There are only several post-war tombstones at the Brzesko Jewish cemetery. Most of them stand on symbolic graves of people murdered during the war – it often happened that surviving Jews wanted to honour the memory of their murdered relatives at least in this way. One of such tombstones stands on the symbolic grave of the Schreiber family.
In memory of tragically murdered in 1942-4 (5?)
Anna Schreiber /Saul’s wife/
Son Hirsch with wife Rachel nee Stern
Son Jakob with wife Adela nee Finder
Son Leon with wife Berta née Finder
Daughter Sydonia with husband Dolek Rosner
Daughter Sonia with husband Henek Drucker
Daughter Bronisława with husband Wilhelm Pratzl
And their children
The inscription was barely visible, I had to use chalk to see anything. And several hours of archival research resulted in finding some data on this family.
Saul Schreiber, son of Jakob and Estera, born in Gdów in 1869, married Alte Rachel Gelberger, daughter of Israel Gelberger and Sara Feigel nee Vogelhut, born in Brzesko in 1874. The couple married in Brzesko in 1893. (Alte Rachel Schneider is mentioned on the tombstone as Anna, Saul’s wife. Before the war, Jews often used more European-sounding names instead of the Hebrew ones from their birth records.) For the first several years the family lived in Brzesko, then moved to Krakow. At least 10 children were born to them, of which one daughter, Scheindel, died at the age of 3 months. Here’s what I could find about the other Schreider children and their families:
Jakob (born in 1894) – married Adela Finder; during the war they were in Kraków and Tarnów, both of them were murdered. Jakob perished in the Mauthausen camp on February 3, 1945, prisoner number 88138
Perl (born in 1895) – married Samuel Jerud. She survived the war and submitted testimonies on her murdered relatives in Yad Vashem.
Leon (born around 1900) – merchant in Kraków, during the war he was in Tarnów, where he was murdered; his wife Berta née Finder, daughter Niusia and son Beniek also perished. The children were around 11-12 years old.
Sydonia (born in 1902) – married David Rosner; during the war she was in Kraków and Płaszów, murdered in the Stutthof camp; her husband, daughter Stella and son Art were also murdered.
Hirsch (born on May 18, 1904), murdered together with his wife Rachel née Stern
Mojżesz Dawid (born on May 12, 1907) – he is the only one about whom I couldn’t find any information
Sara-Fana (Sonia, born on November 11, 1908) – married Leon Henryk Drucker from Rzeszów; during the war she was in Rzeszów; murdered together with her husband and 12-year-old son Witek.
Henryk Saul (born around 1909) – murdered in Zakliczyn
Bronia (Breindla, born on October 31, 1917), married Wilhelm Pratzl; during the war, they were both hiding on Aryan papers in Tarnów; murdered.
Probably after the war, the family decided to put this tombstone in the Bresko cemetery because at least several generations of the family’s ancestors had been buried here. The tombstone of the father of Alte Rachela (Anna) Schreiber née Gelberger, Israel Gelberger, has survived at the cemetery.
Here is buried
Righteous were his acts
Of the work of his hands his sustenance
His memory will be passed from generation to generation
Too early he was taken to heavenly heights
Rabbeinu Israel Yehuda Leib
son of Rabbi Yossef died on the 7th of the month of Tishri
5647 May his soul be bound in the bundle of life
Thanks to Mr. Patrick Atlas (who is a descendant of another branch of this family), I got in touch with Mrs. Alyssa Ross – the granddaughter of Blanca Borell nee Schreiber (1920-2009). Holocaust survivors, sisters Blanca Borell nee Schreiber and Sonia Weitz nee Schreiber (1928-2010) were the daughters of Jakob Schreiber.
Fulfilling the promise made to her mother, the younger sister, Sonia Schreiber, wrote a book about her wartime experiences “I promised I would tell”, in which she recalls memories of her early childhood, life in Krakow, Tarnów, the Krakow ghetto and in several concentration camps, including Płaszów and Auschwitz-Birkenau. I don’t want to retell the book – I encourage you to read it yourself (it’s available for download as a PDF-file). Instead, I’d rather focus on the most amazing experience, nothing short of a miracle.
Mrs. Sonia Schreiber Weitz up until her death was certain that out of 82 members of Schreiber clan, only she and her older sister Blanca survived the war. The descendants of the Schreiber sisters knew nothing about the symbolic grave at the Bresko cemetery, nor about the fact that Sonia’s aunt, Perl Jerud nee Schreiber, also survived the war. For now, I only know that Perl Jerud lived in Tel Aviv after the war, but I hope to discover more data.
After speaking to Alyssa, I realized that the family did not know much about Sonia Schreiber Weitz’s ancestors, and I decided to try to recreate at least part of this history. Here is what I could find out (all these data come from vital records books):
1. Blanca Borell nee Schreiber (1920, Kraków-2010) and Sonia Weitz nee Schreiber, (1928, Kraków-2010) were born to Jakob Schreiber (born in Brzesko on March 27, 1894, murdered in Mauthausen on February 3, 1945) and Adela nee Finder (born on May 31, 1896 in Rajsko, Brzesko area, murdered in Bełżec).
In her book, Sonia Schreiber recalls: “Every summer, my mother would take my sister and me on the long train ride to her family’s farm in Rajsko. Raj means “Eden” in Polish, and in reality the farm was nothing short of paradise. It was filled with flower gardens, fruit orchards, and lush meadows. There were also horses, cows, chickens, and geese. Summers on the farm were filled with laughter and joy”.
– Saul Schreiber (born in Gdów in 1869) and Alte Rachel nee Gelberger (born in Brzesko on December 7, 1874)
– Emanuel Finder (born in Przyborów, Brzesko area, in 1843 and Rachel nee Broder (born in Słotwina, Brzesko area, on March 29, 1875). It’s this couple that lived in Rajsko. Emanuel Finder was a widower when he married Rachel Broder.
– Jakob and Ester Schreiber from Gdów
– Israel Leib Gelberger (Brzesko, 1839 – October 5, 1886; his matzeva has survived at the Brzesko Jewish cemetery) and Sara Feigel nee Vogelhut (Brzesko, 1834 (1830?) – July 4, 1906 )
– Berl and Gitel Finder from Przyborów
– Joel (Jakob) Broder (Słotwina near Brzesko, 1845-1879) and Bluma nee Vogelhut (born in 1851 in Pomianowa, Brzesko area)
– Josef and Debora Gelberger, inn-keepers in Brzesko (parents of Israel Leib Gelberger)
– Moses Dawid and Rachel Vogelhut , inn-keepers in Jasień, also lived in Pomianowa, both villages are located in Brzesko area (parents of Sara Feigel Gelberger nee Vogelhut and of Bluma Broder nee Vogelhut)
– Jankel and Hensche Broder from Strzelce Wielkie, Brzesko area
It seems impossible, but 78 years after the war, the family may learn that one of their close relatives survived the Holocaust. And family regains several generations of its ancestors, practically all from Brzesko and close vicinity (Brzesko, Słotwina, Pomianowa, Rajsko, Strzelce Wielkie, Jasień, Przyborów are all located within 30 km from each other).
Another piece of history saved from oblivion. May the memory of all Holocaust victims be an eternal blessing.
© Anna Brzyska, 2023