Family Story

My grandmother, Ides Bronfeld, surrounded by children (standing from left) Hinda
Ethel, Sura (Sally), Al, Herzek (Benny), and Marge (in her lap),
taken in Zawichost, Poland, circa 1926.


   
    In mid-1920, my grandfather, Rubin Mendel Bronfeld, abruptly left the little town in southern Poland his family had called home for generations, Zawichost, to escape post-War anti-Semitic violence and avoid conscription into the Polish army, then facing war with Bolshevik Russia.  

      He left behind his pregnant wife and four young children.  Reaching New York City, he settled into the Yiddish enclave of the lower East Side, found work in sweat shops, applied to become a citizen, and saved money to help bring over the rest.  

     Six years later, my grandmother took the children and led them across Europe to follow.  It was a time of desperation, smuggling, fraud, and bigotry.   By surviving and re-rooting the family in the USA, they saved us from the Holocaust and helped build modern America.  In Zawichost (זאַוויטשאָסט): A Story of Our Immigrant Family, a book I am developing, I plan to re-trace the steps of my grandparents from Eastern Europe to New York City in the 1920s, using their simple story as a vehicle to rediscover our American immigrant roots.
   
          Already, the research has been fascinating and unpredictable, and I'll keep you up date as this moves forward.  Here are a few posts I've shared about it so far.  I hope you enjoy them--    




                Or listen to the Zawichost Blues.
               
                Or see faces of school kids joking around in modern Zawichost.