0
REMEMBRANCE, RESCUE, &
RECOVERY:
Going Home to Poland
By Warren J. Blumenfeld
warrenblumenfeld@gmail.com
SETTING THE
STAGE
Social Construction of “Race”
CARL LINNAEUS
(1707-1778)
Born Carl Linné
Swedish Botanist, Physician, and
Zoologist.
“Father of Modern Taxonomy”
Book: Sy...
CARL LINNAEUS (1707-1778)
He is also known as “The Father of
Scientific Racism.”
Five levels under Homo sapiens, based
ini...
CARL LINNAEUS (1707-1778)
Europeanus: sanguine, pale, muscular, swift,
clever, inventive, governed by laws.
Asiaticus: mel...
POST-LINNAEUS TAXONOMY
Later European scientists separated Homo sapiens
in six different categories:
1. Caucasoid: Europe,...
Late 19th Century
Jews & Homosexuals
Scientific Community
Distinct “Racial” Types
Social Construction of “Race”
Simon (Szymon) Mahler
Maternal grandfather
Krosno, Poland.
13 siblings.
Wolf & Bascha Mahler.
Butcher shop.
Simon left Kro...
Ashkenazi Jewish Tradition
Child named in honor
of deceased relative.
Great-Grandfather
Wolf Mahler
Hebrew name Ze'ev,
mea...
Identity
5 years old
I learned from
Szymon our family
history
Direct relationship
to German
Holocaust
11
Szymon returned to
Krosno 1932 with
grandmother, Eva
(Schoenwetter)
Mahler
Brought early home
movie camera
12
Szymon Mahle...
Simon & Eva’s 1932 Film
Muzeum Podkarpackie (Subcarpathian) w
Krosnie
13
Wolf, Szymon, Bascha Mahler, 1932
A BRIEF HISTORY
OF KROSNO
Poland
Krosno
Southeastern Poland
River Wislok
Carpathian Mountain
region
Galicia
15
*KROSNO
* *Krosno
Krosno, Poland
Founded in 1324.
Developed on weaving industry.
“Krosno” means “loom” in Polish.
Early Krosno behind heavil...
Krosno, Poland
January 1, 1900, Galicia governor granted Krosno
Jews right to organize their community (kehillah).
Jewish ...
Wolf Mahler & Family,
Butcher Shop
Population Growth in Krosno
YEAR POPULATION CATHOLIC JEW ORTH CATHOLIC
1870 2132 2100 26 6
1880 2461 2318 113 (127) 30
189...
Synagogue
Rabbi Shmuel Fuehrer of Krosno
1904, Kehillah hired Shmuel Fuehrer
first and only Rabbi.
Fuehrer earlier served as rabbi i...
Nazis in Krosno
German troops invaded Poland
1 September 1939
Bombed Krosno same day
Small military airport & railway stat...
Krosno strategic target
Oil fields for Germany.
German troops fortified area.
Trenches around town.
Fortified rock houses ...
Nazis in Krosno
Adolph Hitler &
Benito Mussolini met
in Krosno
Planned strategy for
war on eastern front.
Nazis in Krosno
Nazi proclamation, 1939
Jews must leave Krosno
Many Jews hid in city or countryside
Others crossed river t...
Nazis in Krosno
http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~alb/ugly/naziSoldiersBrutalizeJewInPoland.jpg
NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY
“Racial” arguments
cornerstone of
persecution of Jews
(as well as most
people of color and
people...
Hitler said he was inspired
by U.S. Indian reservation
system.
NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY
Nazis asserted Jews
polluting “Aryan
race.”
Jews forced to wear
Yellow Star of
David patches, sig...
Nazis in Krosno
Nazis occupied center of
Jewish Quarter
Krosno’s Market Square,
troops referred to as
“Horse Square”
Merch...
Nazis in Krosno
June 1941, Nazis ordered creation of list of Jewish
population of Krosno.
Contained 2072 names.
William Le...
Nazis in Krosno
9 August 1942, Nazis hung posters
Jews to appear next day, 9:00 a.m. Targowa railway
station.
Limited to 1...
Nazis in Krosno
Nazis searched city for hidden Jews.
Shot Jews on the spot
Nazis created small ghetto, 600 Jews
Kept until...
Nazis in Krosno
127 Jews rounded up
Shot in mass grave
Photo by Warren J. Blumenfeld
Nazis in Krosno
Nazis converted
Krosno
Synagogue
Leveled between
1945 & 1946
Nazis in Krosno
Rabbi Fuehrer taken
from synagogue and
shot
Nazis in Krosno
Photo by Warren J. Blumenfeld
END OF WWII
Allies liberated Krosno
Krosno became a center for assembling Jewish survivors
Then went to Rumania and sailed...
END OF WWII
Estimated 6 million Jews
murdered: equal to two-thirds
of European Jewry, and one-
third of the entire world-w...
GOING
HOME
2008
41
A family
history
recovered
42
43
Kasia discovered Mahler family’s Apartment and
Butcher Shop directly off Krosno’s Market Square.
44
Former apartment building and butcher shop of Mahler family.
Photo by Katarzyna Krepulec-Nowak
45
Today1930s
Original
Mahler
Building
(lower right)
before
renovation
following
WWII.
47
Current owner of building.
Her father and his two partners rented the space to Mahler family.
48
Owner granted us permission to enter the upstairs apartment where
Mahler family resided.
49
My heart seemed to pound out of my chest as we
entered the building where my family once lived.
50
Following World War II, fire damaged upstairs apartment, but
restored close to original condition.
51
Currently serves as offices for a law firm.
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
Courtyard behind Mahler family apartment and shop,
depicted in Simon & Eva’s 1932 Krosno film.
60
61
Today, former Mahler family Butcher Shop
serves as Candy Shop.
62
The current proprietors graciously gave us a
tour around the shop.
63
THE JEWISH
CEMETERY
(Cmentarz Zydowski)
of Krosno
64
Cmentarz Zydowski
Following German
invasion of Krosno
Polish citizens, fearing
Nazis would vandalize &
demolish grave ston...
66
Cmentarz Zydowski
Jews no longer reside in Krosno
Cemetery fell into disarray.
2002 local Krosno students, under managemen...
68
Photo taken July 2008
69
Photo taken January 2011
70
71
72
MARKET SQUARE
&
THE FORMER JEWISH
QUARTER
73
74
75
76
77
78
Former Jewish ghetto, 1942
600 Jews forced into 12 small buildings,
located directly below.
79
“Jewish day”
Krosno, poland
16 January 2011
80
MUZEUM PODKARPACKIE
w KROSNIE
81
82
Krosno “Jewish Day” Flyer
Photo by Bert Cohen
83
Afternoon of event, Bert, Gary, and I met with
Kasia in her office to go over logistics.
84
85
86
87
Translater, Kasia Nowak.
Photo by Bert Cohen
88
.
Photo by Bert Cohen
89Photo by Bert Cohen
90
Here with this remarkable woman who is working to have us all face
our past and who to me is living Dr. Martin Luther K...
91
“If you want peace, work for justice.”
T
92
“There is much evil here, and as a mother of a three-year-old,
I must do what I can to work for a better world for my...
Jewish tenet of Tikkun Olam:
the transformation, healing, and repairing of
the world so that it becomes a more just,
peace...
94
“Jewish Day” exhibit area.
Photo by Bert Cohen
95
96
Wolf Mahler & Family, Butcher Shop
Displayed in Krosno “Jewish
Day” exhibit area.
97
Synagogue
Displayed in Krosno
“Jewish Day” exhibit area.
98
Moses, David, Simon Mahler
Displayed in Krosno
“Jewish Day” exhibit area.
99
Brother ? Mahler, Fannie Mahler, Simon Mahler, Dinah Mahler
Gertrude Mahler (David Mahler’s Wife), Saul Mahler, Philip ...
100
Simon, Eva
Eva, Simon
Charles, Blanche, Jack
Eva
Scott, Simon, Warren,
Abby, Debra, Curt, Susan
U.S.A. Displayed in Kr...
101
“History of the Mahler
Family”
Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
102
“Oldest Film of Krosno”
Explanation of Simon & Eva
Mahler’s 1932 family film of
Krosno.
Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Da...
103
Nazi troops transported a number of Krosno Mahlers to Korczyn
(once called Rzegocin) where they murdered them: Haya Ri...
104
SUBCARPATHIAN MUSEUM OF KROSNO
Presents
Krosno Jewish Day
… And Your Brother …
16 January 2011, 17.00 [5:00 p.m.]
105
106
Though the Museum auditorium holds125, an estimated 650 people
attended the “Jewish Day” event. Sadly, over 500 people...
107
Dr. Jan Gancarski, museum director, “Jewish Day” established in
1997 and celebrated annually in January. Falls on eve ...
• He quoted Fr. Archbishop Jozef Michalik:
"The Community of prayer, a better
understanding of their faith, honoring the
m...
“It is reminded that Christians and Jews believe in one
creator of heaven and earth, giver of the
commandments, whose obse...
110
Fr. Waldemar Janiga led the assembled in a
prayer of religious understanding and unity.
Photo by Bert Cohen
111
Photo by Bert Cohen
To introduce the Mahler film, Kasia led the
audience through a guided visualization
developed from...
Let's imagine a world from this kind of black and white movie. Let's
imagine black and white Krosno.
It is September of 19...
Our Market Square is filled with sunlight, teeming with life.
Mr. Englander from the Aguda Party is having an argument
wit...
114
Simon’s antique Tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) and embroidered
Kippah (Jewish skull cap)
“Letter to My Great-Grandparent...
115
Dear Great-Grandfather Wolf and Great-Grandmother Bascha,
Though I have never written to you, I have carried your imag...
One day, when I was very young, I sat upon Simon’s
knee. Looking down urgently, but with deep affection, he
said to me, “W...
117
As you know, according to Ashkenazi [European heritage]
Jewish tradition, a newborn infant is given a name in honor of...
They arrived in the United States on New Years’
Eve in a city filled with gleaming lights and
frenetic activity, and with ...
Simon returned to Krosno with my
grandmother, Eva, in 1932 to a joyous
homecoming. This was the first time he had
seen you...
Simon never fully recovered from those
days in 1939. Though he kept the faces and
voices from his homeland within him
thro...
121
I then talked about the righteous rescuers of those tragic times, and of those of the
modern day. I concluded my remar...
122
…and the good people of the Muzeum Podkarpackie w Krosnie, especially
Lucas Klopot, Katarzyna Krepulec-Nowak, and Dr. ...
123
Gary then recited and Kasia translated Kaddish, the traditional Jewish
prayer for the dead. Before the prayer, Gary el...
124
Simon and Eva Mahler’s 1932 film portrayed the town of
Krosno, and in particular, the Mahler family. This rare film is...
125
Members of the audience sat
transfixed as they witnessed
the sights of their town
during a time long passed.
Some poin...
Great-Grandparents, this night I fulfilled a life-
long dream of bringing you, your children, and
your grand children home...
127
The program came to a stirring conclusion with the brilliant clear sounds of
the Rzeszow Klezmer Band
as Lucas ran the...
128
Bert, Gary, and I had our picture taken with Museum Director Jan
Gancarski and Krosno Mayor Piotr Przytocki.
129
I was particularly touched when two students asked to take a picture with me.
Kasia Krepulec-Nowak translated that the...
130
At the conclusion of an emotional and memorable day, we relaxed,
unwound, and processed at a fabulous restaurant in a ...
131
Unfortunately, all good things must end, and we said “good bye” to our good
friend, Kasia (Kate), and her husband Matt...
Going back to
the united
states
132
133
Leaving Auschwitz back to Krakow on the bus, Bert took some pictures from the
window. During the bus ride, we had a ch...
134
…about Krosno, and the
friends we made…
135
…about the places we had
been…
136
137
…about the
wonderful and
new foods we
enjoyed...
Photos by
Bert Cohen
138
… about the emotional impact all of
this had on us…
139
…and how we had grown closer as family.
Since Gary was scheduled to fly back home to Israel
that evening, soon after a...
140
The following day, Bert and I woke early, ate breakfast, and took a cab
to the Krakow airport. Our flight to Prague ha...
141
Though we were exhausted from an exciting and emotional week, we also felt
the energy of knowing that though we were r...
142
[not] the end
Remembrance, Rescue, & Recovery: Going Home to Poland
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This PowerPoint traces the journey of Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld who traveled back to his ancestral home of Krosno, Poland to conduct genealogy and Holocaust research, and in doing so, he returned home to a place he had never been before.

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Transcript of "Remembrance, Rescue, & Recovery: Going Home to Poland"

  1. 1. REMEMBRANCE, RESCUE, & RECOVERY: Going Home to Poland By Warren J. Blumenfeld warrenblumenfeld@gmail.com
  2. 2. SETTING THE STAGE
  3. 3. Social Construction of “Race”
  4. 4. CARL LINNAEUS (1707-1778) Born Carl Linné Swedish Botanist, Physician, and Zoologist. “Father of Modern Taxonomy” Book: Systema Naturae “Linnaean Taxonomy”: System of Scientific Hierarchical Classification. Kingdoms; Classes; Orders; Genera (Genus); Species. (Wikipedia)
  5. 5. CARL LINNAEUS (1707-1778) He is also known as “The Father of Scientific Racism.” Five levels under Homo sapiens, based initially on place of origin, then on skin color: Europeanus Asiaticus Americanus Monstrosus Africanus
  6. 6. CARL LINNAEUS (1707-1778) Europeanus: sanguine, pale, muscular, swift, clever, inventive, governed by laws. Asiaticus: melancholic, yellow, inflexible, severe, avaricious, dark-eyed, governed by opinions. Americanus (Native Americans): choleric, copper- colored, straightforward, eager, combative, governed by customs. Monstrosus (dwarfs of the Alps, the Patagonian giant, the monorchid Hottentot): agile, fainthearted. Africanus: phlegmatic, black, slow, relaxed, negligent, governed by impulse.
  7. 7. POST-LINNAEUS TAXONOMY Later European scientists separated Homo sapiens in six different categories: 1. Caucasoid: Europe, North Africa, Southwest Asia 2. Mongoloid: East Asia, Siberia, the Americas 3. Polynesians: 4. Native Americans: 5. Australoid: indigenous Australians 6. Negroid: Central and Southern Africa (Ramon)
  8. 8. Late 19th Century Jews & Homosexuals Scientific Community Distinct “Racial” Types Social Construction of “Race”
  9. 9. Simon (Szymon) Mahler Maternal grandfather Krosno, Poland. 13 siblings. Wolf & Bascha Mahler. Butcher shop. Simon left Krosno for U.S., 1912 9 Szymon & sister Fannie
  10. 10. Ashkenazi Jewish Tradition Child named in honor of deceased relative. Great-Grandfather Wolf Mahler Hebrew name Ze'ev, means “wolf." 10
  11. 11. Identity 5 years old I learned from Szymon our family history Direct relationship to German Holocaust 11
  12. 12. Szymon returned to Krosno 1932 with grandmother, Eva (Schoenwetter) Mahler Brought early home movie camera 12 Szymon Mahler & Eva (Schoenwetter) Mahler, Wedding Picture, New York City, 1921
  13. 13. Simon & Eva’s 1932 Film Muzeum Podkarpackie (Subcarpathian) w Krosnie 13 Wolf, Szymon, Bascha Mahler, 1932
  14. 14. A BRIEF HISTORY OF KROSNO
  15. 15. Poland Krosno Southeastern Poland River Wislok Carpathian Mountain region Galicia 15 *KROSNO * *Krosno
  16. 16. Krosno, Poland Founded in 1324. Developed on weaving industry. “Krosno” means “loom” in Polish. Early Krosno behind heavily fortified stone & mortar walls.
  17. 17. Krosno, Poland January 1, 1900, Galicia governor granted Krosno Jews right to organize their community (kehillah). Jewish stores opened: butcher shops, fish stores, and bakeries. 1906, two baking families: Selig Findling and Chaim Oling. Three Jewish slaughterhouses owned by Fulka Breitowitz, Moses Breitowicz, and Wolf Mahler.” William Leibner, http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0030_KrosnoCompilation.htm
  18. 18. Wolf Mahler & Family, Butcher Shop
  19. 19. Population Growth in Krosno YEAR POPULATION CATHOLIC JEW ORTH CATHOLIC 1870 2132 2100 26 6 1880 2461 2318 113 (127) 30 1890 2839 2454 327 (567) 58 1900 3276 2664 567 (961) 45 1910 4353 3329 961 (1559) 63 1914 5521 3893 1558 70 1921 6287 4490 1725 72 •Rapid growth of Jewish population •1870 (26); 1921 (1725) •Outpaced overall growth •Oil discovered in the area •1884, railway linked Krosno with Europe •Industries developed •Especially weaving & glass making •Jews kept moving to Krosno. William Leibner, http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0030_KrosnoCompilation.htm
  20. 20. Synagogue
  21. 21. Rabbi Shmuel Fuehrer of Krosno 1904, Kehillah hired Shmuel Fuehrer first and only Rabbi. Fuehrer earlier served as rabbi in Milowka and Krakow. Also head of Jewish judicial council, Krosno. Consecrated Krosno’s Jewish Cemetery. Filmed by Szymon Mahler in 1932 Photo by Alexander White
  22. 22. Nazis in Krosno German troops invaded Poland 1 September 1939 Bombed Krosno same day Small military airport & railway station Entered Krosno, 9 September 1939
  23. 23. Krosno strategic target Oil fields for Germany. German troops fortified area. Trenches around town. Fortified rock houses as machine-gun stations. Barricaded streets with stone & logs from demolished buildings. Mined other stone buildings and city approaches. Bill Tarkulich http://www.iabsi.com/gen/public/military__carpatho.htm
  24. 24. Nazis in Krosno Adolph Hitler & Benito Mussolini met in Krosno Planned strategy for war on eastern front.
  25. 25. Nazis in Krosno Nazi proclamation, 1939 Jews must leave Krosno Many Jews hid in city or countryside Others crossed river to area German army left free Slowly Jews reappeared in Krosno Ordered to wear white arm band with blue star Forbidden to enter parks or public institutions
  26. 26. Nazis in Krosno http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~alb/ugly/naziSoldiersBrutalizeJewInPoland.jpg
  27. 27. NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY “Racial” arguments cornerstone of persecution of Jews (as well as most people of color and people with disabilities). Jews and others descendants from inferior “racial stands.”
  28. 28. Hitler said he was inspired by U.S. Indian reservation system.
  29. 29. NAZI “RACIAL” PHILOSOPHY Nazis asserted Jews polluting “Aryan race.” Jews forced to wear Yellow Star of David patches, sign of “race pollution.”
  30. 30. Nazis in Krosno Nazis occupied center of Jewish Quarter Krosno’s Market Square, troops referred to as “Horse Square” Merchants brought goods to open-air markets on Square in horse-drawn carts 30 Market Square, Krosno, Poland Simon & Eva Mahler’s 1932 film
  31. 31. Nazis in Krosno June 1941, Nazis ordered creation of list of Jewish population of Krosno. Contained 2072 names. William Leibner, http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0030_KrosnoCompilation.htm
  32. 32. Nazis in Krosno 9 August 1942, Nazis hung posters Jews to appear next day, 9:00 a.m. Targowa railway station. Limited to 10 kilo suitcase Assembled, 12 August 1942 Selection held: Young and able bodied spared 2100 taken to forest and shot 600 placed in Krosno ghetto William Leibner, http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0030_KrosnoCompilation.htm
  33. 33. Nazis in Krosno Nazis searched city for hidden Jews. Shot Jews on the spot Nazis created small ghetto, 600 Jews Kept until 1 December 1942 All shipped to Rzeszow or Reishe ghettos Eventually to Auschwitz & Belzec Some Jews remained in area in labor camps Krosno clear of Jews, except for few who hid in Polish homes. William Leibner, http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0030_KrosnoCompilation.htm
  34. 34. Nazis in Krosno 127 Jews rounded up Shot in mass grave Photo by Warren J. Blumenfeld
  35. 35. Nazis in Krosno Nazis converted Krosno Synagogue Leveled between 1945 & 1946
  36. 36. Nazis in Krosno Rabbi Fuehrer taken from synagogue and shot
  37. 37. Nazis in Krosno Photo by Warren J. Blumenfeld
  38. 38. END OF WWII Allies liberated Krosno Krosno became a center for assembling Jewish survivors Then went to Rumania and sailed to Palestine This semi-legal base operated until Palestine borders closed by British. Jewish officials left Krosno Krosno’s Jewish survivors never returned Anti-Semitism from many non-Jewish residents Jewish presence ended to this very day. William Leibner, http://www.jewishgen.org/databases/holocaust/0030_KrosnoCompilation.htm
  39. 39. END OF WWII Estimated 6 million Jews murdered: equal to two-thirds of European Jewry, and one- third of the entire world-wide Jewish population.
  40. 40. GOING HOME 2008 41
  41. 41. A family history recovered 42
  42. 42. 43 Kasia discovered Mahler family’s Apartment and Butcher Shop directly off Krosno’s Market Square.
  43. 43. 44 Former apartment building and butcher shop of Mahler family. Photo by Katarzyna Krepulec-Nowak
  44. 44. 45 Today1930s
  45. 45. Original Mahler Building (lower right) before renovation following WWII.
  46. 46. 47 Current owner of building. Her father and his two partners rented the space to Mahler family.
  47. 47. 48 Owner granted us permission to enter the upstairs apartment where Mahler family resided.
  48. 48. 49 My heart seemed to pound out of my chest as we entered the building where my family once lived.
  49. 49. 50 Following World War II, fire damaged upstairs apartment, but restored close to original condition.
  50. 50. 51 Currently serves as offices for a law firm.
  51. 51. 52
  52. 52. 53
  53. 53. 54
  54. 54. 55
  55. 55. 56
  56. 56. 57
  57. 57. 58
  58. 58. 59 Courtyard behind Mahler family apartment and shop, depicted in Simon & Eva’s 1932 Krosno film.
  59. 59. 60
  60. 60. 61 Today, former Mahler family Butcher Shop serves as Candy Shop.
  61. 61. 62 The current proprietors graciously gave us a tour around the shop.
  62. 62. 63
  63. 63. THE JEWISH CEMETERY (Cmentarz Zydowski) of Krosno 64
  64. 64. Cmentarz Zydowski Following German invasion of Krosno Polish citizens, fearing Nazis would vandalize & demolish grave stones, Entered Jewish Cemetery Hid grave stones, Returned them after German troops retreated 65
  65. 65. 66
  66. 66. Cmentarz Zydowski Jews no longer reside in Krosno Cemetery fell into disarray. 2002 local Krosno students, under management of Grzegorz Bożek (local teacher and ecology activist) Restored cemetery. 67Photos by Tomasz Okoniewski
  67. 67. 68 Photo taken July 2008
  68. 68. 69 Photo taken January 2011
  69. 69. 70
  70. 70. 71
  71. 71. 72
  72. 72. MARKET SQUARE & THE FORMER JEWISH QUARTER 73
  73. 73. 74
  74. 74. 75
  75. 75. 76
  76. 76. 77
  77. 77. 78 Former Jewish ghetto, 1942 600 Jews forced into 12 small buildings, located directly below.
  78. 78. 79
  79. 79. “Jewish day” Krosno, poland 16 January 2011 80
  80. 80. MUZEUM PODKARPACKIE w KROSNIE 81
  81. 81. 82 Krosno “Jewish Day” Flyer Photo by Bert Cohen
  82. 82. 83 Afternoon of event, Bert, Gary, and I met with Kasia in her office to go over logistics.
  83. 83. 84
  84. 84. 85
  85. 85. 86
  86. 86. 87 Translater, Kasia Nowak. Photo by Bert Cohen
  87. 87. 88 . Photo by Bert Cohen
  88. 88. 89Photo by Bert Cohen
  89. 89. 90 Here with this remarkable woman who is working to have us all face our past and who to me is living Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s words: Photo by Bert Cohen
  90. 90. 91 “If you want peace, work for justice.”
  91. 91. T 92 “There is much evil here, and as a mother of a three-year-old, I must do what I can to work for a better world for my son.” Photo by Bert Cohen
  92. 92. Jewish tenet of Tikkun Olam: the transformation, healing, and repairing of the world so that it becomes a more just, peaceful, nurturing, and perfect place. 93
  93. 93. 94 “Jewish Day” exhibit area. Photo by Bert Cohen
  94. 94. 95
  95. 95. 96 Wolf Mahler & Family, Butcher Shop Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
  96. 96. 97 Synagogue Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
  97. 97. 98 Moses, David, Simon Mahler Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
  98. 98. 99 Brother ? Mahler, Fannie Mahler, Simon Mahler, Dinah Mahler Gertrude Mahler (David Mahler’s Wife), Saul Mahler, Philip Mahler, David Mahler, Beatrice Mahler, New York, c. 1915 Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
  99. 99. 100 Simon, Eva Eva, Simon Charles, Blanche, Jack Eva Scott, Simon, Warren, Abby, Debra, Curt, Susan U.S.A. Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
  100. 100. 101 “History of the Mahler Family” Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
  101. 101. 102 “Oldest Film of Krosno” Explanation of Simon & Eva Mahler’s 1932 family film of Krosno. Displayed in Krosno “Jewish Day” exhibit area.
  102. 102. 103 Nazi troops transported a number of Krosno Mahlers to Korczyn (once called Rzegocin) where they murdered them: Haya Rivka, Eliazar, Hersh, Raphael, Moshe, Sarah, Yanka, and Wolf Mahler. http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/korczyna/Kor447.html
  103. 103. 104 SUBCARPATHIAN MUSEUM OF KROSNO Presents Krosno Jewish Day … And Your Brother … 16 January 2011, 17.00 [5:00 p.m.]
  104. 104. 105
  105. 105. 106 Though the Museum auditorium holds125, an estimated 650 people attended the “Jewish Day” event. Sadly, over 500 people had to be turned away.
  106. 106. 107 Dr. Jan Gancarski, museum director, “Jewish Day” established in 1997 and celebrated annually in January. Falls on eve of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
  107. 107. • He quoted Fr. Archbishop Jozef Michalik: "The Community of prayer, a better understanding of their faith, honoring the memory of Jews who were part of Polish history and the Poles who have brought their faithfulness in difficult times, is the most important fruit, which brings Jewish Day."
  108. 108. “It is reminded that Christians and Jews believe in one creator of heaven and earth, giver of the commandments, whose observance is a way of life…. It's time for another of our culture - an older, original - [and for us] to let go of prejudices and stereotypes, a genuine chance of understanding and reconciliation. It is an opportunity for dialogue, and what we really need is a moment of mutual understanding and respect, a fraternal conversation…. In Krosno, we can not on this day talk about the descendants of our older brothers who once lived here. None of the Krosno Jews who survived the Holocaust settled here after the war, so we only remember our neighbors. We can only look at them in the faded photos… which have been left here, memorabilia preserved in the museum.” Dr. Jan Gancarski 109
  109. 109. 110 Fr. Waldemar Janiga led the assembled in a prayer of religious understanding and unity. Photo by Bert Cohen
  110. 110. 111 Photo by Bert Cohen To introduce the Mahler film, Kasia led the audience through a guided visualization developed from her extensive genealogical and historical research. Here is an English translation of Kasia’s address: * * * * * Our exhibition is called “Brothers," [neighbours] and it is not an exhibition about the death of people. It is about their lives. Along with our neighbours, we created the world, far from perfect, but our own. This exhibition is an invitation to walk through pre-war Krosno. Have you liked the "Old Movies" series that used to be on the national television channel every Sunday? I loved it and I didn't miss even one.
  111. 111. Let's imagine a world from this kind of black and white movie. Let's imagine black and white Krosno. It is September of 1932. Our town really blossoms this time of year. Someone left a copy of the New Journal on a small bench down by the river bank. Mr. Dym's shop has its advertisement on the second page. One can see the new, popular gloves for ladies. On Pilsudski Street you can smell the rolls from the second baking in the bakery of Izrael Breitowicz. The people from Linas Chojlim are already giving out the soup for orphans from Korczyńska Street. And here it is again, a large line to Mahler's butcher shop. Little Mannis Mahler is helping his grandfather. He is a beautiful, sweet little boy. Doctor Still had a sudden call from the shelter in the synagogue. He looks very worried. Chairman Akselrad is taking his daughter to the piano lesson. I heard she's great. 112
  112. 112. Our Market Square is filled with sunlight, teeming with life. Mr. Englander from the Aguda Party is having an argument with Mr. Wiesenfeld over Zionism. After they finish, they will both go to Chanie Plater's restaurant to put on the nosebag [eat], and perhaps later, they will go to the taproom on Franciscan Street. And we? Shall we go to Ider's Inn on Staszic Street? Their meals are marvelous! This kind of dream-walk is about to materialise here tonight thanks to the very special movie that we received from a very special man. But I would like him to tell his story in his own words. Ladies and gentlemen -- Dr. Warren Blumenfeld. 113
  113. 113. 114 Simon’s antique Tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) and embroidered Kippah (Jewish skull cap) “Letter to My Great-Grandparents of Krosno, Poland.” Photo by Damian Krzanowski
  114. 114. 115 Dear Great-Grandfather Wolf and Great-Grandmother Bascha, Though I have never written to you, I have carried your image and felt your comforting presence ever since that first day when your son [my maternal grandfather, Simon Mahler] told me about you…. Photo by Bert Cohen
  115. 115. One day, when I was very young, I sat upon Simon’s knee. Looking down urgently, but with deep affection, he said to me, “Warren, you are named after my father, Wolf Mahler. I lived in Krosno, Poland with my father, Wolf, and my mother, Bascha, and 13 brothers and sisters, and aunts, uncles, and cousins.” Simon talked about all of you with pride, but as he told me this, he seemed rather sad. I asked him if you still lived in Poland, and he responded that his father, mother, and most of the rest of his family were no longer alive. When I asked him how they had died, he told me that they had all been killed by people called Nazis. I questioned him why the Nazis killed our family, and he responded, “Because they were Jews.” Those words have reverberated in my mind, haunting me ever since…. 116
  116. 116. 117 As you know, according to Ashkenazi [European heritage] Jewish tradition, a newborn infant is given a name in honor of a deceased relative. The name is formed by taking the entire name or just the initial letter of the name of the ancestor being honored. I had the good fortune of being named after you great- grandfather Wolf. As it has turned out over the years, you not only gave me my name, but you, Bascha, and Simon also gave me a sense of history and a sense of my identity. Simon left Krosno in 1912 bound for New York City, leaving you and most of his siblings. His older brother, David, who traveled to the United States in 1911, returned in 1912 to bring Simon, and three of his sisters, Fannie, Sadie, and Dinah back with him. As they left Poland, a series of pogroms targeting Jews had spread throughout the area. Simon often explained to me that they could only travel by night with darkness as their shield to avoid being attacked and beaten by people who hated Jews.
  117. 117. They arrived in the United States on New Years’ Eve in a city filled with gleaming lights and frenetic activity, and with their own hearts filled with hope for a new life.
  118. 118. Simon returned to Krosno with my grandmother, Eva, in 1932 to a joyous homecoming. This was the first time he had seen you since he left Poland. He took with him an early home movie camera to record you on film. While in Poland, he promised that once back in the United States, he would try to earn enough money to send for his remaining family members who wished to come to the United States, but history was to thwart his plans. During that happy reunion, he had no way of knowing that this was to be the last time he would ever see you and those others he left behind alive. Just seven years later, on 1 September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland…. 119 Kasia Nowak translatin g into Polish Photo by Bert Cohen
  119. 119. Simon never fully recovered from those days in 1939. Though he kept the faces and voices from his homeland within him throughout his life, the Nazis also invaded my grandfather’s heart, killing a part of him forever. My mother told me that Simon became increasingly introspective, less spontaneous, and less optimistic of what the future would hold…. Great-grandfather Wolf and great- grandmother Bascha, you would have been proud of Simon. He was a loving and caring father, grandfather, and great- grandfather. He gave me so much: my enjoyment for taking long walks and sitting in quiet solitude, pride in my Jewish heritage, and most of all, my ability to love. 120 Photo by Bert Cohen
  120. 120. 121 I then talked about the righteous rescuers of those tragic times, and of those of the modern day. I concluded my remarks by acknowledging the great work of the “rescuers” of Jewish history and Jewish culture today in the complete absence of Jewish people: Grzegorz Bożek and the volunteers who have restored the Jewish cemetery in Krosno… Photo by Bert Cohen
  121. 121. 122 …and the good people of the Muzeum Podkarpackie w Krosnie, especially Lucas Klopot, Katarzyna Krepulec-Nowak, and Dr. Jan Gancarski. “They and all of their colleagues work tirelessly to rescue and restore a vital part of history in keeping memories alive and in educating new generations. They are my heroes, and I will forever hold them in my thoughts and in my heart.” Photo by Damian Krzanowski
  122. 122. 123 Gary then recited and Kasia translated Kaddish, the traditional Jewish prayer for the dead. Before the prayer, Gary eloquently explained this tradition and added personal reflections about what this prayer means to him. Photo by Bert Cohen
  123. 123. 124 Simon and Eva Mahler’s 1932 film portrayed the town of Krosno, and in particular, the Mahler family. This rare film is the oldest film of the town known to exist. Jews arrived in Krosno in the fifteenth century CE, and by 1938 numbered 2700, or 18.5 percent of the town’s population. Prior to the Nazi invasion, the Jewish population in Poland numbered around 3 million. Today, only about 10 thousand Jews reside in Poland. Lucas ran the film for the audience. Photo by Damian Krzanowski
  124. 124. 125 Members of the audience sat transfixed as they witnessed the sights of their town during a time long passed. Some pointed to familiar landmarks. Others spotted possible relatives in the old Market Square. Some were visibly moved, tears streaming down their cheeks.
  125. 125. Great-Grandparents, this night I fulfilled a life- long dream of bringing you, your children, and your grand children home to a happy reunion. With love forever, Warren 126
  126. 126. 127 The program came to a stirring conclusion with the brilliant clear sounds of the Rzeszow Klezmer Band as Lucas ran the Mahler family film one final time. Kamil Siciak Mateusz Chmiel Jacek Anyszek Marcin Mucha Wojciech Jajuga
  127. 127. 128 Bert, Gary, and I had our picture taken with Museum Director Jan Gancarski and Krosno Mayor Piotr Przytocki.
  128. 128. 129 I was particularly touched when two students asked to take a picture with me. Kasia Krepulec-Nowak translated that they are currently writing their thesis paper focusing on the Mahler family of Krosno. Photo by Bert Cohen
  129. 129. 130 At the conclusion of an emotional and memorable day, we relaxed, unwound, and processed at a fabulous restaurant in a former wine cellar beneath Krosno’s Market Square. Photo by Bert Cohen
  130. 130. 131 Unfortunately, all good things must end, and we said “good bye” to our good friend, Kasia (Kate), and her husband Matthew (whom I referred to as “Mr. Kate”). We are seen here at the Krosno bus station ready to board our bus back to Krakow, Monday, 17 January 2011.
  131. 131. Going back to the united states 132
  132. 132. 133 Leaving Auschwitz back to Krakow on the bus, Bert took some pictures from the window. During the bus ride, we had a chance to talk and reflect not only on our time at the concentration camps, but also on the events of the past week…
  133. 133. 134 …about Krosno, and the friends we made…
  134. 134. 135 …about the places we had been…
  135. 135. 136
  136. 136. 137 …about the wonderful and new foods we enjoyed... Photos by Bert Cohen
  137. 137. 138 … about the emotional impact all of this had on us…
  138. 138. 139 …and how we had grown closer as family. Since Gary was scheduled to fly back home to Israel that evening, soon after arriving back at our hotel in Krakow, we hugged and said good bye to Gary as he left in a cab for the airport.
  139. 139. 140 The following day, Bert and I woke early, ate breakfast, and took a cab to the Krakow airport. Our flight to Prague had been cancelled, but we were fortunate to catch another flight directly to Paris in time for our Paris to Boston flight that evening.
  140. 140. 141 Though we were exhausted from an exciting and emotional week, we also felt the energy of knowing that though we were returning to the United States, in some ways, we had been transformed, and knowing that we will never be the same. Photo by Bert Cohen
  141. 141. 142 [not] the end
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