Re: Questions about Identity #general

Judith Romney Wegner

At 9:21 PM +0100 9/20/06, Henry Best wrote:

So you're saying that every Jew lived in or near a town where a
birth could be registered!
If they didn't, that they all had means of transport to the town of
That they all had marvellous memories and could remember the precise
date that the child was born, even years later!
That they were all responsible citizens who would try their hardest
to register the birth!
That they all trusted their government enough to register the birth!
That they all had the time available to go to a distant town, maybe
several days journey!
That they were all healthy enough to undertake the journey to town!
That they all survived long enough to get to town to register the birth!
That there was no civil unrest that prevented any of them >from
getting to town!
I am in complete agreement with Roger Lustig's responses to these
questions. I am sure none of the above (at least during the last
half of the nineteenth century which is the period with which we are
mainly concerned here, would have raised insuperable obstacles to
prevent a new Jewish parent or other appropriate person >from going to
register a child in accordance with the law. More to the point, the
questions asked reflect the mindset of a late 20th century American
and not, as Roger's answers made clear, the very different
circumstances and mindset of a 19th century Russian or Polish Jew.
There certainly could and probably would have been serious penalties
for non-compliance (not to mention later repercussions on the child
itself) that would make the father move heaven and earth to get his
child duly registered.

In this connection,allow me to repeat a small portion of my recent
message, namely the details of the registration of my father's birth
by my grandfather, in a Russian-administered part of Poland in 1901:

"Before me came Yankiel Rumianek, merchant, age 27, permanent
resident of Wysockie Masoviecke, Lomza Gubernia, currently residing
in the town Blonie. In the presence of witnesses Yosel Prachman,
merchant, age 35 and Shulim Alberstein, merchant, age 34, both
residents of the town Blonie, he brought a baby boy and said that the
baby was born at 8 a.m. on November 17, 1901, in the town of Blonie
from his lawful wife Masza Haja nee Przytycka, age 22. The baby
received the name Yosek."

As I said in that message, presumably it was the potential penalties
for noncompliance with the law that motivated him so powerfully to
show up with the baby and the two witnesses, or he most likely would
never have schlepped the the new baby(my late father z"l) in his

Judith Romney Wegner

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