|While finishing the printing of the necrologies of those killed, we received
the sad news that our dear friend Szlomo Bialystok died in Canada. Below you
will find his biography as written by his son Franki in English.
My Father Szlomo
Szlomo (Sioma) Bialystok was born on September 23rd, 1909 in
Dambrowa Górnicza, the 9th of 10 children of Moshe, a
merchant, and Necha Bajla. He was the youngest of five sons. Szlomo went
to the Jabna School in Bedzin, leaving in 1928 to help support his elderly
parents. He was first employed for several years by the Furstenberg Company,
where he worked as a laboratory technician and a building superintendent.
From 1929-31, he worked as a technician in an operation theatre under the
famed surgeon Dr. Hlajyj in Krakow.
During his youth, Szlomo was very active in Jewish youth and sports groups, an
involvement which continued strongly, in his later years. As a young boy, he
became a member of Hashomer Hatzair and the Ha-Koach sports club. Later, in
Warszawa, he was a member of the Maccabi Sports organization. He became
proficient as a skater and tennis player, and was an instructor in both.
Skiing, however, was his first love, He won a 3rd place bronze medal in the
1933 Maccabian games in the 10 kilometer cross-country event.
In 1931, Szlomo moved to Warzsawa, where in addition to this work with Jewish
social welfare groups, he was employed as an agent for the Assecuazioni
Generali Trieste. In September 1938 he met a pretty, dark-haired bookkeeper,
Rebeka (Rena) Rozenbaum. Their courtship lasted until July 30th
1939, when they were married. Fleeing the Nazis, Szlomo was caught by
the Russians after the partition of Poland on September 17th.
He and his wife were subsequently sent by the Russians to a forced labour
camp for refugees near Kotlas. Being released in September 1941, Szlomo
and Rena went to Andizan, Uzbekistan until April 1946. During those 4½ years,
they saw the privations that a dictatorial regime and a wartime economy
imposed on a primitive, semiliterate people. Working for the department of
health, Szlomo and Rena saw, first-hand, the corruption within Stalin's
Returning to Poland one year after the war, Szlomo and Rena saw a country
totally devastated by war. They learned of the tragedy that befall the Jewish
people in general, and their family in particular. Not one of the relatives
that remained in Poland in 1939 survived the war. In June 1946, their only
child, a son Franklin, was born in Lodz.
Unable to tolerate further existence under a Communist regime, Szlomo, Rena and
Franklin left Poland in October 1947 and sailed to America. They lived for a
short while with Szlomo's lone surviving brother, Alex, in Buffalo N. Y. and
then moved to Canada. Because he didn't know English, Szlomo was forced to work
as an agricultural laborer. In 1943, he moved to Toronto to join his family and
worked as a photographer and real-estate agent. The Bialystoks suffered greatly
in their first several years in Canada. Unable to make ends meet, they lived on
the edge of poverty. Added to this, the near-death of Rena in 1951 because of a
serious spinal operation plus a back condition that Szlomo contracted while
working on the farm.
In 1956, Szlomo entered upon his career as a homebuilder. Drawing on his
experience as a construction foreman in Poland, plus unbelievable energy and a
great capacity for assimilating new techniques and ideas, Szlomo slowly became
respected as an outstanding craftsman, and an honest businessman.
Meanwhile, he became actively involved once again, in Jewish social welfare
organizations. He was a founding member of the Zaglembier Society and a key
figure in the Israel Bond Drive. He contributed generously to the foundation of
the State of Israel, as well as to needy individuals of all races and
religions. Perhaps, this quality of unselfish giving was his greatest virtue.
Very often when helping someone in need, he didn't want anyone to know about
the work that he was doing. Szlomo was instrumental in starting a scholarship
fund for needy Israel children through the Histadrut Arial scholarship program,
and for the faculty of History at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1967,
he headed the Israel Emergency campaign for the Zaglembier Society.
Szlomo and Rena visited Israel on three occasions: in the summer of 1959, the
spring of 1967 and the spring 1969. Both were very closely attached to the
country and they both possessed a great deal of knowledge of the roots of
Israel and Zionism, because of their involvement with Hashomer Hatzair in the
Szlomo died suddenly from a liver condition on October 16, 1969 less than a
month after his 60th birthday. A robust, energetic and open man,
his death was a shock to the Jewish community in Toronto and a tragic loss to
his wife, son, friends and relatives.