Until a year or more ago, I didn't know that I had any RAPAPORTS
in my family. But after I retrieved some old letters and documents
which, after my mother's death, I had left with my eldest niece in New
York, I found two letters written in the late 1930's by a Chaim RAPAPORT,
then in Jaffa, to my grandfather, Isidor BELKOWSKY, then in Cleveland.
One of the letters, both of which were in handwritten German, said
that he, Chaim was the son of Wolf (Ze'ev Shaul). Wolf was the son of
Jacob Israel and Jacob Israel was the brother of Isidor BELKOWSKY's
mother. Until then, >from two old documents, I had known her name only
as Beila Sheerovna, so Chaim's letter gave me a clue as to what her
maiden name had been.
Chaim wrote that all his family was in Podwoloczyska, "bei
Tarnopol" but it took me some time and effort to find out just what
and where that town was.
I later learned that there was a Yizkor book for this town, and still
later, thanks to the efforts of Jewishgenner Michael Chen, I not only
the RAPAPORT chapter in the book. Michael also learned >from Dov
Breier of the Podwolochisk Society in Israel that the widow of the
writer of the chapter, Arieh RAPAPORT, was still alive, and he gave
me her address.
I didn't muster up the courage to write to Rivka RAPAPORT until
very recently, but at last, two weeks ago, by regular post, I sent
her a long letter, enclosing the photocopies of her brother-in-law's
This morning the eldest of her two sons wrote an email response,
in which he told me that his mother had read my letter with much joy
and was preparing a detailed response.
Except for the two brothers Arieh and Chaim, and perhaps their
wives, who managed to get to Palestine, all the rest of this
particular RAPAPORT family who had remained in Poland were killed by
the Nazis. The fatal decision to stay behind in Poland was made by
the father, Wolf. In 1924, he had seriously entertained the idea of
emigrating to Palestine in 1924, but then he heard that the Sabbath
was not strictly observed there. So instead, he remained and leased a
large farm, which for some years was very prosperous until hell broke