Monthly Archives: December 2017

Guest Speaker: Dr Andrew Zalewski

The Great War (1914-18): Jewish Lives in Galicia




Sunday January 21, 2018


Join us as Dr Andrew Zalewski intertwines his own genealogical discoveries with the broader historical context of Jewish Galicia. He will focus on World War I and the eastern front in Galicia, which was home to the largest Jewish community in Austro-Hungary. Uncovering his ancestors’ individual stories, Andrew follows waves of Russian offensives and Central Powers counteroffensives which swept through Galicia. He describes dramatic events in small and large cities (Lwów, Przemyśl, Kraków), which impacted many Jewish lives. His talk covers the Great War (World War I) through to its climactic end in 1918. In Galicia, in contrast to the Western front, the conflict did not end with the disintegration of Austro-Hungary.

This talk is based on the archival records and historic newspaper research conducted for Andrew’s book Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots, and is illustrated with pictures, historical and unique archival documents, and old maps of Galicia.

Download the event flyer

Download the event flyer

Date: Sunday January 21, 2018
Time: 2.00PM - 4:30PM
Cost: Members: Free | Non-Members: $10.00
(NB: This is a cash only event. There will be no facility for credit or debit cards available)
Light refreshments will be served.
RSVP by January 18, 2018

Dr Andrew Zalewski is a physician and former Professor of Medicine at Jefferson University, Philadelphia. Among his non-medical pursuits, Andrew has developed an extensive interest in the history of Austrian Galicia (1772– 1918) and its Jewish community. Several generations of his Jewish and Christian ancestors traced their roots to this former province of the Austrian and Austro-Hungarian Empire. His books: Galician Trails: The Forgotten Story of One Family and Galician Portraits: In Search of Jewish Roots are available through online booksellers. Andrew serves on the Board of Directors of Gesher Galicia, Inc. He is also Executive Editor of the Galitzianer, the organization's quarterly research journal.

Staszow, Poland – Can you help this researcher?

Do you have family roots in Staszow, Poland?

Drew University (Madison, New Jersey) Doctoral student Passi Rosen-Bayewitz is working on a dissertation on the subject of Jewish Staszow as a Site of Memory. She is seeking individuals with family roots in Staszow, Poland, to complete a short survey to assist her research. One of the questions her dissertation addresses— the question: How and why does Jewish Staszow matter to its Diaspora around the world?

She says that discovering an intersection between family history (she has identified civil records reflecting her father’s family’s presence in Staszow from the end of the 18th century), academic study, and professional experiences led to her dissertation topic. Staszow, a small town located in south east of Poland, was home to Jews for more than 400 years. While her dissertation is a case study of just one shtetl in Poland, Jewish Staszow is representative of hundreds of shtetls established during the late Middle Ages, in the territories of the old Polish Commonwealth, where nobles invited Jews to move into their estates to encourage economic development.

She seeks to answer an overarching question:  How and why did (and does) the memory of the Jewish community in Staszow continue to matter to 1) its diaspora  — Staszowers who began to immigrate in the early twentieth century; Staszow Holocaust survivors; and descendants of both groups —  and 2)  some Poles in Staszow and other parts of Poland?

To capture data, Ms Rosen-Bayewitz has created a short, anonymous survey in both English and Hebrew.

English –,
Hebrew –

She would be very grateful if members with family roots in the Staszow area participated in her research.

Before Ms Rosen-Bayewitz began her dissertation journey, she had minimal knowledge of genealogy.  Attending the IAJGS conferences in Jerusalem and Seattle she was introduced to powerful research tools and dynamic “citizen scientists”. She say “their passion and tenacity leads to success in finding missing puzzle pieces. The personal benefits of preparing my dissertation have been immeasurable.”

Staszow Cemetery (Wikimedia Commons)

Pamela Weisberger Memorial Lecture 2018 announced

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles has announced that the 2018 Pamela Weisberger Memorial Lecture, to be given at the IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy in Warsaw, Poland, will be by Barbara Kirshenblatt -Gimblett. The lecture title is: Meet the Family: A Journey of a Thousand Years at POLIN Museum. It is tentatively scheduled for Monday, August 6, 2018 at 5:00PM at the conference hotel.

The Program:
The history of Polish Jews is a story of families and their descendants. Visitors find themselves in the story  – when they discover an ancestor in a photograph, find a hometown on an old map, understand the role of a critical event in their family’s story. Descendants are also playing an important role in preserving and transmitting the legacy of their ancestors, many of whom appear in POLIN Museum’s core exhibition: Piotr Wiślicki, whose grandfather was an MP in the Polish Sejm during the interwar years; Sylvain Cappell, whose great grandfather Rabbi Dov Berush Meisels supported struggles for Polish independence during the 19th century; Elizabeth Rynecki, who has been searching for every painting by her great grandfather Moshe Rynecki, who perished in the Holocaust; Gary Breitbart, who is dedicated to the legacy of his great grand uncle, the Jewish strongman Zishe Breitbart; Frank Proschan, who descends from the great Harkavy philologists and lexicographers, among them Alexander Harkavy, advocate for Jewish immigrants; and David Mazower, who is devoted to the literary legacy of his controversial grandfather Sholem Asch, author of God of Vengeance. This talk will offer a behind-the-scenes tour of POLIN Museum’s core exhibition from a family history perspective.

Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett is Chief Curator of the core exhibition at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews. She is University Professor Emerita and Professor of Performance Studies Emerita at New York University. Her books include Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage; Image before My Eyes: A Photographic History of Jewish Life in Poland, 1864–1939 (with Lucjan Dobroszycki); and The Art of Being Jewish in Modern Times (edited with Jonathan Karp). Her edited volume Writing a Modern Jewish History: Essays in Honor of Salo W. Baron won a National Jewish Book Award. They Called Me Mayer July: Painted Memories of a Jewish Childhood in Poland Before the Holocaust, which she coauthored with her father, Mayer Kirshenblatt, also won several awards. Kirshenblatt-Gimblett was born in Canada during the Second World War to Jewish immigrants from Poland.


The Pamela Weisberger Memorial Lecture is a planned series of lectures to honor the memory of Pamela Weisberger who passed away September 25, 2015. The Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles (JGSLA) is sponsoring a series of lectures in memory of Pamela Weisberger who was our Vice-President of Programs for more than a decade.