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I
łża (Drildz), Poland
About Us


We are the sons and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters of Jewish Ilza. Ilza was called Drildz in Yiddish, so we are Drildzers. Our families left Poland in the first decades of the last century for life in a new world. Most went to Canada or the United States, while some found themselves in Brazil or France.

In 1934, eleven men who had emigrated to Toronto founded the Drildzer Congregation and Society. Today, they remained a well-connected and active community with over 150 current members..

Fittingly, it was in Toronto that another group of Drildzers assembled in August 2002 at the 22nd IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy. Our intent was to create a broader-based community of Drildz descendants. In the months following the conference, we used the internet and JewishGen resources to locate more landsmen around the world.

Several members of this newly-established Drildzer network had visited Ilza and found the Jewish cemetery there decimated and in disarray. In December 2002, they visited Toronto and proposed that the cemetery be restored. The Drildzer Congregation and Society immediately adopted the project. Over the next four years, they provided the leadership and major financing for the Ilza Historical Cemetery Restoration Project

While the cemetery restoration was in progress, we developed a relationship with the local high school in Ilza. The Feldman Family Awards were created to honor students who wrote essays, poems and stories about Jewish life in Ilza.


After four years of hard work, the cemetery restoration was completed. In 2006, nineteen of us, from
Toronto, New York and Rio De Janeiro, traveled to Poland for the Ilza Cemetery Rededication Trip. We spent eight days together, touring Jewish sites in Warsaw, Treblinka, Krakow and Auschwitz. The highlight of the trip was a visit to Ilza on May 22nd for the rededication of the Ilza Jewish Cemetery and a ceremony presenting the 2006 Feldman Family Awards.

We Drildzers continue to stay connected and hope to find new members of our community. Are you a Drildzer? Please contact us at drildz@gmail.com .




Copyright 2009-2017 Barbara Sontz                                                                     Last Updated:  October 8, 2017
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