Forward and Acknowledgements to
English Translation of
Dembil-Modzjitz Memorial Book
My mother, Roma (Rozenman) Barnes, is from Demblin and survived the Demblin
camps and Czenstechov camp. Her parents, Benjamin Rozenman and Chaya
(Szajnzicht) Rozenman and younger brother, Sevek, perished in the first
liquidation from Demblin, in Sobibor.
This translation is in honor of my mother and the memory of her family, and all
those who perished in the Holocaust. This translation is also for the future
generations of those from Demblin, who can read in English about their families
This translation of the Demblin-Modzjitz Memorial Book into English was done
primarily by Daniel Marlin of Berkeley, California, who translated about 520
pages from Yiddish. It was a huge effort, which he completed over a two-year
I am forever indebted to his work on this project, which is of the
There were about 130 Hebrew pages of the book, which were translated primarily
by Israel Amrani of Sausalito and Amos Malkin of San Francisco. Ruth Rosenwald
of San Francisco also translated some pages of Hebrew. You will find variations
in the spelling of names and places in this translation. I translated the List
of Martyrs Section, which you will note I kept in the same Hebrew alphabetical
order as listed in the Yiddish-Hebrew Book.
I wish to thank my husband, Fred Schwartz, for supporting me in this labor of
love. I also would like to thank Arye Buckspan, of the Demblin Society in
Israel, who answered questions and provided me with information on Demblin
through letters. I am especially indebted to Henry and Fella Zambner and my
cousins Bella, Mark and Shirley Davis in New York and their mother and
grandmother Sala Rozenman-Gropach in Israel, who made it possible for me to
have a copy of the Demblin-Modzjitz Memorial Book. I also wish to express my
affection for my grandmother Chaya's sister and her husband who were also part
of my efforts in this translation. And finally I wish to acknowledge all of my
relatives whose roots are in Demblin and who live today in the United States,
Israel, France, Germany, England and Canada, many of whom I have had the
fortune to meet or correspond with during the process of this translation.
I wish to dedicate this translation of the Demblin-Modzjitz Memorial Book to my
daughter, Valeri Schwartz, and to my niece, Camille Castro, so they will always
know their roots, and to my brothers, Benjamin and Mark, and my sister,
Stephanie, so they will know more about our mother.
Larkspur, California July 1994
Demblin – Irena – Modzjitz – Ivangorod… Four names of one place at
different times under different regimes. But in all of the time periods and
under all conditions, there lived there and managed to scratch out a living,
there dreamed and hoped, a deeply rooted Jewish community – until Hitler's
executioners lowered their hatchet and destroyed the Jewish community on the
banks of the Vistula.
Under the ruins of Jewish Poland lies the broken Jewish Demblin. Silent there is
the Modzjitzer religious songs, disappeared is the study hall and teachers who
were bent over their Gemoras. The stillness of the graveyard came down on the
professional associations, the locals, the Zionist clubs, on the craftsmen and
businessmen guilds and on the philanthropic institutions. These were the things
that characterized the once buzzing social and political, national and religious
life of the place. The Nazi villains and their helpers destroyed everything and
wiped it all off the earth so that not even a trace remains…
Not a trace remaining? Oh, those people who were scattered from Demblin and who
are still alive won't let that happen, that everything should be just wiped out
without even a trace of memory. Even in the times of the terrifying occupation,
each slave worker had determination that if he was going to stay alive he would
tell about the tragedy and the savagery of the Germans and the martyrdom of the
Jewish people. If one was able to live to the liberation it was clear that one
of the first and most sacred tasks for those who by some miracle survived, had
to be to memorialize in a book the growth and the building up and the tearing
down and destruction of Jewish Demblin: to create for Jewish Demblin a really
meaningful and powerful monument that would last for generations and
True, we waited awhile to undertake and complete this task. As we write these
lines it's exactly 30 years that have passed since that fatal first of September
1939 and 24 years after the destruction of Hitlerism. The delay, though, has had
its positive side since thanks to the long years of preparation we've been able
to provide the reader with a book of 690 pages in Hebrew and Yiddish, which
reflects faithfully the history of a vital Jewish community in Poland.
The creation of this book memorial is a history of the people themselves who
lived through the event. Our book was written by Jews from Demblin – people
who worked hard with their hands, just plain folk, who never imagined that they
would have to create the required means, financial means as well, to produce a
book with such a purpose that they'd have to overcome so many difficulties;
social difficulties and national difficulties and moral difficulties, concerning
which, one dare not publish in a book of this character and purpose.
After six years of intensive work, of putting together the material and the
money from our Landsmenliet in Israel, France, Belgium, the United States,
Canada, Argentina and Brazil – it's now being published, the
"Demblin-Modzjitz Book", a Yartzeit candle, like the inscription on a
grave stone – for the unknown graves of the Jews that we knew well.
The Demblin-Modzjitz Book is divided into five parts:
We feel it's our duty to thank all of those who, both with pen and with money,
made possible the publication of our book memorial, the Lanzleit and the
organizations of Landzmen of people from the area, in Israel and in other
countries; a mighty thanks and honor comes to the editor of our book, our friend
David Stokfish, for his effort and his responsibility in formulating the
contents and the form and the image of the book itself; to our friend Avram
Keany, for his editing the Hebrew portion; the workers at the printing house
"Arazi" in Tel Aviv, because each one of them in their own way made
this book richer and more beautiful.
- Once There Was A Town
- The Holocaust
- Those From Demblin-Modzjitz, in Israel and abroad
- Pages that Immortalize
With a feeling of great honor and respect and with a trembling in my heart –
in the hearts of all those who have been involved in this project, we give to
the reader, Demblin-Modzjitz Book. We do it with the sincere hope that our
sorely tested people will never need to read books like this again.
Tel Aviv, September 1969
The History of Irena-Demblin
(according to Historical Sources)
Demblin A farm within sight of a palace and around it a garden in the
county of Novo Alexandrinsky, district of Irena, province of Bobrowniki.
Demblin the center of all the mansions that Tarnovsky owned in the 15th
century. The Tarnovskys built a church in Bobrownik that belonged to the
mansion. In the 16th
century, Menishek inherited the farm. The last one from the Menishek family
married the niece of Stanislaw-August who built for her, according to the
legend, the palace that exists until today in Demblin and around it he planted
a most beautiful park. One of Menishek's daughters married prince Yablonovsky
who inherited the mansions in Demblin; but he was one of the participants in
the Dekabrist rebellion, therefore, he was expelled in 1825 to the city of
Saratov. In 1836 the Russian government bought the mansions that belonged to
the prince and in the year 1842, the Czar Nikolai donated them to the prince
Paskevitch, then the general governor. In that year, the corner stone was laid
for the Ivangorod fort.
Demblin is located next to the Wieprz and Vistula rivers. As it was said, the
mansions belong to the Paskevitch family, and their official name is
Ivanovskaya Shyolo. Those mansions include: the Demblin mansion,
Povaizj'viya, Vimislov, Borova, Matigi and Borovina. In the first three, the
land is very fertile, the other three are not. The landscape from the mansion
is most beautiful, two rivers flow through it: the Wieprz and the Vistula.
Railroads go through it the Lukov one and the Nadvislan and also roads
that cross each other: the road to Warsaw, to Lublin and other roads that go
out from the mansion in the length of 4 and 5
[vards = approximately 1 kilometer]. Some villages belong to the mansion too:
Maizjontska, Ritshietz, Mostshanka, New-Demblin, Lason and Sendovitch
these are located on the right bank of the Wieprz. To the left of the river are
the villages Naibzjgov, Naitshetz, Golomb, Bonov, Valka-Kolembaska, Baltov.
Today The settlements Bobrownik and Irena: two districts Irena
and Golomb, a post office, a savings and loans, two schools in Bobrownik and
Golomb; the size of the mansion is 12,000
[morg = 610,000 square meters]. The population is very sober, hard working
people, but not wealthy. 5,000 morgs are forests and they are under control.
The Demblin mansion contains two parts: Demblin and Golomb.
A village by the name of Demblin existed near the palace up to the year 1844.
Because of the fort, the village was destroyed. In the year 1865, every
valuable piece was taken out from the palace furniture, plaques with the
coat of arms of various owners, and they transferred it to Homel, where the
existing Nobel man lived who was born and raised in Warsaw. Near the palace are
dancing halls and theatres. Twelve years ago all the props of the stage were
sold to the clubs in Lublin. Behind the church, near the palace, are buried
Ivan Paskevitch, the Commissioner and his wife. Demblin farm sits on 500 morgs.
Although the soil is sandy, because of the fertilizers provided by the
Ivangorod fort, they were able to grow agriculture plants. They have two
Hofman furnaces to burn bricks, which supply 8 million bricks a
year. This product, together with the bricks from the Slatvashin furnace is
appointed to build six new forts.
Irena, a settlement in Novo-Alexandrinsky, district of Irena, province of
Bobrownik, on the right bank of the Wieprz, a kavyortsz and a half of a wiorst
from the fort, on the road that goes from Ivangorod fort to Mostshanka, two and
a half wiorsts from the train station Ivangorod, 20 wiorsts from Zijyizjyin,
the place where the district court house is, 21 wiorsts from Pulawy. This
settlement is known usually as a suburb, this means, the suburb if the fort, it
was established in 1854 on the land that belonged to the Demblin mansion that
is named after the wife of the present owner: Irena. They have a savings and
loan that the capital has estimated as 1,079 rubles and savings of 1,500
rubles, a post office, pharmacy, a doctor, a brewery and wine cellars. The
population in Irena is 2,300 residents that live in 96 cabins, but because
those houses are built in an area that belongs to the fort, it is possible to
destroy them in an emergency within 24 hours.
In 1881 there were 138 industrial factories. The area of Irena is 12,320
threshing boards, from them 8,000 morgs belong to the farmers, and 4,000 morgs
(1,200 fields and 2,800 forests) belong to Donataryosh. The farmers have horses
and wagons. Although profit could easily be made, most of the farmers are poor.
It is important to mention that in the whole area that includes two settlements
and nine villages, there are only three bars. Theses places belong to the
district; Bobrownik, Demblin, Grambetzjina, Kamlonka, Klashtzjovka,
Krasnoglini, Krogovka, Lason, Masov, Melinkow, Mayzshvinki, Mostshanka,
Ponvizjba, Ritzjitza, Sendovitch, Zetzjery.
(According to: The Geographical Dictionary of the Poland Kingdom and
other slavik Counties, by P. Soliversky, B. Halvovsky and R. Valvksy.
Second Book, Warsaw 1881, p. 18 and 300).
Demblin a village, a county of Garvolin and Vivudzjestvo Varshay, is
south of Warsaw. Valley on the right bank of the Vistula, one kilometer away
from the mouth of the Wieprz river, 115 meters overseas.
From the 15th
century Demblin was in the hands of the Tarnovskys, Menishek and then in the
hands of the Yablonovskys. In 1836, the Russian government acquired the Demblin
mansions and in the year 1842 they gave it to General Paskevitch. Over time the
invaders started to build the Ivangorod fortress and they destroyed the village
During World War II there was a P. O. W. camp (Stalag 307) in the
fortress, thousands of Soviet prisoners were murdered there by the Nazis.
In Demblin is the Yablonovsky palace that was built in the 13
century in an empire style and was rebuilt in the 19
century. Demblin is a hiking site along the Vistula and the Wieprz rivers.
Five kilometers northeast are forests mixed with some lakes.
(According to Slovnik Geographic Toristitzjnia Polsky, a geography
dictionary for the tourists in Poland. Warsaw, 1956, Second Book, p. 1400,
Publisher The Tourist Committee.)
The Destruction of Jewish Demblin in Numbers
The number of Jews before the War 3,300. In March 1941 3,750
(that included 3,185 Jews from Demblin and 565 who came from other places). On
of May 1942 1,200 Jews. On the 15th
of August 1942 5,800 Jews (4,000 of those were people who had arrived
from other places). On the 15th
of May 1942 2,024 Jews were brought from Preschov, Czechoslovakia. On
of May, 1942, 2,500 Jews were sent to Sobibor. On the 15th
of October, 1942 to Treblinka. The remaining Jews in the city were
interned at two camps. From January to May 1943, they sent Demblin Jews to
their death at Poniatow. On the 22nd
of July, 1944, they were sent to the camp at Czenstechov (Hasag).
(Pages for history, quarterly journal. Jewish Historical Institute of the Jews
in Poland. Volume 3, Journal Number 1 and 2, January to June of 1950, Table 9)
Camps in Irena-Demblin
Type of Camp
No. of Internees
Irena Lipowa Got Garvolin
Irena Train Station Garvolin
June 23, 1944
Irena Airfield Garvolin
Irena Train Bridge Garvolin
(Death camps, concentration camps and work camps on Polish soil in the years
1939-1945. Author: Zafia Tshinsko and Bogomiel Kufsts. A bulletin from the high
commission to investigate German crimes in Poland, the First Volume, 1946).
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