Trip to Ukraine

 by "Susan Goodman "

 Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005 19:15:58 -0500

To Whom it May Concern:

    I welcome the opportunity to communicate some of my experiences in the event that they might be of assistance to others.

    My husband and I visited Dnepropetrovsk and Zaporozhye in July, 2004.was searching for information about my father's family. HIAS had informed me about the family's arrival in Ellis Island in l9l3, which helped fix the parameters of their dates in Aleksandrovsk (Zaporozhye).
I was fortunate to find impressive family records in the city's central archive, including synagogue books recording the dates of birth, brit and naming of each of my fathers 7 siblings. In addition the archive located school registration for my father, military call-up for his eldest brother , location of the Tumarkin house, as well as their coal business, status in the community, etc. This, despite people telling us that records before 1943 had been destroyed. Completely new to mewas the fact that my grandparents were not originally from Aleksandrovsk but came from Mohilev to Aleksandrovsk in about 1891 .

    All of this worked because we got in touch with the local archivist in Zaporozhye through the intervention of someone in the Dnepropetrovsk Jewish community. This gave my request legitimacy, and when I arrived in Zaporozhye, the archivist had already spent a few weeks researching the documents that were waiting for us when we reached the Archive. The synagogue archives that have been saved are now housed in the State Archives of the Zaporozhye Region. The material here spans the years1774 to 1993. This means that the religious and civil records can be researched at the same location.

    What also helped and might have been unique is that I had 8 documents from my grandfather's coal business in Aleksandrovsk from the first decadeof the 20th century. I scanned and sent these by e-mail to our contact in Dnepropetrovsk. He personally took them to Zaporozhye before our arrival and was in regular contact with the archive staff to check on progress. The documents I sent them included letters on the family's business letterhead to officials in St. Petersburg and elsewhere, with the address of my grandfather's business, and calling cards with identifying information, etc.

    I realize that each search is unique and will depend upon the availability of information before archivists in Ukrainian cities caneven begin their search. Please note that because of lack of funds the archives themselves are not computerized, . Any search must be done by hand, a painstakingly slow process.

    The Director of the State Archive in Zaporozhye is Aleksander SergeevichTedeev. He does not speak English but was extremely helpful andsympathetic to my search. The archive address is 48 Ukrainska Street,69095, Zaporozhye. e-mail:

    The Chabad Rabbi in Zaporozhye is Rabbi Nahum Erentroi. He has created an impressive network within the Jewish community and with the assistance of JDC, there is a Jewish school system beginning with the youngest children. He is most gracious to visitors and we had an enlightening Shabbat dinner at his home. The Chabad Rabbi Schmuel Kamenetsky of the newly-restored central synagogue in Dnepropetrovsk also welcomed us for lunch on Shabbat, where we learned about their multi-faceted Jewish community program funded locally and by JDC.

    I hope this is of some interest and, if I can be of assistance to anyoneelse, will be happy to provide whatever information I have.

Susan Tumarkin Goodman




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