have links on the IAJGS membership page:http://www.iajgs.org/members/members.html scroll down to New  York to find the Sephardic Heritage Project.

The Sephardic Heritage Project was founded in 2004 to identify and preserve the marriage and brit milah records of the Syrian Jewish Community.  They ave a  three databases covering brit milah, marriage and deaths.

Jan Meisels Allen
IAJGS Vice President

Friday, June 22, 2012

Announcement: JGS of Cleveland

Upcoming Meetings of the JGS of Cleveland


July 11, 2012, at 7:30 PM
"What's New and Old at WRHS" with Ann Sindelar


August 1, 2012 at 7:30PM
"What's a girl like me doing in a story like this?  My dear Hindalla remembers me" with Marlene Englander
September 5, 2012 at 7:30PM
Seeking Kin" with Sol Factor
The meetings are free and all are welcome.
All meetings take place at:
Miller Board Room at Menorah Park
27100 Cedar Road, Beachwood, Ohio 44122 
We have received a call from Rose Gelbart who is chairing a Conference on Children Survivors of the Holocaust which will be in Cleveland October 26-29, 2012.  The group is looking for volunteers to help at the conference.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Mrs. Gelbart at rose.gelbart@gmail.com  For more information about the Conference, check out their website at www.holocaustchild.org

Monday, June 18, 2012

Independent Study Class

Posted by: Nancy Holden


Ever dream of a genealogical search companion? JewishGen is offering an Independent Study class. Your topic, your schedule, your questions.


Nancy Holden will be available July 1 -July 30  for projects centered on research in the United States or the Pale of Russia (Latvia to Southern Russia). This session will follow the format of other JewishGen Education classes using a Forum and one-on -one consultations via the internet.

Have a genealogical problem, conundrum or hit a brick wall? Want to know 
what records exist in Eastern Europe, hire a researcher or travel to an archive, organize your research or write your family history?

In order to qualify for this class we ask that you submit a paragraph about your project. Your SURNAME, your towns, your goals.  
Click Here and an application can be found by clicking  "Requirements and Course Details"

This will be a Do-it-Yourself, computer-based, online seminar open 24/7.
Individual readings will be posted according to your research needs. To get the most out of this course, you will need to post your family data to the Forum so the instructor can interact with you on your project.

Is this course right for you? This is beyond the basics. Read the course
descriptions to see if what you want to do is covered by a course already being taught. If not, this may be the perfect class. Students should be comfortable on the internet and able to upload and download pdfs, images and word documents (Directions included in the class materials).

Enrollment is limited. Please send your qualifying paragraph to
nholden@interserv.com  for consideration. Students will be notified of enrollment procedures by email.

Charge: $150 to be paid after acceptance to the class
Nancy Holden
nholden@interserv.com

Friday, June 15, 2012

New InfoFile

Posted By: Warren Blatt

JewishGen is proud to announce a new InfoFile, entitled "A Guide to Canadian Jewish Genealogical Research", at: http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Canada.html

This InfoFile was compiled and edited by Bruce Brown, who has extensive experience in researching Canada.  While assisting with a JewishGen Education class (
http://www.jewishgen.org/Education), he developed this guide in response to our students' educational needs. We then decided to turn this material into an InfoFile for all JewishGen'ers to benefit.

Thanks to Phyllis Kramer for bringing this material to my attention, and to Alan Raskin for the HTML formatting.


Warren Blatt
Managing Director, JewishGen

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Horn Identity: Reconstructing the Lives of Jute & Bronia HORN, Two Rohatyn Sisters

Guest Posted By: Marla Raucher Osborn
June 2012
Krakow, Poland

For one sister, it all began for me with a photo and a story from my Rohatyn grandmother.  Jute HORN - Dr. Jute HORN - was my grandmother's idol, her paradigm, her inspiration.  She was my grandmother's aunt - the oldest sister of my grandmother's father.  The educated one with the medical degree from Vienna.  The one who became the dentist.  The one whose name appears somewhere on a plaque at a prestigious hospital in Israel recognizing her professional legacy there.  The successful one.  The responsible, confident one.  The one who made the family proud and financially supported the others when times were hard.  My grandmother often pointed out the uncanny resemblance she bore to Jute, “her favorite”.  She had a 1947 photo of Jute taken in Haifa.  Written on the back were the words, “You can see how much I have changed”.

For the other sister, it began for me in 1998 with a letter and phone call from a man - an aged, emotional man - who pitifully detailed for me how he grew up in Rohatyn, knew my extensive and comfortably middle-class HORN family.  A man whose younger sister in the late 1920s married the youngest of the HORN sons and produced a family.  A man who himself married the youngest of the HORN daughters, Bronia HORN - Dr. Bronia HORN - so she could leave Rohatyn with him for Palestine.  The year was 1936 and this man saw the storm clouds gathering over Europe; he pleaded with his younger sister and her family to leave Rohatyn, to leave Galicia, to leave Europe, and come with him Palestine.  He was not successful and they chose to stay.  Bronia: 11 years junior to older sister Jute, and like Jute, my grandmother's aunt.  But unlike Jute, barely 5 years separated Bronia and my grandmother in age.  They were practically contemporaries.  Sensitive, artistic, sad-eyed, Bronia.

In the beginning, Jute's and Bronia's lives would mirror each other's, offset by the 11 year gap in their ages.  Each young girl would be sent away from the family home in Rohatyn to study and build an academic base for the future.

From 1916-18, Jute would attend the Universities of Vienna and Lemberg (Lwow), graduating from the latter institution in 1918.  She would return to Vienna in 1919, from where she would earn her graduate degree in medicine in 1924.  Bronia would also attend schools in Vienna and Lemberg.  In 1914, at age 10 and with the War front and devastation headed to Rohatyn, she would be sent to the “Department School” in Vienna because the family was worried about having a vulnerable young girl in an enemy-occupied town.   After WWI and while Rohatyn rebuilt itself, Bronia would resume her studies, this time closer to home at the University of Lemberg (now called Lwow), graduating in 1924 with a degree in German and French language and literature.  Between 1924-29 she would “deepen her study of German language” at the University of Vienna and even live in the same Viennese apartment once occupied by older sister Jute.  While Bronia was in Vienna, Jute would be in Krakow re-taking medical examinations at Jagiellonia University so she could return to Rohatyn to practice medicine in the newly-independent Poland.  Bronia herself would follow and enroll in Jagiellonia in 1929 to pursue graduate work.  In 1931, Bronia would apprentice as a teacher of German language at Krakow's prestigious all-boys school “A. Witkowskiego Gimnazjum”;  the following year she would secure a paid teaching position at the “Marshal Józef Piłsudzki” school in nearby Busko-Zdrój, where she would remain until spring 1936.

Jute would emigrate to Palestine in 1934 after running for several years a successful dental practice in Chodorow (Poland), not far from Rohatyn, and marrying a handsome and ambitious lawyer from that town, 16 years her junior.  She would thereafter continue her dental practice in Haifa and her husband would become involved with national politics and travel abroad extensively for Zionist Liberal Party causes.

Bronia would return to Rohatyn in 1936.  That summer, she, too, would emigrate to Palestine, divorcing in 1937 - as per prior agreement - the man who convinced her to leave Rohatyn for a safer future.
After Israel gained Statehood, both sisters - together with Jute's husband - would go together to the Office of the Ministry in Tel Aviv to formally obtain Israeli citizenship.  They would hold consecutive citizenship identification numbers. 
In the intervening years, everyone and everything they loved and left behind in Rohatyn would be destroyed by the Nazis. 
Jute and Bronia - these two Rohatyn sisters - aunts of my grandmother and sisters to her father - would be the only to leave Rohatyn (after my grandmother in 1914) and survive the Shoah.  Neither would have children of their own.
But they would remain bound together for life, these two sisters.
In 1953, Jute and her husband would divorce in Mexico City.  Jute would emigrate to New York City.  Retired from the practice of medicine, she would live her remaining five years in America in a comfortable, tasteful apartment at 745 Fifth Ave.  When she died in 1958, aged 65, she would owe on her Saks Fifth Avenue charge cards - debts that would have to be paid out of her small estate.  Jute (now calling herself Julia), had had a weakness for fine clothes.
Bronia (now calling herself “Bernice”) would also be living in NYC in 1958 at 6 West 77th St., not very far from Jute, and working as a city social worker.  Bronia would bear witness on Jute's death certificate. 
Jute had always been there for Bronia and had even over the years helped her financially, both in Israel and in America.  Now Jute was gone.  Their oldest brother Isak (my grandmother's father) had also passed away. 
Bronia was now alone, so she would decide to leave America and return to Israel.  She would die 25 years later, aged 88, a long-time resident of the Vera Solomon Retirement Home in Kfar Saba.
Jute and Bronia HORN, two sisters born in the Galician town of Rohatyn, grew up on the eve of the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their lives from childhood to womanhood would be buffeted by cataclysmic events: their beloved town would suffer as the front for both devastating World Wars; their homeland, official language, and nationality would change five times times during their lives; both would choose to leave their Rohatyn for Palestine, and by doing so, would survive the Shoah that would destroy their parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, teachers, and childhood school chums. 
Through records and photos acquired from archives in Poland, Austria, Poland, Israel, and America, and armed with stories from my grandmother and others I met with roots in Rohatyn, I can factually reconstruct the course of these sisters'  lives - from their childhood years, to their student and professional years - in Vienna, Lwow, and Krakow - through their departures for Palestine and America, and until their deaths, 25 years apart. 
But, a can I - have I - really gotten to know them as sisters, as women?
Sometimes I feel like I have.  I have lived in Lwow (L'viv).  Today, I reside in Krakow, walking distance from where Bronia lived in 1930.  I have traveled many times to Rohatyn and have sought out and spoken with people who knew them, or of them. 
I have walked their streets and stood in front of their residences.
I have meandered  along their academic corridors and sat in chairs in lecture rooms at their universities and schools. 
Sometimes I think I feel them as I walk their streets.  But can I, really?  Can I realistically hope to bridge the 75 or 80 intervening years? 
As daughters, can I ever truly feel what they must have felt when they learned that their loved ones lie in unmarked mass graves back in Rohatyn? 
As sisters, did they cling that much tighter to each other when they learned they were now alone in the world?  Did they have persistent and nagging doubts about whether they did all they could have done to convince the family to leave it all behind for the sake of maintaining life?
As women, did they find genuine love?  Happiness?  Fulfillment?
Can I ever really learn the answers to these timeless, human questions? 
I don't think so.
But I will continue trying.....
Next week I am off to “Marshal Józef Piłsudzki” school to walk the corridors of Busko-Zdrój.






“A Teacher Returning: Bronia HORN”

Guest Posted By:Marla Raucher Osborn


I am not her granddaughter, but I could have been.

Bronia HORN was my paternal grandmother's aunt.  There was only a 6-year age difference between Bronia and my grandmother.  Bronia was born in 1904, my grandmother in 1910.

Both were born in Rohatyn, in what was then Eastern Galicia, today Western Ukraine.  Both left Rohatyn.  For my grandmother, the destination was New York in 1914 with her father Isak (almost 20 years older than younger sister Bronia), her mother, and her two sisters.  For Bronia, it was Palestine in 1936, to join her older sister Jute who had emigrated there two years prior.  Neither Bronia, Jute, or my grandmother would ever see there beloved Rohatyn again.

My grandmother spoke of Bronia not as her elder but as her contemporary.  

That is how I, too, think of Bronia as I follow in her footsteps in my travels and continuing research  - from Rohatyn to Vienna, to Lviv and Krakow, from Busko-Zdrój to Palestine, from New York to Israel.

I think of myself as her granddaughter.  I am the descendant she never had.

As I write this article, my husband and I are living in Krakow for three months.  I am here to continue my research and, in part, to be close to Bronia: to be able to walk to the apartment where Bronia lived from 1930-32 at ul. Bozego Milosierdzia 4 while finishing her masters degree in German language and literature at Jagiellonian University;  to meander the halls of nearby A. Witkowskiego Gimnazjum at ul. Studencka 12 where in 1931 Bronia was an unpaid apprenticing teacher. 

What would she think if she knew that today I am sipping a hot tea in a cafe around the corner from her 1930 home?

After finishing her teaching apprenticeship, Bronia secured in 1932 a paid position at a school in Busko-Zdrój, then called Gimnazjum Marshal Józef Piłsudzki.  Busko-Zdrój, located about 75 km. northeast of Krakow, had been a popular, historic spa town with a reputation for good schools.  80 years later, Bronia's academic records, obtained from the archives at Jagiellonian University, had led me in 2012 to Busko-Zdrój.

Of course, from these academic records I had to learn more about the school in Busko-Zdrój, so I searched the internet, posted inquiries to the online digests of JRI Poland and Gesher Galicia, and sent an email to the school asking whether they might still have pre-War records for my Bronia.  The school was still located at the same location and, as I subsequently learned, continued to have an excellent academic reputation.  Today the school is called Liceum T. Kosciuszki.

Four months later, my husband and I moved to Krakow and settled into a new life and a new apartment. 

Then, about two weeks ago I received a remarkable email reply from two of the school's current teachers. 

Yes, the school still had some records: Bronia's hand-written curriculum for that semester's courses in German language and literature;  a document showing Bronia's name on the 1935 list of the school's teachers;  Bronia's signature on a student record.  The school had also found some photos: 3 group photos of the school's teachers from the 1935/36 school year.  There was my Bronia, demurely seated in the front row, hands tightly clasped on her lap, wearing the same dark, somber dress with white decorative button at the neck in all 3 shots.  Same sad expression.  I immediately recognized her like one would recognize an old friend.  My Bronia. 

With this remarkable, unexpected email reply (unexpected because I had come to assume my inquiry would go unanswered after so many months) I went from having but a single photo of Bronia (from her 1936 Polish passport) to now having three. 

I quietly cried at the dinner table that night when I realized that it was also the 20th anniversary of  Bronia's death.

And so, almost exactly 80 years after my Bronia was in Busko-Zdrój - the last place she would call home in Poland before reluctantly leaving for Palestine - I found myself meandering the halls of Liceum T. Kosciuszki and sitting in classrooms where Bronia once taught German language and literature.  Before me were seated almost a dozen students from the English department of today's school, eager to learn what would bring an American all the way to Busko-Zdrój, who was Bronia HORN, and how was I related to her?  Seated to my right was Dominika Michalska, their English teacher and one of the two teachers who had emailed the records and photos of Bronia and who had generously invited me to come to the school to meet and talk to her students. 

For about an hour and a half I spoke about Bronia's life.  I spoke as a granddaughter would speak as her descendant and the keeper of her memory. 

I recounted what I had learned through my research about Bronia's studies in Vienna, Lwow (today, Lviv), and Krakow, attending the same prestigious universities that her older sister Jute had attended.  I talked about Bronia's early life in Rohatyn and of the extended HORN family, including Bronia and Jute's older brother Isak, my great-grandfather. 

I explained how from Palestine, Bronia then emigrated in the mid-1950s to New York  - following again in the path of her older sister Jute;  how Bronia returned to Israel after Jute's death in 1958, where she lived another 25 years and where today she is buried.  I explained how Bronia's nationality had originally been “Austrian” but became “Polish” when Poland regained its independence after the First World War.  I described how Rohatyn had been devastated in both World Wars because it had been the fighting front - sometimes in Russian hands, sometimes Polish, sometimes German - and how in 1941 it was occupied by the Nazis and became a place of death.  I showed the students the few photos I have for some of the other family members:  those that remained in Rohatyn after sisters Jute and Bronia had left for Palestine;  those that had been shot by the Nazis and whose bodies had been dumped into unmarked mass graves.  I showed them some of the faces that been the sisters'  parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and cousins.  I explained that neither sister, Jute nor Bronia, ever returned to Rohatyn, and neither ever had any children.

The students asked me excellent questions, which I did my best to answer.  They were engaged and engaging, moved and moving.  I felt buoyant to encounter such interest and share such intimacies.
 
Afterward, I was given a tour of the teachers' lounge, the school grounds, and the town's charmingly petite rynek (market square).  Accompanied by Dominika and two of her students, I stood before Busko-Zdrój's former Jewish synagogue, a lovely, restored building with Italianate details, today housing a small grocery and notions store.  Did Bronia attend services here 80 years ago, I asked myself?  Did she sit in the park of the rynek gazing at the central fountain, from which radiates five or six bucolic pedestrian pathways?  Did she too smell the blooming lilacs?

80 years after my Bronia had lived and taught in pre-War Poland - where Jews had contributed so much to the greater good -  I came to Busko-Zdrój. 

I am Bronia Horn.  A teacher returning. 

Proof that life can continue.

By Marla Raucher Osborn
June 2012
Krakow, Poland






A special thanks to Dr. Alex Feller, founder of the Rohatyn Shtetl Research Group (RSRG), for his enthusiasm, encouragement, and prompting for me to write this story - the latest in my continuing journey to follow in the footsteps of Rohatyn sisters Bronia and Jute HORN.

New Addition to JewishGen

Posted by Warren Blatt


JewishGen is pleased to announce the formation of a new Special Interest Group -- the JewishGen Sub-Carpathia SIG.

The JewishGen Sub-Carpathia SIG focuses on parts of the pre-WWI Hungarian megyek (counties) of Bereg, Maramaros, Ugocsa and Ung, today located in Sub-Carpathia, Ukraine.

The prime objective of SIG is to help with genealogical research and related information-gathering.

Please visit the JewishGen Sub-Carpathia SIG's web site at:

See what's there, and contribute material you may have that will enhance it.  Perhaps you would like to spotlight your family, in the hope of locating relatives.

These are JewishGen Sub-Carpathia SIG's ongoing projects:

- gazetteer of Sub-Carpathian villages and towns -
      by their former Hungarian and present Ukrainian names,
      with both lists linked to show the location on a map
- transcription of the Velikiy Bereznyy (Nagyberezna) mohel book
- transcription of the new Mukacheve cemetery tombstones
- transcription of the Berehove cemetery tombstones
- transcription of the Pryborzhavs'ke cemetery tombstones
- providing guidance for travel in Sub-Carpathia

There are also new projects, some of which have already begun, and others awaiting volunteers to participate and/or lead them. 
These include:

- translation of the Vynogradiv yizkor book
- cemetery projects - photographing and transcribing tombstones
- collecting travel photos from visitors to their ancestral towns
- transcription of vital records

If you have interest, genealogical skills, knowledge of the history and genealogy of this area, or language proficiency (Hungarian, Romanian, Russian, Ukrainian, Hebrew or Yiddish, among others), we would appreciate your help with our collective efforts.

A discussion/mailing list is the conduit through which SIG members can communicate their research issues, ask for advice, offer solutions, and share the creative ways in which they have documented their family heritage.

To subscribe to the discussion/mailing list, please go to:
and select "Sub-Carpathia SIG."

CONTACTS:

* For questions concerning JewishGen Sub-Carpathia SIG, its discussion mailing list or web site, contact Marshall Katz, at:

* Comments or questions of general interest to all should be addressed to the JewishGen Sub-Carpathia SIG's mailing list, at:

We welcome everyone's active participation.

Warren Blatt
Managing Director, JewishGen

Marshall Katz
JewishGen Sub-Carpathia SIG Coordinator

Monday, June 11, 2012

Bessarabia Jewish Business Directory



Posted By: Harvey Kabaker

The 1924 Bessarabia Jewish Business directory project is complete. 


Bessarabia SIG has completed work on extracting names and other data for Jewish businesspeople active in the early 1920s in the eastern counties of Romania that formerly comprised the Bessarabia territory of pre-World War I Imperial Russia.


Files in HTML and .xls format are available on the Bessarabian Databases page are available by  clicking here.


They report on grocers, shopkeepers, teachers, local officials, stone carvers, butchers, bakers, innkeepers, lawyers, peddlers, rabbis, and many others who worked in Romania's nine eastern counties and Chisinau (the former Kishinev), and who apparently were Jewish. The 13,056 records represent 705 cities, towns, villages and hamlets.


The information was extracted from the "Socec Annuary of the Great-Roumania," dated 1924-1925, issued by the prominent Romanian publishing house Socec & Co. The Library of Congress calls the two-volume set a historic address book that "stands as the most complete survey of Greater Romania during the interwar period."


A detailed description of the project and notes on the source are available by clicking the title, "Bessarabia Business Directory, 1924-25" at the top of the page referenced above.


Volunteers who extracted the data were
  • Ala Gamulka, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Harvey Kabaker, Silver Spring, MD, USA
  • Paola Khalili, London, UK
  • Ayana Kimron
  • Yefim Kogan, Newton, MA USA
  • Alison Shein, Arlington, VA, USA
  • Flo Wolf, Atlanta, GA, USA
Harvey Kabaker
Project Manager, Bessarabia SiG

Board of Governers: New Member

Posted By: Karen S. Franklin


JewishGen announces the appointment of Max Polonovski to its Board of Governors. Max is general curator of Jewish heritage for the French Ministry of Culture, director of the Museum of Plans-Reliefs, and has taught Mediaeval History and Archaeology at the University Paris-Pantheon-Sorbonne for over ten years.


Max is a member of the team of international experts which will implement the new management plan for the former camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, vice-president of the scientific committee of the memorial of the former Camp Les Milles (Aix-en-Provence), and a founder and former vice-president of the French Jewish Genealogical Society (CGJ). He was born in Paris and has been involved in genealogical research since 1966.


In accordance with the by-laws adopted by the Board of Governors at its December 2011 meeting, two new positions for officers were established. Current board members Rand Fishbein and Phyllis Kramer were elected to these positions as vice-chair and secretary respectively.


Rand H. Fishbein, Ph.D. is President of Fishbein Associates, Inc., a public-policy consulting firm based in Potomac, Maryland. He has served on the JewishGen Board of Governors since 2010, and is an active member of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington. He has broad experience in the oversight of federal agencies and has been personally responsible for conceiving of and authoring nearly two-dozen funded programs and initiatives in the fields of foreign affairs and national security, including the rescue of Jewish endangered antiquities and populations.


Phyllis Kramer is a dedicated educator, lecturer and genealogist. As Vice President of Education for JewishGen, she developed the Learning Center and Courseware for which she received the 2011 Outstanding Contribution Award from IAJGS. Until her retirement, she served as a business consultant for IBM.


Howard Margol has chosen not to continue for a second term on the Board of Governors. We acknowledge with gratitude Howard's dedicated service to JewishGen.


The JewishGen Board of Governors is an advisory board that works with the staff, volunteers and users of JewishGen to create a vision for the organization, and aids in strategic planning and outreach.

Karen S. Franklin
Gary Mokotoff, co-chairs

Karen S. Franklin

914-963-1059
KarenFranklin@gmail.com

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ukraine- SIG Update


Posted By: Ron Doctor


I want to tell you about a tremendous new resource that Marilyn Robinson, Tara Levin, and Bena Shklyanoy have uncovered, each working independently. It is the Russian language website of the Center for Genealogical Research . Each entry is a short biographical paragraph about an individual. The paragraph often includes names of spouses or children. The entries are arranged alphabetically by surname. According to the website, the list covers the European territory of the former Russian Empire, people born before 1918. I estimate that about 10% of the names are Jewish.

The website contains about 420,000 primary surnames (almost 2,600 pages of primary surnames with about 160 names per page). Common surnames have multiple secondary pages, each with up to 15 people listed. For example the primary surname Kagan has six secondary pages with a total of 60 to 90 name entries. We estimate that the Center's website has more than 6 million individual name entries ... between 500,000 and 1 million Jewish name entries. A.M. Paramonov's "Encyclopedia of Names, Kharkov Province" seems to be drawn from this list. (We are more than half finished with the extraction of Jewish names and translating the entries. from Paramonov's Encyclopedia.)

The entries seem to be drawn from 5 reference works (all in Russian):

1) Address book of members of the All-Union Botanical Society; as of May 1, 1957. St. Petersburg. Publisher: USSR Academy of Sciences. Leningrad, 1958. (scanning funded by the Center for Genealogical Research)

2) City of Yekaterinburg. Collection of historical statistics and background information on the city, with an address pointer and including some information on the Yekaterinburg district.  A publication of Yekaterinburg Mayor I.I. Simanova. Yekaterinburg. Printed in /Yekaterinburg Week/ in 1889. (Scanning funded by Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company).

3) Picturesque Russia. / Volume 4. Part two. by P.P. Semionov; St. Petersburg - Moscow: 1881-1901, M.O. Wolf (bookseller-typographer). (scanning funded by Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company)

4) Complete list of officer ranks of the Russian Imperial Army on 1 January 1909.  St. Petersburg: Military press (in the building of the General Staff). (Scanning funded by the Center for Genealogical Research)

5) Russia. The full geographical description of our country. Desktop and road book. Volume 5. Urals and the Ural region./ St. Petersburg. Publisher: A.F. DeVries, 1914. (scanning funded Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company)

We need translators to extract the Jewish entries, translate them from printed Russian to English, and enter the translations in a spreadsheet. We will provide you with the spreadsheet template. Bena will serve as Project Manager until we can find a qualified Manager to take over the project. I have created entries for this project and its related data collection in our website database. You can get to it by clicking here.

Please contact me if you can help with this project, either as Project Manager or as a translator.

Ron

--
Ron Doctor (rddpdx@gmail.com)
Coordinator, JewishGen Ukraine SIGwww.jewishgen.org/Ukraine
where Jewish genealogy is personal

New member to Ukraine SIG Board of Directors

Posted By: Ron Doctor

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Bena Shklyanoy to Ukraine SIG's Board of Directors. Bena is our new Translations and Data Director. She immigrated to the U.S. in 1976 from Kiev, Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) with her husband and two small children. She grew up in a bilingual, Russian and Yiddish, family and now lives in Chicago. Bena has an M.A. in Linguistics, Russian language and Literature from the University of Kiev, and an M.S. in Management from the Lake Forest Executive School of Management. In Kiev, she worked as a technical translator and editor at an engineering firm. In the U.S., she became a computer programmer, then a project manager. She worked in information technology for more than 30 years.


Bena will be responsible for coordinating our translation projects and for preparing our datasets for posting to JewishGen Ukraine Database and the Ukraine SIG Master Name Index. Her full job description and a more detailed biography here.


If you have translation skills (Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Polish, or Ukrainian) or Project Management skills, and are interested in working with Bena and Ukraine SIG, please contact me. You May also e-mail her by clicking here or here.


Ron Doctor (rddpdx@gmail.com)
Coordinator, JewishGen Ukraine SIG
where Jewish genealogy is personal