Wilm Hosenfeld

Wilm Hosenfeld was a German Army officer who rose to the rank of Hauptmann by the end of the war. He helped to hide or rescue several Poles, including Jews, in Nazi-occupied Poland, and helped Polish-Jewish pianist and composer Władysław Szpilman (Szpilman is widely known as the protagonist of the 2002 Roman Polański film "The Pianist")to survive, hidden, in the ruins of Warsaw during the last months of 1944. Hosenfeld was stationed in Wegrów in December 1939, where he remained until his battalion was moved another 30 km away to Jadów at the end of May 1940. He visited Sokołów Podlaski several times. In his letters to his wife he mentions a railway station in Sokołów and refugees who came to the town.
In June 2009 he was posthumously recognized as a Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem.
The picture was taken during his stay in Węgrów.


Jewish tombstones

Fragments from dozens of Jewish tombstones were discovered during renovations in a Polish town near the former Nazi death camp Treblinka.
The fragments were found last week in the eastern town of Sokolow Podlaski as work began on a terrace leading to the shops located at a marketplace there.



In JTA Archive

April 7, 1937
Fifteen Nationalists were arrested today in Sokolow-Podlaski for participation in recent anti-Jewish excesses and for carrying on propaganda for a boycott against the Jews in this district.
Anti-Semites demolished a number of Jews’ houses in Lipka, District of Siegace. Jewish inhabitants fled to the neighboring town of Stotzek. Simultaneously, unknown persons set fire to three Jewish houses and also to ritual baths in Lochow, in the same district.

March 12, 1937
Anti-Jewish disorders in the town of Sokolow-Podlaski recurred today following attacks there last week. Many Jews were beaten. Schoolchildren broke windows of Jews’ homes.

April 4, 1937
More than 20 Jews were injured and more than 1,500 windows of houses broken during yesterday’s riot in the town of Sokolow-Podlaski. The disorders continued for four hours before police succeeded in dispersing several hundred Nationalists.
A delegation of Jewish leaders left for Warsaw to seek protection for the town’s Jewish population. The riot was inspired by Nationalist agitators.
A Jew, Gershon Tauber, and his wife were murdered yesterday in the town of Sniatym near the Rumanian frontier. Police, blaming Nationalists, said robbery was the motive.

September 11, 1938
Thirty Jews were beaten, several shops were demolished and windows of many Jewish houses were broken in anti-Semitic excesses in the town of Lyda in the Wilno district today. Police restored order.
The beginning of the term at the Lwow Polytechnicum was marked by an attack on Jewish students during a medical examination. Many of them were beaten and three were removed to the hospital.
Segregation of Jewish pupils in elementary schools was reported today from many provincial towns throughout Poland. Hitherto such segregation has been confined to the Polish universities, where Jewish students are forced to occupy “ghetto benches” under a Government-sanctioned decree.
A special Jewish elementary school has been established in the town of Sokolow-Podlaski, with a non-Jewish headmaster and the majority of teachers non-Jews. A congress of Endek (National Democratic) teachers in Warsaw has adopted a resolution urging the Government to dismiss Jewish teachers from elementary schools where Christian pupils are enrolled.
The newspaper Express Poranny reports that the last Jew has left the township of Koscian, near the German border, where recently the last Jewish-owned house was sold.

November 10, 1939
Details were received here today of the murder in Wengrow, a town in Nazi-occupied Poland, of Rabbi Mendel Morgensztern, 54 years old. On Yom Kippur (Sept.23). Rabbi Morgensztern was taken out for forced labor and beaten in the street because he did not move quickly enough. The second time he was bayoneted by a soldier because he worked “too lazily.”
His father, Rabbi Isaac Selig Morgensztern of Sokolow, 73 years old, died of a heart attack after receiving news of his son’s death. The Wengrow rabbi is survived by a son, S.D. Morgensztern, who is a rabbi in Glasgow, Scotland.
Meanwhile, information reaching here indicates that Dr. Mayzner, president of the Polish ORT Federation, and Engineer Joseph Jaszunsky, director of the ORT, are safe in Warsaw. The ORT School in Warsaw, Zabia 9, is producing clothing for victims of the siege. The ORT school at Dluga suffered from bombardment.

June 20, 1943
Intensifying their drive to deport the Jews from both large and small towns in Poland “to unknown destinations,” Nazi authorities this week deported 2,000 Jews from the town of Bendzin, it was reliably reported here today.
The report stated that deportation of the 8,000 Jews who still remain in Bendzin is expected. It also added that the Jews in the neighboring townships of Sosnowietz, Stremieszyce and Dombrowa-Gornicza are panic stricken, fearing that the Nazi authorities will also deport them.
More than 132,000 Jews have been deported from a number of towns in occupied Poland since January, another report reaching here today stated. No trace of the deportees can be found.
The report revealed that 34,000 Jews have been deported from Czestochowa, 15,000 from Brest-Litowsk, 15,000 from Biala-Podlasks, 12,000 from Rawa-Russka. About 9,000 were deported from Hrubiszow, 9,000 from Kosow, 8,000 from Seredyn, 7,000 from Grajew, 5,000 from Lukow, 5,000 from Zawchwost, 4,000 from Sokolow, 3,700 from Chmielnik, 3,200 from Busko, and 2,000 from Suchedinov.


The Board of Merchants Bank

The Board of Merchants Bank in Sokolow [1930]: Alter Kafowy, Hersz Kajt, Towia Cepelewicz, Szmul Boruch Słodzina, Josef Rzetelny (members), Joel Szpadel, Sabsio Goldfarb (deputy)


Renovation of Beit Midrash

In 2010 the building of former Beit Midrash was in a very bad condition. The owner considered demolition of the building. Fortunately, he decided to renew it. This building will never be Beit Midrash anymore. But at least it exist. And I'm very grateful for that. In the attic of the building there was a genizah with the book "Sha'are Tzion" written by Nathan Note Hannover and printed in 1818 in Grodno.
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011

Interview with Edna Rubenstein

Edna Rubenstein came to America in 1918 with her family. Only her brother Nachum Lewin stayed behind and perished in the Holocaust. Video by David Lewis: http://vimeo.com/62519688