Year when photo was taken:1955Country name at time of photo:PolandCountry name today:Poland
That’s the certificate documenting my name change from Israel Jozef Ajgenberg to Stanislaw Wierzba. I changed my name in 1955.
After my 18th birthday it was time to get an ID card. Where would I get a birth certificate? So I told them: Wierzba Stanislaw, born in such and a place, and I didn't say 'Radomsko,' but I said 'Radom,' no idea how that came to me, and I mentioned a monastery where I was baptized. They sent out these documents, and the managers arranged for the so called kenkartas for us. They got one for each kid as soon as we turned 18, because there were quite a few cases similar to me, not in being Jewish, but in not having a family, homeless, there were lots of us like that.
My last name? In the mechanical workshop where I worked in Radomsko there was this fellow, his name was Stanislaw Wierzba, and so now I just took his name. Just like that, for no special reason. And when I got into the orphanage, I was immediately sent to work, along with all the other boys of 16, 17. I was directed to a mechanical workshop and I stared to work there, I became the helper of the turner, and since I was quick to learn, I was soon working independently. I got paid, and I had to contribute part of my pay to the orphanage. The people working in the orphanage would come to check on us, and the director would come and he would always ask how I was behaving, and he would always be told nothing but praise, because I was trying the best I could.
I needed a birth certificate, and I got the original one out of Radomsko. They had the documents I needed, and those of my siblings, all of that was there. For whatever reason, my mother had waited four years, till 1929, to take care of the formalities, though I was born in 1925.
Later I came to Warsaw and I wanted to make it all legal, to keep the name I had chosen for myself. I went through the courts, hired an attorney who took care of it all, so I didn't even need to show up in court, I just got their decision, here it is, partly handwritten. No, I did not want to change my name. It wouldn't have been a good idea to return to my real name. After all, I had spent half of my life in the military. When the lawyer asked about the names of my mother and father, I told him it was just like in the birth certificate. But in the kenkarta it was a whole other story: Adam and Felicja. My mother's name was Fajga, starts with an 'f', so I said to myself - why not make it Felicja. I said to the lawyer: keep the last names the way they are in the kenkarta. So it is only the last name that I changed. The birth date, all that is according to the old version.