In 2018, under the name “From Białowieża to Israel, from Israel to Białowieża,” I continued to study the history of the Jewish community in Białowieża. On May 7 – 15, I visited Israel, where I met the descendants of the Lerenkind and Halperin families and interviewed the oldest of them – Jael Peer and Dvora Lev-Tov, daughters of Szejna (Jaffa) Halperin from Białowieża and Amir Berger, grandson of Matilda Lerenkind from Białowieża. I visited the Moshav Kfar Jehoshua, and the house where Szejna Halperin lived there. I visited the cemeteries where Szejna and Chaja Halperin and Matilda Lerenkidn are buried. I met also with Gali Michaeli, grandson of Awigajil Reines Michaeli from Bialowieza and visited her grave at kibbutz Jagur. I also conducted researches in the archives of Yad Vashem and the archive in Beit Hatfutsot – Museum of the Jewish Nation (formerly the Diaspora Museum).
The interviews with Yael Peer, Dvora Lev Tov and Amir Berger can be found on the subpages on the Halperin and Lerenkind families in the Families tab. Descriptions of the fate of these families have also been extended to include all gathered information. Minor data on other families that result from interviews or research in the archives has been included to the appropriate subpages of the Museum.
Thanks to a one of the document of Lerenkind’s family it was also possible to discover the name of another person from Białowieża. This is Lejb Mentus, who lived on Zastawa Street. The telegram with wishes from Baumfler from Siemiatycze, preserved in the family archives of Amir Berger is probably the only trace after him. The text is: “I wish you happiness to a young couple”.
The project received funding from the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute of Poland.