Krzywcza Home Page
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Photo © 2010

Compiled by
Joy Kestenbaum

Copyright © 2016-2017
Joy Kestenbaum


GravestoneKrzywcza Boys in
                          cheder in Krzywcza. First Krzywcza Am
                        San cup
 © 2010 Joy Kestenbaum, photographer Courtesy of Joseph Weiss
Courtesy of Michael Hertzberg

This website is dedicated to the memory of the Jewish community of Krzywcza and to the history of the families from the town. Those with ancestors from Krzywcza live in many locations throughout the world. Formerly in western Galicia in the Austrian Empire, Krzywcza is the seat of the Gmina Krzywcza, a rural administrative district in Przemyśl County (Powiat Przemyski), Subcarpathian Province (Podkarpackie Voivodeship) in southeastern Poland. 
  • Location: Poland, 49°48' N 22°33' E, 11.9 miles (19.2 km) west of Przemyśl, near the border with Ukraine; 151 miles (243 km) east of Krakow, 182 miles (293 km) SSE of Warsaw
  • Other Names: Krzywcza [Pol], Kriftch [Yid], Krzywcza nad Sanem, Krzywcza an San, Krzywcza am San, Krzywcze, Kshivcha, Krivich
  • Nearest Large City: Przemyśl, 11.9 miles east of Krzywcza

VERKHNEYE KRIVCHE, UKRAINE (Krzywcze Górne, Krivtsch) 48°42' N 26°07' E
KRIVICHI, BELARUS (Krzywcze, Krivtsch)  54°43' N, 27°17' E

Please contact Joy Kestenbaum for comments or contributions.

Photo © 2010
Joy at
                      Krzywca bus stop.

Please contact Joy Kestenbaum for comments or contributions.
Compiled by Joy Kestenbaum (
Copyright © 2016 Joy Kestenbaum
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Many thanks to Krzysztof (Chris) Malczewski and Elzbieta (Ella) Kwapisz, who accompanied me to Krzywcza in the summer of 2010 and led us to our serendipitous meeting with Piotr Haszczyn, local historian knowledgeable about the history of Krzywcza, including its Jewish past. Piotr guided us on an afternoon tour in which we discussed where some of the Jewish families had lived and the location of the site of the destroyed synagogue. Piotr has developed a website on Krzywcza and its three cultures, Polish Catholic, Ukrainian Greek Catholic, and Jewish. Krzysztof, Elzbieta and I also undertook research on Krzywcza at the Polish State Archives in Przemyśl. My thanks also to Lukasz Biedka for introducing me to journalist Jacek Szwic, whom I met with Lukasz in Przemyśl, and to Gustava Weiner, nee Rosner, with whom I corresponded. I thank Betty Amara, who first contacted me through JewishGen's Family Finder a few months after my return from Poland and Krzywcza and her subsequent visit, for her friendship and to Betty, Joseph Weiss, Chet Ringel, Laurie Margolies, Judi Kirk, June B. Backer and Elaine Gordon for contributing photographs and sharing information about their families. Fortunately, my late father told me that my paternal grandfather David Kestenbaum, for whom my brother was named, was from Krzywcza and had ties to Przemyśl, which has been supported through research, and provided me with the names of his aunts, uncles and cousins. (I had met only one of his paternal aunts, Regina, and three of his first cousins on that side.) Unfortunately, I never followed up with his suggestion to speak with his older cousin Leo Kestenbaum to inquire about our family history, for much later I learned that Leo had been the last president of the First Krzywcza Am San Sick & Benevolent Ass'n and had donated some of its records to YIVO Institute for Jewish Research. Later research informed me that my grandfather and two of his brothers, including Leo's father, were among the landsmanschaft's founders and first directors. My first visit to the society's cemetery plots at Beth David Cemetery was for the funeral of Leo's wife Vicki, who died in 1991, when I met some of my Kestenbaum cousins for the first time. Since then I have visited the cemetery, where my paternal grandparents are buried, numerous times. Additionally, Betty asked me to find Joseph Weiss, her relation, who shared photographs and personal memories with me and connected me with his cousin, whose mother was a close friend of my paternal great-aunt Regina in Krzywcza and remained so after they both immigrated to New York. They are buried near each other in the Krzywcza plots at Beth David. More recently Betty put me in contact with Laurie Margolies, the granddaughter of Regina Weiss Bessen, my great-aunt Regina's close friend from Krzywcza. During the past ten years I've also located and connected with my second cousins Michael Hertzberg, Susan Ullman Z"L, and Gail Odoherty and have also identified through research and connected with a few third cousins and have explored DNA testing. Michael, Susan and Gail also shared family photographs. I have also learned more about the Rymanow branch of the Kestenbaum family through Malka Shacham Doron, with whom I first corresponded through JewishGen's Family Finder and later met in Rymanow in 2010 and in Israel in 2015; in Israel I also met Betty, as well as the daughter-in-law and grandsons of one of my father's Kestenbaum cousins, the only one in her family to have survived the Shoah, as she managed to leave Poland before the start of World War II. 

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