Page 1

November 2010

Volume 18, Number 1

GG Matters 2

Research Corner

Feature Articles 10

Pamela Weisberger


Gesher Galicia Board of Directors


Key Staff Volunteers

Town Research 5

Kolomea Research Group

The Life Story of Markus Lustig Markus Lustig


Our Visit to Ancestral Cities and Towns in Ukraine Tony Hausner


DNA Tests in the Search for Common Ancestors Edward Gelles and Jeffrey Mark Paull

Alan Weiser


Podhajce Yahoo! Group Jean Rosenbaum


Tarnobrzeg ShtetLinks Page Gayle Schlissel Riley


Skala House Numbers Project Racheli Kreisberg


Dębica 1938 Industrial Permits, Part 1 Stanley Diamond and Eden Joachim

Triptych of Tombstones from Busk Cemetery

Research Corner Pamela Weisberger

Gesher Galicia Spring Meeting Next year’s Gesher Galicia regional meeting will be held Sunday, 22 May 2011 at the Center for Jewish History in New York City from 11:00 a.m.– 12:30 p.m. The morning program will provide an online tour of the revamped Gesher Galicia Web site, updates on the Cadastral Map and Landowner Records Project and the new Galician 20th-century voter records project (read below), and a presentation by Hanna Palmon about her recent (October 2010) research trip to the L’viv and Ternopil archives and her time in Busk, Ukraine. We’ll also have David Semmel talk about his new historical novel The 11th of Av, based on the lives of his Galician grandparents. (See page 4 for David’s introduction.) After the lunch break, the day will continue with a Jewish Genealogical Society of New York program with a Galician focus, speaker TBA. Whether you live in the Greater New York area, or anywhere on the East Coast within easy reach of Manhattan, we hope you will make plans to join us on 22 May. The CJH is at 15 West 16th Street. Its Web site is

can search everything by given name, surname, town, or keyword. GG board member Brooke Schreier Ganz is undertaking this monumental job as she counts down the months to her second child’s birth (a daughter!), coming very soon. We also plan to switch from paper copies of the Gesher Galicia Family Finder to an online version, to make updating your entries and searching for connections easier. Our target date to premier the new site is early winter 2011. State Archives of Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine, and Election/Voter Lists Researchers are reporting a new sense of openness to foreign researchers at the Ternopil Archives, which is encouraging news to people researching towns whose records are held there. As many of you know, Alexander Dunai has undertaken research on behalf of the Gesher Galicia Cadastral Map and Landowner Records Project to obtain maps held in Ternopil, and he has also researched voter records there. During her October trip, Hanna Palmon reported gaining easy access to voter and kahal records there.

Some of these voter records are not listed in Miriam Weiner’s inventory on her Routes to Roots Web site, so it is possible that these may exist for your towns even if you have not found them in an online search. Gesher Galicia plans to extend its research arm to start obtaining copies of these records, which date from the early 20th century, most often for the years 1922–1930. Details about how this project will operate will be forthcoming soon. These records usually bear the heading of “List of Electors for the Seim (Sejm)”, with the following headings: place or address, house number, name and surname, age, whether the individual was born in the town or how long he has lived there, and his occupation. See below a typed translated excerpt from the 1922 Grzymałów list. See also the close-up of the entry for Hanna’s grandparents, Hersch and Sarah, in the 1922 voter’s list for Busk (on page 3). These lists, like landowner records, are community documents containing both Jews and non-Jews, and families are grouped together. As an example of years covered, these voter lists exist for Ivano-Frankivsk

Research Project, Web Site, and Family Finder Updates Brian Lenius completed his work for Phase 4 of the Cadastral Map and Landowner Records Project in June, but due to his heavy workload this summer we have not yet received the fruits of his labors, which include more town inventories, photocopies, and digital images of these records. We expect to have these in hand by early December, and we will contact project donors at that time. The overhaul of the Gesher Galicia Web site is ongoing and we have plans to incorporate all of our data into an “All-Galicia Database”, so that one The Galitzianer


November 2010

(formerly Stanisławów): 1877, 1882– 1886, 1901, 1919–1927, 1922, 1930, 1931–1933, 1938, and 1940. You won’t gain complete family information, as children residing in a household will not be included, but the lists will still enable you to track a family over time. There is a great advantage to knowing how long someone has resided in a town, as our ancestors often meandered throughout Galicia. Usually people changed residence when they married, so inferences can be drawn from these records that may prove helpful. The final goal is to index the information in these records for inclusion in the All-Galicia Database. Researching Busk? Hanna Palmon is researching the Harmelin family from Busk and Brody. She photographed the tombstones in the Busk cemetery (see the sample photo on the front page) a few weeks ago when she was there. Her photographs are on Picasa at We would like to translate the inscriptions. If you are interested in volunteering for this task, please contact me at pweisberger@ (Please note that this is a new e-mail address for me.) Traveling to Poland I am currently in Poland on a study trip sponsored by the Forum for Dialogue among Nations, a nonprofit Polish organization whose mission is to foster Polish-Jewish dialog, eradicate anti-Semitism, and teach tolerance through education. The Forum fulfills its mission through seminars, publications, exhibitions, and exchange programs targeted at Polish and Jewish youth and leaders. I will be learning more about their “School of Dialogue” educational program, which aims at broadening young The Galitzianer

people’s knowledge about the long presence of Jews in Poland through self-exploration and commemoration of the prewar Jewish history in the place they live. Activities are targeted at Polish middle school and high school students and involve towns that once were Galician shtetlach. This is a groundbreaking program: Students participating in the project learn the history of their town, often discovering blank spots on the map of knowledge of the nolonger existing Jewish community. Through individual work supported by Forum’s educators, they explore the history on their own and link their discoveries with the physical traces of Jewish past in their surroundings. Students participate in four educational workshops designed and conducted by the Forum’s professionals. The students prepare their own projects commemorating the prewar Jewish community. The program ends with a festive Gala of Dialogue, where each participating school is awarded a diploma of the School of Dialogue. During the Gala, the winner is announced for the competition for the best project prepared by students and devoted to commemoration and physical traces of the Jewish community. The winning school receives material prizes and the students who conducted the project are invited for a two-day study visit to Cracow and Auschwitz. The trip ends in Cracow, where I will conduct research in the archives and libraries. I will report on my findings in the next issue of this journal. By researching and resurrecting the history of these places genealogically relevant material may be uncovered, and I’m eager to learn more about their work. This group had planned to present a lecture at the Ju3

ly 2010 IAJGS Conference but had to cancel at the last minute. We hope tthey can come next summer to the Washington, DC 2011 conference. If you want to learn more about the work of the Forum, go to Renewal Reminder By now you should have received your Gesher Galicia annual renewal notice in the mail. What? You haven’t seen it? We realize that these tend to be filed away and forgotten, so if you haven’t already sent in your check for your 2011 membership, along with any of your Family Finder updates, do so today! Remember that you have the option of receiving electronic or paper delivery of The Galitzianer, and you can also add a donation to our general fund (or target donations to special projects) at the same time you renew. Only current members will be listed in this year’s Family Finder and continue to receive The G, so don’t delay. Know someone interested in learning more about Galicia? Consider giving that person the gift of membership for Chanukah. You can also renew online via PayPal. The membership page is at join_gg.html, where you can print a paper form to mail in, or go to for PayPal instructions. Your support helps us keep our projects and research going and brings us closer to learning more about our Galician ancestors, so a huge thank you in advance to all our members who have continued to support us for so many years.

November 2010

The 11th of Av David Semmel

If it is axiomatic that you only experience your grandparents in their senior years, then how can you know who and what they were in their youth? For those with great family continuity, taking stock of them in their early years is comparatively easy—just look at your parents or your own early life and extrapolate back in time. But what could I do? My grandparents were immigrants from a place with strange traditions, different languages, and an opaque history. Comparisons rang hollow and my experience was worthless because there just wasn’t anything analogous between my youth in Vietnam-era America and Belle Époque Imperial Austrian Galicia, where they spent their formative years. Luckily, a few months before my grandmother died, I flew down to Miami to spend the weekend with my Bubbie Fannie before heading to the beach with my college friends. Over the course of two late nights she told me her life story—not the familiar, middle-aged one that I

IAJGS 2011 Conference The 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy will take place from Sunday, 14 August, through Friday, 19 August 2011, at the Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington, D.C. Proposals are now being accepted for presentations, workshops, panels, and other programming. The deadline for receipt of abstracts is 15 January 2011.

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knew by heart that started with my mother’s birth, but another one. It was a story about her when she was my age. It was a story of war, of siege, of cannons and marauding Cossacks. It was set in some unpronounceable town in a nation that no longer exists in a time before radios and airlines. A beautiful place with rivers, castles, forts, forests and parks; a place where people stayed up late, drinking and smoking in cafés and beer halls or taking in theater and cinema. There was joy and love, but there was also hardship, heartbreak, and death; the highs seemed higher, the lows, definitely lower. This wasn’t the gray, drab shtetl I’d imagined; it was dangerous, dynamic, edgy, and dare I say fun. To my utter astonishment, Grandma and Grandpa were, once upon a time, cool. In the twenty-plus years since the last of my grandparents passed away, I’ve come to see that not only were they “cool”, they were also driven, courageous, loving people replete with all the warts and flaws we share as human beings. Were they Elia and Rivka? No, they were real people with infinitely complex, interwoven lives that we can only minimally

access and crudely recreate. They were not Elia and Rivka, but they could have been. Note: 100% of the net proceeds from this novel will be donated to charities involved in the restoration and upkeep of Jewish sites in Przemysl. You can learn more about the book at

To submit your abstract, go to and click the “Call for Papers” tab on the left. Please read all instructions before starting the submission process. E-mail and postal mail submissions will not be accepted. Submitters will be notified by 15 March 2011. For questions, contact Jeff Malka at


November 2010

Town Research Kolomea Research Group

Podhajce Yahoo! KRRG Activities at IAJGS ConGroup ference in Los Angeles

Tarnobrzeg ShtetLinks Web Page

Alan Weiser

Jean Rosenbaum

Gayle Schlissel Riley

Membership One new member has joined the KRG since the last report. Our membership is now 79.

A Yahoo! group was recently established for Podhajce (current name Podgatsy) researchers. This allows people who are researching this shtetl to make contact easily with each other and to submit questions or share information. Messages to the group are automatically preserved in an archive for future reference, while attachments (photos, documents, etc.) are preserved separately. The group is moderated by two members so that only items relevant to genealogical research are posted. Information on the Yahoo! group was sent out to the 100 or so known Podhajce researchers. Thus far, more than 60 people have joined the new group. To get an idea of how this works, you can visit the Podhajce Discussion Group site at group/podhajce. Information on setting up your own shtetl’s discussion group is at Our Yahoo! discussion group site does not replace our JewishGen ShtetLinks Web site at http://www. but rather functions as a means of rapid communication for our researchers. Perhaps this will encourage others to explore the possibility of forming shtetl-related discussion groups. It has worked well for us so far. It’s free, setting it up is easy, and registrations for members is likewise easy. The Podhajce Yahoo! group moderators are Jerome Schatten,, and Jean Rosenbaum.

I am delighted to report that the Tarnobrzeg ShtetLinks site,, is growing. I have recently added the following: • An article written by Andrew Tarnowski about the 18th century in Tarnobrzeg (under Research) • More magnate documents; see Tarnowski archives. These early records from around 1800 were donated by Andrew Tarnowski. If anyone wishes to translate them let me know. Please check the documents for your family names. • An article under Cemetery about a tombstone that was discovered in an irrigation ditch wall (see below) • A new synagogue photograph • Photographs from 1941 from a gathering in New York of the landsmanshaftn, donated by Andee Schraf (under Kollel Records)

Cadastral Maps and Landowner Records and Surname Searches Several inquiries about relatives who were past Kolomyya residents have been submitted. I conducted given name searches for them, which is the first step in providing full reports on findings in vital records, school records, and other records related to Kolomyya. Unfortunately, these people did not seek the final reports when they would have had to make donations in the name of Kolomyya to the Cadastral Maps and Landowner Records Project run by Gesher Galicia, Inc. The funding for Kolomyya in this project remains at $800 U.S. Project progress is slow due to the fact that only one researcher is engaged in the research. No significant information has been reported for Kolomyya yet. KRG Activity The Coordinator is probably showing his age and has slowed down considerably in seeking or generating new information for the group. The door is always open to KRG members and nonmembers to suggest projects and to participate in them. Just submit your ideas to KRG member Rick Borten submitted an interesting report on the Austrian census returns of 1869– 1890, with an emphasis on Galicia. An article for The G is in preparation to share the information in the report.

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I would like to thank Sam Glaser for all his help with the Web site. Tombstone Found in Irrigation Ditch Wall Generates Newspaper Story Three years ago I received an e-mail from Wacek Pintal, a press photographer from Tarnobrzeg. He told me about a tombstone with Hebrew writing which was in the wall of an irrigation ditch by the Vistula River. The next message from him contained pictures. It was difficult for us to communicate, but we managed. I speak only a handful of Polish words and he does not speak English. After a week of conversations, Wacek, Tadeusz Zych (the Tarnobrzeg deputy mayor), and I decided that a plaque or placement of the tombstone in the new cemetery would take place. Tadeusz had a city November 2010

employee take down the tombstone from the irrigation ditch wall. The story of the tombstone, JewishGen, and myself were written up in Nadwislanski, the weekly newspaper. Wacek sent me a copy of the newspaper.

It would have been no different from the others, old and covered with moss, if it weren’t for the writing. The letters carved into it clearly showed that this was no ordinary stone.

Translation of Article Thank you to Fred Hoffman for this translation.

Rest in Peace When Ms. Riley received the photos, she was unusually excited, and had no doubt that this stone, or rather this fragment, was from a Jewish tombstone. She sent a copy to her cousin in Israel, who translated the inscription. There are individual words from three columns of the inscription: “upright” (in the sense of an upright person), “Kagan” (no doubt a surname) and “rest.” This American lady was shaken by my mailing. I should add that Gayle Riley is a tireless researcher of the history of Tarnobrzeg, especially during the time when Jews predominated among its residents. Her ancestors came from there. She collects archival material, photographs, old postcards, population lists, and the like. You can familiarize yourself with the fruit of her searches on her Internet site about Tarnobrzeg: Tarnobrzeg/. It is an impressive collection. There are, for instance, maps of Tarnobrzeg from the second half of the 19th century! So it is no surprise that Gayle Riley begged to know where this stone was from that was in the wall and whether it could be returned to the cemetery. I did not know the answers to these questions. Fortunately, there are still people in Tarnobrzeg from the old days. One of them is Ryszard Durzynski, born there before the war. He remembers the old cemetery very well. His parents’ house stood next

Stone on Stone It is not a big stone. Some 30 x 20 cm. I saw it there, on the Vistula, many times. Others saw it too. But neither I nor the others paid any attention to it. That’s how it was for 50 years. [photo caption] A fragment of the wall on the Vistula. Above it is the roof of Fregata restaurant. The arrow points to the location of the stone, which is enlarged in the left side of the photograph. [Photograph by W. Pintal.] The story began on the Internet. Marek Duszkiewicz, a Tarnobrzeg man from the United States of America, posted an appeal from an American of Jewish descent, Gayle Schlissel Riley from California, on Tebegielka (a discussion list about Tarnobrzeg). She was asking for any photos from the old Jewish cemetery of Tarnobrzeg. The cemetery existed before the war in the spot where the renovated market hall is currently located, next to the court buildings. I had no such pictures, but I remembered this one stone .... On the Vistula, not far from the Fregata, is a little fountain. Many residents of the Przywisle settlement know it well from their numerous walks along the water. Just 10 years ago, interruptions in the water supply were an everyday occurrence for the people of Tarnobrzeg. Carts distributed water. Anyone who didn’t want water from their barrels went to this fountain. By it stood an embankment support (see the photo). And in its upper right corner ... this stone. The Galitzianer


to it, on the corner of what are now Pilsudski and Wyszynski streets. Tombstones and Bones “This was a closed cemetery,” R. Durzynski remembers. “No one had been buried there since the early 20th century. It was surrounded by a wall and tall trees grew all over. Behind it was the synagogue, the present library. During the occupation, the Germans ordered the liquidation of the cemetery. A rise that had been there was leveled, the wall was taken down, the trees were cut down, and the cajwi—which is what we called the tombstones from the graves— were shattered and thrown down everywhere. There were also a great many bones. Jews who returned to the city for a time after their first expulsion asked the Germans—no doubt with a bribe—for permission to gather the bones and take them to the new cemetery on Sienkiewicz Street. “Here’s how it was with this wall. After the war, up until the mid‘50’s, the Polish army organized training camps every year on the Vistula. There were tents and a field kitchen. They drew the water for this kitchen from the fountain. But it was November 2010

always muddy there, so for convenience, some time in 1949, they erected a support and put the area around the fountain in order. They used whatever was nearby to build it, especially stones in the field. Undoubtedly at some point they found the piece of the tombstone and without thinking put it in the wall. If they had wanted to conceal it, they would simply have turned it around to the other side.” The facts support Mr. Durzynski’s tale. After the war, pieces of Jewish tombstones were used to build roads and plazas. For example, in Opatow, tombstones were placed on the banks of the river Opatowka where it flows through the town. Not until the ‘90’s were they recovered and placed in reconstructed cemeteries. I sought the answer to the American’s second question in the city office. For both Mayor Jan Dziubinski and his spokesman, Jozef Michalik, a tombstone in the embankment wall was a complete surprise. They suggested that the conservator of relics deal with the matter. Further decisions were issued by the deputy mayor, Tadeusz Zych, who soon stated, “Putting anyone’s tombstone in a collapsing wall is a fact that should fill every decent person with shame. As quickly as possible, the city staff under me will take the stone from the wall. Its subsequent fate may be twofold. Either we can simply place it in the cemetery on Sienkiewicz Street, or it can become a fragment of a tablet commemorating the old cemetery that we intend to put in the wall of the renovated market hall [illegible]. We will be glad to accept the suggestions of Jewish communities in this matter.” One thing remains to be established: whether the stone comes from the old cemetery or the new? Only a few tombstones can be found at the new one. The rest, as the older residents say, are under the pavement of

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Sandomierski Street and the road to Ocice. Wacław Pintal [sidebar] In 1939, there were 3,800 Jews living in Tarnobrzeg. After the war, none of them returned. Up until the 1990’s, the only resident of Tarnobrzeg of Jewish descent was


the modest and popular Dr. Olga Lilien. But she did not live in Tarnobrzeg before the war. She survived the occupation thanks to the nuns of Mokrzyszów, who concealed her at their farm. After her death, a memorial tablet, located in the new hospital building, was consecrated to her.

November 2010

The As Yet Unrevealed Secrets of the Skala House Number Project Racheli Kreisberg

Readers may remember the exciting days when the human genome project was being deciphered through an extensive DNA sequencing effort. The scientific community and the general public were positive that the revelation of the genetic code of humans would teach us about disease susceptibility and patients’ reactions to drug treatments. It turned out that deciphering the DNA sequence, which is composed of four different deoxynucleotides, was insufficient to reveal nature’s secrets about humans and other living creatures. It was with this same excitement that I started working on what was called the Skala House Number Project. My purpose was to construct a database of house numbers cited in vital records ordered through JRIPoland and YIVO documents. I received these records from the members of the Skala Research Group (SRG) as well as from people whose roots were in Skala. In addition, some YIVO documents provided other valuable information, such as building and parcel numbers, which could all be linked to a given house.

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ways possible, and usually the dataMy assumption was that by compiling the house number database, we base did not add new information but raised more questions: would be able to learn new links between families which had been living • Why did members of some famiin Skala for years. It turned out that lies live in many different houses? the data were insufficient to reveal • Could people with different family names living in the same house the complete history of Skala. As be related by marriage? with the human genome project, however, the Skala House Number • Do sequential numbers belong to houses that were next to each othProject revealed interesting and nover or are these numbers random? el genealogy links. This technique can be applied to other towns in the To address some of these quessame way that the human genome tions there was an urgent need for project findings are applicable to another piece of information, nameother organisms. ly, cadastral maps of the 19th and An excerpt of the database is 20th centuries that noted the house shown below. Each entry has infornumbers on a map of residences and mation on a birth, a marriage, sa streets. This would enable unequideath, or a property owner. vocal mapping of three pieces of inI was positive that once I knew formation: the house number, the who had lived in each house I would building number, and the parcel be able to learn much more about the number. Jewish families that had resided in A few cadastral maps of Skala Skala, some of which were being rehave recently been obtained. In this searched by my SRG colleagues. article I use the Skala House Number This is indeed the case: We can make Project to expand upon two ways to connections between individuals extract genealogical information based on the fact that they lived in from civil records: the same house. But this is not al• cases in which we can link the cadastral map to a piece of genealogical information


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cases in which we use the house number project to create new information

Links between the Skala Cadastral Map and the Skala House Number Project The YIVO Skala land estate document from 1880 shows that the “Skala Gmina Israelischka” (Jewish community of Skala) was located on garden parcel 205 and that building parcels 134, 140, 320, and 321 were all located on this parcel. The 1859 cadastral map shows the Skala Juden Gemeinde on garden parcel 205. In the upper part of this parcel, we can see building parcels 320 and 321. This shows that we can make correlations between the cadastral map and the information extracted from the YIVO 1880 land estate document. At this time, we do not know who lived in houses 320 and 321. Note also that house 321 seems to be located outside of garden parcel 205. On the cadastral map we see that Chaim Wainberg lived on garden parcel 146 and building parcel 360. A search of JRI-Poland extracts from Skala birth records shows that in 1879, a daughter Breine was born to Eidel and Chaim Weinberg (note that on the cadastral map the last name is spelled with an a and not an e). What we now need is a copy of Breine’s full birth record which, we hope, would confirm that she indeed was born in house number 360. We also see that two other numbers are on garden parcel 147: building parcel 273 and house number 360. Based on the 1880 Skala Land Estate document from YIVO, this house was owned by Koppel Fischbach. In the JRI-Poland extracts are The Galitzianer

two records related to Koppel Fischbach in Skala: Shlomo Aron born in 1873 and Mirke born in 1875 to Koppel and Henie Fiszbach. Again, we would have to order the birth records of Schlomo Aron and Mirke Fiszbach to confirm the correlation between the house number data and the cadastral map. Information Extracted from the Skala House Number Project without the Cadastral Map Even before we had the cadastral map, the Skala House Number Project provided some researchers with valuable data for their family trees and history. In 1858 in house number 27 there lived a couple I have studied extensively: Shimon and Chanzie Wiesenthal. They were the grandparents of my grandfather Simon Wiesenthal, who passed away on 20 September 2005. He always told his family—his daughter and son-in-law (my parents) and his three grandchildren—that during the Holocaust all family members (his and my late grandmother’s), a total of 89 people, had been murdered and that no family was left. The marriage record of Shimon and Chanzie Wiesenthal, purchased via JRI-Poland, appeared in a list of couples who were married on various dates. The record provided the names of the groom and the bride as well as a house number. In the case of this happy couple, the associated house number was 27. A careful look at the complete list of marriage records showed that two women whose last names also were Wiesenthal lived in house number 27: Beile Wiesenthal Weidenfeld and Golde Wiesenthal Schwartz. Correspondence from the 1960’s between Simon Wiesenthal and descendants of the Weidenfeld and Schwartz families led to the construction of an extensive family tree of the descendants of my great-greatgreat-grandparents Moses and Esther Wiesenthal. The grandchildren of 9

Shimon, Beile, and Golde kept in touch for many years after the Shoah. These bonds led to the recent unification of three family branches that had been cut off over the course of years. My parents, my siblings Danny and Joeri, and I grew up with the dogma that “there was no one left after the war”, so it is understandable why we were so excited to learn after my grandfather’s death that we are part of a large Wiesenthal family, some of whom are directly related to us and some of whom we assume are related but have not yet determined exactly how. Now, 102 years after the birth of the late Simon Wiesenthal at the beginning of the 20th century, the search for family members that is taking place in the 21st century complements the search for those whose nefarious activities led to the disruption and destruction of almost all Jewish families. Skala’s survivors can be proud of the collective and individual efforts that are being made to preserve the history of the Galician town of their ancestors. Acknowledgements I wish to give special thanks to: • my mother, Paulinka Kreisberg, for hypothesizing that the Wiesenthals in house number 27 were siblings • my “aunt” Helene Schwartz Kenvin for 5 years of joint genealogy studies revealing the history of the Wiesenthal family • Tony Hausner, the Skala shtetl leader, for helping me with anything that could further develop the Skala House Number Project • Pamela Weisberger for providing me with the Skala cadastral maps • Brian Lenius for acquiring the Skala cadastral maps This article is published in memory of Simon Wiesenthal, for his fifth Yahrzeit (31 December 1908–20 September 2005). Racheli Kreisberg lives in Raanana, Israel and can be reached at November 2010

The Life Story of Markus Lustig Markus Lustig Translator’s Note I was working on a list of Sandzer (Nowy Sącz) Jews from prior to and during WWII when I met Markus Lustig. He provided me with many names of Sandzer Jews as well as a great deal of the history of the Sandzer Jewish community. He told me he was the head of the association of former Sandzer residents in Israel. In our conversations he slowly revealed his amazing life experiences during WWII. I urged him to write down these events, which he did, in Hebrew. I submitted them to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. I also asked him for permission to translate his life story into English and to share his experiences with English-speaking people. Here is the life story of Markus Lustig.

I was born in 1925 in Nowy Sącz to Yaakov and Ita (Lustig) Kanengisser. My family consisted of my father, my mother, my sister Rachel, myself, and my brother Moshe. My name was Mordechai Kanengisser, but my parents did not have a civil marriage, so legally we children were Lustigs. We were surrounded by an extensive and warm supportive family. My father was a bookbinder. We lived in the Jewish section of Sandz. Things went along pretty well until September 1939. As soon as Germans occupied the city, things went downhill. Jews were taken for all kinds of work details, daily ordinances were aimed at Jews, hunger became widespread, Jews were limited in their movement, and instant killings of Jews became a favorite pastime of the Germans. I was forced to work at various hard jobs until a traumatic event took place that affected me for the rest of my life. On the evening of 29 April 1942, Germans murdered 300 Jews at the Jewish cemetery. From there, the Gestapo went to the Jewish street and began a killing spree. The street was densely inhabited by Jews and the Germans smashed through doors and windows and entered rooms shooting The Galitzianer

everybody in sight. They entered our apartment building, which was part of a large complex of flats, and fired at will. The screams and shouts could be heard throughout the houses. We lived on the first floor but heard the commotion on the ground floor. Soon enough they burst into our flat. They entered my parents’ room and asked my father what he did for a living; he replied that he was a bookbinder. They shot him, my crying mother, and my crying sister, who was sleeping in their room. They then entered my bedroom, where I was sleeping with my brother. I heard one of the killers say, “Leave the kid.” But another man fired his pistol and shot my brother in the head. I froze. I was under the same blanket, but my head was at the opposite end. The killers then left the room and said sarcastically, “Good night,” in Polish. More shots took place on the stairs. I remained under the blanket until it was absolutely quiet. I then left my bed and saw my totally destroyed family. The next day, they were all buried in a mass grave at the site where the other Jews had been killed the previous evening. My uncle provided me with a work permit in May 1942. He listed me as a locksmith. It was known that without a work permit or an important trade, chances were excellent to be sent to the BełŜec death camp. With the work permit, I was sent to the RoŜnów labor camp about 20 miles north of Sandz, where I worked from May to August 1942 on the construction of a dam. We had to dig 4 cubic meters of earth per day and in addition unloaded many bags of cement from trucks. On 23 August 1942, the ghetto of Sandz was liquidated and I was sent to the Ritro sawmill labor camp near Sandz. I worked a 12-hour shift daily at the sawmill with little food. Here I received 25 lashes for falling asleep 10

on the job. I barely survived the beating and lost my job inside the building. I was forced to work outside in the cold Polish winter.

Mordechai Lustig in the Ghetto

In February 1943, I was sent to the Daimler-Benz plane factory in Rzeszów (Reishe in Yiddish), where plane engines were built. In April of the same year, I was transferred to the Rzeszów ghetto, where I came down with typhus, but I was lucky and recovered. This disease ravaged the poorly nourished inhabitants of the ghetto, who died like flies because there was no medicine, no medical help, and no food. How I survived I do not know, but I overcame the disease. During August or September 1943, I was sent to the Pustków concentration camp. Pustków Concentration Camp Pustków was a small village along the Dębica-Mielec railway, east of Tarnów, Kraków region, Galicia, Poland. The Germans occupied the area in September 1939. They immediately decided to build a big training base for Waffen SS combat units and evicted the inhabitants of 15 villages, including Pustków, from their farms, which were burned to the ground. The Pustków area also contained a military complex factory that proNovember 2010

duced weapons for the Polish army. The Germans dismantled the military equipment and sent it to Germany. The factory buildings were left standing. The area was heavily forested. The SS and Gestapo soon began to send young Jews from the area to Pustków. At first the workers returned home daily, since there were no facilities for them at the camp. The harsh labor conditions, meager food rations, and individual mistreatments soon reduced the number of Jews willing to go to Pustków. Work had to continue, however: Forests had to be cleared, roads and training facilities had to be built. The camp was then closed and those who arrived remained in Pustków. The demand for labor increased with time and so did the harsh labor conditions. The Heidelager (“desert camp”) of Pustków, as the military camp was named by the Germans, became a reality. Within this military complex was the Pustków concentration camp. The elaborate military building program required large labor forces that the Judenrats had to provide. When they failed, the Gestapo conducted round-ups to augment the labor force. Old people, young people, even children were sent to Pustków. It became known as a terrible place and everybody tried to avoid it. The work was back-breaking and the people were not fed, nor were they given proper tools or clothing for the work. Conditions were so alarming at the camp, where Jews died and were buried daily, that the Dębica Judenrat sent two emissaries named Immerglick and Bitterkower to be liaison officials and help the inmates of Pustków. The Jewish community of Dębica did not have great resources but whatever they could spare they sent to the camp to help the Jewish inmates. They also sent a female doctor weekly to the Pustków camp, which became a hellhole of suffering long before the creation of the death camps of BełŜec and Auschwitz. The Galitzianer

The attrition rate of Jewish workers increased with time since their energy was exhausted. Yet the building program continued and more Jews were brought to Pustków from all over Western Galicia, especially from Rzeszów, Sandz, Tarnów, and Kraków. As fast as the Jews arrived, many quickly died due to the harsh labor conditions, starvation diets, and bestiality of the guards. Jews continued to arrive at Pustków until the ghettos in the area were liquidated and their Jewish inhabitants were dead. By this time, the big projects of the Pustków training base had been completed. Almost no Jewish workers survived the Pustków concentration camp, only a few escapees and a handful of skilled workers. No one knows the precise number of Jews killed in Pustków, but estimates range from 7,500 to 12,000. Most of the Jewish arrivals were never recorded properly. Yet they built the largest SS training camp outside Germany, where various Waffen SS combat units received their military training. Here were trained many of the foreign SS volunteers: Dutch, Ukrainian, French, Polish, etc. Besides the Jewish camp at Pustków, there was also a French camp for war prisoners in 1940, but they were soon removed. Then there was a prisoner of war camp where thousands of Russians were kept. Some of them arrived by train while others walked from the Russian battlefield. The Russian Jewish prisoners of war were immediately selected and shot. Others died of hunger, malnutrition, and killings. Most of them died, especially during the harsh winter of 1942. There are no precise records; it is assumed that the number of dead reached about 5,000 soldiers. A few skilled Russian technicians survived. The rate of death was so fast that workers had to be constantly replenished. Soon Poles started to work, at first as paid workers, but slowly 11

the camp became a concentration camp for all purposes. Polish political detainees and resistance fighters were soon sent to Pustków. The camp ran until the area was liberated by the Russian Army in August 1944. Some of the Polish inmates survived the war, but most were sent to Auschwitz prior to liberation of the area. It is estimated that 2,500 Poles died at Pustków. Some exhausted inmates of Pustków were also sent to the death camps of BełŜec and Auschwitz. Most of those who died or were killed at Pustków were cremated at a place called Chujowa Górka, later renamed Królowa Górna. The stench of the cremations was so potent that the German residents complained and the place was constantly elevated until it reached a height of 10 to 12 meters. The elevation reduced the stench of burning bodies from the immediate vicinity. The Germans decided to reopen a Jewish concentration labor camp in Pustków toward the end of 1942 and beginning of 1943 and began to send skilled Jewish workers to this camp. I arrived with a transport of Jewish workers from the Rzeszów ghetto in the summer of 1943. We were received by a large group of Jewish workers that numbered about 100 men. All of them were specialists in their fields: tailors, shoemakers, plumbers, cooks, etc. In charge of the group was a man named Foltzi Waldhorn. He was a German Jew. Most of these Jews survived the war because they were needed and they worked for the high-ranking officers of the SS in the camp, including the SS camp commandant, Obersharführer Ernest Kops. On reaching Pustków, we were given clean beds and two new blankets. We received for breakfast 250 grams of military bread and 10 grams of butter, honey, or jam. The group consisted of approximately 100 men and we had to build a new camp as well as a small workshop to produce November 2010

toys for SS families in Germany. The new camp was approximately a kilometer and a half from our camp. Lunch we received at the work place, where there was a field kitchen. Supper consisted of soup that was distributed in the barracks. Each morning, following roll call, we dragged parts of old barracks to the new camp that was being built. Here we also poured concrete for the base of the barracks of the new camp. One day, at the end of the work day, a roll call was ordered prior to returning to our camp. One person was missing. It soon appeared that an SS man named Harki had hanged a Jewish worker named Berger from the city of Jasło and claimed that he hanged himself. We buried him and continued back to the old base. Toward the winter of 1943, we finished the construction of the buildings. Meanwhile, several transports of Jews arrived at the camp, including a group of Jews from Szebnie and one from Rymanów. The work force was now about 300 people. We lived in two barracks. Our camp bordered the Polish work camp. Of course, both camps were individually surrounded with barbed wire and overlooked by watch towers. The workers in our camp were divided into work teams and each team had a specific job to perform. Once my small work team was suddenly left without a task to perform. The kapo, or group leader, a German Jew named Munsher, made us parade back and forth on the assembly ground of the base until noon. This went on until they found a job for the group. The work consisted of repairing large bags, mainly wheat bags. Our daily morning schedule was: 05:30 Reveille 06:00 Wash upper part of body 06:30 Morning roll call at assembly 07:00 Marched to work Every week our SS guards would steal two bags of parcels from the Polish work camp and deliver them The Galitzianer

to our camp. The Poles received food parcels from their families that were stocked in the office of the Polish labor camp. The Jews of course did not have parcels, since our families had disappeared a long time ago. Each barrack received a bag of food parcels. The food was distributed evenly between the barrack inmates. Occasionally, there were shows organized within the barrack by Jewish theater artists from Warsaw who were inmates of the barrack. We also had our own large field kitchen where we cooked food for our camp. Things changed with the rapid advances of the Red Army into Poland. In February 1944, a group of 50 Jews from our camp at Pustków was sent to an unknown destination, never to be heard from again. Then in March 1944, I was sent with a group of Jewish workers to the Plaszów death camp near Kraków, Galicia. The Pustków concentration camp ceased to exist in August 1944 with the approach of the Red Army. Many of the Jewish inmates of the second Pustków concentration camp survived the war due to the relatively humane treatment of the skilled workers. Plaszów Concentration Camp The city of Kraków in southern Poland was once the royal capital of the Polish kingdom. Here lived about 60,000 Jews in 1939 out of a population of 250,000 people. Most of the Jews resided in the old historical section of Kazimierz. The Germans occupied the city on 6 September 1939. Shortly thereafter, Hitler appointed a Nazi lawyer named Hans Frank as the ruler of occupied Poland. Frank chose Kraków as his seat of administration. He immediately proceeded to control Jews by ordering the registration of every Jew in Kraków in November 1939. He tried every way he could to rid the city of Jews in order to reach a Judenrein city. The task was difficult, since many other German leaders had similar ideas about 12

their Jews. Nevertheless, transports of Jews from Kraków were sent in all directions. Still the city retained a large number of Jews, who were sent to the ghetto. The Germans also began to build a large labor camp on the outskirts of the city in 1940. The camp was built by Poles and the first inmates were Poles. The first Jews arrived at the Plaszów camp in 1941 from the nearby city. The Plaszów labor camp kept expanding, especially after the liquidation of the Kraków ghetto on 13– 14 March 1943. The camp hit its zenith in May and June 1944 when the population reached 24,000 inmates, including Hungarian Jews. The camp underwent many changes and had many commanders, including the sadistic commander Amon Göth, so vividly portrayed in the movie Schindler’s List. The mass killings and daily atrocities of this camp are well known and also well portrayed in the movie. The concentration camp constantly received people and steadily destroyed them. The favorite pastime of the commander consisted of shooting inmates. Most of the inmates worked at the stone quarries and factories of the camp until they died or were killed. I arrived with a transport of Jewish workers to Plaszów in March 1944. The camp had a bad reputation but we had no choice. The good life of Pustków was finished and I awakened to the reality of the Plaszów concentration camp. I was immediately assigned to a work detail. We had to spread sand along the road daily in the morning, especially near Göth’s villa. We also had had to clean the tower guard lookouts each day. Fear, brutality, and starvation were our daily companions. But I was lucky: I was ordered to report to the Schindler labor factory after a very short stay in Plaszów. The Schindler Camp The city of Kraków attracted many industrialists, wheelers, and dealers, November 2010

among them Oskar Schindler. He knew the city well, since he was a Czech salesman of agricultural machinery and visited frequently before the war. He was now determined to build for himself an industrial empire. Being a member of the German secret service, he soon established excellent contacts in the so-called Aryanization office that distributed confiscated Jewish property for pennies. He took control of an old enamel factory and renamed it Deutsche Emaillewaren-Fabrik (German Enamel Works). The factory produced kitchenware for the German armed forces. Schindler also managed to obtain army purchase contracts. His factory in Zabłocie, outside the city limits, was soon a booming enterprise. The management and work force were entirely Jewish and came from Kraków. Schindler protected his work force and fed them even if he had to buy food on the black market, which occurred frequently since the Germans provided starvation rations, if any at all. This forced Schindler to sell products on the black market. He relished these activities and paved his way with bribes. He was arrested several times by the Gestapo but managed to walk out and continue his activities. His business expanded by acquiring other factories, purchase contracts, and deals. The Jews were slowly being squeezed out of Kraków and then the ghetto in the Zaborze area of Kraków was established. Here their numbers diminished by the day, and in March 1943, the Jewish ghetto of Kraków closed and the last 2,000 Jews were transferred to the nearby Plaszów death camp. Schindler’s Jewish work force survived these moves in spite of all obstacles the SS put in his way. He sidestepped all mines and finally decided to build a camp on the factory site so his workers would not be harassed going to and from work. He spent a small fortune getting the neThe Galitzianer

cessary permits to build the camp. The camp was surrounded with barbed wire and watch towers, but guards did not enter the camp itself. Many Jews tried to work for Schindler since it was considered a safe place. Another factory, the Madritsch Company, produced uniforms. This place also treated the Jewish work force well. The other industrial factories exploited Jewish workers. Schindler continued to obtain contracts and bribed even Amon Göth to provide him with Jewish labor for his growing production needs, which by now included hand grenades, boxes, and especially enamel products. One of the workers sent to Schindler was me, Mordechai Lustig, expert locksmith. I arrived at the factory and was immediately assigned to work. I concentrated on my job for I wanted to do my best in order to keep the job. There was no harassment and the food was good. I considered myself very lucky to be in this camp. I worked in various capacities, with metal boxes, hand grenades, and wheel bearings, and also dunked items in chemical baths to protect them from corrosion. These items were then moved into hightemperature ovens to bake the enamel coatings. The food at the Schindler camp was very good compared to other camps. Frequently a Dr. Weihert (head of the JSS, Jewish Self Help Committee, in Kraków) came to the camp and brought money, food, and chocolates. These were donations from Swiss and American Jews. He also occasionally brought medications to the camp. People tried to get jobs at the Schindler camp at all cost. The war was coming to an end and everybody wanted to survive, and a job with Schindler was a guarantee for survival. Or so I believed, as did most of the Schindler’s workers. But we were wrong, or some of us were wrong, for in August 1944, a group of technicians was assembled and led to the 13

train station near the Plaszów concentration camp. I was issued one loaf of bread and a can of preserved meat. The train stood at the platform the entire day. It was extremely hot and we were 140 men in the car. Schindler appeared and bribed the attendants to hose down the wagons in order to cool them off. The transport then left for the Mauthausen death camp in Austria. Most of the workers still in the Schindler complex would be liberated in Czechoslovakia by the Red Army. Mauthausen Concentration Camp and Subcamps Melk and Ebensee Mauthausen is a small Austrian city about 20 kilometers from the city of Linz. The camp was established in 1938. Most of the labor was provided by German prisoners from the concentration camp of Dachau. The camp expanded and also managed many subcamps across Austria and Germany. The commander, Franz Ziereis, was a known sadist and delighted in killing inmates. He ordered Hungarian Jews and Russian prisoners of war to be kept out of the barracks in the Austrian winter. The result was obvious: Most of them died. The camp constantly received transports as the German army retreated. In August 1944 I arrived at Mauthausen, where I remained for one week. I was kept in isolation but there was no room in the camp. Here I met the late Shimon Wiesenthal. I was then sent to the Melk camp, where I worked as a tunnel digger and then in an assembly plant for the production of V-1 and V-2 missile rockets. The work conditions were very demanding but there was hardly any food or accommodations. The camp was overcrowded and more inmates kept coming. In April 1945 I was sent to the Danube River, where I was ferried because the bridge over the river had been destroyed. I then joined a death march to the Ebensee death camp in November 2010

Mauthausen Residence Card of Markus Lustig

Austria. At the camp I received daily 120 grams of bread and soup made of potato peels. I worked very hard in the tunnels. It was freezing, the brutality of the guards was beyond description, and I slept with four other people in one bunk. The camp was terribly overcrowded. Inmates were dying on all sides and the Germans did not bury the corpses. On 3 or 4 May 1945, we were assembled on the campgrounds. The SS told us that they wanted to save us from the American and English bombers and told us to enter the tunnels. We knew that the SS had mined all the tunnel entrances and planned to blow them up with us inside. About 25,000 camp inmates unanimously refused to budge and answered the order with a resounding “NO.” The camp management left the camp and the guardhouses were handed over to civilian guards. They closed the camp and things began to disintegrate. A chaotic situation ensued with hangings, settling of scores, and killing of some kapos, functionaries, and block leaders. Then the joyous day of liberation arrived, on 6 May 1945, when an American tank made its appearance and crashed through the main gate of the camp. We were very happy and began to eat the special food that the Army prepared for the camp inmates. This food was light and digestible, but provided little energy. Most of the inmates had digestive problems since their systems were severely The Galitzianer

damaged, and this resulted in many deaths. I started to help GI’s with various chores and was given extra food, especially combat rations that were rich in vitamins and minerals geared to sustain combat soldiers in the field. I began to gain weight and felt stronger by the day. As my strength grew, so did my appetite for the rich foods that I obtained from American soldiers for the various chores that I did. Liberated with me were about 20 youngsters from my native city of Sandz. In July 1945, I started to work for the American Armed Forces in Austria. I worked in the kitchen serving food to the GI’s and then kept house for four American officers. I then worked at various jobs with the American Army in Austria: running a fuel station, guard duty with a rifle, and finally supervising an officers’ nightclub. It was my job to see that the place was clean and well stocked with liquor, food, and musical records. All these activities did not distract my mind from the question of what would become of me. What had happened to my distant family? I remembered that my mother had a brother who left Sandz prior to WWII for Germany and then went to Saõ Paolo in Brazil. I did not have the exact address, but I remembered his name, Chaim Lustiger, the city, and part of the street name. The officers helped me establish contact with the family in Brazil. He indeed lived in Saõ Paolo, on Jose Paulina Street. He told me of family survivors and gave me their addresses. Among them was a nephew by the name of Nathan Lustig. He had escaped to Russia and from there with the Polish Army of Anders he made it to the Middle East. The British used his language skills in questioning German prisoners of war. We established contact that lasted until he 14

was discharged from the army and then contact was lost. My father’s sister and her husband escaped from Poland to Slovakia and survived the war with a daughter who was 6 years old. This girl now has 24 grandchildren. My uncle Chaim from Brazil sent me immigration papers through the HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Association) office. In November 1946, I left the job at the American Army in Austria and headed to Munich, Bavaria. From there I was supposed to head to Paris and then to Brazil. I remained in Germany for a while and then the United Nations divided Palestine and created the state of Israel. I decided to join the new Jewish country, and in April 1948 I enlisted in the Israeli Army in Germany and was sent to Hochland in Bavaria to undergo military training. I was then sent to France and via the port of Marseille reached Haifa in July 1948. In Israel, I was attached to the Palmach Brigade that was stationed at Kfar Yona and later was attached to the Harel Brigade. When the Palmach Army units were disbanded, I was attached to the Golani Brigade. I was discharged from active service in the army in August 1949. I started to work for the big construction company of Solel Boneh. I married in 1958 and we have a son and a daughter. Both children married and we have five grandchildren. I participated in all of the Israeli wars and retired from work in 1985. I continue my active life by being involved in various projects and also gave testimony in multiple Nazi trials. I have also participated in the production of films dealing with the camps. I am the secretary of the Nowy Sącz (Sandzer) Landsmanshaft Society in Israel. Shalom. This story was translated from Hebrew by William Leibner, Jerusalem, Israel.

November 2010

Our Visit to Ancestral Cities and Towns in Ukraine Tony Hausner

Introduction I have been studying my mother’s birth town, Skala, in the Ukraine, for the past 13 years and have been shtetl leader for the past 6 years. More recently, I have formed research groups for other towns in Ukraine, Poland, and the Czech Republic. All of this inspired my wife (Toba) and me to visit these ancestral places to discover my roots. The following is a diary of the Ukraine part of the trip. For other portions of the trip or to see other photos, please contact me at 2–3 June We had a flight to L’viv via Munich, on United/Lufthansa. Pleasant, decent food which was offered many times through the night. We met Alex Dunai, our Ukraine guide, at the L’viv airport, which is more the size of a bus station. This was a surprise considering that L’viv has a population over a million. We drove to the Opera Hotel, which is very nice. Alex handed me a set of records I had requested about the Hausners. I was very glad to see them. During the afternoon, we walked around downtown L’viv with Alex. Our hotel is next to the Opera House. We saw lots of trolleys, city hall, and the busy downtown. It is a pretty city. We walked by the Catholic church which Pope John visited. Alex took us to Amadeus restaurant and we made a reservation for the evening, but when we returned they had lost power after a heavy rainstorm, so we ate dinner at Opera Hotel restaurant, which was very nice. It was on the top floor, with a great view of the Opera House rooftop, and had very good food. The only TV station with English is BBC.

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4 June We went to the Chabad synagogue, which had a very beautiful interior and had been recently restored. We met Rabbi Mordechai Shlomo Bald and his wife, Sarah, who were both very friendly. The synagogue was built in the 1920’s. Not only had the synagogue been restored but so had its paintings, both of which were very beautiful. It has several hundred members, but only a handful generally comes to services. The members are mostly Russian and eastern Ukrainians who have moved to L’viv. We visited the archives, in the old abbey building. We met with director Pelts Diana Ivanivna, who knew Alex well. She understood English but did not speak it. I requested the death record for Sime Hausner, my great-great-grandmother, which I hope to see on our return to L’viv. Their staff has been cut significantly so processing is slower. Alex Dunai and Tony Hausner at Former School in L’viv Where Bernard Hausner Taught


We visited several places where Bernard Hausner, Gideon’s father, lived and worked. Gideon was Adolf Eichmann’s prosecutor and made many important contributions to Israel’s history, as did Bernard. We weent to memorials for the Jewish ghetto and to Janowska death camp, where more than 200,000 Jews lost their lives. 5 June We visited the town of Zhovkva (formerly Zolkiev), about 45 minutes away from L’viv, which had been 50% Jewish. Some of the houses were designed by the same architect as the former Golden Royz Synagogue in L’viv. Very pretty town and buildings. It was market day there and quite interesting. We went to Kaiser Wald Park in L’viv, where they had a display of 17th-century wooden houses from the Carpathian Mountains, many without chimneys to save on taxes. There was also a festival occurring at park, which involved many little girls in beautiful costumes.

November 2010

In the afternoon, we toured the Armenian quarter and the Opera House lobbies, which are very beautiful. Alex has been a real pleasure to be with and has taken very good care of us. We have had very interesting discussions about Jewish issues, Ukrainian and American politics, our families, etc. 6 June We traveled to Borshchiv via Ternopil, the latter of which had a former synagogue and is now a town of 200,000; it was 35% Jewish at one time. My great-grandfather was born in Borshchiv and his father died there. In Borshchiv we met Dymtro, the caretaker for the Skala cemetery, his wife, and his son, Oleg. His wife’s grandparents saved Max Mermelstein, President of the Skala Benevolent Society. Dymtro was a teacher for 43 years at a local school and his son also taught there for a while and was vice-principal. His son now deals with oil terminals in Odessa. They invited us into their home for lunch, but since we had already eaten, we just joined them for tea. They showed us a number of pictures, including one of his wife’s grandfathers with Max Mermelstein and his cousins. We saw the Borshchiv monument, which reads: “In memory of the thousands of Martyred Jews of Borshchiw, Skala, Ozeryany, “Koroliwka, Melnitza, Krywch and surrounding villages, murdered in the Spring “of 1943 by the German Nazis and their collaborators (may their names and memories “be blotted out) and buried in a mass grave in this field, which was a Jewish “cemetery that was later destroyed. “May G-d avenge their pure blood!

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“May their pure souls be bound up in the bond of living!” Erected in 1991 on the initiative of the survivors of the above named communities. There were big cracks on the side of the monument, plus the letters are somewhat faded. As previously reported, the Borshchiv Jewish cemetery, which contained mass graves of several thousand Jews slaughtered during the liquidation of the ghetto in June 1943, was bulldozed by the Soviet authorities after the war and converted into a soccer field. On to Skala. We drove through Main Street, then to the fortress, and looked over the River Zbruch (Zbrucz). We found my greatgrandfather Zalman’s house. It is in major disrepair, not like the photos from 13 years ago by cousin Evelyn. It is owned by a woman now living in Russia. We found Fanya Gottesfeld Heller’s grandfather’s house and Max Mermelstein’s. We took photos of houses belonging to Jews using a map supplied by Max Mermelstein. We then drove over to Stare Skala (Old Skala). We checked into the hotel in Skala, which has only five rooms and has large ornate gnomes located at several points outside the building; Meals had to be ordered well in advance because of limited cooking facilities. We then went to the cemetery and took 80 photos of gravestones. It was very difficult navigating much of the cemetery because the grass was at least hip deep, if not greater, and many of the graves were hidden under the grass. 7 June At the cemetery we met with Dymtro and the construction engineer whom 16

Zalman Hausner’s Former Home in Skala

he brought along. The cemetery wall is in bad shape. They prepared in Ukrainian a list of repairs needed, which Alex translated and I have sent to Max Mermelstein. While there, two men were cutting grass and weeds, which were quite high in many parts of the cemetery. Alex, Toba, and I finished taking photos of all gravestones on both sides. We revisited the Jewish houses to make sure all were photographed. We went to Kamyanets Podilskyy, now a city of 100,000 people and which at one time had been a large Jewish city. We visited the castle in a beautiful setting on top of a hill. We saw the former synagogue and Jewish homes in the center of town. Back in Skala, we visited Count Goluchowski’s estate, which is now quite run down, but at least some buildings are still in use. The building near the entrance appeared to be a clinic. A large building further back had lots of kids in it; it appeared to be some event where food was being served. The Count was the Minister of Austria, very wealthy, who had Jews handle his financial affairs and who treated them well.

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8 June We looked at the Skala hotel spa that some have said was formerly part of the mikvah; Alex didn’t think so, just water from the same source. I later learned that the spa is standing on the site of the former Jewish Community Public Bath, a huge complex built after World War I with the help of the American Joint Distribution Committee, which contained a giant steam room, a dry steam room, half a dozen private bath rooms with hot and cold running water (not available in any household in town), and “mikva” rooms for changing and resting. The complex was used by Jews and gentiles and small entrance fees were charged for its maintenance. Only in 1998 was it demolished by the current rulers and the site sold or leased to Austrian investors for the spa hotel. I wanted to give some books to the Skala mayor, but he was out of town, so I instead gave the books to the mayor’s secretary at the town hall. The books were Skala on the River Zbrucz (the translated Skala yizkor book) and My Grandfather’s Acres by Isaac Metzger, a fictional story of life for Jews in villages near Skala in the 1880’s, a fairly accurate picture of life during that time period. I wanted a close view of the River Zbrucz, so I climbed down the embankment to photograph the river. We went to Melnitsa, the birthplace of my great-grandmother. There were two areas where gravestones were located, but there were very few in each place. We went to Chortkiv. Many gravestones were hidden in the deep woods; we photographed several. The synagogue in the center is now a children’s activity center. Many Hausners lived in this town, and at least some were relatives. It was the birthplace of Bernard Hausner, father of Gideon Hausner. We drove to Ivano-Frankivsk (formerly Stanisławów), which now has a population of 240,000. It had The Galitzianer

been 40% Jewish at one time. The current community hall once housed many Jewish merchants. The former Jewish school is now a college. 9 June We met with Hasidic Rabbi Moishe Leib Kolesnik in his synagogue, which was built in the 1890’s. It is the only active synagogue outside of L’viv in western Ukraine. He grew up in the area but trained in Leningrad. There is a very small attendance at services. The building is very beautiful outside, but fairly simple inside. He was very pleasant and gave me several documents. He helped restore the Kalush cemetery with support from the company Dead Sea Works, Inc., which had done some work in Kalush. The company extracts potash from the Dead Sea. We drove to Kalush and picked up Baptist minister Roman Revak in the center of Kalush. He lives in Galena, not far from Kalush, but once lived in Kalush. He had taken the bus to reach Kalush since his car had broken down a few weeks ago. He obviously went out of his way to meet with us. I thought he had some familiarity with the cemetery, which is why I had suggested meeting, but it turned out not so much. Kalush is where Osias Hausner lived at one time. He was grandfather to my great-grandfather Zalman. The cemetery had an iron fence built around much of it, but not the entire area. There is a monument at the entrance to the cemetery. Much of the base of the monument had been removed. The site of the monument had been a mass grave for many Jews killed by the Nazis. A large number of headstones were in the cemetery, and Alex and I photographed quite a few. There are very tall grass and weeds so it is hard to get around.


Many pretty formerly Jewish homes are in the center of town. We had pizza lunch and pleasant conversation in Galena with Roman. Privott, who lives in the U.S. and introduced me to him via e-mail, periodically teaches a management course at a Baptist seminary in southwest Ukraine, where Roman studied. Roman travels every week for a few days to a couple of other towns where he also administers. When we dropped Roman off we met his children. Olya is graduating high school and I had spoken with her on the phone. She speaks very good English and spent summer at a camp with American kids last year in Ukraine. Other children were daughter Natalie, 15, and sons Andrew, 12, and Maryan, 10. On the way to L’viv we drove through Bolekhov (formerly Bolechow) and saw a former synagogue and the cemetery with a wall newly erected by the Bolechow Jewish Heritage Society. We also drove through Stryy (formerly Stryj). Both Bolekhov and Stryy are ancestral homes of a friend. 10 June Alex picked us up at 10:00 a.m. and took us to the Museum on the History of Religion. It has a number of Jewish items, as well as items from the Armenian Church, Ukrainian church, etc. We ate lunch and then left for the airport. 10–30 June The rest of our ancestral trip included Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria, and Italy. We had many very moving and meaningful experiences in all these countries. Tony Hausner is leader of the Skala Research Group and several other town research groups, and co-editor of the newly translated yizkor book, Skala on the River Zbrucz. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

November 2010

DNA Tests in the Search for Common Ancestors: Genes and Genealogy of the Gelles and Polonsky Families Edward Gelles and Jeffrey Mark Paull

The application of DNA matching techniques to genealogical research is still at an early stage of development. The authors therefore believe that an example of such an application which corroborates and amplifies genealogical studies might be of wider interest. Nearly three hundred years ago there lived a scholar in Brody, a town in Galicia that was home to an important Jewish community. This scholar married the daughter of a Rabbi Gelles and was thereafter known as Moses Gelles of Brody. He was a member of the distinguished house of study known as the Brody Klaus. Many of his descendants remained in Brody and other Galician towns during the period of Austrian rule from 1772 to 1918. The genealogy and history of the Gelles rabbinic lineage and its connections have been the subject of books by Edward Gelles, who is a direct descendant of an eponymous grandson of the scholar Moses Gelles (Edward Gelles, An Ancient Lineage, London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2006; Family Connections: Gelles-ShapiroFriedman, Maastricht: Shaker Publishing, 2009). Another grandson of Moses Gelles of Brody was Rabbi Samuel ben Mordecai Gelles. He married Sarah Rachel Sheindel, the only daughter of the famous Chasidic Rabbi Pinchas Shapiro of Koretz. This marriage produced a distinguished line of rabbis in the Kiev Gubernia, centered on Ekaterinopol (now Katerynopil), with a remit extending to the nearby towns of Zvenigorodka, Tolna (now Talne), Shpola, and Kalerka (now Mokra Kalyhirka) (Shimshon Ahron Polonsky, Chidushei Horav mi-Teplik, Jerusalem: 1984; Matitiyahu Yechezkiel Guttman, Rabbi Pinchas mi-Koretz, Tel-Aviv: Mosad The Galitzianer

ha-Rav Kook, 1950; Levi Grossman, Shem U’ She’erit, Tel-Aviv: Betzalel Printers, 1943; Jeffrey Mark Paull, The History and Genealogy of Polonsky-Paull Families, 2011). Within the Russian Empire, Samuel ben Mordecai Gelles was known as Shmuel Mordkovich Polonsky, his family having a connection with the town of Polonnoye. Polonsky became the family name of his descendants. Jeffrey Mark Paull’s family has been in the United States for six generations. His grandfather Americanized the surname from Polonsky to Paull. Jeffrey was inspired by his discovery of family tombstones and old records and also by his study of the above-mentioned books on the Gelles family. He traced his immediate line back to Shmuel Mordkovich Polonsky before introducing himself to Edward Gelles in November 2009. The genealogical researches of Drs. Gelles and Paull indicated that their most recent common ancestor was Moses Gelles of the Brody Klaus or possibly his son Mordecai Gelles. Edward Gelles and Jeffrey Paull are respectively 6th- and 10thgeneration direct male descendants


of the said Moses Gelles. Aware of their ancestral connections, Dr. Paull invited Dr. Gelles to compare patrilineal Y-chromosome DNA results. Results The tests were carried out by Family Tree DNA of Houston, Texas, a DNA testing laboratory which has built up a large database of more than 300,000 individual records. Clients are informed of matching maternal and paternal DNA results. These tests demonstrated that both Drs. Gelles and Paull belong to the relatively rare R2 haplogroup and that they have a near-exact match of 36 out of 37 Y-DNA markers. The test report puts the probability of a shared common ancestor within eight to twelve generations as very high, thus corroborating our conclusions drawn from genealogical evidence. Below are the results of the YDNA 37-marker test for Dr. Edward Gelles carried out by Family Tree DNA on 10 August 2010. The YDNA 37-marker test for Dr. Jeffrey Mark Paull is identical except for an Alleles reading of 17 instead of 18 at Locus 32. The descent of Samuel, son of Mordecai, son of Moses Gelles of

November 2010

Brody, is well documented. The YDNA match supports the findings that Dr. Paull is a descendant of this Gelles lineage, while the DNA evidence also removes any doubts as to whether the younger Moses Gelles was a grandson of the Gelles scholar of the Brody Klaus through one of the latter’s sons. At least for the time being, it leaves open the question of whether the younger Moses was a brother or a cousin of Samuel ben Mordecai Gelles aka Shmuel Mordkovich Polonsky. Dr. Edward Gelles was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, where he obtained degrees of M.A. and D.Phil. He was engaged in teaching and research in Physical Chemistry for some time. During recent years he has published numerous books and articles on Jewish genealogy and history. Dr. Jeffrey Mark Paull holds a B.S. in Chemistry and an M.S. in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Pitts-

Web News has oral histories recorded by the U.S. National Park Service. Among them are interviews with Jewish immigrants probably from these Galician towns: Bilcze Zlote (index: Bilche Zlote), Blazowa (index: Blarzowa), Budzanów (index: Pudzanow), Bystra (near Gorlice), Czortków (index: Chertkov), Dukla, Glinyany (index: Glinev), Kolomea, Koropiec, Turka (Samuel Seifert, index: Austria), Lemberg, Rakobuty (index: Rokbuta), Rozborz (index: Rosber), Skalat, Tarnopol, Tarnow/Tarnov, Zagorz (near Sanok, index: Zagush), Zborów, Zloczow (index: Clochwof), and Zydaczow (index: Zydozchow). These are available free.

burgh, and a Ph.D. in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He is the author of numerous occupational and environmental health

articles in professional journals. Dr. Paull has spent the past three years researching and writing a book on his family history and genealogy.

A new ShtetLink page has been created for Dzików Stary, Poland:

The Polish Genealogy Project has a section devoted to Galician resources, including directories and maps:

A new Yizkor Book Project has been started for Siedlce, Poland:

The Malopolskie Genealogy Society has a lot of Galician resources but is completely in Polish (try using Google language tools):

Three new yizkor entries have been created for Pinkas Poland: Bilcze Zlote, Ukraine pol2_00115.html

Korolowka, Ukraine pol2_00489.html

Przemyśl, Ukraine

Interactive map of Polish borders from the 10th century to 2004 (also in Polish, but town names are usually recognizable): pol2_00424.html

Join Gesher Galicia The Galitzianer


November 2010

Dębica 1938 Industrial Permits, Part 1 Stanley Diamond and Eden Joachim, JRI-Poland

JRI-Poland has acquired indices of industrial permits for Dębica (475 entries), Pilzno (165 entries), and Ropczyce (162 entries) for 1938. As these files don’t fall into JRI’s general mission of vital records and Books of Residents, they generously offered the files to The Galitzianer for publication. All entries include SURNAME (nazwisko)

Given Name(s) (imimłyn)

occupation/business, surname, and given name(s). Many entries also include place of work, place of residence, and notes. All entries in this list are from Archive (Archiwum) #59, Fond (Zespomłynu) #111, Signature (Sygnatura) #14 and are for Dębica for the year (Rok) 1938.

Occupation/Business (rodzaj przedsimłynbiorstwa)

Place of Work (miejsce wykonywania zawodu) śółkiewskiego



materiały budowlane


Chana Meilech Nariam Markus Majer Chaim Golda Pinkas Rubin MojŜesz Naftali Moses Samuel Maria Lieber Chawa Chawa Jakub Leon Etka Leib Maria Sala Samuel Jakub Sara Taube

towary mieszane blacharstwo materiały budowlane rzeźnik woda sodowa skup bydła towary mieszane mleczarz trafika szklarz szklarz skup produktów rolniczych handel bławatny bławatne rzeźnik handel bławatny piekarz towary mieszane adwokat spoŜywcze krawiec spoŜywcze rolne towary spoŜywcze materiały budowlane woda sodowa


Dawid Abraham




Izrael Pinkas Sala Beila Beila Mala Mendel Chawa Jakub Chiel Bendet Leizer Sara Ryfka Tema Braindla Józef Hirsch Hirsch Berta

woda sodowa towary mieszane blacharstwo handel bławatny

3 Maja Sienkiewicza Sienkiewicza Rynek Rynek

The Galitzianer

bławatne towary mieszane spoŜywcze szewc towary mieszane towary mieszane handel bławatny towary mieszane towary mieszane towary mieszane materiały budowlane spoŜywcze krawiec


The indices will be published in four successive issues; Dębica is being published in two parts due to the number of entries. About three months after each issue is published, the data will be offered to the ShtetLink site for that town. For further information, contact Eden Joachim at Place of Residence (miejsce zamieszkania)

Translated Notes (uwagi) died 1939 disappeared during war

Mickiewicza Kilińskiego Rynek Mickiewicza

Legionów 3 Maja Sobieskiego Rynek Rynek Potockiego Rynek Mickiewicza Rynek Rynek śuławskiego

Sienkiewicza Sienkiewicza

disappeared during war disappeared during war Sienkiewicza

Sobieskiego Kraszewskiego Legionów Kilińskiego Mickiewicza Rynek Sobieskiego Mickiewicza Rynek Mickiewicza Mickiewicza Mickiewicza

November 2010

Page # (strona)

1 1 1 1 1 1 3 3 3 3 5 303 303 5 303 5 5 313 5 313 7 7 15 15 7 7 7 303 7 15 15 7 7 303 7 9 9 9 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11


Wigdor Johanna Gizela Nechuma Rachela MojŜesz Eidla Hersch Huda Huda Mina Juda

transport handel bławatny towary mieszane towary mieszane jubiler towary mieszane rzeźnik spoŜywcze spoŜywcze krawiec towary mieszane

Mickiewicza Kilińskiego Sobieskiego Sobieskiego Sienkiewicza 3 Maja Zanderera Mickiewicza


Mindla Samuel Wolf Alte Feige Feiwel Maryem Brucha Benjamin Salomon Jakub Izak Feiwel Samuel Izrael Jakub Mechel Józef Naftali Naftali Naftali Debora Kiwa Michał Moses Anna Izrael Rozalia

towary mieszane towary mieszane fryzjer Ŝelazne galanteria parasole galanteria towary mieszane skóry szewc bławatne towary mieszane galanteria stolarz elektryka alkohole towary mieszane ślusarz transport Ŝelazne galanteria spoŜywcze skóry skóry

Rynek Rynek Mickiewicza Zanderera Rynek Sobieskiego Zanderera


Mendel Taube Aron

towary mieszane rzeźnik rzeźnik



Pinkas Abraham Abraham Beila Chaim Chaim Rafael Helena

spoŜywcze materiały budowlane materiały budowlane towary mieszane czapnik czapnik drzewne ciastkarz

Piaski Sobieskiego Sobieskiego Mickiewicza Rynek Rynek


Aron Józef Gitla Helena Laja Leib Chana Helena Itta Rachela Itta Rachela

towary mieszane galanteria spoŜywcze spoŜywcze spoŜywcze trafika szewc róŜne spoŜywcze




towary mieszane



Helena Salomon Jakub Chana Mirla Mirla

wyszynk spoŜywcze galanteria szewc ciastkarz szewc

Mickiewicza Mickiewicza Rynek Rynek Mickiewicza Mickiewicza

The Galitzianer

róŜne towary mieszane


11 13 303 13 313 13 13 13 15 303 13

Szkolna Rynek disappeared during war

Rynek Rynek Sobieskiego Sobieskiego Potockiego Rynek Sobieskiego Rynek Sobieskiego Sobieskiego Sobieskiego Sobieskiego Sienkiewicza Mickiewicza Sobieskiego Sobieskiego Matejki disappeared during war

Sienkiewicza disappeared during war


Kilińskiego Kilińskiego 3 Maja Chłopickiego Czarneckiego Czarneckiego

disappeared during war


disappeared during war disappeared during war

November 2010

13 13 13 19 19 19 19 21 23 19 223 19 21 21 25 25 25 25 23 25 27 25 25 25 25 25 27 27 27 27 33 27 27 27 27 35 33 225 35 29 29 35 35 29 29 29 29 29 29 29 31 33 225 31


Abraham Rachela Chana Breindla Józef Rachela Rachela Erna Herman Leia Pinkas Pinkas Berl Jakub Szejwa Izaak Aron Basia Getzel Chaim Chaim Jakub Glickel Beila Naftali

rzeźnik bławatne spoŜywcze skóry róŜne szewc szewc wyszynk galanteria spoŜywcze spoŜywcze wyszynk towary mieszane towary mieszane galanteria konfekcja konfekcja róŜne spoŜywcze towary mieszane towary mieszane tandeta spoŜywcze spoŜywcze

Mickiewicza Chłopickiego Kilińskiego Rynek


Teofila Jonas Ryfka Zindel

krawiec skóry galanteria towary mieszane

Czarneckiego Legionów Legionów Sobieskiego


Markus Markus Natan Chaim Dawid Chaim Dawid Chaskel

zegarmistrz zegarmistrz spoŜywcze galanteria wyszynk wyszynk

Rynek Rynek 3 Maja Rynek Rynek Mickiewicza


Mendel Sara Feiga Gitla Baruch Maria Mozes

towary mieszane galanteria towary mieszane skup produktów rolniczych spoŜywcze materiały budowlane

Gawrzyłowa Mickiewicza Chłopickiego


Pesla Chil Hune Hune Kalman Aron Estera Gitla

towary mieszane piekarz piekarz spoŜywcze piekarz rzeźnik bławatne konfekcja



Leizer Dawid Leizer Dawid Maurycy Abraham Eleonora Erna Necha Rafael Chana

spoŜywcze spoŜywcze aptekarz hotel wyszynk wyszynk hotel skup produktów rolniczych towary mieszane

Rynek Rynek Zanderera 3 Maja Rynek Mickiewicza 3 Maja






Eliasz Sala Abraham Abraham Hirsch Chinka

towary mieszane towary mieszane piekarz szklarz zegarmistrz towary mieszane

Sienkiewicza Sienkiewicza

The Galitzianer


Rynek Rynek Mickiewicza Mickiewicza Rynek Kolejowa Rynek

31 31 31 31 33 31 31 35 27 33 35 35 33 33 33 37 47 37 37 37 39 37 39 39


Rynek Rynek

Chłopickiego śółkiewskiego Rynek Rynek Mickiewicza Mickiewicza


śółkiewskiego Mickiewicza Sienkiewicza Kraszewskiego disappeared during war

disappeared during war

disappeared during war

disappeared during war

Rynek śółkiewskiego Zanderera Rynek Zanderera disappeared during war

Sobieskiego lease of ritual slaughter disappeared during war

Sienkiewicza Sienkiewicza Sobieskiego

November 2010

39 39 39 39 39 39 41 41 41 41 41 41 41 305 43 305 43 305 45 43 305 43 43 47 43 43 43 43 89 43 47 305 47 45 45 227 305 227 45 45


Izak Natan Szymon Izaak Izak Rafael Abraham Salomon Salomon Hinda Leib Grtzel Rozalia Salomon Moses Jakub Aron Naftali Chaim Marian i Mina Fryda Chana Gitla

młyn róŜne młyn adwokat norymberskie towary mieszane galanteria galanteria papier drukarnia piekarz spoŜywcze piekarz bławatne spoŜywcze trafika dentysta magiel piekarz ciastkarz


Ryfka Chaim Natan Sala Ida Ewa Salomon Dora Gimpel Hirsch Izaak Leib Rachela Abraham Izak Herman Herman Jakub Izrael Jakub Izrael Debora Małka Zygmunt Zygmunt Sara Nicha Ida MojŜesz Berta Markus Moses Leib Lazar Dawid Pinkas Jakub Chaim Chaskel Aron Naftali Gedalie Hinda Szulim Helena

towary mieszane drzewne rzeźnik bławatne towary mieszane skup produktów rolniczych woda sodowa róŜne materiały budowlane blacharstwo obuwie tandeta blacharstwo towary mieszane młyn spoŜywcze bławatne towary mieszane materiały budowlane trafika bławatne bławatne materiały budowlane towary mieszane spoŜywcze transport drukarnia komiwojaŜer meblarstwo dentysta drzewne towary mieszane szewc towary mieszane konfekcja bławatne towary mieszane

The Galitzianer



Gawrzyłowa Rynek Zanderera Mickiewicza Mickiewicza Rynek Rynek Kilińskiego Kilińskiego śółkiewskiego Rynek Kościuszki Mickiewicza Słowackiego Czarneckiego Rynek 3 Maja


disappeared during war

Mickiewicza 3 Maja śółkiewskiego śółkiewskiego Sobieskiego Kraszewskiego Rynek Mickiewicza Sobieskiego Rynek Kościuszki Kilińskiego Chłopickiego Chłopickiego Rynek Sobieskiego 3 Maja śółkiewskiego śółkiewskiego Kościuszki Mickiewicza Mickiewicza Kościuszki Mickiewicza Rynek 3 Maja Mickiewicza Sienkiewicza Sienkiewicza śółkiewskiego Chłopickiego

47 45 45 51 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 49 51 51 51 51 53 55


November 2010

53 55 53 53 311 309 55 55 55 55 57 63 57 55 309 309 57 59 229 311 311 59 309 59 59 59 59 59 59 317 61 61 61 61 63 309 63

Gesher Galicia, Inc. Board of Directors Pamela Weisberger

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Vice President



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Treasurer Chief Financial Officer

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The Galitzianer is intended to provide a venue for the free exchange of ideas, research tips, and articles of interest to members of Gesher Galicia, Inc., who are researching Jewish family history in the communities that in 1872 were part of Galicia, a province of the AustroHungarian Empire. The Galitzianer welcomes articles, lists of names, photographs, book reviews, and other relevant contributions—original or previously published—from members and nonmembers alike. Submit material, preferably in electronic format, to the editor at

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November 2010

Genes of Moses Gelles and Genealogy of his Descendants  

Using Y-DNA Analysis to Identify the Common Ancestor of the Gelles and Polonsky Rabbinical Lineages

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