Jacob Yonkel Jeleń

Janet Yellen is an American economist who will become the US Secretary of the Treasury under the new President Joe Biden. 

Janet's father was Julius Yellen, and her grandfather was Jacob Yonkel Jeleń (Polish spelling of Yellen), who was born in 1876 in Sokołów Podlaski. The Jeleńs were bakers. At the end of the 19th century, they went to seek their happiness elsewhere - to England and the USA.

Janet Yellen, fot. Federalreserve - BKLM4457, Public Domain
Janet Yellen, fot. Federalreserve - BKLM4457, Public Domain


From the Archive

Sokołów, 1932.

"On November 26, the Association of Cultures League in Sokołów organized a lecture entitled "Husband and wife in the light of today's culture" delivered by Dow-Ber Małkin from Warsaw.

The main idea of the lecture was the social situation of women in the past and today. Old Jewish religious literature knows only one type of a woman as a seductress; only modern literature puts women on an equal level with men.

About 150 people attended the lecture."


A letter from Sokolow #2

A few days ago, I posted here a photo of a fragment of a letter written by Ch. (Chaim, as I called him) Łosicki and sent from Sokołów to Matla in Tel Aviv in 1935.

Today - thanks to Yosefa - we know more about the fate of this young man. His real name was Chaim Chanoch. His parents - Mendel and Golda. In 1936 he emigrated to Palestine, where he was a teacher. Has he met with Matla then? I do not know. But we know that, unfortunately, he died on January 22, 1937 (because of pneumonia or malaria). He was then 22 years old.

And only we know how beautiful letters he wrote!

Thank you Amir Earon for this picture.


A letter from Sokolow

 After I posted a short film about Sokołów, Rachel wrote to me. It turned out that she has letters written to her grandmother before the war. In 1935, Matla left Sokołów for Tel Aviv. In Sokołów, a young man - Chaim (probably Chaim, because we only know the first letter of his name Ch.) Łosicki - missed her.

When I read that in his letter (written in Polish) Chaim was quoting the greatest Polish poet, Adam Mickiewicz, I couldn't hold back my tears. "...How much you are precious, he will only find out who lost you...". Polish-Jewish intellectuals loved Polish culture, but this culture - as we know - rejected them.

I thought that maybe it is worth asking if you have old letters from Sokołów in your archives? Or to Sokołów? In Polish or in Yiddish. I will be grateful if you would like to share them with me. Or maybe you know what happenned to Chaim Łosicki? 

Thank you very much!


Your support needed

Soon I will publish the first part of the translation from Yiddish into Polish of the Sokołów Podlaski Memorial Book. Since there is no monument dedicated to Jewish inhabitants in the town, this translation is a kind of virtual monument. Thanks to this, young people in Sokołów schools and adults can learn something about the history that they will not learn at school or from the town authorities.

In order to be able to translate the second part of this Book next year, we need your help. Therefore, each person who pays PLN 500 or more for this project (this money will be paid entirely to the person who translates the text into Polish; I cover the rest of the costs of this project myself and I work on it for free) will receive from me by e-mail a high-resolution (10349 x 6510 pixels) Sokołów map from 1925 in jpg format. As the fundraising site https://pomagam.pl/sokolowpodlaski does not provide me with your e-mail addresses, please contact me after making the payment so that I can send you a map. 

Thank you!


We are all Sokolowers

 This year we didn't organize a ceremony in Sokolow but instead we organized a virtual ceremony on zoom. We are all Sokolowers - in Poland, Israel, US and even in Wien 🙂

Thank you all for being here today!

And watch a video about Jewish history of Sokolow! 



Aron-Jakow Grinberg

 Did you know that Aron-Jakow Grinberg, who was born in Sokołów in 1900, was the deputy speaker of the Knesset in 1955-1963?

In Sokołów, he founded the Mizrachi-cheder (he was a teacher) at Niecała Street in the house of Alter Bekerman and was active in the Zionist organization.


Support discovering the Jewish history of Sokołów: https://pomagam.pl/sokolowpodlaski