Herman Storick was born in Brooklyn, New York on June 26th, 1929. His mother Rayzel Michałowska was born in Jeleniewo, Poland at an unknown date. In 1912 Reyzel emigrated from Poland to New York.
Herman Storick was always interested in Jeleniewo because it was the homeland of his mother. He visited Poland for the first time in 1989, an experience that he described as ‘sad’ because he had no family remaining there.
After his first visit, Herman Storick decided to restore the Jewish cemetery in the village with the help of his wife Cecilia, the village priest Father Władysław Podeszwik, guide Krzysztof Malczewski, Jan Jagielski from the Jewish Historical Institute, and other locals. The renovated cemetery, which had become decrepit in the decades after the Second World War, was inaugurated in 1992 in a ceremony attended by over 70 people from the village.
Recording circumstances description
Interview was recorded at POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.
1. Mother’s background and her family from Jeleniewo (01:19)
2. Fate of cousins who remained in Jeleniewo during the war (05:00)
3. Immigration voyage of Reyzel Michałowska from Jeleniewo to New York (08:15)
4. Uncle Moshe Aron’s departure to Kalvaria, Lithuania, and his subsequent arrest by the Nazis (09:24)
5. Parents’ meeting in New York (10:33)"
6. Mother’s voyage to the United States and her first years in America (11:37)
7. Languages spoken at home (14:38)
8. Aunt Chana, anti-Semitism in Jeleniewo (15:48)
9. Motivation to go to Poland for the first time (20:20)
10. First visit to Jeleniewo in 1989, decision to restore the local cemetery (21:57)
11. Description of the monument in the Jewish cemetery in Jeleniewo (24:52)
12. The ceremony to unveil the new monument in the Jewish cemetery (26:10)
13. Mr. and Mrs. Naum Adelson, the last Jews who remained in Suwałki (28:28)
14. Preservation efforts for the cemetery, including work with FODZ (Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland) (29:32)
15. Wacława Sznurkowska from Jeleniewo and her Jewish friend who was deported during the war (32:58)
16. Tanya Katzir (maiden name Lis) from Suwałki, deportation to Kazakhstan, marriage, meeting her first husband in Israel (38:30)
17. Image of Poland as an anti-Semitic country (40:44)
18. Concern about coming to Poland before first trip in 1989, The Suwalki-Lomza Interest Group for Jewish Genealogists (43:57)