Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony

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Pablo Edronkin

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Yad Vashem pages of testimony have been fundamental for finding the fate of members of the family during WWII; here is a description of some of them.

The Blatt - Rosochocki Testimonies - Allowed to establish beyond doubt a connection between the surname Blat, the closest branch of the Skowronek family and asset A5165 [210.1]. additional data from Jewishgen.org suggests that there was a direct relationship between the Rosochocki family and Blat, Skowronek and Schoenberg at the same time, although no direct evidence has been found so far (see Rosochocki); there are also Yad Vashem testimonies that directly link Blat with the surname Rosochocki [202.1][202.2].

The Blat - Blada Testimonies - Barukh Blatt wrote some testimonies regarding the Blats and Goldkorns from Lodz, related to those of Warsaw and Frankfurt [209]; additionally, some of his pages of testimony describe the surnames of the victims as Blada, showing the relationship between Blat and this last surname either by marriage or as a family name variation.

The Blat - Rikhter Testimonies - Completes information on the fate of the family of Yaakov Lejb Blat and Sheindl Kohen [211].

The Blat - Rikhter Testimonies - Avigdor Kahana links his own surname with those of Klein, Blat et al. in the Tarnow area. He is linked also to the people described in the Blat - Rikhter testimonies[211]; the Kahana surname and Kohen - variant - appears related to Blat and Schoenberg in Warsaw as well.

The Czerkewitz Testimonies - These testimonies describe the fate of some members of the Klepfisz family[223].

The Edronkin - Braun Testimonies - We should mention that we, ourselves, wrote a number of pages of testimony for relatives and ancestors murdered during WWII, either as direct witnesses and survivors, as well as ad hoc family historians.

The Feferman Testimonies - Rivka Feferman submitted some testimonies that prove the link between the Blats from Warsaw and Krakow; they also prove links with other family names[193].

The Gutman Testimonies - Tonia Gutman wrote several testimonies regarding a branch of the Blat family in Krakow; other surnames described are Schmidt, Gutman, Libovitz and Shikhman [213].

The Hatalgi - Halpern Testimonies - Naomi Halpern and Theodore Hatalgi submitted some important testimonies regarding the fate of part of the Skowronek family, establishing also its links to other surnames. Their testimonies were essential particularly during the first part of our investigation[184.2] and in relation to the fate of those that were living before or during the war at ul. Ceglana 10. These establish the links between names like Skowronek, Schoenberg, Halpern, Scherling, Frst and Lifshitz.

The Kamieni Testimonies - These, left by Adam Kamieni, describe the fate of people named Skowronek and Kamieni (Kamienny) during the war, particularly in the Lublin area[229].

The Klibanov Testimonies - These testimonies helped us understand the expansion of the Schoenberg family across Lithuania and Belarus, then belonging to Poland.

The Kronenberg Testimonies - These describe different family names and people[199]. Among these, Blady (Bladi) is mentioned. As mentioned in the case of the testimonies left by Mosze Aaron Rozen[198.1], this surname is recognized as related to Kronenberg and so, in fact, Blady is without doubt Blat.

The Kronenberg testimonies also include other surnames such as Danziger, Perelmutter, Taub, Israel, Rozenblat, Weinberg, Adler and Soloveitchik, also connected to the family as well as others not previously identified. Confirming these testimonies, there are civil records from Nowy Dwr, XIX century, indicating that the names Kronenberg and Blatt were related by marriage thorough the Fiszson and Montlak families.

There are further, indirect links between the Kronenbergs and Blats. Considering that both the Rozen and Blat families were related, it is intriguing to consider that Rozenblat might have originated as the combination of these surnames, that is, as Rozen - Blat in this case instead as Rozenblat from the moment in which surnames were adopted in Poland.

The Levitan Testimonies - These describe links between the surnames Blat and Brody in Lithuania[200]. Both surnames are linked in Poland as well. These also prove that Blat is sometimes written as Blatas. Other pages of testimony for Lithuanian people named Blata confirm that this name and Blat are equivalent.

The Lotenberg Testimonies - Hadasa Lotenberg submitted a number of testimonies describing people by the name Schoenberg in Warsaw, Brest-Litowsk and Lithuania, as well as other named Sendyk, Bach, Salomon et al, which are already known to be related in Warsaw, hence proving the familiar links between Poland and Lithuania.

The Merenholz - Shtein Testimonies - These testimonies, provided by Liliana Shtein, niece of Dinah Schoenberg on the side of Shifra, one of her sisters, describe the Merenholz family, which links the Skowronek, Schoenberg and Przepiorki families together.

The Mikhaelis Testimonies - These testimonies, written by Shoshana Mikhaelis et al describe familiar links between the names Gestern, Rozenthal and Rothschild from Warsaw and Berlin[219]. The Gestern family of Warsaw was linked by marriage to Skowronek: Bajla Hinda Skowronek[1.297], sister of Hena Skowronek[1.14], was married to Szmul Wigdor Gestern[1.298].

The Nordheim Testimonies - These testimonies mention related surnames such as Guggenheim, Aronson, Polak, and Blas, which can also be considered a variant of Blat, but with no known direct links to the Polish Blat surname.

The Ptak - Slivka Testimonies - These refer to the Przepiorka family. It is remarkable that ptak means bird in Polish, and the surnames Skowronek, Soloveitchik, Effron and Przepiorki are the names of birds[206].

The Rozen Testimonies - Yokheved and Yekhezkel Rozen submitted around 1973 a considerable number of pages of testimony, mostly of people that they were related to. One of their key testimonies corresponds to Khaim Blat, declaring that he was their cousin (see Khaim Gedaliahu Blat), and of other people bearing other surnames with known connections to the Schoenberg family, mostly in Warsaw and Ldz[184.1]; for example, these testimonies declare the Aronsohn family as their own and in turn, there are civil records proving that this surname is related to Schoenberg[1]; these testimonies link together surnames like Rozen - their own - Blat, Berger, Krakowski, Wagman, Brawer, Bergson, Salomon, Aronsohn, Adler, Finkelstein, Gross, Justman, Weiss, Auerbach and others[198].

Mosze Aaron Rozen, left testimonies for his sister, citing her surname as Bladi[198.1].

The Rosenkranz Testimonies - Avner and Golda Rozenkranz (also Rosenkranz, Rosenkrantz, etc.) left a significant number of photographs from pre-WWII times in Izbica Lubelski[184.4], which show some kind of relationship between several surnames associated to the family. He survived the war and lived in Israel until his death. These pictures and comments demonstrate that the links between certain names extend to other cities aside from Warsaw. It is indeed important to keep in mind that the name Rosenkranz has been associated to the family by marriages at least since the beginning if the XIX century like in the case of Michal Rosenkranz[1.210] and Glicka Schoenberg[1.211], and Mosze Aaron Rosenkranz[1.212] and Nycha Taub[1.213]. The name Rosenkranz also appears married to Schoenberg in Radom, in the XIX century.

The Shealtiel Testimonies - At Yad Vashem, there a number of testimonies related to the Schoenberg family which were submitted by people bearing the surname Shealtiel or its variants, such as Salatiel, Sealtiel, etc. Some of the names they reported, such as Emanuel are demonstratedly related to the Schoenbergs and in fact, Emanuel (or Emmanuel) is one of the junior branches of the Schoenberg family. At the present time, these testimonies have not been included in our tree since the records of the Emanuel branch are too sketchy as to make even any educated guesses about the exactitude of the links. Nevertheless, the name says it all because it matches the story. The Emanuel testimonies from the Netherlands add to those corresponding to Polak, of the same country; this surname is also related to the Schoenbergs. Barber is another surname mentioned in the Netherlands and Poland. Other related surnames include Farro, Gans, Borzykowski, Halberstadt, Hamburg, Cohen, da Sousa. They also mention Blitz as a surname, which can be commonly assumed to be a variant of Blat; however, so far we could not find a direct connection between both.

The Schiffer - Soloveitchik Testimonies - These testimonies prove familiar links between Schoenberg, Schiffer, Soloveitchik, Czarny, Landau, Lichtenstein, and Oppenheim families, among others[184.3]. From these, links to the Redlich family are also derived, which, in turn, link to the Blat family according to the testimonies submitted by Yokheved Rozen[184.3].

The Shteinziger Testimonies - These prove the relationship between the Blats living in Warsaw and those from Izbica [214].

The Skowronek - Krakowski Testimonies - These testimonies, written by Shoshana Skwronek - Krakowski describe the fate of relatives named Skowronek, Krakowski, Russak, Auerbach and Justman[225]; these testimonies prove particularly the existence of further links between the Skowronek, Rozen, Auerbach and Justman families.

The Skowronek - Podolier Testimonies - These testimonies were written by Helne Podolier between 1965 and 1980 in Paris; she was one of the daughters of Frederick Skowronek, and tells some stories around the events that happened at ul. Marszalkowska 101 in Warsaw, one of the iconic addresses of the family.

The Ur Testimonies - Omer Ur wrote several testimonies linkin the Blat and Orlean surnames in Latvia, which are linked in Warsaw as well[208].

The Wertheim Testimonies - These link Braun, Schoenberg, Kaminer and Justman surnames, among others[184.4].

The Wislicka Testimonies - Pages of testimony regarding the Fajnmesser surname [215]; Stella Wislicka sometimes also is listed under her maiden name, Silberstrom.

Some of the surnames mentioned in these testimonies, linked to other known names like Adler, Oppenheim and Wertheim linked to Rotenberg - Alter and of a known rabbinical nature, were part of the evidence that demonstrated the links of the Warsaw Schoenberg family to the Alzey and Amsterdam Schoenbergs (see Dom Iago de Sampayo y Belmonte) which appear related to them as well. They also demonstrate that in fact, all the important pre-war Jewish families of Warsaw were related to one another.

They also show that these families - about 50 in all - behaved like a clan and married in a way very similar to royalty; from these, some families - especially those directly related to banking - are related to other banking families of Europe and to European royalty and nobility as well, so the traditions and techniques used to achieve such goals are really not completely exotic by "modern" social and cultural standards.

Among surviving members of the "clan" two distinct postures or attitudes are common: Some of them, for various reasons, decided to leave the past completely behind and do not know or understandably do not want to talk about their survival stories during the Holocaust, their families and so on, while others try to keep those memories alive and continue the traditions or reconstruct the family.

It is in this second group where those that wrote these testimonies should be placed; be aware, however, of two facts: First of all, many of these survivors wrote their pages of testimony at an old age, as a duty or pending issue that had to be sorted out before the end of their lives, so even despite the fact that they wrote those testimonies, if still alive, they might find it difficult to talk about what happened. And secondly, the fact that one person wrote a number of testimonies does not mean that his or her close relatives would think the same, so interviewing them, or their descendants might produce mixed results.

Auth: P. Edronkin.
Royalty III, Pablo Edronkin.

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