[Page 8]

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 before them.

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 period.
I am forever indebted to his work on this project, which is of the highest quality.

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.

   

 Helen Barnes
Larkspur, California – July 1994




[Page 10]

Preface

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 generations.

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:
  1. Once There Was A Town
  2. Personalities
  3. The Holocaust
  4. Those From Demblin-Modzjitz, in Israel and abroad
  5. Pages that Immortalize
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.

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.

   

 Arye Buckspan
Tel Aviv, September 1969

 


[Pages 14]

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 [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 [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 completely.

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 th century in an empire style and was rebuilt in the 19 th 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.)



[Page 17]

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 the 13th 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 the 6th 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 and 23rd 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 Date Liquidated Date Founded City Province No.
Jews 200 Feb. 1943 Aug. 1942 Irena Lipowa Got Garvolin 387
Jews 120 June 1943 Oct. 1942 Irena Train Station Garvolin 388
Jews 1,000 June 23, 1944 May 1941 Irena Airfield Garvolin 389
Jews 200 Jun 1943 May 1942 Irena Train Bridge Garvolin 390


(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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