There is nothing like hearing reflections on Mlynov and Mervits in the voices of those who once lived there or who heard stories from those who had. Below is a collection of interviews and video clips from those who were born in Mlynov but immigrated to the United States before WWII or who survived the Holocaust.


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A series of conversations with people born in the small town of Mlynov and their descendants about what they remember and what Mlynov means to them and their families.


David "Sonny" Goldseker speaking about Mlynov

In this short video clip (click on the left image), David Sonny Goldseker, speaks about Mlynov and his family.

"Sonny" Goldseker was born in Mlynov in 1904 to Shiman and Anna (Fishman) Goldseker, during the wave of pogroms that began in Kishinev in 1903 and just a year before the first Russian Revolution in 1905.

He was the next to the youngest of eight children. The Goldsekers were a large well-to-do family in Mlynov. Sonny's oldest sister, Chaya (Ida Goldseker) Fishman, left Mlynov and followed her husband (and uncle) Meyer Fishman to Baltimore in January 1912. Sonny was eight years old at the time. His older brother, Morris Goldseker, left for Baltimore that same year. In 1914, his mother Anna passed away and his sister Eta stepped into the role of mothering him and his youngest brother.

It wasn't until 1923, after the war had ended, that Sonny was old enough to decide his own future and tearfully took leave of his father, and two siblings, and left Mlynov and headed for the United States. Because of tightening immigration quotas in the US at the time, it took Sonny three years before he arrived in Baltimore via a perilous journey to Uruquay and then a lengthy stay in Buenos Aires with other friends from Mlynov. His daughter, Audrey Goldseker Polt, recounts the story of Sam's extraordinary journey.

Additional Information

[1] The Family of Shimon and Anna (Fishman) Goldseker, 1906. Back row ( left to right): Eta, Ida, mother Anna, Cousin Gittel, Pearl. Front row (left to right): Bayla, Charna, Sonny (David). The youngest son, Chuna, is not yet born.


Benjamin Fishman Reflects on Photos from Mlynov

In this video clip (click on photo of Anna Fishman), Benjamin (Berel) Fishman (1902–1993) reflects on the photos of his parents as they looked when he said goodbye to them in 1920 in Mlynov when he decided to leave for America. He was 18 at the time. On a whim, at the urging of a friend (Hertz Shulman), he volunteered to fill an available spot with three other Mlynov family when they left for Baltimore. Although he did not first seek his parents' permission to go, they blessed his decision and gave him some money to support his trip. The families he joined were the Marder, Demb, and Lerner families as they made their way to Baltimore. Ben's future wife, Clara (Shulman) (1904–1990), also from Mlynov, arrived with her family in 1921 and Ben and Clara subsequently married in Baltimore.

You can also listen to a recording below of Ben's memories of Mlynov recounted when speaking to the children of Lou Demb, a first cousin of his wife, Clara. Ben actually traveled to America in 1920 with Lou Demb's mother, "Meme Baila" (Bessie Demb), and his older brother Hyman Demb. (Recording courtesy of Debbie Demb Mondell).

A year after Ben left for America, his parents, Moishe Fishman (1873–1968) and Chava (Gilden) Fishman (1880–1927), from Mlynov, and his siblings David ("Dudek") and Chuva Fishman, left for Palestine and were among the earliest founders of the Moshav Balfouria. As the first family to make aliyah from Mlynov, the Fishmans made quite a stir in town when they announced their decision.

Moshav Balfouria where they settled was founded in 1922, the third to be established in Palestine, and was named after Arthur James Balfour, who was the writer of the Balfour Declaration, which embraced Zionist plans for a Jewish "national home". According to a census conducted in 1922 by the British Mandate authorities, Balfouria had a population of 18 Jews.

Ben's brother, David, was later joined in Palestine by his first cousins Eta Goldseker and they married there. They eventually left Palestine and migrated to Baltimore.


An interview with Ezra Sherman from Mlynov

"Ezra Sherman witnessed some of the 20th century’s most transformational moments."

An extraordinary oral history witness to the events of 1939–1942, listen to Ezra Sherman's oral history interview (click photo). Ezra Sherman as a young boy of 11 survived the Nazis and made his way to Israel where he married and had children. As a journalist writes about him: "Ezra Sherman witnessed some of the 20th century’s most transformational moments. The 87-year-old survived the Holocaust, saw Auschwitz as part of a Soviet brigade, participated in the Battle of Berlin and fought in Israel’s War of Independence under Yitzhak Rabin. In Israel, he married and started a family and eventually moved to Philadelphia in the ’70s."

Ezra Sherman, was born in Mlynov, Poland, in 1931, the youngest son of Moshe and Etel (also Ester) Ganisuk (or Golysuk). His mother, Etel, was the daughter of Gershon and Hanah Schuchman from Mlynov. Ezra had three older siblings: Yafa, Yoseph and Yeheiel (b. 1922).

Ezra's mother died in 1937 from falling on the ice and the complications that resulted. In 1939, the family moved to the larger town of Dubno (9 miles away) and his father remarried. In June 1941, Ezra was out of school and back in Mlynov visiting his grandmother when the Russians first occupied the area in 1939.

In this interview, Ezra recalls some of those moments through the eyes of a young boy of ten, including his father's efforts to deal with the scarcity of food and other necessities under the Soviets, the German invasion and bombing of Mlynov, the erection of the ghetto and subsequent mass liquidation of the Jews in October 1942. As a young boy of eleven, Ezra slipped past the ghetto fence and hid in a shed to escape and eventually made his way to Israel.

The interview is captivating, not only because of Ezra's extraordinary journey, but to hear as well the Yiddish accent that reaches back to those from Mlynov.

Additional Information

Watch Ezra's Interview
Read an article about Ezra's journey
Read a transcript of the interview


Interviews with Survivors Getzel and Gerry Steinberg

George (Getzel) Steinberg and son, Gerry (Zelig), share memories of Mlynov and their survival experiences

Getzel (George) Steinberg was born in Mlynov in about 1907, son of Anshel Steinberg and Chana Malka (Lerner). He had four brothers and two sisters. When his father Anshel died suddenly from a cut on his hand following WWI, Getzel had to grow up fast. His moved into his father's occupation as a cattle dealer, which gave him a network of contacts that helped him, his wife, Pesia (Wurtzel), and his son Zelig (Gerry) survive the Shoah. In these interviews, Getzel and Zelig share their memories of Mlynov and their amazing survival storo. Getzel, Pesia, and Zelig all survived, along with Getzel's sister, Bunia (Steinberg) Upstein.

A powerful account called A Struggle To Survive, tells the Steinberg survival story, the subsequent family struggles, and their ultimate thriving and triumph. The account was written by Shoshana Baruch, the daughter of Bunya (Steinberg), who was the sister of George ( Getzel) Steinberg, whose interview appears above. The book has now been translated into English by Shoshana's brother, Hanina (Charles) Epstein, Howard I. Schwartz.

You can download the translation by right-clicking here and choosing save as....


Compiled by Howard I. Schwartz
Updated:August 2020
Copyright © 2019 Howard I. Schwartz

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