23 April 2017

In Memorium: the Moische and Munye Mazewitsky families

In honor of Yom Hashoah. A remembrance of the Mazewitsky family.

I have a few relatively rare surnames in my family. And, then, I have Mazewitsky. It's not just rare. It's nearly singular (I have seen a couple of other Mazewitsky family - or similar - USA records, but none that I can tie to my Mazewitskys). My great grandfather, Isidore, changed Mazewitsky to Morris shortly after arrival in New York City in 1906. So, none of his descendants carried the Mazewitsky name in this country.

When I first started my family history journey, my cousin, Hal, the acknowledged Morris family historian, was not aware that any of Isidore's siblings came to the USA. But, he did affirm that my great grandmother Chana Mazewitsky Garber (who died likely before 1922) was Isidore's sister (my paternal grandparents were first cousins). He also told me that Isadore and Chana had two brothers in the old country. He thought their names were Moische and Munye. Isidore's death certificate and tombstone report that his father's name had been Solomon (or, in Hebrew, Shlomo).[1]

1912 Labun Voters List
So far, no vital record or revision lists (similar to census records) have been located for my paternal families' hometown of Labun, Ukraine. A few years ago, however, Alex Dunai, a researcher in Ukraine, located the 1912 Voters' List I sought from the Zhytomyr Archive.[2] Two Mazewitskys are listed:
  • 1099 Avrum Matsevitskiy son of Shlemo
  • 1101 Moische-Elye Matsevitskiy son of Shimon 
Avrum's father's name matches Isadore's. Moische's first name matches what Hal told me. While Shlomo and Shimon are not the same name, it is possible that one was recorded incorrectly. It is just not possible to know from this record alone.

Neither Avrum nor Moische are listed in Kniga Skorboti or Yad Vashem. 

The following Mazewitskys are listed in Kniga Skorboti [3]:
  • David, son of Avrum, b. 1908
  • Shmul, son of Avrum, b. 1911
  • Leah Weisman, daughter of Monia Mazewsitsky, b. 1895
  • Brucha, daughter of Leib
  • Ensya, daughter of David, b. 1935
  • Tzila, daughter of David, b. 1938
David Weisman, a Shoah survivor and Israeli resident, submitted Pages of Testimony to Yad Vashem in 1999 for three Mazewitsky family members from Labun [4]
  • Shmulik, son of Monia and Tzipa, husband of Sonya, b. 1915
  • Sonya Weisman Mazewitsky, daughter of Leib, married to Shmulik, and 
  • Aron, their son, born in 1935 or 1938
Of interest, is a similar listing in Kniga Skorboti. Shmul, married to Sonya and with a preschooler son Aron, is listed as the son of Avrum. It appears that Avrum and Monia were the same person. It is not unusual for Jewish people to have two names - one in the vernacular (often used for legal purposes) and another for religious purposes.

I am not sure who Brucha was. Her entry in Kniga Skorboti says she was a housewife. But, there is no year of  birth, husband's name or maiden name listed.

Actions against Jewish residents of Labun resulted in two mass burials in the forests near Labun (see here and here) in 1941. Some residents were interred in the ghetto established in Polonnoye. Most did not escape death by their captors.

Save for those who left Europe before World War II and came to the United States, I am unaware of any Mazewitskys who survived the Shoah. They were all members of my family. Here it is my Mazewitsky family as I currently know it.  

For those whose lives were cut short:
may their memories be a blessing.

1. New York County, New York, death certificate no. 12512 (1947), Isidore Morris, 22 December 1947; Municipal Archives, New York City.
2. Labun, Izyaslav Raion, Khmelnitskiy Oblast, Ukraine, 1912 Voter List; State Archive of Zhitomir, Fond 502.
   A short note on Voters' Lists in the Russian Empire (this summary is taken from Harry Boonin's Belarus Special Interest Group post). In response to increasing unrest, the Czar allowed creation of the Duma - a parliament. Duma Voters' Lists, showing those eligible to vote, were published in newspapers. Basic criteria for voting eligibility was males who were at least 24 years old. Additional criteria included payment of taxes and guild and professional membership.
3. Kniga Skorboti Ukraine, Khmelnitsky Oblast, volume 2 (Khmelnitsky, 2003).
   The multi-volume Kniga Skorboti [Book of Sorrows] used Ukrainian archival records to build lists of Shoah victims. Volume 2, which includes communities in the Kh'melnitskyy oblast, contains long lists of Labun and Polonnoye residents murdered during Nazi occupation.
4. Pages of Testimony for Mazewitsky from Labun, "The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names," Yad Vashem (http://www/yadvashem.org : accessed January 2011).
From the pages submitted by David Weissman, it appears he was Sonya Weisman Mazewitsky's nephew (her brother's son).

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