Tuesday, March 04, 2014


From time to time I wonder why I bother keeping this blog up. Last week I was reminded why.

I had just received an email from yet another brother/sister of Jewish Przemysl looking for any traces of their family that still may exist. One of the items she forwarded was the birth certificate of her Przemysl father.  I looked over it, marveling as I always do at the tight calligraphy of pre-typewriter data collection.  Then I saw something that I had not seen before.

Under Column 10 "akuszera," (midwife) was the name "Bina Silberman." Bina, born Blima Malz, happens to be my great-grandmother. 

Bina was, and still is, the stuff of deep family lore. She was always described as not a midwife, but as the midwife of Przemysl. She delivered everyone's grandparents. Of course, there was no picture, no real sense of who she might have been as a person. When I wrote my novel about pre-WWI Przemysl, The 11th of Av, she became one of my main characters in the form of Gitla, the town's mystical midwife.

Dig deep enough and I'm related to you. Dig deeper and our distant relations were best friends. Your grandfather sold mine their dairy. Mine made your family's armoire. That's why we all search and keep searching, because is some way, we are all connected.


Blogger Red Shoes said...

What a wonderful tale and so true we are all family.

12:55 PM  

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