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Khaim (1894-1942) was the second son of Hersz Josek and Hena, and brother of my grandmother; he was last seen alive in Slonim, Poland, in 1940, and presumably was killed in 1942.
Relatively little is known about Khaim, since except my grandparents who evidently got to know him, no one survived the war; my mother and uncle do remember him but were too young, and some other people that survived the conflict in Nowy Dwór also got to know him but not closely. Our sources of information about his life come from our own family (tales told by by grandmother, mother and uncle), from some NKVD records and from Pages of Testimony submitted to Yad Vashem (see Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony), and particularly the Rozen testimonies[184.1].
Khaim[1.47] was born in Nowy Dwór and was married to Frida Taub[1.190]. He lived in Warsaw, at ul. Nowolipki 45/15 and was listed as a merchant, the usual sobriquet under which the Blat family usually conducted its business; whether he was in the main line of trade - military contracts - or not is still unknown to us.
Khaim had several sons and daughters, but none survived WWII:
Dawid (1910-?)[1.191], captured by the NKVD and seemingly killed in Russia (see Dawid Blat).
Guta (1912-1942)[1.192], killed by the Nazis in Warsaw.
Ruth (1912-1942)[1.193], killed by the Nazis in Warsaw.
Szaja (1912-?)[1.194], captured by the NKVD and seemingly killed in Russia.
Usher (1916-?)[1.195], captured by the NKVD and seemingly killed in Russia.
Khaim's wife was killed along with her daughters. Apparently Guta was married and her husband's surname was Tiktin; the other daughter seems to have been at least engaged. Dawid seemed to be the more prosperous of all his sons, since there are some significant properties that belonged to a certain Dawid Blat (stated also as Bluht, Blutt, Blit, etc) which were located very near Khaim's address in Warsaw and also near the home of his grandparents, Hena and Hersz Josek. Of Szaja and Usher we know thanks to NKVD arrest records and some vague memories of my mother and uncle.
Indeed, there could be more than one Dawid Blat, but for all practical purposes, they belonged to the same family, since all Blats from Warsaw were related to one another, and surnames like Blit, Blatt and Bluht are really variations of the same name.
There was not much contact between the family of my grandparents and their relatives in Warsaw albeit we know that despite an apparent disconnection, my grandmother did, in fact, kept in touch with her parents since she travelled regularly to the capital where she bought fashion clothes and accessories, books and other products that were not available in the slow-paced, provincial town of Slonim[184.7].
Khaim and at leasts some of his sons lived in the Muranów district of Warsaw, which later became the ghetto. His address was located relatively near that of his parents': Khaim lived at apt. 15 of ul. Nowolipki 15. Dawid apparently owned a building about fifty meters away, at Smocza 3, which stood at the corner of ul. Smocza and Nowolipki. Khaim's parents lived at ul. Chlodna 24[184.10]. There are some pictures of the interior of the Nowolipki 45 building, from the time in which the ghetto was already in place, so it doesn't look particularly nice, and of the general area after the destruction of the arsaw ghetto[184.5]. That particular area around the church St. Andrew is where SS General Jürgen Stroop took some of his most infamous pictures in 1943[184.6].
Probably due to necessity Khaim and his sons travelled with his brother Natan (see Natan Blat) to the home of my grandparents in Slonim, in Eastern Poland, as the Nazi forces advanced towards Warsaw, in late September, 1939. Both my mother and uncle remember Khaim being there along with "more people" and "other relatives"; they gave my mother, who was a little less than 5 year sold, two rag dolls as gifts. Then the Soviet Union invaded eastern Poland and Slonim was captured and almost immediately the secret police began persecuting those that they saw as their potential or real enemies.
After my grandfather was arrested by the NKVD my grandmother managed to escape from the town along with my mother and uncle, who were small children then, and they managed to reach Warsaw and later hide in Nowy Dwór (see How Wojciek's Stamp Collection Began). The rest of the family was almost immediately arrested; it was fairly evident then, as we could find out again many years later that almost everyone called or related to the names Skowronek, Blat and Schoenberg, among others were arrested in most cities in Poland and in fact, at least some members of the family were on a hit list (see Józef Skowronek).
The Rozens state that Khaim was murdered by the Nazis; my uncle, presumably due to what Natan told him, said that "all died in Russia". Natan was the sole survivor of all those arrested in Slonim who belonged to our family. One of the tenants of the Nowy Dwór house, who knew the family before and shortly after WWII said to me in one occasion that Khaim "died in the east". There are also records describing the capture by the NKVD of Khaim's sons, but none so far telling about their liberation.
It is known that as the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, NKVD thugs murdered the prisoners they had in custody[184.9] before the Nazis killed the Soviets[184.6], so this is also possibility. My interpretation is that some of the members of his family - probably his wife and daughters, as well as his wife's sisters and brothers and their families - remained in Warsaw and were killed in the ghetto, as the Rozens state, while Khaim and his sons, after being captured by the Soviets died in their captivity, executed or later fell in the hands of the Nazis and were murdered by them.
Ul. Nowolipki as it looked in 2010. On the right side, a fraction of the Church of Saint Augustine
is visible - this is the only building left by the Germans in the ghetto - and across Nowolipki street, on the right, the structures that have been erected at the place where Nowolipki 45 once stood.[94.40].
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