My message to JewishGen Forum 20 November 1998.
Subject: Shalom PLOCK (4)...
I am pleased to inform you that more data has been added to the JRI-Poland database. Microfilm nr 730201 BMD indices of years 1827-1836 have been recently added to the growing JRI database.
4739 records are now available on the web covering these years:
But since there are expected to be over 20,000(!) records, my simcha is not yet complete...
For more information, you may access my web page at:
These are the dry figures.
But as I always believed, behind each name there was once a Jewish human being, it is not just an entry in someone family computerised tree.
After having suffered this great catastrophe of the Holocaust, while Polish Jewry was exterminated, any such tangible record serves also as something to RECORD, to keep trace, to remember...
I am building up a memorial on the web to this shtetl Plock. I meet many old Plockers, interview them and plan together this site http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Rue/4017/INDPLOCK.HTM (in the planning stage only)
One of them is Mrs. Ilana Witkowski nee SZLACHTER from Plock. Holocaust survivor of over 80 years old. Very sharp, highly educated and devoted person, who is still active in the Israeli Plock Landsmanschaften (mainly looking after old people from Plock in various old age homes in Israel).
I talked with her about the internet and its wonders and explained about the Mormons and about JRI and what this "JRI Shtetl CO-OP" is all about. Then I demonstrated to her and we made a quick search on the internet... The only hit which came along at the time, was a death certificate, in Microfilm 1733680:
SZLACHTER Bajla 1881 D akt:75
I told her I can get her the photocopy of the record itself.
I asked a very efficient and good person in Los Angeles for the copy, via
Within 5 days (!!!) I got it and fixed a meeting with Ilana. She first didn't know who this Bajla was, except that she was sure it must be her family from Plock.
It was in Russian and she could read it easily. In the end of the certificate, it says that Bajla left two parents: Zelig and Ryfka. Ilana eyes sparkled and she cried: " yes, grandfather had a brother, Zelig,
She burst into tears and had no words to thank me and those wonderful people who initiated and run the JRI project on the web. Because this certificate of Bajla SZLACHTER, Ilana father's first cousin from Plock, is THE ONLY DOCUMENT, remnant of her family from Plock, a shtetl in Poland where once we walked...
A day later Ilana phones me up, again crying, telling me:
"You cannot understand what is it for me, to find records of my own ancestors in Plock, proving their existence there 150 years ago,in the town from which I was so cruelly expelled."
This was her message, I pass it on to you and those who initiated the JRI project and coordinate it, and to those anonymous volunteers, contributing endless hours of work for this aim, without ever been paid, except by the feeling of gratitude of people like Ilana Witkowski...
We are in the 90th minute... This research is not done only for us, curious descandants. It is also done for those elders, who are still alive, who were born there in Poland, and once walked and graced those towns...
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