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Chapter I

The Altman Family Of Dziedzilow

Dziedzilow - Yidalev

(Didyliv, Ukraine)

49°56' 24°22'

3.2 Miles From Nowy Jarczow, near Lemberg/Lwow/Lviv




 The black line on the map above begins in the city of Lviv (Ukrainian), Lwow (Polish), Lemberg (German and Yiddish). Lemberg is the administrative city of the region. It once had a large Jewish population that Hitler exterminated, although there is still a Jewish community in Lemberg city. The city's Polish population was also greatly reduced following World War Two when the entire region was awarded to the Soviet Ukrainian state. The black line on the map moves northeast past many small villages whose Jewish communities were eliminated during the war. The line passes Nowy Jarczow, which once had a sizable Jewish population that was exterminated in the hamlet itself. Following Nowy Jarczow, the black line continues for a short distance and reaches a small hamlet known as Dziedzilow/ Dedyliv/ Yidalev.

The Dziedzilow Jewish community is listed in the Pinkas Kehilot book published by Yad Vashem in Hebrew. The hamlet had a sizable Jewish community that existed for generations, as will be shown in the following pages. As mentioned above, Dziedzilow was located near Nowy Jarczow, which had a large Jewish community.

The small village was known by many Polish, Yiddish and Ukrainian names and all are remembered. Today it is part of Ukraine and there are no Jews in the area. The village is primarily an agricultural area and its population was predominantly Polish when the area belonged to Poland; now the area is predominantly Ukrainian. Once the ruling elite was Polish and the majority of the rural population belonged to the Roman Catholic Church. The local Ukrainians belonged to the Orthodox Churches and to the Greek Catholic Church. The Jews created a buffer zone so to speak between the Christian populations. Animosity frequently ran high among the various populations, especially between the Jewish and non-Jewish population. The Polish establishment ruled with an iron hand and suppressed any expression of Ukrainian nationalism. The Christian populations disliked the Jews but tolerated them. The Polish administration occasionally gave free rein to the Ukrainian population to let off some steam, which expressed itself in small pogroms aimed at the Jews.

A former resident of Dziedzilow, Pesha Altman-Pasternak, described in her testimony pages at Yad Vashem one such painful incident. Pesha Pasternak, formerly Pesha Altman, daughter of Shmuel and Tziporah Altman, was born in 1910 in Dziedzilow. The Altman family was large and extensive and had lived for generations in Dziedzilow. Pesha grew up in the village where her family had a store. She attended primary school but never made friends with the non-Jewish children. She worked in the store and learned to speak Ukrainian fluently, which would later save her life. The basic language in the Altman home was Yiddish and the family was religious. Pesha married Pessah Rozen from Kamionka, formerly gmina Kozlowska in the district of Lubertow, a nearby town. The couple opened a small store and lived in the back. They lived modestly and Pesha gave birth to a daughter who they named Frume Dworah. In 1935, Ukrainian farmers began to march to the center of Dziedzilow where most of the Jews lived and started to attack Jewish homes and stores. Pesha smelled smoke pervading her home. She went to her store in the front and saw the place on fire. It was destroyed. Some culprits were arrested and tried but they claimed they were drunk and received light sentences.


Dora Bienstock-Altman and Bernard Altman, natives of Dziedzilow


The city of Kamionka

The Polish authorities did not want to completely antagonize the Ukrainian population so the sentences were reduced to a bare minimum. Pesha was deeply hurt by the pogrom and swore not to rebuild her home in Dziedzilow. She and her husband struggled to eke out a living in Dziedzilow. Somewhat later, Pesha and her family were able to leave Dziedzilow for Kamionka where her husband's family lived. She lived outside the city center and started a small business.


Yad Vashem Page of Testimony for Pessah, and Frume Dworah Rozen. Pessah was born in 1902. Frume was born in 1936. The page was signed by Israel Pasternak, husband of Pesha.


Meanwhile, things in Dziedzilow cooled a bit and superficially the relations between the populations returned to normal. However, under the surface the dissensions continued. Jews and Christians did not mingle except in the market or in stores. There was no social contact between the populations, which spoke different languages and followed different religions. The slightest incident could result in the loss of property and even life.

The Jews provided various services to the local population such as tailoring and shoe making, and sold feed for the animals, agricultural tools and implements, etc. Jews were also involved in peddling goods to the rural population. Most of the commerce of the city was in Jewish hands. At the weekly market, Jews met Poles and Ukrainians. The latter brought their produce to the market and bought whatever they needed. Jews had lived in the village for hundreds of years without being able to leave the place. Only when Poland was defeated and carved up by its neighbors in 1872 – Austria, Russia and Prussia – did changes occur. The entire area around Lemberg was acquired by the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Empire introduced radical changes, and people could now leave their place of residence and move to other places. Jews were able to leave their forced places of residence and move to the bigger cities of the Empire where they hoped to improve their lot.

Dziedzilow was no exception. The young Jews became restless, including members of the Altman family. This was a large family that had lived in Dziedzilow for hundreds of years. The patriarch of the family, Yossef Altman, had eight children: Shmuel, Mordechai, Luzer, Noach, Bracha Milke and Abraham.

All of the children married and had large families, as the family chart below indicates. All struggled to eke out a living. Some peddled while others worked in various shops.

One of the first Altmans to reach the USA was Hersh or Henry Altman. According to the

1920 Census, he was born in 1891 in Dziedzilow. He reached the USA in 1905 and was naturalized in 1913. He lived at 1555 Minford Place, Bronx and was a grocery salesman. He married Bertha Schere, who was born in 1888 in Austria, and arrived in the USA in 1903. She was naturalized in 1910. They had two children - Thelma and Seymour. He would later write for the Yiddish daily newspaper “דער מארגען זשורנאל” that appeared in New York City since 1901. He would also be very active in the Jarczow Relief Society and his name appears on the committee list of members. Henry urged his siblings in Dziedzilow to join him but only Bernhardt decided to join his brother in the USA. Bernhardt was born in Dziedzilow in 1887. He married


Bernhardt Altman


Dora Bienstok and moved to Lemberg where they spent World War One. Their children Pepi and Emil were born in Lemberg. Following the war, the family moved to Vienna, Austria where conditions were difficult. Bernhardt decided to join his brother in the USA. He left his wife and children in Vienna.


Dora Bienstock married Bernhardt Altman
(Her Hebrew name was Dworah Bienstock and his Benyamin Altman)


The 1923 manifest of the “ Majestic” listed Bernhardt Altman. He departed Southampton May 2, 1923 and reached New York May 8,1923. The manifest is not clear; Bernhardt Altman is listed as number [un-readable] on the manifest page. It lists him as a concrete-cement maker aged 37. He speaks German, but is a Polish citizen of Jewish descent. His last permanent address is with his wife Dora Altman in Vienna, Austria. He travels to join his brother Henry Altman who resides at 1555 Minford Place, Bronx. He has a scar above his left eye, and was born in Dziedzilow.

He would return to Vienna, Austria again to see his wife and children in 1925. Here is another arrival entry at the port of New York for Bernhardt Altman.


The Majestic manifest of May 1923


Passenger aboard S.S. Majestic.
Sailing from Cherbourg September 23, 1925
Arrive New York: September 29, 1925

Bernhard Altman
Age 39
Occupation: Cementer
Nationality: Polish
Race or People: German
Last Permanent Address: Vienna, Austria
Nearest relative in Country Whence...Wife - Dora, Obermillner str. 5, Vienna II, Austria
Joining relative: Henry Altman, 1555 Minford Place, Bronx
Height 5' 6"
Hair: Black
Eyes: Grey. Place of Birth: Dziedzilow, Poland.


Chart showing Yossef Altman's family. 1) Column of Yossef; 2) Column of Shmuel, his son; 3) Column of Haim, his grandson; 4) Column of his great grandson.


The following Altmans on this page were killed in the Shoah:

Tzipe Altman-Mandel,

Chaim and Hinda Altman and their children: Shmuel, Aaron,

Yehoshua, Hersh and Lea.

Leizer and Yehudit Altman and their son Shmuel Altman and his wife Tobe Kurtz-Altman, and their children: Yossef, Hersh and Wolf.

Frume Dworah Rozen, daughter of Pesha Altman-Rozen

Only four Altmans on this page survived the Shoa: Fela, Bernhardt, Pesha and Henry. Fela Altman survived the Shoa in Europe.


U.S. Naturalization Certificate for Bernhardt Altman, dated March 15, 1929. He later changed his name to Bernard Altman


In the 1930 Census, a Bernard and Dora Altman were living in the Bronx with a son Emil and a daughter Josephine.


Bernard Altman's family: Josephine or Pepi Altman, Dora Bienstock-Altman, Emil Altman and Bernard Altman


Bernard Altman wrote a letter in fluent Yiddish to his nephew Chaim Altman in Israel

  ליעבע חיים אין דיין ליעבע הרציגע פרוי  זאל לעבען

א הארציגען דאנק פאר דעם באזוך ווי איך פיר די בילדער
איך ווינש אייך מזל ברכה והצלכה אין אייר נייע היים
השם יתברך זאל אייך העלפען איהר זאלט זיין געזונט
אונד האבען פרנסה אונד איירע טיירע  עלטערן זאלען זעען א סך
נחת ביי אייך

ליבע חיים ווי איך ווייס מיזט דו דאך יעצט צוגעהן אין ביזנעס מיט דיין שוויגער'ס                    

פאטער וועלעכער ווי איך ווייס איז זעער א פיינער מענטש

אויך איך בין צושאר דו מיזט צופארדען פון דיין פארטרערשיפ

אויך דיין ליעבע שוויגערטאכטער איז א זעער ליעבענדע פרוי.

אויך איך  בין זעער  צופרידעו דאס דו זעעסט זיי יעדען טאג

אצינד וויל איך דיך יעצט פרעגען  צי אין דער  צייט פון  איירע  חתונה

האסטו דו שוין איינמאל געזען דיינע ליעבע   עלטערן

לאמיר האפען דאס

ליעבער חיים וועגען אלץ האט דוך מיין פייגעלע  שוין געשריבען 
אזוי האב איך נישט מעהר וואס צו שרייבען
אין זאך וויל איך דיר בעטען זאלסט איבערגעבען א
הרצליכע גריסע צו דיינע ליעבע  שוויגער עלטערן זאל לעבען
ווי אויך די הרצליכסטע גריסע פאר דיינע ליעבע עלטערן אויך שוועסטערן
זאלן לעבען ואחרון אחרון חביב, דיע הרצליכע גריסע אונד קיססע פאר דיר אונד דיינע
ליעבע אונד טייערע ווייבאלע זאל לעבען אייער אונקעל בערנהארד

  Dear Chaim and your lovely wife, may she live a long life.

Thank you for your visit and I have the pictures to prove it. I wish you the best of luck in your new home and may God provide you with good health and income so that your parents can enjoy your bliss.

Dear Chaim, as I understand you are about to enter into partnership with your father-in-law and must alter your plans. It seems to me that your father-in-law seems to be a pleasant individual as well as your mother-in- law.

I am pleased to hear that you will be seeing them daily. Please tell me now whether you have seen your dear parents since the wedding. I hope the answer is yes.

My dear Feige has already written everything that there is to write and left me nothing to write.

I would like you to send my kindest regards to the parents of your wife, to your parents and sisters.

Of course a special greeting to you and your lovely wife.

Your uncle Bernhard


We already mentioned that Pesha Altman-Rozen-Pasternak was living on the outskirts of Kamionka when the Germans entered the hamlet and permitted the Ukrainians to stage a pogrom. The Ukrainians continued to harass Jews and persecute them. Then the Russians came and introduced a new regime. They proceeded to arrest influential Jews, Poles, and Ukrainians and deport them to Siberia.Of course, the Communist party opened a branch office in the hamlet, as did the Soviet secret police. People disappeared during the night. All jailed Communists were freed, the Communist party was forbidden to exist in pre-war Poland. The Russian economic system of administration was forcefully introduced into the area resulting immediately in shortages of staples and goods. All political and Zionist parties were banned. Only the Communist press was permitted to print material. Slowly and steadily the Jewish population was being pauperized by all the rules and regulations.

Then the Germans attacked the Soviet Union and made rapid advances. They re-entered Dziedzilow and gave the Ukrainians a free hand in chasing Jews and beating them up. Soon the S.S. took matters in their own hands. They arrested Jews to perform all kinds of work duties, namely clearing roads. The Jews did not relish the hard work for which they were not paid and hid in cellars and attics. The Germans organized 'actions'to round up Jews for work details. They created a Judenrat office to provide Jewish workers for their needs. The food supply to Kamionka slowly dried up since the farmers were told not to sell food to the Jews. Thus, a black market developed and those caught paid a heavy price namely, death on apprehension. The Jewish economic situation became worse by the day. 'Actions' began to round up Jews and during one of these 'actions' Pesha's husband Pessah Rozen and their daughter Frume Dworah Rozen were picked up. They were sent to the Belzec death camp. Pesha decided to leave Kamionka and head to the ghetto of Nowy Jarczow where her parents were sent. Hunger was widespread and death walked amongst the people, especially the old and the young.

There was no food and people were dying. The Germans continued to bring more Jews to the ghetto. Pesha met with some of her family members and discussed what to do. The meeting was tragic in view of the Jewish situation. Here in Jarczow actions began against the Jews. Some were shot nearby while others were transported to the death camp of Belzec. The Germans decided to liquidate the ghetto of Jarczow.

Pesha Altman-Rozen-Pasternak was rounded up in the ghetto of Jarczow with other Jews and they were led to the railway station to be deported to the death camp of Belzec. As the column proceeded around a corner, she continued to walk straight and did not stop. She walked out of Jarczow and decided to head to the big city of Lwow/Lemberg. but the police arrested her and accused her of being Jewish. She denied the charge and used her Ukrainian to convince them that she was not Jewish. Finally, she reached the city of Lemberg and tried to find a safe hiding place. The local population was fearful and unwilling to face the danger of harboring a Jewish person. Pesha managed to find some one-night stands but realized that this was not the solution. She saw posters urging Polish and Ukrainian women to volunteer for work in Germany. She was afraid to enter the venture but did not have a choice. She went to the recruiting station located at Piraskiego Street in Lemberg. She was accepted and remained at the Piraskiego camp to be sent to Germany. A few days of rest and food and Pesha decided to remain in Lemberg. She slipped out of the camp and began to search for a hiding place. After several days, she gave up the plan and decided to go to Germany. It was too dangerous to be on the streets of Lemberg. She again went to the Piraskiego camp and was accepted. Within a few days the transport left Lemberg and headed to Germany. It was wintertime, nearing the end of 1943. The transport reached the village of Neudorf, near Staatsfurst by Magderburg. The transport of women workers was assigned to a big building. “We began to work in the fields, planting carrots, beets and potatoes. The work was hard and we had to be on our knees all the time resulting in bloody and injured knees.” Pesha continued to work until the area was liberated by the Allies and then slowly started to head back to her home in Kamionka where she lived until 1957. Meanwhile she married Israel Pasternak. They decided to leave Kamionka, Russia and headed to Poland and then to Israel.

The list of Altmans in Dziedzilow continues, most would be killed in the Shoa except for David Altman who married Lea Figer from Nowy Jarczow. They left the area prior to the war and headed to Argentina.


From left to right: Bernard Altman. David Altman, his wife Leah Figer-Altman, standing is Fanny Figer, Shmuel Altman son of David Altman and his wife Regina Altman


The Dziedzilow village saw a few Jewish Shoa survivors visit the place but none remained. There are no Jews today in Dziedzilow or in the vicinity. The Jewish historical presence has been practically eliminated in Dziedzilow.




The following Altmans on this page were killed in the Shoa:

Mordechai Altman and his wife and their children Pereira and Gittel,

Luzer and his wife,

Gittel Shtrum daughter of Bracha and Noach Shtrum.

The only Altmans to survive were; Bracha, Milke and Awraham.


Israel Pasternak filed this page of testimony for Eliezer or Luzer Altman. A native of Dziedzilow born in 1887 to Shmuel and Peshe Altman. He perished in the round up of Kamionka in 1942


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