Roots in Poland

Roots in Poland

"Researching the origin of the Fuks family became interesting the day we found a small clue!"

When we searched in the JewishGen database after Ber's mother "Feiga Fuks", there was a city that perhaps was the former address or possibly the native city of Poland before Lodz, Konstantynow (see picture below). There is a city Konstantynow which is located a few kilometres west of Lodz and also an area Konstantynow Lódzki which is also located west of the city of Lodz.

Excerpt from the JewishGen on Ber's mother "Feiga Fuks". Note "Konstantynow" under the "Residence / Address" column. This was where we found the first clue.

This little hint made it interesting to search for his relatives. To search in Polish archives is not the same as searching in Swedish or many other countries for that matter. First and foremost, we have the language difficulties and, secondly, the archives themselves are rather inadequate. In addition, there are many documents in their large archives in the area around and in the city of Lodz that have not yet been digitalized. The reason seems to be the lack of volunteers willing to do the job as well as financially. Many changes in power have also taken place in Poland and the archives may have been destroyed or tampered with along the way. The archive we searched in was JRI (Jewish Records Indexing - Poland), which is a non-commercial and voluntary organization for the purpose of preserving the Jewish origins and descent for the aftermath. This archive and database are included as part of all JewishGen databases. Another reason why we started to looking further in to the Fuks family's roots was that Ber had told his children that his father and mother were cousins. This made it quite interesting to determine as well as which of the previous generations that were close relatives. Through the work and the search, we noticed that not much was written about a person's both parents in the documents, in most cases only the father was mentioned. The origin of a mother or what her surname was before she got married becomes a lot more difficult or almost impossible. What we took advantage of on most occasions were the first name with the birth year and the valuable address Wolborska 19 apartment 10. Sometimes this wasn't always viable but if you were open and checking all the possibilities you can sometimes find what you were looking for after a while. Mendel's ancestors were quite easy to find. Feigas, on the other hand, has been significantly harder in view of what has been mentioned above. We have not found much about her parents but Ber's sibling Ester Malka Apelewitz wrote to the Israeli authorities and Yad Vashem in 1956 has been valuable. In JRI, none of Feigas parents are mentioned and we have looked at many different variants. We have, however, found a handwritten card archive in JRI from Lodz dating from 1916 to 1921. A few years ago we did not find much, but new listings are coming all the time so the family tree can grow if we continue to look. We have found some, but in many cases it is not possible to determine to one hundred percent that it was the right people we found. What we found is described below and if we were not sure we have tried to be clear about mentioning it. At the same time it was interesting and a lot of human death was described there in the database. Childhood mortality, for example, was terrible to read about but with medical care in the 19th century, it was not that strange. A simple cold could then end with death and a tragedy for the family. For example, we read about a family who also called Fuks from a small town in Poland where they first got a daughter who died only 3 months old. The following year, they had twins, one died 5 months old and the other twin another 2 months later. They had 3 children who died in less than 3 years. What family tragedy and they were far from alone. There were a lot of families who had experienced the same horrifying fate.

What we found on Bers father's side, ie. Mendel Fuks, is that he was born in a city called Tuszyn Poland in 1886 and his father was called Abe Fuks. Abe Fuks was born in 1863 in the city of Tuszyn (or Rzewa, both cities in the archives have been mentioned). He married a woman called Hinda Skorkowska (also found in JRI with the first names Chendla and Laia) and it is stated on the Lodz registry that she was from the city of Szadek in Poland. All we found about Hinda was she was born around 1864 and her father was called Ber Skorkowski. Abe and Hinda got five children where Mendel was the oldest. They lived on Wolborska street 19 apartment 20 and if it sounds familiar it's because Ber and his family was living at the same address later before and during the war. Abe is present in the city of Lodz archives with information about his occupation. The following text is about Abes profession from 1928 "The sale of dairy products. Wolborska street 19, owner Abe Fuks". One of Mendel's younger siblings died only 14 years old in 1919. Abe died before the war in Lodz 1938 75 years old while Hinda died 1940 in the ghetto 76 years old. Abes father Lajzer Fuks (also known as Lejb, Leib and with a second name Wolf) and was born in 1824, also in the city of Tuszyn. Abes mother was called Mindle Rozenblat and born around 1829 in Belchatow. We could not find any parent to Lajzer or Mindle. Lajzer and Mindle married 1849 in Belchatow and they had at least 2 children together, Abe and Fajga, as well as possibly Szmul (Feiga's father) born 1861 and died somewhere between 1896 and 1916. Feiga's youngest sibling (also called Szmul) was born in Lodz in 1896 and the reason that he was born in Lodz may have been that his father's disease or death there that year (Szmul, Feiga's father, cannot logically die earlier than 9 months before his youngest child's birth in 1896). None of the information about Szmul (Feiga's father) mentioned here has been confirmed and here we have discussed the subject as well, and made some puzzling and assumptions. There were quite a lot of people named Szmul Fuks in the area around Lodz at the time. Looking at the name Szmul Fuks throughout Poland on JRI, you get 1139 hits and around Lodz 280 hits. We do not want to limit ourselves because we haven't found other relatives outside of the Lodz area. The fact that there are holes in the archives over the years around his possible birth does not facilitate the search. Fajga (Abe’s sister) was born in 1853 but died only 11 years old 1864 in the town of Czolcyn. Lajzer died 1875 51 years old in Czolcyn while Mindle died 1886 53 years old in Lodz.

Google map with key citys and places mensioned in this site about Ber Fuks and his family, a new tab will open (1824 - 1945)

As for the city of Konstantynow, which was described in the JewishGen about Feiga Fuks above, we found useful information. Feiga's mother Szejndla Tieger was described with Feiga and her 4 siblings (see the City Register Card above). This registry card is from Lodz and written sometime between 1916 and 1921. Probably from 1916 because Feiga is registered as 28 years old and in 1916 she was 28 years old. Szejndla was born around 1863 in the town of Leczycy (north of Lodz and on the City Register Card she was 52 years old. She died in Lodz July 27, 1928, 63 years old. Her father was called Lemel Tieger (possibly Tygier) and there seems that there aren't many Tieger in Lodz before World War II, but a lot of Tygier. We also searched throughout Poland and possibly found a brother to Szejndla called Henoch with a father named Lemel Tygier. The brother died in the ghetto 1940 70 years old. On the City Register Card above, nothing is mentioned about Szmul Fuks (Feiga's father) more than a note. One reason may be that he was already deceased, possibly before 1916. His last child (his name was also Szmul) was born around 1896. Somewhere between 1896 and 1916 Szmul must have died. We searched the databases mentioned on the page "Information Collection" of the deceased in Lodz and found two candidates. One died in 1897 and a 1907. Impossible to know about any of them since it was only the names and the year they died that was mentioned. Like everyone else in the immediate family, Szejndla Fuks (Tieger) also lived at Wolborska 19 apartment 20.

Above, we mention that Bers parents were cousins. Of what we found to date, Mendel's parents were called Abe Fuks and Hinda Skorkowska, and Feiga's parents were called Szmul Fuks and Szejndla Tieger. If you go after the surnames (Fuks), Abe and Szmul would be the two who may be related or even siblings. Unfortunately, nothing about this can be found in the databases on the internet. However, we see it as the only possibility. Should we find evidence of this assumption we will of course write this here. From here there was no more information that had been secured to members of the Fuks family. However, we are fully convinced that there was a large family and relatives in Lodz with the surrounding area. Therefore, we will continue to look into the databases for more information. Also, we would like to visit the archives in Lodz. We also know that parts of the archive have not yet been digitized, which means that sooner or later we will find more information about the Fuks family.

Ett förenklat släktträd för familjen Fuks.

A simplified family tree for the Fuks family

We have assumed that Abe and Szmul were siblings even though we did not find any evidence. If Ber’s parents Mendel and Feiga were cousins, this was the only possible option.