A new book on the Holocaust - "The Towns of Death: The Pogroms of Jews by Their Neighbors" #poland #holocaust

Frank Szmulowicz

I would like announce an upcoming (mid-May) publication of the book "The Towns of Death: The Pogroms of Jews by Their Neighbors" by a young Polish philosopher/historian/ethicist, Dr. Mirosław Tryczyk, which is a translation of his book Miasta śmierci in Polish. The translation is by yours truly.  The book will come out in hardcover as well as an e-book. 

You can find the book on several book-seller websites, for example,
and many others. 
You may remember Dr. Jan T. Gross's book "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland", which describes the events in one town of the region. 

I would like to encourage the jewishgen membership to read this book. I found it so compelling in the Polish original that I offered to translate it in memory of my father's family, which perished in Chelmno. Dr. Tryczyk continues with his work in  memorializing lost burial sites of pogrom victims in Eastern Europe against the great resistance of the local population and the central Polish government. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the pogroms described in the book. 

Short overview
The Towns of Death deals with the pogroms of Jews in Eastern Poland in 1941–1942 perpetrated by their Polish neighbors. The book relies on witness reports from survivors, bystanders, and the murderers themselves as found in court testimonies to describe the eerily similar, horrific events that occurred in some dozen towns throughout the region. It Importantly, the author demonstrates the pivotal role of the Catholic clergy and individual priests, the intellectual classes, and political circles in sowing the seeds that allowed anti-Semitism to grow and express itself in the pogroms in which tens of thousands of Polish Jews were slaughtered individually and en masse by their Polish neighbors.

One book review for your consideration

Mirosław Tryczyk has created a great oeuvre that has waited in vain several decades for a historian talented and eager to undertake the task. Its greatness owes to the importance of restoring knowledge of the past to the national consciousness, the lack of which weighs heavily on the present and, worse yet, its prolonged absence bodes ill for the future. As the author himself aptly describes it, “one must fight not only with the passage of time which shrouds, erases, and destroys everything but also with man who wants to forget the sad events. One must also struggle with our civilization’s preoccupation with the present and its avoidance of the problems of the past and the future.” Tryczyk has issued an appeal, calling on us to postpone no longer the still patriotic and moral duty to fill the glaring gaps in the collective memory and to examine “now, immediately, if possible. Much time has been irrevocably lost since the end of World War II, which is hard to justify today. One may only try to understand.” Here, he answers this appeal without delay, through action.

The author has succeeded in recreating the (hopefully unrepeatable) atmosphere, an atmosphere that was unleashed, unbridled, allied with the desire for easy gains and a hate emboldened by impunity in its full monstrous form that is unimaginable to our contemporaries because, luckily for us, not personally experienced. The author has succeeded in achieving the intended effect: indeed, quantity turns here into quality, the stifling odor of human bestiality thickens with every page, and the horror of untamed evil grows stronger with each successive voice from the dark. And the awareness of the ruthlessness of the logic of evil grows: a village after village, a town after town emerge one like the other from the darkness through a numbingly monotonous sequence of events. Only the names in the cast in the ominous drama change from scene to scene; from time to time, the actors of the drama resort to different words to express their emotions, but the emotions revealed through their reports and those evoked in the readers are the same; and the script of the tragedy does not budge one iota.


— Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds

Signed, Frank Szmulowicz, Ph. D.

Painted Woods (North Dakota) Jewish Farming Settlement of Painted Woods virtual reunion #announcements #usa


I found out about a decade ago that my grandmother Rose Confeld was born December 1885 in Painted Woods, North Dakota – not far south of Washburn.  Her mother’s family (Dorfman) was from Kishinev, Bessarabia and they farmed at Painted Woods starting in 1882.  I did a bit of research and found out that Painted Woods, ND had a Jewish Agricultural Colony from 1882 until the early 1890’s. 


Over the years I have continued my research and had the pleasure to communicate with a number of descendants of the Jewish farmers of Painted Woods.  Since we have all become a bit more accustomed to virtual meetings or reunions in the past year, I decided to host a virtual reunion of the descendants of Painted Woods Jewish Farming Settlement on Sunday, April 25 at 2pm Pacific Time, 5pm Eastern Time. 


This is not strictly a seminar, but I will be presenting some of the things I’ve learned about Painted Woods Jewish Farming Settlement.  It’s also an opportunity for descendants and interested researchers to meet virtually.  I have room for up to 100 attending, but we only have space for another 20 or 30 left.  If you are a descendant of the Painted Woods Jewish farmers (1880’s or 1890’s) or you have a keen interest in Jewish agricultural colonies, please let me know if you want to attend and I will send you an invitation with the pertinent information.



Richard Levine






Re: Records of Landsleitschaften in New York City #records #usa

Barbara Algaze

There is a book in our JGSLA (Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles) book collection with the title of The Jewish Landsmanschaften of New York, written in Yiddish written by the Yiddish Writers' Group of the Federal Writers' Project (WPA) and published by I.L. Peretz Yiddish Writers' Union in 1938.  Unfortunately, our collection is in the Los Angeles FamilySearch Library which is presently closed. You might want to contact Aaron Lansky's Yiddish Book Center@YiddishBookCenter · History Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.  They might have a copy that they can check for you.  

Barbara Algaze
JGSLA Librarian
Los Angeles, California

Dr. Steven Turner: Highlighting the Partnership Between Gesher Galicia & JewishGen #JewishGenUpdates #announcements #galicia

Steven Turner

Gesher Galicia President Steven Turner was honored to be invited to
give a talk by JewishGen. The partnership between Gesher Galicia and
JewishGen is such an important one for the Jewish genealogy community.

For those who missed it you can watch the recording of the March 23rd talk here

Published Jewish Family Histories #general

Michelle Sandler

I am working on a PowerPoint presentation on where to find Published
Jewish Family Histories. The sources I have so far are:
Sourcebook for Jewish Genealogy and Family Histories
Avotaynu: the international review of Jewish Genealogy
Library of Congress
The sources for unpublished Jewish Family Histories are
JewishGen Family Finder
Family Tree of the Jewish People
Wiki Tree
Jewish Genealogy Surname Project on Facebook

Michelle Sandler MLS
President OCJGS
Librarian OCJGS
Vice President of Programming OCJGS
Westminster, California

Re: New Data Base Research Options #holocaust #records


I think that:
" If you come across a page in which all or part of the text is in another language, just right click on your mouse and you should have the option to click "Translate to English" -"

only works with Google Chrome.

Tom Beer

Melbourne, Australia.

Re: Polish spelling for surname MAKSHIN #poland #names

Krzysztof Witaszek

Makszin is a Hungarian surname, in Poland very rare in this form.
It could be Makuszyn or Makuszyń, they  would be  pronounced similarly to Makshin. 
Was this family from Chrzanów or from Lublin?
Krzysztof Witaszek

Re: Grandparents surnames KOHAN/LEVI #names #lithuania


The name Aronowitz might indicate they were descendants of the High Priest Aharon (brother of Mozes) as some people with my surname (Aronson) were, and if they were it could well be that they were generally known as Kohen. However it doesn't have to be that way, as in my case (we are not descendants of Aharon the high priest) were my ancestors took on that name to honor their grandfather whose first name was Aron.

N. Aronson
Manchester UK

Re: Marriage license needed: Brooklyn, 1926 #records #usa

Bob Silverstein

Richard, thanks for the response.  That is why you have to see both and, preferably, the original to check spellings.  The Archives does have an online order form.
Bob Silverstein
Elk Grove Village, IL

Researching Kaplan (Krynki, Poland) Tzipershteyn (Logishin, Pinsk, Belarus), Friedson/Fridzon (Motol, Cuba, Massachusetts), Israel and Goodman (Mishnitz, Warsaw, Manchester).

WWll Soldier Database For USSR Posts 8 Million Records #announcements #records #russia

Jan Meisels Allen


The Memory of the People portal announced almost 8.5 million more records to the database, the largest database for documenting former USSR soldiers.



The new collection adds:

·         6.2 million records from casualty cards and disease certificates

·         720,000 records of conscription and demobilization from the documents of military enlistment offices

·         154,000 records from name lists

·         338,000 records for soldier awards

·         267,000 entries from lists of buried soldiers and funeral notices

·         780,000 documents from military registration and enlistment offices regarding soldier losses.

For those unfamiliar with Russian to make the database less intimidating a video guide is available at:


Original url:


The database provides detailed information on soldiers that includes full name, date of birth, place of birth, location for call of duty, map of the individual’s battle route and awards received, with photos of awards and scans of original documents. Documents can be saved by clicking on the disk button on the bottom right.


To read Vera Miller’s excellent website about this database go to:


Jan Meisels Allen

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee




Chevra kaddisha in UNNA 1932 #germany

Mike Redel

Dear gersigs,

I hope one of you can help me. I have read in a book about the jewish
communities in 1932 that a Chevra kaddischa was foundet around 1875
the chairmann was a Kupferschlag (I think his name was Sally K.)

Has one of you informations about the Chevra kaddisha in Unna? Thank you.


Mike Redel

Unna - Germany

Re: Records of Landsleitschaften in Chicago (Was: New York City) #records #usa

Ben Karlin

Hi Barbara,

if you are not familiar with they have digitized many resources out of copyright as well as a lending library. If you search the category Texts using the search term “Jews in Chicago” in metadata you will find astounding documents. Landsleitschaften and Synagogues are reviewed in “Bridges to an American City” by Sidney Sorkin. There are other resources dating back to before the religious conferences convened in connection with Chicago’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. There are also a variety of Annuals and Directories that you’ll find useful.

I do not know if individual synagogues will have records but it is likely Spertus Institute has collections. Spertus (as well as the IL Secy of State) have libraries online with full-text of The Sentinel, Chicago’s English language Jewish newsmagazine. Searching for surnames in it may turn up business’s ads, and a variety of social items.

Hope these resources will be helpful.

Aurora, IL

KARLINSKY in Motole, Ivanava, Pinsk, USA and Canada
RAJCZYN in Zhitomyr
SAUWER in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Belem, Brazil

Re: This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks #ukraine

David Harrison

I am more than a bit puzzled.  We have  7 or 8 aliyot at our services - Open the Ark; draw the curtains and close them; take out the Scroll and after, replace it , Haggbah);  undress the Scroll and dress it; say the blessings be a witness that the reading is correct: read the special other reading, say the blessing and read from the Prophets.  The prize one is for Haggbah, which gave up when I was84 and we have to get a lady to perform this .  So the question is, what were the four?
David Harrison, Birmingham, England.

From: main@... <main@...> on behalf of Judy Floam <jmfloam@...>
Sent: 16 April 2021 14:58
To: main@... <main@...>
Subject: Re: [] This week's Yizkor book excerpt on the JewishGen Facebook page #yizkorbooks

The “fourth aliyah”  is considered a slight because the first two go automatically to a Kohen and a Levi, respectively.  So the “third aliyah” is an honor for the rest of the members and the fourth is someone who wasn’t important enough to get the third.   At our synagogue, the third aliyah always goes to the Rabbi, but I don’t think anyone cares who gets the fourth aliyah.


Judy Floam

Baltimore, MD


I may have some leads for you. I tried to send you an email and it bounced back. Please contact me at 
Harold Love
Pittsburgh, PA

Re: What is the name "Katty" short for? #names


Could also come from Katia or Kadia.

Dan Efrat
Cherry Hill, NJ, USA

Re: The woman's name of ZETA #names


Zeta and Zita is a non-Jewish European name, which seems to be found mostly in central and east Europe. Not very common but I had a neighbor in Israel named Zita who was born in Russia in the 1960s.
Zita of Bourbon-Parma (died 1989) was the last Empress of Austria, so the name goes pretty high ...

Dan Efrat
Cherry Hill, NJ, USA
Researching Israelit and Israelite of Novogrudok and Dyatlovo (Zhetl), Rabinowitz of Dyatlovo, Pruss of Chernobyl and Koifman of Proskurov.

Re: Polish spelling for surname MAKSHIN #poland #names

Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz

It should be "Makszyń".

Ruth Leiserowitz
Berlin / Warsaw

Re: Tiktin Family of Rabbis #poland

Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz

The files of the Jewish Community of Wroclaw are in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. Please try the link:,439

Ruth Leiserowitz
Berlin / Warsaw

Re: Do these siblings have the same mother? A Yiddish given name question #names


It also could be 2 or even 3 mothers.  My ggf was widowed twice and possibly 3 times before he married my ggm (his last wife). He had children with all of them. His first child was born in 1870 and the first of 4 children with his final wife was born in 1880. So it is very possible that there was more than 1 wife.

Jessica Schein


Janet Furba

Ask the relevant archives.
Janet Furba

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