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Poliakov/Poliakoff Family of Berdyansk


The Poliakov family of Berdyansk (ca 1905?)

The youngest of 13 children, Chanan(ia) (Chonon), is in the middle of the bottom row.

He is flanked on both sides by the offspring of his (older) brothers/sisters.

In the middle of the row above are his parents, Girsch Aharonovitz (son of Aharon) (Hebrew name : Shabtai, Yiddish : Shabshe) and Tuva (Tova) Leibovna (daughter of Leib).



Family Leibowitz (Lubavitsch?)

Mazeikiai, Lithuania



(above:) The Leibowitz (Lubavitsch) family of Mazeikiai (Mozeik, in Yiddish) Lithuania. During the First World War, the Leibowitz family took refuge in Berdyansk, Ukraine. There they came into contact with the Poliakov's. At the end of the war, Chanan (back row, right) left with them when they returned to their hometown, Mazeikiai, and subsequently married one of the 5 daughters, my grandmother, Tzirre (later, Celia), next to him in the picture.
Mid 1920s, Chanan left for South Africa from Mazeikiai, Lithuania. Tzirre joined him with their two children, in 1927.
Nothing was ever heard again from any other members of the Poliakov family (top picture).
Their fate remains a mystery to this day. Chanan never spoke of his brothers and sisters. None of his children or grandchildren ever knew any of their names.
Recently, it has come to light that name of the figure in the top picture, back row, second from the right, is Chanan's eldest brother Leib. The woman next to him is (probably) his wife Rivka.


Information furnished by

Chaim Freedman,

Petah Tikvah, Israel, genealogist and author, published here with his permission


Freedman's maternal grandfather Shlomo Zalmen Komesaroff (Originally Komisaruk) (1886-1958) is holding the hat. His wife Khana Reizel (1887-1955) stands behind him. Also in the picture are their friends Leib and Rivka Poliakov (Polyakov). The picture was taken ca 1913, on the eve of the the Komesaroffs' departure for Australia.



A picture of the 5 Poliakov brothers, Berdyansk 
Chanan is at the very bottom. From a recently translated document, it has come to light that Chanan was born on the 28th February, 1893, in Gulyaipole. 
Leib is at the top.
It seems that over the years, the name of one other brother was mentioned : Yasha (Hebrew : Yoseph). However, it is unknown which brother was Yasha. Chanan passed away on the 5th November, 1971, in Johannesburg, South Africa.


Chanan Poliakov became known as Alex (Chanan) Poliak, in South Africa (Vryburg, Northern Cape,  later Johannesburg). He is survived by one son, Archie, and two daughters,  Shulamith (Lamie) and Helen.
The above web-page is the result of collaboration between
Archie Poliak, son to Chanan, who lives in Israel : archede@netvision.net.il
and Raymond Ravinsky, grandson to Chanan, also living in Israel :
New information, questions, ideas can be e-mailed to either or both of the above.
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Research Contact: Chaim Freedman
This page maintained by Max Heffler
Updated Thursday March 07 2024. Copyright 1999 [Jewish Agricultural Colonies of the Ukraine]. All rights reserved.



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