Wacek Kornblum’s father Szlomo and the family of his brother Mosze

Wacek Kornblum’s father Szlomo and the family of his brother Mosze

This is my father Szlomo Kornblum with his brother Mosze’s wife and their daughters. The uncle’s wife, who’s name I don’t remember, is sitting on the chair. On the floor sits my cousin Lilian, who’s still alive and near to my father are Madelaine and Suzanne. This picture was taken in 1927, most likely in Paris.

My parents got married probably in 1921. Since I was born in 1926, I suspect they spent those few years in Warsaw and then went to Paris, where the family of my uncle, Father's brother, was living. They went there to work, because they had a place to stay there. I know that Mom died in Paris. I know she died of tuberculosis. I know that after Mom died Father gave me, a few-month-old baby, to the nuns, to some convent in Strasburg, apparently there was no one to take care of me, and probably after about half a year Father took me back and brought to Warsaw. All these memories are based on unfinished allusions, by Mom's sister, Aunt Mania Zamosc from Mszczonow, who lived in Warsaw. Some time around 1929 Dad got married the second time, to Lonia Mileband and I used to call her my mom.

Dad was a writer and he wrote a few books. It's not big literature, but it's prose with a large poetic load, so descriptions, accounts of events. He also used to write to Jewish magazines, to Folkshtime, to the newspaper Haynt, to the newspaper Radio, that was an afternoon newspaper, and to the newspaper Moment. He belonged to a Union of Jewish Writers in Warsaw, on 13 Tlomackie Street, where he used to take me to as a child, where Itzik Manger also used to come. Some of Itzik Manger's poems I remember today, and when Father took me there, I used to sit in his lap and recite. I met Itzik Manger later in Israel on 'Di Megle' show, but he was quite old then already and didn't remember anything.

When he was in Paris, he learnt how to make women's handbags. He was very good at it, he used to come up with styles himself. He had a shop that throughout various periods of life was located either in our house or in some rented apartment. For some time even in the house of Aunt Chawcia - Father helped them this way by paying rent, because they were not too well off. Father used to sell [finished] purses to various stores, on Aleje Jerozolimskie, on Marszalkowska Street, where I used to go with him often. But there were various periods, too, sometimes it was better, sometimes it was worse. [When it was] better, [Father] had three, four apprentices. 

Father had a couple of sisters and a brother. Father's older brother, Mosze, went to Paris at the beginning of the 1920s, along with his wife, who had a family there. And later they went to the United States from Paris. I don't know when he was born, but he was about four years older than my father. Uncle married a Jewish woman from Warsaw. I don't remember her name, they had three daughters. One of them, Suzi, committed suicide in Washington after the war, as a very young woman. The other two, Lilian and Madeleine, lived until not long ago, one died maybe half a year ago when she was 90 something years old, the other, who we keep in touch with from time to time, is still alive.

In the ghetto, when my parents realized we would most likely be separated Dad wrote down the address of his brother in America and I put the piece of paper with this address on it into my wallet that Dad made for me.

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