Sunday, June 21, 2015

They died on Yom Kippur or on Tisha Be'Av

The life of the Jews of Lubaczow must to a certain extent have been influenced  by the Christian calendar as far as living in a Christian country with Christian holidays and sharing the everyday life in Lubaczow through business with Roman Catholic Poles and Orthodox Christian Ukrainians.

But in the Jewish community, within the Jewish families, the Hebrew calendar would have been the calendar that governed their  lives  -  daily prayers, shabat, holidays,  Bar Mitzva, Yahrzeits etc.

When a family member happened to die on a Jewish holiday or a Moed like Yom Kippur or Tisha be’Av, I imagine that holiday or Moed would have a special meaning in the years to come.

This time I have recorded the graves  where Yom Kippur and Tisha be'Av are noted on the gravestone.

The evening of Yom Kippur

1914      Grave of woman                                                                Row 2, Grave 63
1916      Josef Arie Leib LEHRER, son of Fishel                             Row 25, Grave 43
1930      Israel Izrael Benjamin HIRSCHEL, son of Elijahu David   Row 26, Grave 7

Yom Kippur

1868     Josef, son of Avigdor                                                                 Row 38, Grave 11
1887     Moshe Josef, son of Daniel                                                       Row 1, Grave 37
1904     Chaia Ester, daughter of Zvi HaLevi                                          Row 16, Grave 2
1917 (?)  Grave of woman                                                                      Row 23, Grave 42
1931     Beila Ester WEISS nee WEINTRAUB, daughter of Avraham   Row 29, Grave 18

The end of Yom Kippur

 Year ?   Grave of a woman "במוצא יום סליחה באה אל עולמה במנוחה"          Row 20  Grave 12

Tisha be'Av

.Year?       ..?........................                                            Row 18, Grave 48
1855     Grave of a young man who died in a plague       Row 37  Grave 15
1906     Grave of man                                                       Row 10, Grave 9
1914(?) Grave of woman                                                  Row 18, Grave 45
1916(?) Chana Perl, daughter of Meir                              Row 20, Grave 9  

Friday, June 12, 2015

Long lives....

One of the things that have surprised me, is how many Jews  lived long lives in prewar Lubaczow.

The two oldest who died in Lubaczow during that time were:
HOLZER Aron who died at the age of 99 in 1929 .
BIENENFELD nee KULMAN Ryfka who died at the age of 98 in 1937.
Their graves have not yet been located.

According to the death register, around 125 persons who died from September 1914 to December 1938  had reached the age of 80 and more. 
Out of these,  23 persons were age 90 and more.

Chaja Tauba MOND nee EHLBAUM   90 years old
Simszon SCHAECHTER    95 years old

Izak STAZ r. LICHTER    90 years old

Joel KATZ    93 years old

Gitla MEISELS nee KELCZ   90 years old

Hersz Leib MAJERAN    90 years old

Ronia NADEL nee BIRKEN    90 years old

Jakob STEINBRUCH     95 years old
Gitla FEDER       90 years old
Jozef FRIEDMAN   90 years old

Matla SCHAECHTER nee SPRUNG    93 years old

Genendel EIGNER    90 years old

Laja WEINGARTEN married FRIED    90 years old

Aron HOLZER    99 years old

Lea STERN nee LANDMAN    91 years and six months old

Leib FUCHS    92 years old
Chaje Ester REINFELD nee SCHIROK    94 years

Basia FUCHS    90 years old
Chaim Leib GOTTLIEB     91 years old

Scheindla HARTMAN nee SPINDEL      90 years old
Binem KRAEMER           94 years old

Jakob SCHNEK  92 years old
Ryfka BIENENFELD nee KULMAN    98 years old

The vital records for the Jewish community in Lubaczow had been destroyed by the fire of 1899 and possibly from the warfare in WWI. Birth records only exist from the year 1914, though you can see there has been an attempt to register at least some of the births before that year.

When really old persons died back then, it seems likely that the age of the deceased  in most cases was based on what the relatives said, and not on any birth documents. A likely exception: Lea STERN was listed as being 91 years old and six months when she died. Did the family have her birth certificate?

The possibility that  the ages of these really old persons is not 100 % exact, must be taken into consideration, in my opinion. 

Even so, I believe many of the Jews of Lubaczow lived long, long lives.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Now at the museum: Decoration from the main cemetery gate

This is the original  main entrance to the Jewish cemetery in Lubaczow. It is made of iron.

If you look close, you will see small round holes and even the slight silhouette of the decorations that originally were on those gates.

One of these decorations  is exhibited at the local museum.

There used  to be two of these.

Perhaps something like this:

Imagine such decorations once more on the cemetery gates! 
I know one descendant is working to make this to happen.

Exhibition at the local Museum in May 2013

Arriving  in Lubaczow in the evening of May 19th 2013, it turned out to be the local Museum Night. 
I had never heard about such events, but was told such museums nights are arranged in different European countries.

We first went to the open air museum opposite the museum building where the local population had come to see a group of young women and men from the Tatra mountains  dance, sing and tell stories, while the men made white cheese the way these mountain people do it traditionally.

My Polish is extremely limited, but you could see and feel that the public enjoyed themselves very much.The event was part of a new exhibition about shepherds and their way of life in several European countries. To get an impression, you can check a series of photos at the bottom of this webpage.

I was told that the open museum, often called Skansen in Poland, in the future plans to add more houses, and that one of these houses then will be a house presenting a Jewish home from before the war.

During this Museum Night, the locals were visiting the different exhibitions in the main museum building. On the third floor they just opened a new version of their former exhibition of the three religions that used to be part of life in Lubaczow  - representing the Ukrainian Orthodox church, the Jewish community and the Roman Catholic Church.

For the Jewish section they had several beautiful objects, many borrowed from other collections. Two objects, a parochet and a ketubbah, I suggested to the museum staff  that they check closer to validate.
All in all, this was also a pleasant surprise.

Two objects at the exhibition made a special impression:

From the synagogue
This object  comes from the synagogue that was burnt down by the Germans in September 1939.

Check this website of  Tomasz Wisniewski
and roll down till you see the two photos of the synagogue in Lubaczow, before and after the Germans burnt it down in September 1939. In the first photo you will find this decoration, as one of two.

From the Jewish Cemetery

Then last to an object at the exhibition that used to decorate the main entrance gate of the Jewish cemetery.
Originally there were two, but one remains.

Imagine  two of these on the gate doors!

You can see the small holes where the decoration was once nailed to the door, and even the slight silhouette if you look closer.

There are intentions to have such decorations once more on the cemetery gates. 

Holocaust victims, Pages of Testimony and persons buried at this cemetery

Holocaust victims most likely had relatives who had died before the second World War
In the effort to find out more about those buried at this cemetery, I use Pages of Testimony and  other Holocaust related documents.
F.ex. if a person born around 1880 became a Holocaust victim, it is possible that his/her parents, siblings, spouses or children died before the Holocaust and are buried at the cemetery. 

Sometimes information from Pages of Testimony about parents, siblings etc. may help identify the family names of some of those buried in Lubaczow.

Pages of Testimony

Relatives who submitted Pages of Testimony to Yad Vashem believed their relatives were murdered in the Holocaust. Given the circumstances of a war starting in Sept 1939, with a period of Soviet occupation from Oct 1939 to the end of June 1941, the relatives living far away may not have known all the details of when exactly their relatives died or if they, in a few cases, died of natural causes or if they, in most cases, were murdered. What they knew was that at the end of the Second World War, their relatives were no longer alive.

Lubaczow Yizkor List
Relatives made a Lubaczow Yizkor list in the 1950's in Tel Aviv. In the beginning I thought this was a list of Holocaust victims, but I am now more and more convinced that though most of the persons listed were murdered in Holocaust, there are also several names for relatives who died before the Holocaust.
Two reasons for this:
1. There were no graves for those murdered in the Holocaust relatives, so the relatives in Israel conducted Yizkor ceremonies in Israel.
2. For those relatives who had died before the war in Lubaczow, they had no possibility to go to the Jewish cemetery in Lubaczow to visit the graves. I believe they added the names of those in this second group so that their relatives would be mentioned and prayed for in the YIZKOR ceremonies they conducted in Israel. 

Future comparison of Yizkor list, Pages of Testimony, Gravestones and Death Register
Now with the Death Register covering the years Sept 1914 - Dec 1938 and locating graves matching  those in the Death register, I have found at least one grave of a person listed on a Page of Testimony, and a few more listed on the Yizkor list. I will come back to this later.

Holocaust victims as part of this cemetery project

Through this cemetery project I decided to include information about:

1. The Holocaust victims who were born in Lubaczow and later lived elsewhere in Poland or in Europe.

2. The Holocaust victims who were born in Lubaczow and lived their lives in Lubaczow.

3. Those who were born on other places, but through marriage and their work lived in Lubaczow.

4. Those who during the war came to or were deported to Lubaczow and then were murdered there.

They have no graves.

They should be remembered.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Graves of children

It was naive of me to think that all those buried at the cemetery would have a gravestone.

One email from a descendant with roots in Lubaczow reminded me that in Galicia the families would often save money for years after the relative died till they could afford to put up a gravestone.

With this in mind, and the ability to use the information in the civilian death register, I started to see that most of the gravestones I have identified till now, have been for persons  who were fifty, sixty , seventy  and more.

The impression is that very few children got their own gravestone.

Were the children buried in the outskirts of the cemetery?

Did their  graves have some simple marker, without inscriptions?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Zichrono levracha = z"l = ז"ל

Two letters in Hebrew on your relative's tombstone, can help you in your family research.

On this stone it says Avraham, son of Meir Yitzchak z"l . 

For a woman, it could say Lea ,daughter of Shmuel HaKohen z"l.

In both cases, this means, in practical terms,  that the parent of the deceased had died before their daughter or son. According to Ashkenazi naming tradition, there is a possibility that the deceased had a son who was named after his paternal grandfather.

The two letters themselves stand for the Hebrew words “Zichrono levracha” which translated could be “May his memory be blessed “ or “Of blessed memory”.

In this cemetery, only the father of the deceased is mentioned, but the  two letters z"l could also be used in connection with a deceased woman - and then read as "Zichrona levracha"

In Hebrew ז"ל

Sometimes two other Hebrew letters come after the father's name , namely נ"י
This means the father was alive at the time his son or daughter died.

Decoration : Candelabrum with Seven Lights

In a few cases, the gravestones of women have a candelabrum with seven lights - a menorah.

Decoration: Candelabrum with Five Lights

In addition to candelabrums with three lights on women's graves, many graves have a candelabrum with five lights.

As far as I can see, every candelabrum seems to be unique in its design. In other words, the candelabrum is not a standardized symbol, but seems to reflect something personal. 

In my fantasy, I sometimes imagine the family bringing the deceased woman's candelabrum to the stonecutter to incorporate the design for the gravestone.

Decoration : Candelabrum with Three Lights

Most women's graves have candelabrums as their decoration at the Jewish cemetery in Lubaczow. 

I have not seen any decoration with two separate candlesticks in this cemetery, but there are many candelabrums with three lights.

Sometimes traces of the original paint can still be see - more than 70 years later!

Reisel WEINRATH nee GOTTLIEB died young in 1924, leaving behind her five year old daughter Necha Nella Cirla. She has a candelabrum with three lights on her gravestone.

GROUP ONE:42 graves with family names on around 1600 gravestones

When I registered  the around 1600 graves back in 2002 and 2003, I was surprised to find that in the Jewish cemetery in Lubaczow, hardly any gravestone had  a family name inscribed.

In other words, the deceased are referred to as “Yaakov Yehuda  son of Shmuel”  and “Reisel daughter of Yaakov  Moshe”.

Trying to identity the person buried, seemed more or less impossible.
How could relatives find their family graves?

As an example: Here is a person  who  - according to the text - is well known  נודע בשערים ,  but only mentioned as "Moshe Shimson son of Shmuel".

  הרבני משה שמשון ב' המנוח המופלא ר' שמואל  ז"ל

After my visits in 2002, 2003,2008 and 2013,  I could compile the list of those few buried with their family names on the gravestone. If I have not missed any,  a little more than 40 gravestones.

ADLER , Mendel, died 1933.                 Row 2, Grave 4

DORNER nee ADLER, Keila, died 1939          Row 11. Grave 1
DRUCKER Jakob Mechel (Yaakov Yechiel),  died 1935     Row 3, Grave 9
FRIESER / FRISER  Reuven, died 1902       Row 7, Grave 21

FRIESER / FRISER , Eli, died 1908        Row 7, Grave 22

FRIESER / FRISER , Saul / Szawel, died 1919       Row 5, Grave 81

FRIESER / FRISER / FRISEROWA, Sydonia            Row 5, Grave 81

GABEL nee KOLLER, Tauba , died 1933,           Row 7, Grave 14

GABEL, Abraham, died 1933, Row 2, Grave 15

HAUSEN nee WACHS or LACHS, Hena, died 1934, Row 5, Grave 12

HAUSER / , Chaim , died 1938    Row 1, Grave 4

HELLSINGER / HELSINGER, Josef, died 1930       Row 4, Grave 13

HERZBERG nee FEDER, Syma, died 1936                  Row 28, Grave 7

HERZBERG nee ADLER, Ita, died 1937          Row 30, Grave 16

HIRSCHEL, Perla, died 1935                  Row 40, Grave 4

HOFFMAN nee GRüNROCK  , Frajda , died 1937       Row 41, Grave 2

KLEIN, Osias / Ozjasz, died 1936                             Row 2, Grave 1

KNOPF, Hersch Izak, died 1931   Row 7, Grave 17

KORMAN, Isak / Izak, died 1915   Row 20, Grave 46

KORMAN, Izak Zvi (Hersch?) , died 1918   Row 25, Grave 45

KUCZER nee STEIN, Mincza, died 1938   Row 41, Grave 4

LIPINER, Chaim, died 1934    Row 3, Grave 2

MANBER nee WEINBACH , Debora, died 1926, Row 5, Grave 6

MANBER, Leizor, died 1926   Row 5, Grave 6
MOHR Ignacy, died 1934,     Row 5, Grave 80

OHRENSTEIN, Gerschon, died 1937    Row 43, Grave 6

PFLANZER nee REINFELD , Laja Ester, died 1928    Row 5, Grave 14

REINFELD nee SCHWERT, Ita Rechla, died 1923    Row 5, Grave 18

REINFELD nee SCHIROK, Chaja / Chaje Ester, died 1933   Row 5, Grave 8

RETTIG /RETIG, Mosze, died 1939   Row 1, Grave 2

ROTTER, Sara, died 1929     Row 5, Grave 14

ROTTER nee KNOPF, Frajda, died 1932      Row 5, Grave 3

STRASS nee GOTTLIEB, Marjem, died 1937    Row 29, Grave 10

STEINBRUCH, Josef, died 1926   Row 28, Grave 2

STEINBRUCH, Leib, died 1926    Row 28, Grave 1

STEINER nee GROHMAN, Cyril, died 1939  Row 30, Grave 15

STEINER, Elias, died 1925    Row 7, Grave 9

STORCH (nee BIENENFELD?), Rachel, died 1940      Row 30, Grave 27

TAUBE nee LEHRFREUND, Sydonia, died 1929      Row 1, Grave 20

TUMIM, Zvi Seide, died 1929           Row 2, Grave 17

WEINRATH nee DRUCKER , Frieda Matla, died 1935    Row 29, Grave 15

WINTER, Markus, died 1938        Row 2, Grave 5