Memoirs of a Woman From Bialystok
(Białystok, Poland)


Translation of
Zikhroynes fun a Bialystoker Froy

Published by the JewishGen Press

Author: Rachel Anna Kositza
Project Coordinator: Susan Kingsley Pasquariella
Translated by: Beate Schützmann-Krebs
Cover Design: Rachel Kolokoff Hopper
Layout: Jonathan Wind
6”x9” hard cover 202 pages

Available from for $30.00



The forward to the book was written by Rachel Anna Kositza's daughter Gertrude Reed in 1977.

My mother began to write her memoirs at the age of eighty-six. It all began when I told her about Grandma Moses' painting career and challenged her to do likewise. Never one to pass up a challenge, but not being able to paint, she decided to try her hand at writing.

And so, every day, for a period of almost two years, after her household chores were completed (this included cooking for her family, house cleaning and gardening), she would set aside an hour or two for her writing. I can see her now so clearly, sitting at the kitchen table, bent over her white-lined paper, writing away in her round, even, measured handwriting, and proudly showing me each neatly written page, and then with her ever-ready humor, looking up at me, her face broadening into a grin, a twinkle in her light blue eyes, and laughing: “I am now indeed a writer.”

And as she kept at her writing and finally finished the book, I never ceased to marvel at her self-discipline, her singleness of purpose, her drive. And it seemed to me that in this respect she was representative of a type that is fast disappearing from American Jewish life – the Jewish immigrant woman who at the turn of the century, came out of the East European ghetto to the ghetto of America, and by sheer grit and perseverance, undeterred by poverty or hard work, opened up for her children, opportunities for the highest education and self-development.

The grit and perseverance exemplified by my mother was nurtured by the colonyeh. The Jewish colonyeh of Czarist times was an agrarian settlement about which little has been written. The Jews who lived there farmed the land and raised livestock and were authentic peasants.
I am sure that many readers of this book will see in it not only my mother, but their mothers as well, and will remember proudly their origins, back-ground, and the strength and courage of their forebears.


Białystok, Poland is located at 53°08' N 23°09' E and 109 miles NE of Warsaw


Alternate names of the Town:

Białystok [Pol], Byalistok [Yid], Belostok [Rus], Belastok [Bel], Balstogė [Lith], Bjalistoka [Latv], Bialistok, Bielastok


Nearby Jewish Communities:

Wasilków 5 miles NNE
Sokoły 21 miles WSW
Choroszcz 7 miles W
Gródek 22 miles E
Supraśl 10 miles NE
Korycin 22 miles N
Zabłudów 12 miles SE
Janów Sokolski 23 miles N
Suraż 15 miles SSW
Trzcianne 24 miles NW
Łapy 16 miles SW
Sokółka 24 miles NE
Tykocin 16 miles WNW
Bielsk Podlaski 25 miles S
Knyszyn 16 miles NW
Krynki 28 miles ENE
Jasionówka 18 miles NNW
Goniądz 29 miles NW
Michałowo 20 miles ESE
Rutki 30 miles W
Zawady 21 miles W
Wysokie Mazowieckie 30 miles WSW
Narew 21 miles SE
Brańsk 30 miles SSW


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