Thursday, November 19, 2009


A little bit about where my grandfather came from: He was born in Russian-occupied Poland in 1893 in a town called Vishigrod (hence the title of the first book of memoirs, The Samurai of Vishigrod), aka Wyszogród. (On the map, above --you'll probably have to enlarge it to see it--Wyszogród is just below a dip in the 107, just above the Vistula river, northwest of Warsaw, on the left-hand side of the map). I had never thought to look for it, but a friend did, and he told me that there was a website devoted to Vishigrod, specifically to Jewish Vishigrod and Polish Jews who died in the Holocaust. (Wikipedia also links to a Wyszogród website but it’s entirely in Polish). The link is to only one of many pages assembled, I have to assume, over many, many years, with undying devotion by Ada Holzman, a descendant of Polish Jews, to remember the Jewish communities of Poland that were largely destroyed. 

It is also a site at which people can search for information about their Polish ancestors. I had always heard that we (Jews) couldn’t trace our history further back than 3 generations ago (great-grandparents) as so many official records from Eastern Europe were destroyed during World War II. But (‘zchor’ is the transliteration of the Hebrew word, ‘Remember’) links to various sites that assist in that search, such as the Jewish genealogy website. For some reason (even using Soundex to see if the surnames had been spelled differently), that I haven’t found any of my relatives in their database, nor in the Database of Unclaimed Swiss Bank Accounts and Other Holocaust Era Assets (I would never have thought to look, but the link was right there… I guess neither side of my family, which lost relatives in the Holocaust, had ever had anything worth stealing or hiding.)

While the above sites can give you facts about Wyszogród and its inhabitants, you can pick up some of the local ‘color’ of the town from the title story in my grandfather’s memoirs, entitled, The Samurai of Vishigrod and the Very Small Pogrom. It is posted on Ada Holzman's website,

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  1. Hi there Ms. AA, I'd love to hear a little about the personal reasons that drive you to investigate your grandfather's history.
    I love your about me page. If only those involved could be resurrected so we could learn whether hermaphrodites really do only reproduce in the spring.

  2. Wow, I love this blog. Really fascinating and certainly right up my alley since both of my parents were Holocaust Survivors. My father was from a tiny town by Vilna, Wyshkow. I'll have to look for it on your map. This looks great!