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?

Sincerely

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

Orla

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/

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