At the dedication
Hilda Chazanovitz, Deputy Mayor of Radom, Karol Semik, and Sharon Grosfeld at the dedication. Hilda and Sharon have been instrumental in organizing, with the organization, Forum for Dialog, this historic milestone. (photo courtesy of Sharon Grosfeld)
The mayor with Sol Birenbaum, a Radom survivor and childhood friend of my father, Joseph Horn. (photo courtesy of Forum for Dialog by Powel Puton)
The Book of Radom – The Story of a Jewish community in Poland Destroyed by the Nazis – translated into Polish. (Photo courtesy of Zuzanna Radzik for Forum for Dialog)
Zbigniew Wieczorek – Teacher
Hilda and Sharon will be working with the fantastic teacher we met – Zbigniew Wieczorek – as well as with Jakub Mitek at Resursa, and government officials to ensure that “the momentum built around the revival of Jewish memory does not grow dim.” – Sharon Grosfeld
On our walk through the streets of Radom, we noticed this indentation on the door frame of an entrance to an apartment where a mezzuzah was once placed.
They Synagogue Plaque (Photo courtesy of Sharon Grosfeld)
The fact that the Mayor of Radom and other Radom citizens are marking the loss of its Jewish community during World War II is an extraordinary event.
There are three interesting stories about our visit to Radom that I would like to share, stories that I would have never known had I not come. The first was a conversation with Barry Lerman, whose father and uncle were Radom survivors. Today, 92 and 94, they are alive and well but not strong enough to have made the trip themselves. In our conversation, my sisters and I shared our mother’s maiden name, Lastman, and Barry mentioned the name to his father via Facetime, who said, “We hid in the woods with Mendel Lastman.” Mendel, or Menachem, was my mother’s brother, the oldest of six children, my mother the youngest five girls. We knew Mendel died in the woods, but not how or when or what happened. Now, we have the opportunity to learn more. Barry’s father and uncle live in New York City, and when Barry and his family returns from their trip to Israel, we will plan to get together, trying to uncover the mystery, trying to put together any pieces of the puzzle.
While we were at the Jewish cemetery in Radom, we assembled in an area where we could say “Kaddish” or the prayer for the dead. As we stepped back into the cemetery, Sol Birenbaum stopped me and my sister Bonnie and said, “I have something to tell you, something that I don’t want to take with me to my grave.” Of course, our ears perked up as did the hairs on our neck. What was he going to tell us? He said, “I loved your father’s sister Bluma. She was my first love, and she was beautiful.” Bluma was 19 when she perished in Treblinka. My father says in his testimony that she was the one who was the “most heroic of us all,” because she chose to stay with her parents till the end, even though she could have saved herself.
We also heard this story from the commemoration. There was a Polish man and his son at the ceremony, among other Poles as well. One of the Radom descendants from France asked the man why he chose to be present at this event. He said that his mother passed away last year, and on her death bed, she revealed that she was Jewish. He wanted to be a part of this momentous occasion.