Messages & Inquiries of Survivors & Descendents
of Jewish Bialystok
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Many Messages are Posted in the new SIG BRRG (Bialystok Region Research Group) and are researchable in JewishGen SIG Archive at:

Update No. 7 - Last Updated August 10th, 2003

Subject: Bialystok family: CYCOWICZ
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2003 10:39:27 +0000
From: Aviva Greenberger at email: greenberger "at"

Dear Ada,

I am writing to you from Melbourne Australia. My parents and grandparents came from Bialystok and whilst searching the internet I found the Partial List of Holocaust Martyrs of Bialystok that you compiled. In particular I was searching the name Cycowicz which is my late mothers maiden name. I note that the list was compiled from records held at Yad Vashem and from the Bialystock "Childrens transport List" and " The Bialystoker Memorial Book" , however I have never been able to find any listings previously and I was wondering if you would be able to tell me any other sources that I might be able to check.

My mothers name was Chava OSTROBURSKI ( CYCOWICZ ) she married Avram OSTROBURSKI. My mothers parents name were Aviezer and Malka CYCOWICZ and my late father's parents names were Shmuel and Malka OSTROBURSKI.

Warmest Regards
Aviva Greenberger

Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2003
From: Kathy Wallach email: kwallach "at"

Dear Ada,

Your website is an impressive memorial and rememberance to those who perished, and we must never forget them. I have been trying to document one of my ancestral shtetls which was destroyed by the Nazis, and have found few pPges of Testimony at Yad VaShem and very few survivors listed in the USHMM Survivors Registry in Washington, DC. Unfortunatly there is no Yizkor Book either. The only documentation that I have seen is slightly conflicting. From Arad's book, there were 1200 Jews deported from Trzcianne via the Bogusze Collection/Concentration camp between Nov 10, 1942-Dec 15, 1942. The Yad VaShem books published in 3 volumes just a few years ago states that there were 700 Jews left in the town and they were taken out of the town and shot. I would like to know if you have seen other information in your research as I am awaiting a response both from Yad VaShem and the Archives at Kibbutz Lochamei HaGetaot.

Many thanks Ada.
Kathy Wallach
Flushing, NY

Subject: KALSTEIN from Raczki (attended JewishGen Conference)
Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003
From: Beatrice Kalstein Swart

I am so sorry that I missed the session on Bialystok. I did not know the region that My ancestors lived in. They were from Raczki and Filipow, which I just learned from reading your web site, is in the Bialystok SIG.

Can you tell me anything about either town? I am so anxious to learn more of the towns. I even have an address in Raczki. It is one Strassmeyer St. I can make out the beginning of the street but the end of it looks like meyer . Can you help me?

Beatrice Kalstein Swart

Researching: Kalstein - Raczki, Poland, Swart London, England, Rudnick - Krevo, Belarus, Russia

Message in JewishGen DIGEST
Subject: Re: SZNAJDER Bialystok Poland

Dear Alan:

Based on the information you provide, your research will take many directions. My advice will be directed toward research in Poland. First, we need to make a distinction about which Polish records are available. Records over 100 years old (up to 1902) are available to the public through the Polish State Archives.

Many of these records have been microfilmed by the LDS Church -- those up through the 1870s. All of these Bialystok vital records have been indexed by Jewish Records Indexing - Poland The JRI-Poland database is hosted by JewishGen and can be searched by clicking on "search database" from the JRI-Poland homepage. A search for SZNAJDER (which is pronounced in Polish just like SHNIDER) using Daitch-Mokotoff Soundex in Bialystok results in over 200 indices including the 1897 birth of Sender son of Jankel.

Vital records less than 100 years old are housed at the Bialystok Urzad Stanu Cywilnego (USC) office, the local civil records office and these records are protected by Polish privacy law. You can request an official extract of a record, but the USC office will not provide a copy of the original record or perform any research on your behalf. This will make research of your father's immediate family difficult. For more information on record in Poland, consult the JewishGen Infofile written by Warren Blatt at Also, ask others who have been successful with research at the Bialystok USC.

A number of Bialystok researchers are forming a Bialystok Area Research Group. A meeting is scheduled for the upcoming International Jewish Genealogy Conference in Washington to organize this effort. This group may be helpful in your research.

In general, the place in which researchers will get the most knowledgeable responses to questions about JRI-Poland and Polish records will be the JRI-Poland Discussion Group. Joining the Group is easily done at

I wish you success in your search.
Mark Halpern
willie46 at
Bialystok Archive Coordinator

----- Original Message in JewishGen DIGEST
Subject: SZNAJDER Bialystok Poland
Sender: Alan Shnider , email: shnider at> (replace "at" by @ to avoid spam)
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2003 10:07:15 +1000

Dear Sir/Madam,

For some time now I have been trying to search for details, relating to my late father and his family who came from Bialystok. I have had little > success and may be I am searching incorrectly. My father was born we believe on or about 1st June 1924 in Bialystok. His name was Max or he was also know as Mottel. He was the second child of Alexander and Chava SZNAJDER and he had an older sibling know as Guta . Chava I believe died in or about October 1934 between Yom kippur and Succoth. My father was about nine or ten. My father was sent from Bialystok by his father on the day of Purim in either 1937 or 1938 to an orphanage in New Zealand run by Max and Annie DECKSTON who were a distant relative . His stay in the orphanage was short as he didn't like the place misbehaved and was sent back by the Deckston's to Poland only to be taken off the boat in London by the then Jewish shelter and sent back to New Zealand where he stayed with relatives.

It appears that on his Polish passport his surname was spelt SZNAJDER but was changed we believe at the time of entry to New Zealand to SHNIDER.

My father spoke like many others very little of his child hood and it was only recently that my mother and brothers meta man now living in Los Angeles who actually travelled on that day of Purim by train from Bialystok to the port and then by boat to New Zealand and finally to the Deckston orphanage. This man although from Bialystok didn't know my father in Bialystok and only met on the train as they left.

I am interested to try and piece together some information about my father and his family. as far as my late father knew who passed away on 31st January 1981 his father and sister perished. There is some suggestion that his father may have remarried.

Any assistance you can give me or any advice that you can give me on how to continue my searcI would be very grateful. A number of my friends have successfully searched and found information although some of them have parents who can at least provide some background information.

I look forward to hearing from you at your convenience
Alan Shnider

Sun, 16 Mar 2003 01:03:55 -0500
Tilford Bartman
If you do ever talk to Yaacov Samid in Israel please also ask him if anyone has an article by Chiam Jablonski, a Gymnasium student entitled "My Town" in the magazine "Le'An ("Whither") published in 1939. The article is about Jablonski's home town Zabludow. I would give anything to have a copy of it if it exists!!!

Sun, 16 Mar 2003 09:16:38 -0500
Mark Halpern
Searching: CITRIN (CYTRON?)
I have been trying to trace my grandmother's family for a number of years. She was born in a small village near Grodek, east of Bialystok. Her motherwas Yehudit CITRIN. I have amassed a good deal of circumstantial evidence connecting her family to the Cytron family of Bialystok, Suprasl, and Michalowo. Is it possible for you to put me in contact with the descendants of the Cytron family either in US or Israel?

Sun, 16 Mar 2003 18:37:11 -0500
Elliot J. Fishman
Searching: FISHMAN
Other names: SCHWARTZ
Dear Sir:
I am looking for any information on the FISHMAN family. My grandfather Jacob Fishman was the son of Lazer Fishman. He was born around 1879 and lived in the Bialystok area. Just before the turn of the century, he married Esther Zeld Schwartz and then emigrated to the United States. I would appreciate any information you might be able to give me on my ancestors. Thank you for your times and assistance.

Elliot Fishman

Sun, 16 Mar 2003
Tilford Bartman
Searching: PLEBAN
Rachel in the survivors from Bialystok list. Her family owned one of the leather factories in Zabludow. She is an Auschwitz survivor and still lives in Israel. I've heard that she goes to Zabludow several times to visit a Polish Family there. I've once spoke to her nephew Shlomo Pleban who is an Israeli living in California. I think he grew up on Kibbutz Metzer. I'd like to speak to Rachel Pleban but I haven't been able to find her address.
Tilford Bartm

From Martin Gold
Searching: GOLD
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 23:09:14 -0500
My son is going to Russia and Bialystok, Poland in April and would like to Research my father's family. We are not sure where to start. We hope there is a Jewish community guide there that will be able to help when he arrives. Here is some background.

My father Morris Gold arrived in the US in 1938 and settled in Atlanta. He had 2 uncles here, Meyer Gold who lived in North Georgia, and Charlie Gold who lived in Miami. His father was Tevel (Tuvia) Gold, born approx. 1881, who I believe was in a candy store business in Bialystok. His mother and father were Ezriel and Malkie Gold. I believe we have a picture of the gravestone of Malkie Gold.

My fa's mother was Alta BREWDA Gold, and her parents were Solomon and Malkie Brewda. My father had one sister named Cyral. She married after dadleft and I do not know her married name.

Other relatives were named Gilchenski(?). A doctor GILCHENSKI married a lady from Australia and moved to Melbourne. He changed his name to Gill but he died in late 1950s. His wife's name was Esther, who we were in touch with up until the late 1980s.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Martin Gold
Charleston, SC

 Message to JewishGen Email Exchange Group

Date: Wed, 03 May 2000

Subject: Searching: REFITKIES / RAFITKES...
 The Search of Jakob Rafitkes (Refitkies), Bialystok, Poland - the Only Survivor

Yom HaShoa, 12 L'Omer, Nisan 27, 5760, May 2, 2000

This message is sent for a friend who has no internet access: Jakob RAFITKES (REFITKIES), born in 1933 at Bialystok, Poland. He now lives in a prosperous Kibbutz in Israel.

 His name, RAFITKES or REFITKIES is very unique. It was derived, as explained to him by a Jew in Poland whom he met after the war, from the diminutive of the name "Rivka", a way of naming a family where the mother was dominant, usually a widow, Jewish "Eshet Khail" who supported a whole family. Jakob has never verified this theory about his family name.

During the War, he was sent to a summer camp in Russia, on 3 June 1941. On 22 June started the war with Russia and he was captured together with other 200 children in Russia and thus was saved.

The only survivor of a whole family of Bnai Israel...

He recalls that after the war, Polish and Russian children returned home to find their parents and family, but he and the Jewish children found no one... The orphan refugee's story was told by Sarah Neshamit Shner, in her book: "Poema Pedagogic Akheret" (a Different Pedagogic Poema).

Known facts, all coming from one single birth certificate of his brother, the only document he has of his family, sent to him recently by the courtesy of a researcher from Bialystok. Otherwise, nothing, not even one photograph...
It is very hard to live all your life WITHOUT parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and not even a single cousin, not even 2nd cousin... not even a singe 3rd cousin... NOBODY in the world, except the new family he raised in Israel, in a Kibbutz. It is a painful quest... not like the regular genealogical one, where you just search for another entry in your family tree software...

Known Information:

  Mother: Fruma Refitkies nee' Kaplan born ca 1893, from Bialystok. We don't know who were her parents.

  Father: Szejel Refitkies born ca 1892, a tailor from Bialystok.

 5 Brothers and sisters:

Rifka, b. 1925
Chaia, b. 1927
Nachman, born 6/4/1929
Bluma 1931
Jakob 1933 or 30.7.1934

 There was another child with them: Mosze Szwarc, his half brother, born to Fruma from a previous marriage. Moshe's biological father left to America in the early years of the 20s. We can sssume he was born between 1914 till 1920.

 From "Dapei Ed" recently (September 2000) found in the computerized database of Yad Vashem's Hall of Names, and conversations with the Bialystok Society Chairman in Israel, we could assume that the father of Mosze Szwarc was (Yudel) Yehuda Swarc who immigrated to Canada and not America, before the Holocaust. Yehuda was one brother of 6 others, who all named their first born son by the name Mosze. All the five brothers and their spouses and their children perished in the Holocaust. We are searching Yehuda's descendants who might keep old photos and may be Fruma's picture.

 The family lived in Zalezna (phonetically spelt) street number 11 (?) , Bialystok.

Last year he was contacted by a tourist from Australia , who knew the family and described to Jakob his parents and siblings and their life before the destruction.

In the excitement of the conversation, Jakob didn't ask him for his details and forgot to ask about his grandparents, as he doesn't remember neither one, nor even their names

The inquiry was registered in JewishGen' Holocaust Global Registry at:

Needless to say, any piece of information will be highly appreciated.


Ada Holtzman


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