The town of Grandpa's birth and growing
Was not marked on smaller maps,
But on the largest atlas page
Where every village name is printed
Was Dubrowa in small black letters.
When its thousand Jews were slaughtered,
It should have disappeared in shame,
But there it was-Dubrowa-
Where Avram-Yankel netted fish
And Channah baked her rolls and challah,
People fish there still-and bake
And greet each other in the street.
They pass their days without the Jews;
I wonder, though,
About their nights.
Adapted from a Poem Telechany by Shirley Blumberg,
The Jewish Spectator, Spring 1981
Dubrowa was too small to have been the subject of articles in standard Jewish encyclopedias or even to appear in the extensive materials con- tained in the library and archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York or Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
I am indebted to Dubrowa's former residents who served both as an inspiration and as a source of primary material about life in the town during the early part of this century. I had the good fortune to meet with former leaders of the Dubrowa organizations both in the United States and Israel, Philip Sidransky and Eliezer Kuszes. Each of these men provided invaluable information as well as photographs. Locating and interviewing the town's only survivor of the German occupation, Sonia Lefkowitz, was an extraordinary and moving experience.
Other émigrés, in addition to recalling their community, made drawings and maps and contributed photographs, some of which have been included. Among these were Meyer Cooper, Abraham Gusewich, Isaac Gurwitz and Rena Schlachter Holstein.
Many other individuals helped by translating materials or by pro- viding encouragement in various forms. I would like to acknowledge the assistance of my father, Samuel, my wife, Phyllis, and my Israeli cousins, Elie and Rina Chaki, as well as the following: Sara Glasser, Julius Cooper, Sara Cooper, Helen Goldstein, Sophie Gritz, Sylvia Mirsky, Ruth Katz, Louis Levine, Paul Wolkoff, Herman Mazer, Harry Moskowitz, David Lieberman, Ann Pfeiffer, George Kovalick.
The best sources for Dubrowa's early and modern Polish history were the Library of Congress in Washington, and the Public Library of Warsaw. Additional references were culled from the collections of the New York Public Library's Jewish, Slavonic and Map Divisions.
For those exploring their own family roots, there is a vast literature available, including several excellent introductory books. The following are cited because they either are not widely known, or because they are of unusual interest:
Toledot, the journal of Jewish genealogy, devoted its Fall 1979/ Winter 1980 issue to a bibliography of Memorial books. The Spring 1978 issue cited those Polish-Jewish records available on microfilm from the Genealogical Society of Utah.
The flavor of life in Russia can be appreciated by reading Life in My Father's Court by I.B. Singer, or I. J. Singer's The Brothers Ashkenazi. Vivid descriptions of the Byelo-Russian towns of Swislocz and Bobruysk may be found in Irving Howe and Eliezer Greenberg's book Voices from the Yiddish, and in Memoirs of a Grandmother, which appears in Lucy Davidowicz's The Golden Tradition.
An extraordinary account of one man's story, translated from his diaries by his granddaughter, is Carol Lipkin's The Travels of David Torbeck. Post-World War II Bialystok is depicted by N. Shulman in Completing the Circle in the March 1979 issue of Reconstructionist , and in Samuel Pisar's autobiography Of Blood and Hope. Finally, Arthur Kurzweil's poignant description of his visit to his grandfather's hometown in Poland may be found in the Spring 1981 issue of Present Tense.
Many books depict the horrors of the Holocaust, but two that are especially recommended are J.F. Steiner's Treblinka and Leon Wells' The Death Brigade.
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