Witnessing Holocaust History: From Generation To Generation

Witnessing Holocaust History: From Generation To Generation – A New Global Project Partnership between WE ARE HERE! Perth, Australia, HAMEC Philadelphia and World ORT, London #education
From: Eli Rabinowitz
Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2020 

Orla Poland, 1921


Perth, Australia

This global program will start with 19 ORT schools on 27 January 2021, and will continue with more schools for Yom Hashoah through 8/9 April 2021

Press Statement from HAMEC:





HAMEC ORT WAH! Ruth Almy Intro 27 January 2021

Source: youtu.be/Fqm3R-h6RPE

Participating ORT Schools for the 27 January 2021 event are:

Country/ City Timezone School
Mexico/ Mexico City CST CIM-ORT
South Africa/ Cape Town SAST Herzlia
South Africa/Johannesburg SAST King David Victory Park High
Bulgaria/Sofia EEST Dimcho Debelianov Hebrew and English Language School
Netherlands/ Amsterdam CET JSG Maimonides
Spain/Madrid CET ORT Colegio Estrella Toledano
Russia/ St Petersburg MST ORT de Gunzburg Secondary School # 550 “Shorashim”
Russia/ Samara SST Samara ORT Secondary School# 42, “Gesher”
Russia/ Moscow MST ORT Tekhiya, Center of Education # 1311
Russia/Moscow MST ORT Moscow Technology School, Gymnasium # 1540
Russia/ Kazan MST ORT “Mishpahteinu” Secondary School # 12
Ukraine/ Chernivtsi EEST ORT Specialized School #41
Ukraine/ Kiev EEST Kiev ORT Educational Complex #141
Ukraine/ Odessa EEST ORT Secondary School # 94
Ukraine/ Zhaporozhie EEST ORT “Aleph” Jewish Gymnasium
Moldova/ Kishinev EEST ORT Technology Lyceum
Estonia/ Tallinn EEST ORT Tallinn Jewish School
Latvia/ Riga EEST ORT Network Jewish Secondary School
Lithuania/ Vilnius EEST Vilnius Sholom Aleichem ORT School

Bielski Reunion, Belarus


For more info about this post, contact Eli Rabinowitz eli@elirab.com

The World Premiere of the four language Partisan Song

The World Premiere of the four language Partisan Song

Ellenbrook Secondary College & Carmel High SchoolAt Ellenbrook Secondary College5 August 2019

Source: youtu.be/iIJ-rC-DcWA

Perth Modern School, December 2019

Orla Poland: Ten Years ago today, an email changed everything!

On 7 November 2010, I received an email from Wojciech Konończuk in Warsaw, who wrote the following:

Dear Eli Rabinowitz,

I found a short piece of information about „Rabinowitz family originally Skarasjewski from Orla near Bialystok” on this website

I research the history of Jews in Orla, preparing a book on this subject, and I’m very interested in any testimonies, photos or other materials concerning this issue. Maybe you will be able to provide me some new information about Jewish people from Orla?


Wojciech Kononczuk (Warsaw)

Research over the next six months was based on our existing family records and not much in terms of new genealogical ones was found. The records for Orla for the period around the turn of the 20thCentury are housed in the Grodno State Archives in Belarus. We eventually found out that the 1906 Bielsk County Voters List including “Skorishevski Abram-Yankel son of Leib”, who is also listed in the 1912 Grodno Gubernia Voters List.  I also found family records and memoirs of my surviving aunt, Sarah Stepansky.

As a result, I have reconstructed all descendants of Chart of Moshko Skareshevsky of Orla.

After six months of correspondence and research, I met Wojciech on 12 May 2011 in Bialystok. He drove me to the Orla Synagogue, where I met the other members of his team:

Source: sztetl.org.pl/en/towns/o/682-orla/104-cultural-texts/139505-eli-rabinowitz-talks-about-his-family-orla




Wojciech Konończuk met me at the Branicki Hotel in Bialystok at 8.45am and drove me to Orla, about 45km from Bialystok. Wojciech is a researcher in Warsaw and has an Orla project involving me. H…

Source: elirab.me/orla/

The next year Jill, Ray and Heinrich joined us:

Orla – 11 May 2012

Orla – 11 May 2012

My second visit

We met Ray and Heinrich Hengy from Freiberg, Germany at our hotel in Warsaw at 7:45am. This was the first time we have met. Ray’s mother Paula was engaged to my Great Uncle Moshe, when he was…

Source: elirab.me/orla-11-may-2012/

At Treblinka

Sadly, both Ray and Heinrich passed away around July 2020

#MeetALeader: Marek Chmielewski from Orla, where he heads the village’s self-government, is a real master of networking, building wide coalitions of like-minded people, and sparking ideas that engage local community. Under his guidance and with his vocal support local initiatives thrive!

Marek’s “With the Synagogue in the Backgound. We Remember” project engaged local residents young and old. Young children and teenagers recreated pre-war Yiddish business signboards and used QR codes to link actual places to articles about Orla’s Jewish history. Adults participated in photography and film workshops led by Orla-born photographer and journalist, Piotr Nesterowicz. The finale of this 8-week project coincided with the 77th anniversary of the liquidation of the local ghetto, which was commemorated with a walk of memory and film screenings. What is more, Marek invited experts, who he had met at Forum’s National Leaders of Dialogue Conference, to share their knowledge with the local audience. He also invited another Leader, Robert Urbanowski, active in Racibórz, to perform with his Midrash Jewish Theater.


Personal Journeys: From One Photograph to Journeys of Research and Discovery

Personal Journeys: From One Photograph to Journeys of Research and Discovery

Avotaynu Online

Source: avotaynuonline.com/2016/08/from-one-photograph-to-journeys-of-research-and-discovery/

Personal Journeys: Finding Mr. Katz

Personal Journeys: Finding Mr. Katz

Avotaynu Online

Source: avotaynuonline.com/2016/12/personal-journeys-finding-mr-katz/

54th Yahrzeit Rev N.M. Rabinowitz

54th Yahrzeit  – 8 Nissan  5780 – 2 April 2020

My Zaida, Rev Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz

Nachum Mendel ben Avrom Yaakov


Volksrust, South Africa

(from SA Jewish Life in the Country Communities book just published) 


Vredehoek Shul, Cape Town

Arthurs Road Shul, Sea Point, Cape Town

The visit of Rav Kahaneman to Cape Town

Rev NM  – second row from The front, third from the left



Descendants of Rev NM Rabinowitz

Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz – Descendant Chart


Eli Rabinowitz talks about his family from Orla | Virtual Shtetl

Eli Rabinowitz talks about his family from Orla | Virtual Shtetl

My name is Eli Rabinowitz. I live in Perth, Australia.  My three siblings live in New York, Israel and South Africa. I am married to Jill Reitstein (originally Rotzstejn, from Nasielsk). 

Source: sztetl.org.pl/en/towns/o/682-orla/104-cultural-texts/139505-eli-rabinowitz-talks-about-his-family-orla


elirab.digital historical audio

Rev NM Rabinowitz benching with two of his sons, Leib and Harry, at Sorrel and Gidon Katz’s wedding in Johannesburg 1961

Source: elirab.com/Audio.html

Zaida with me at 107 Corlette Drive, Birnam, Johannesburg.

JewishGen Success Stories

Featured on the new JewishGen Success Stories site:

Click on the image or source link below to read the article.

Finding Mr. Katz – Success! Stories of Connection

This story is a sequel to From One Photograph to a Journey of Discovery, my research into the tragic romance of my great-uncle Moshe Rabinowitz and Paula Lichtzier, recently published by JewishGen.

Source: www.jewishgen.org/jewishgen/testimonials/finding-mr-katz/

Success stories main page:

Source: www.jewishgen.org/jewishgen/testimonials/

New photos of great uncle Moshe Zalman Rabinowitz found by my cousin Hadara Boczko in Israel

My zaida Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz and his brother Moshe Zalman

Moshe in Orla, Poland

Moshe – top left with friends?

Posted from Orla, Poland to Volksrust, Transvaal, South Africa

35th IAJGS International Jewish Genealogical Conference

I am pleased to advise that I have been selected to give a presentation at the 35th IAJGS International Jewish Genealogical Conference in Jerusalem in July.

The title of my talk is:



The narrative about Moshe and Paula starts in Orla, Poland and ends suddenly in South Africa.

However, the research starts 80 years later in Australia and takes me to Poland, Belarus, Israel, the UK, Germany, South Africa, the US and Canada.

More to follow in upcoming blogs.


Where is Orla:


Facebook page just started for Moshe and Paula:


ENJOY A RARE GENEALOGICAL FEAST OF KNOWLEDGE when top experts from around the globe gather in Jerusalem. Nearly 200 guest lecturers will share their expertise and research on the world’s main Jewish communities including the US, Eastern and Western Europe, Israel, and Russia, PLUS they’ll take you to such exotic Jewish genealogical destinations as Tuscany, Casablanca, Sweden, Spain, Ethiopia, India, South Africa, Belgium, Latvia, Moldova, and many, many more. Their lectures will encompass a host of topics, from technological developments in genealogical research to perspectives on the Holocaust to the science of onomastics (the study of names), and a wealth of other topics including DNA.
DON’T MISS THE PRE-CONFERENCE SHABBATON on the Friday-Saturday, July 3 -4 weekend preceding the Conference, followed by an UNFORGETTABLE “EXPLORATION SUNDAY” on July 5. Full and fascinating details are on the conference website www.iajgs2015.org.
Conference discussion group and more. Sign up for our ongoing Conference discussion group, where announcements and special offers are being posted. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Just click on the links at www.iajgs2015.org to sign up and stay informed.ief Rabbi Lau
Michael Goldstein, Chairman

35 th IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

Conference Keynote Speaker Announcement
From: Michael Goldstein, Chairman IAJGS 2015 (chairmaniajgs2015.org)
Date: Sun, 29 Mar 2015 09:17:21 -0700 (PDT)

Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel and Chairman of the Yad Vashem Council, will deliver the keynote address at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) 35th International Conference on Jewish Genealogy to be held in Jerusalem from July 6-10, 2015. Rabbi Lau will speak on the topic, ?Connecting to Jewish Heritage through Jewish Genealogy.? Israel Meir Lau, who was one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust, was liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp at the age of eight in 1945. Throughout his life, he has continually championed the preservation of the memory of the six million victims of the Holocaust, gaining prominence as an outstanding orator and activist. Rabbi Lau has participated in every March of the Living commemoration held in Poland, bringing together thousands of students and adults from around the world. He brings an important message to focus on the individuals who comprise the millions murdered. Israel Meir Lau was born in the Polish town of Piotrków Trybunalski, and is the 38th generation in an unbroken family chain of rabbis. On Independence Day 2005 Rabbi Lau received the Israel Prize generally regarded as the State of Israel?s highest honor, for lifetime achievement and special contributions to society and the State. In 2011 he was awarded “Legion of Honor” (France?s highest accolade) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In announcing Rabbi Lau as the keynote speaker, Conference Chairman Michael Goldstein put forth that the message that Rabbi Lau brings to us at the conference and in all his related talks a message that reinforces how vital our research is so that we learn of those members of our family who were displaced and murdered and how important our research is in bringing together families which were torn apart.

Yisrael Meir Lau

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau
ישראל מאיר לאו
Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv
Chairman of Yad Vashem
הרב לאו.JPG
Other former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Personal details
Birth name Yisrael Meir Lau
Born 1 June 1937 (age 77)
Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland
Nationality Israeli
Denomination Orthodox
Residence Tel Aviv
Parents Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau
Children 8 children including David Lau

Yisrael (Israel) Meir Lau (Hebrewישראל מאיר לאו‎; born 1 June 1937 in Piotrków Trybunalski, Poland) is an Israeli and the Chief Rabbi of Tel AvivIsrael, and Chairman of Yad Vashem. He previously served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003.


Yisrael Meir Lau (8 years old) in the arms of Elazar Schiff, Buchenwald survivors at their arrival at Haifa on 15 July 1945.

Lau was born on 1 June 1937, in the Polish town of Piotrków Trybunalski. His father, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau (PolishMojżesz Chaim Lau), was the last Chief Rabbi of the town; he died in the Treblinka extermination camp. Yisrael Meir is the 38th generation in an unbroken family chain of rabbis.[1]

Lau was freed from the Buchenwald concentration camp in 1945, after Rabbi Herschel Schacter detected him hiding under a heap of corpses when the camp was liberated.[2] Lau has credited a teen prisoner with protecting him in the camp (later determined by historian Kenneth Waltzer to be Fyodor Michajlitschenko).[3] His entire family was murdered, with the exception of his older brother, Naphtali Lau-Lavie, his half brother, Yehoshua Lau-Hager, and his uncle already living in Mandate Palestine.

Lau immigrated to Mandate Palestine with his brother Naphtali in July 1945, where he studied in the famous yeshiva Kol Torahunder Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach[4] as well as in Ponevezh and Knesses Chizkiyahu. He was ordained as a rabbi in 1961. He married the daughter of Rabbi Yitzchok Yedidya Frankel, the Rabbi of South Tel Aviv.[1] He served as Chief Rabbi in Netanya(1978–1988), and at that time developed his reputation as a popular orator.

Lau is the father of three sons and five daughters. His eldest son, Moshe Chaim, took his place as Rabbi in Netanya in 1989; his son David became the Chief Rabbi of Modi’in, and later Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel; and his youngest, Tzvi Yehuda, is the Rabbi of North Tel Aviv.[1]Lau is the uncle of Rabbi Binyamin (Benny) Lau, an educator and activist in the Religious Zionist movement, and Amichai Lau-Lavie, the founder and artistic director of the Jewish ritual theater company Storahtelling.

In 2008, Lau was appointed Chairman of Yad Vashem, succeeding Tommy Lapid.

Rabbinical career

Rabbi Lau addresses
the United Nations

Lau was ordained as a rabbi in 1961. His first rabbinic position was at the Ohr Torah synagogue in North Tel Aviv. In 1965 he was appointed as rabbi of the Tiferet Tzvi Synagogue in Tel Aviv, a position he held until 1971 when he was appointed rabbi of North Tel Aviv.

In 1978 Lau was appointed as chief rabbi of the city of Netanya. In 1983 Lau was appointed to serve on the Mo’etzet of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. In 1988, after the death of his father-in-law, Lau was appointed to serve as chief rabbi of Tel Aviv, a position he held until 1993. When Lau met the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson in 1992, the Rebbe told Lau to finish his work in Tel Aviv, as he would soon be chosen to become the Chief Rabbi of Israel.[5] In 1993, Lau was elected Chief Rabbi of Israel.

On 9 June 2005, Lau was reinstalled as Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv after serving in this position from 1985 until 1993, when he was appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position which he held until 2003.

Lau has often been characterized as the “consensus rabbi”, and has close ties to both Haredi and Modern Orthodox Judaism, particularly in regard to his politics, which have been characterized as moderate Zionist.[6] One report described him as “too Zionist to be considered Haredi.”

He is respected internationally by Jews and non-Jews alike, and is one of the few figures in the Haredi world who has managed to gain the trust and admiration of both the Sephardic and Ashkenazic population.[7][8] Lau has received some negative attention for his stances and remarks on non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism. When Lau was awarded the Israel Prize in May 2005, there were protests from the Masorti and Reformmovements in Israel. Non-Orthodox leaders noted that it was ironic that Lau was being honored for “bridging rifts in Israeli society”. Lau’s spokespeople said that the fact that he had been approved by the (presumably heterogeneous) Prize Committee spoke for itself.3

Interfaith work

In 1993, Rav Lau had an hour-long meeting with John Paul II at the Pope’s summer residence of Castel Gandolfo near Rome sought to offer the Vatican’s moral support to the latest peace moves in the Middle East. The visit was the first between a Pope and one of Israel’s chief rabbis since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948.[9] In 2009, he was critical of a speech given by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Israel.[10] He later applauded a new papal statement which gave more emphasis to the suffering of Jews during the Holocaust.[11]

Presidential candidacy

In the spring of 2006, the Israeli media reported that Lau was being considered for presidency of the State of Israel. Some critics in the Israeli media wrote that Lau was more focused on maintaining his image as a progressive than in implementing such positions in the rabbinate’s policies, specifically major issues such as agunot, civil marriage, the status of Shabbat, and other divisive topics that continue to be relevant to many in the secular community vis-a-vis the Chief Rabbinate, which under Lau’s leadership usually sided with the Orthodox perspective.

Another criticism was that a rabbi as president could further blur the line between religion and the state, and push Israel closer to becoming a theocracy, both in fact and public perception. Israel’s gay community also opposed Lau’s possible candidacy due to his criticism of the Gay Pride parade in Tel Aviv and views on same sex couples. The Reform and Conservative movements in Israel also regarded Lau’s candidacy as “unsuitable.” A Reform activist accused Lau of being more concerned with fulfilling Judaism’s ritual requirements than focusing on pressing ethical questions such as discrimination in Israel or genocide in Darfur.

Awards and recognition

In 2005, Lau was awarded the Israel Prize for his lifetime achievements and special contribution to society and the State of Israel.[12]

On 14 April 2011, he was awarded the Legion of Honor (France’s highest accolade) by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, in recognition of his efforts to promote interfaith dialogue.[13]


“Let’s sit down together and let’s live together. We always knew how to die together. The time has come for us to know also how to live together, said Lau, calling for co-operation and dialogue between all Jews (Jerusalem, 14 February 1999).

At the 2006 commemoration of the massacre of Babi Yar, Lau pointed out that if the world had reacted, perhaps the Holocaust might never have happened. Implying that Hitlerwas emboldened by this impunity, Lau speculated:

Maybe, say, this Babi Yar was also a test for Hitler. If on 29 September and 30 September 1941 Babi Yar may happen and the world did not react seriously, dramatically, abnormally, maybe this was a good test for him. So a few weeks later in January 1942, near Berlin in Wannsee, a convention can be held with a decision, a final solution to the Jewish problem. Maybe if the very action had been a serious one, a dramatic one, in September 1941 here in Ukraine, the Wannsee Conference would have come to a different end, maybe“.[14]

Published works

Orla, Poland – The Memory Lasts – Video

In case you missed the video from my last post

“The memory lasts” – the celebration commemorating the deportation of Jews from Orla
November 3, 2014 r. In the synagogue in Orla held the commemoration of 72 anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Orla. As part of the ceremony took place “Concert of Remembrance” starring Nicholas Haskin and volunteers “Shomer International” with Belarus and movies are shown Wheels Regional School in Orla titled “Ghetto in Orla,” and “Yes, we remember them.” After the meeting in the synagogue all went to the cemetery, where read 320 names of Jews deported from our village.
The ceremony was attended by the Secretary of the Municipality Orla – Irena Odzijewicz, Haim Dov Beliak – Rabbi of Beit Poland, Representative of the Governor for National Minorities and Ethnic – Maciej Tefelski, Vice-President of the Society of Friends of Jewish Culture – Dariusz Szada-Borzyszkowski, founder of the Association “We are looking for Polish” – Tomasz Wisniewski, Director of the Municipal Cultural Centre in Orla – Anna Niesteruk, Director of the School in Orla – Maria Tomczuk, teachers and pupils of secondary schools and the local inhabitants.

Orla, Poland – The Memory Lasts

Orla is the birthplace of my zaida, Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz.

It is 55.5km from Bialystok in NE Poland

See translated text below

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.34.41 amAktualności

“Pamięć trwa” – obchody upamiętnienia wywózki żydów z Orli

3 listopada 2014 r. w Synagodze w Orli odbyły się obchody upamiętniające 72 rocznicę wywózki Żydów z Orli. W ramach uroczystości odbył się “Koncert Pamięci” z udziałem Mikołaja Haskina i wolontariuszy “Shomer International” z Białorusi oraz zostały przedstawione filmy Szkolnego Koła Regionalnego w Orli p.t.: “Getto w Orli” i “Tak ich pamiętamy”. Po spotkaniu w Synagodze wszyscy udali się na kirkut, gdzie odczytano 320 nazwisk Żydów, wywiezionych z naszej miejscowości.

W uroczystości wzięli udział: Sekretarz Gminy Orla – Irena Odzijewicz, Haim Dov Beliak – Rabin z Bejt Polska, Pełnomocnik Wojewody do Spraw Mniejszości Narodowych i Etnicznych – Maciej Tefelski, Wiceprezes Towarzystwa Przyjaciół Kultury Żydowskiej – Dariusz Szada-Borzyszkowski, Założyciel Stowarzyszenia “Szukamy Polski” – Tomasz Wiśniewski, Dyrektor Gminnego Ośrodka Kultury w Orli – Anna Niesteruk, Dyrektor Zespołu Szkół w Orli – Maria Tomczuk, nauczyciele i uczniowie klas gimnazjalnych oraz mieszkańcy gminy.

I translated this into English via Google Translate:

“The memory lasts” – the celebration commemorating the deportation of Jews from Orla
November 3, 2014 r. In the synagogue in Orla held the commemoration of 72 anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Orla. As part of the ceremony took place “Concert of Remembrance” starring Nicholas Haskin and volunteers “Shomer International” with Belarus and movies are shown Wheels Regional School in Orla titled “Ghetto in Orla,” and “Yes, we remember them.” After the meeting in the synagogue all went to the cemetery, where read 320 names of Jews deported from our village.
The ceremony was attended by the Secretary of the Municipality Orla – Irena Odzijewicz, Haim Dov Beliak – Rabbi of Beit Poland, Representative of the Governor for National Minorities and Ethnic – Maciej Tefelski, Vice-President of the Society of Friends of Jewish Culture – Dariusz Szada-Borzyszkowski, founder of the Association “We are looking for Polish” – Tomasz Wisniewski, Director of the Municipal Cultural Centre in Orla – Anna Niesteruk, Director of the School in Orla – Maria Tomczuk, teachers and pupils of secondary schools and the local inhabitants.
Watch video:

fot. Tomasz Wiśniewski

Created by raptorf22

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 9.35.03 am

The History of Orla – via Google Translate:

Orla Municipality has a rich historical past and tradition. The beginnings of Orli date back to ancient times, as evidenced by the area found objects, stone and bronze.The name of the town derives from the supposedly lived here once eagles, or on elements of water, mainly Orlanki river, near which it is situated. The earliest message archival record on Orli is derived from 1507. It concerns land grant by the King, where he now lies Orla, as well as the surrounding areas in the district of Bielsko, writer, palatine Trotsky Jasiek Iwanowiczowi. These were villages Koszel, Wierwieczki, Topczykały which were quickly populated strangers and free peasantry. Along with granting the king allowed the palatine Trotsky set up in Orla city, which took place at a later date.

From 1510r. Orla was owned by the treasurer of the Lithuanian Bohusz Bohowitynowicza, who settled in Podlasie Brzeski. Then Koszel and Wierwieczki villages were converted manor house in Trakai. A similar fate befell the village Topczykały.

In 1529. Bohusz Bohowitynowicz Orli heir bequeathed property Orlańską old daughter, Annie, who having married in 1539. Stanislaus Łęczna Orleans brought him a dowry. In 1541r. King Sigismund I issued an order saying so, Bielski subjected to raid goods Orla. The next owners were the Orli princes Olelkowicze Słuccy arms pursuit. From them, and in 1585 took good Orlański in his hands Radzivills. Then the Eagle as a settlement is of particular importance in economic and political life of the region then. Hetman Grand Duchy of Lithuania Krzysztof Radziwill erected here in 1622. Castle and Calvinist. He created a vast complex of the palace court, Italian garden, sacred objects, and the grange. An integral part of the manor was the church of St. John the Theologian castle. To date, none of the preserved castle.

Due to the huge efforts Hetman orlańskim townspeople already in 1618r. Vilnius was granted a number of rights and promised to give the Magdeburg rights, provided that the current pace of growth. Succeeded by Hetman Krzysztof Radziwill – Janusz Radziwill in 1633 confirmed the need to give the benefit of the city. In 1634. Orla obtained municipal rights. It was a period full of prosperity of the city and surrounding areas. In this then, after the worship of believers, many trade fairs were held on the established Mart, trade flourished cultural and political life. The city became a center of the Calvinist movement. In 1644r. was held here under the chairmanship of Janusz Radziwill, synod makers Polish and Lithuanian. Besides held numerous meetings Calvinists.

During the wars with Sweden in the years 1655-1657 the city suffered heavily, and the followers of Calvinism extinct. In 1726r. suspended in the congregation a new bell but the same year the church invaded the bishop of Lodz and the bell is answered. According to the church archives in the possession Calvinists to 1732. Around 1754 the church was sold by his wife Radziwill – the Jews. According to legend, the wife demanded in return Radziwill 10k. cents, which were to be paid within one hour, but the same grosikami. According to another version 2.5 thousand. cents were delivered in one night. It should be noted that the Eagle was the beginning of Jewish settlement as early as the turn of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. According to the census of 1616. There were 17 Jewish houses and wooden synagogue. In 1655r. 540 Jews lived next to the Orthodox and Catholic. In 1765. Jewish community in Orla and the surrounding villages had 1358 followers of Moses and was twice the size of the municipality of Bialystok. Good, liberal laws and privileges given to allow the Jews to the unshakable existences and peaceful life alongside people of other faiths.

During this time, Eagle was owned by the family Branickis. In 1795. as a result of the efforts of Isabella Branicka, orlańscy Jews received tax breaks. In the same year under the treaties subdivision, Podlasie coincided with Prussia. Dissection of the Republic changed your relationship and was the cause of the sharp drop in the population. In 1799r. Orla had 486 residents, including 102 Jews.

In 1807. under the Treaty of Tilsit Orla was incorporated into the so-called. Bialystok circuit. During this time, the town has a population of 1586 inhabitants in the 1102 Orthodox Jews. In 1842. was included in the Government of Grodno, then became the property of Prince Wittgenstejna- husband of Princess Radziwill. In 1874. Wittgenstejn sold lands Orlański Orli residents and the surrounding countryside on the property. Then the Eagle lost its municipal rights, and along with this there was a setback in its development. In 1897. the number of inhabitants was about 3 thousand. of which the followers of Moses was 80%. In 1921. was in the district of the province of Bialystok Bielsko. In this period of cohabitation Orthodox community, Catholic, Jewish and starozakonnej układało in Orla correctly. Attend to common schools, created political organizations, have brought social activists and party. In the interwar period, the municipality of Communist Party of Western Belarus, Belarusian Peasants ‘and Workers’ Union Jewish community formed in Orla small industry, trade and services. There were three tile factory, which was owned by a Jewish family Wajsztejnów. Place of employment in kaflarniach were several hundred people from Orla and the surrounding countryside.

In 1937. Orla was destroyed in the range of about 30% of the buildings by fires started by the Jewish inhabitant. As a result of huge losses, many families have lost their place of residence and occupation. In 1939,. Began World War II. Orleans passed by Soviet troops and German. Residents affected by the tragic events. Inside Orli and ordered the resettlement area. The Jewish population was placed in two ghettos and then completely removed from the orlańskiego landscape. In the postwar period Orla village community had about 1,100 inhabitants. Most of them were engaged in farm work, some found employment in a few factories, such as tile factory, brickyard, concrete.

Currently, Orla Municipality is located in the south-eastern part of the region of Podlasie. It borders the municipalities of: Bielsk Podlaski, Dubicze Cerkiewne, Boćki and Czyz. Distance seat of the municipality of the district ie. The city Bielsk Podlaski is 12 km. The area municipalities run routes, the national road to the border of the state, provincial road to Białowieża and numerous county and municipal roads. Rivers flow; Orlanka and proteins. The total area of the municipality is 15 968 ha of agricultural land in the 12 789 ha and 1862 ha of forests. The commune consists of 22 villages, which are home to a total of 3 214 inhabitants (as of 31.12.2010.).

Wnętrze synagogi w Orli

(fot. M. Gołownia)



Andrew Denton and I Share Common Roots

Andrew Denton discovers that he is part of the illustrious Katzenellenbogen Rabbinic Family Tree.

So we are connected!

He discovers this in Episode 1  Series 6 of Who Do You Think You Are Australia.



My connection to my 12th great grandfather, Saul Wahl Katzenellenbogen, King of Poland for a day:

Relationship Chart Eli Moses Rabinowitz:Shaul Wahl  Katzenellenbogen
For more visit:
From my zaida’s shtetl of Orla to Suchowola, Andrew’s shtetl, both in the Grodno Guberna:
Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 9.20.56 pm
To learn more on Shaul Wahl Katzenellenbogen, Brest and Yizkor Books visit:
Brisk Yiscor Cover
My visit to Grodno in 2012:


With Tamara Vershitskaya, who has been on several episodes of Who Do You Think You Are and Tatiana, director of the Grodno Archives, who appears on Andrew’s episode.