Tributes to Sophie Caplan, AJGS Past President and Life Member

Sophie Caplan receives a certificate of appreciation from Rieke Nash for her long association with AJGS.

AJGS founding member, past president and life member Sophie Caplan passed away peacefully on Saturday January 20, 2018. Sophie was a towering figure in Australian Jewish genealogy and many of our members have fond memories of her efforts in building our society into the vibrant organisation it is today.

We would love for you to share your memories of Sophie in the comment  section below. We will pass these on to Sophie’s family.

Welcome to the AJGS Newsfeed!

The AJGS Newsfeed will promote the Australian Jewish Genealogical Society and highlight interesting stories, links and discoveries from the world of Jewish Genealogy.

This newsfeed will NOT replace our Kosher Koala Newsletter. We hope the newsfeed and the newsletter will work together to help us help you with your genealogical detective work by sharing the most interesting and useful stories from around the world in a timely manner.

To read the latest issue of Kosher Koala: CLICK HERE
To read back issues of Kosher Koala: CLICK HERE

If you have any news, a great success story or an exciting new link you would like to share please email us at ed@ajgs.org.au

Please enjoy your new AJGS Blog.

WELCOME THE NEW KOSHER KOALA

Click on the cover to download the PDF.

New look, new editor, same bear!! Kosher Koala has had a facelift but we hope you’ll find the same fascinating features, interesting interviews and non-stop news, views, tips and tricks to guide you along your genealogical journey.

In this issue… We say farewell to outgoing editor Robyn Dryen (don’t worry, she’s still President!!), welcome new editor Dani Haski, Sunny Gold reviews Peter Nash’s memoir Escape from Berlin: A refugee flees anti-Semitism and the Holocaust of WWII to Shanghai and then Australia and we explore a fascinating collection of stories about cemeteries. We have updates on the 2018 AIJGS conference in Poland, a new column, Sledgehammer, for people to share brick wall breakthroughs and information on special events and workshops for 2018.

We love our members contributing stories to Kosher Koala. If you have any stories you’d like to share email them to me at ed@ajgs.org.au

Enjoy the issue!

Guest Speaker: Dr Andrew Zalewski

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

 

 

 

Sunday January 21, 2018

2:00PM-4:30PM

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 society@ajgs.org.au 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 – http://bit.ly/Staszow,
Hebrew – http://bit.ly/HebrewStaszowSurvey

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.

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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.

Save the Date: Gesher Galicia/ AGAD Symposium 2018

 

 

 

 

Gesher Galicia have announced their joint symposium with AGAD for 2018 will be held on Tuesday, August 7, 2018 at AGAD in Warsaw, Poland and will be focused on Archives and Jewish Galicia. This symposium is on during the IAJGS conference period.

Subjects covered will include AGAD records, Jewish Galician records in other Polish and Ukrainian archives, Holocaust records, maps and cadastral surveys and non traditional record sources. There will also be panel discussion with archivists and local researchers from Poland and Ukraine.

A buffet reception in the evening will follow the main program. Transportation between AGAD and the main hotel staging the IAJGS conference will be arranged.

Pre-registration for the symposium will open on Sunday, January 28, 2018, through the Gesher Galicia website, where a special webpage is being set up. People who have paid their Gesher Galicia membership dues for 2018 will receive priority booking for two weeks, prior to booking being opened to all.

Go to their website to join Gesher Galicia and/or to follow them on Facebook and Twitter

IAJGS 2018 Conference – Call for Papers

The organisers of the 38th IAJGS Conference in Warsaw, Poland in 2018 have announced their call for papers.

Organisers are particularly interested in lectures and presentations that help delegates…

  1. View their Jewish family history within a historical context. Lecturers are encouraged to include clips of film and/or PowerPoint presentations to provide a multi-media presentation grounded in history.
  2. Actively explore and Interact with the experts and databases available throughout European and online arenas. Presenters covering websites should be prepared to do live demonstrations or offer computer workshops at our conference. New topics and presentations will be preferred over those offered at prior conferences; however, relevance to our visit to Europe will be considered.
  3. Develop experience preserving and sharing genealogy with their family and landsleit (neighbors from the same town). We encourage proposing sessions on interviewing, accumulating data, and sharing with family through creative means.

Presentations and panel discussions will generally be scheduled for 60 minutes, which includes 15 minutes of questions.

Hands-on Computer Workshops will be two hours in length and limited to 25 participants each owing to room constraints.

Prospective presenters can submit any number of proposals however the organisers have stated they will generally choose up to three proposals per person to allow for a diversity of voices to be heard in the limited time available.

For more information and to submit your proposal, click here to access the website. Deadline for proposals is December 31, 2017.

The Jews of Greece – Sydney Jewish Museum

The Sydney Jewish Museum is hosting a fascinating exhibition on the The Jews of Greece from October 25, 2017 1 February 18, 2018.

Utilising the works of photographer Emmanuel Santos and documentary filmmakers Carol Gordon and Natalie Cunningham, the exhibition provides a window into the life of Romaniote Jews, Sephardim (Jews of Spain) and the smaller groups of Ashkenazi Jews of Europe that made up the Greek-Jewish community.

“This community witnessed, experienced and influenced the beginnings of Christianity, the rise and fall of Empires and the creation of the Modern State. While the Holocaust left the community devastated, the ancient traditions and cultural practices of Greek Jews have been kept alive by the few who remain.”

For more information check out the exhibition page on the Sydney Jewish Museum website.

 

Eastern Suburbs Workshop – October 29th

The next AJGS Eastern Suburbs workshop will be held on Sunday, 29 October 2017 from 2pm to 5pm at Waverley Library – 1st Floor Theory Room (32/48 Denison St, Bondi Junction).

We’ll be looking at Really Useful Websites for Jewish Genealogy

  • Not sure what the surname was?
  • Can’t work out what name Yankel or Sora used when they landed in London? or New York? or Sydney?
  • Beyond Yad Vashem, what websites are there for Holocaust research?
  • Where can I look for Sephardic records? Dutch records? English records?
  • Looking for vital records but don’t have a subscription to paid sites?
  • Looking for overseas newspapers?

This workshop will explore sites which offer handy tools for Jewish genealogical research so bring along your “Where do I find ….????” questions.

All welcome but please RSVP to: society@ajgs.org.au by 27 October

A hidden gem found in Plymouth

(Image: Sarah Waddington, Plymouth Herald, used with permission)

Sometimes a story comes to light that genealogically speaking just warms your cockles. In late September Sarah Waddington, of The Herald in Plymouth, England,  reported on a chance discovery by a local man that has turned into a genealogical gem for those with ancestors in the area – a 300 year old Jewish cemetery.

Jerry Sibley, the Synagogue caretaker (himself not Jewish), discovered, behind a high wall and a locked door, the original resting place of the early jewish inhabitants of Plymouth. How this cemetery got “lost” is unknown but few in the area seemed to know of its existence.

Jerry Sibley, Synagogue Caretaker (Image: Sarah Waddington, Plymouth Herald, used with permission)

As Sarah writes in The Herald: “After seeing a reference to The Old Jewish Cemetery on Lambhay Hill, Jerry went in search of it – but was still unsuccessful. That’s when he used his initiative and utilised Google Maps.

“I started to look at every single plot on the road,” he said, “and that is when I noticed there were three legs to Lambhay Hill, not just the two, and eventually I found this lovely green spot that seemed to be nothing. I thought, ‘Well, it is a very good chance it is going to be there.

“I really zoomed in on it and you could just make out a couple of the headstones, so from there I came up to take a look, but I could not get in, so the treasurer at the time gave me a whole box of keys and said, ‘Help yourself’.

Jerry eventually managed to find the right key, and what he discovered when he opened the door stopped him in his tracks.”

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Plymouth (Image: Sarah Waddington, Plymouth Herald; used with permission)

The folk from Ripple Theatre, a local theatre group, helped Jerry clear the site of weeds and trees and then recorded dramatised histories of the “residents” of the cemetery as an audio trail, just in time for the Plymouth Art Weekend. Their efforts have created a valuable and lasting legacy for historians, descendants and those who are just plain curious about those buried on Lambhay Hill.

Joining them at rest now is Barney, Jerry’s cat: “He took to life at the Synagogue like nothing like I’ve ever come across before. Not only did he used to sit in the vestry beside the door and watch the people coming in and out, but he always used to follow me to work and come with me to the services. He was a black and white cat and of course the men are all dressed in black and white, so he really did blend in. But Barney passed away at Easter, which in the Jewish calender is Passover – so he really did pass over at Passover.”

When Barney passed away Jerry obtained permission to bury him inside the cemetery grounds. As is the Jewish custom visitors have honoured Barney as they have the others buried there by placing stones on his grave.

You can read the whole story, and watch a video interview with Jerry Sibley, HERE at The Herald.