On Thursday, February 27, 2020, we hosted a group of high school students from Israel in Brzesko. It wouldn’t be anything unusual if it wasn’t for the fact that one of the boys in this group had Brzesko roots – ancestors of Avi Gold lived in Brzesko since the beginning of the 19th century.
About 2 months ago rav Dovi Schenkman contacted me, explaining that at the end of February he would be coming to Poland with a group of his students and would like to visit Brzesko, because the family of one of his students came from this city. That was the beginning of my relationship with the descendants of Blonder family.
During these two months I have exchanged many e-mails with Avi’s mother and grandmother. I could find many documents on this family in vital records and other archival documents (which was not easy, as around 200 Blonders lived in Brzesko since mid-19 century, and in many cases it was difficult to understand if they were related.) But in the end, it was possible to reconstruct a large part of the history of this branch of Blonders.
Abusch Abraham Blonder (1852-1926), son of Pinkas, was born in Brzesko. In 1875 he married Alte Ryfka Wassreberger (1854-1917), daughter of Moses and Marjem Wasserberger from Brzesko. They had six children: Liebe, 1878, Mojzes Dawid, 1880, Lemel, 1882, Dwojre, 1885, Sara, 1888, Marjem, 1897.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Mojzes Dawid (great-grandfather of Avi) left for Dresden, where he married Tauba Ettel Bienenstock from Poland. Of their six children, only one son (Avi’s great-grandfather) survived the Holocaust, Zvi Blonder (Dresden, 1914- Columbus, Ohio, 1978). Zvi’s brother and 3 sisters perished in Auschwitz, and another sister in Warsaw, together with her husband and two-year-old son.
Out of those family members who remained in Brzesko, 4 people were shot dead in the city on June 18, 1942 and were buried in a mass grave at the Jewish cemetery. They are: Lemel Blonder, Dwojra Schemstein née Blonder, Marjem Grun née Blonder (siblings of Mojzes Blonder) and 19-year-old Ides, daughter of Sara Wasserberger née Blonder (sister of Mojzes Dawid).
I met Israeli group at the Brzesko Market Square. We talked about the life of the Jewish community in the city before the war; about the ability of Poles ans Jews to find compromises, cooperate with each other and solve problems together back then… And when we arrived at the cemetery, Avi lit a candle on the grave of Jews murdered on June 18, 1942, also in memory of the murdered members of his family.
Nazi Germany tried to murder all Jews and eliminate any traces of their presence. But bonds are being rebuilt, even after all these years.
Photos of vital records come from szukajwarchiwach.pl website
Anna Brzyska, February 2020