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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk Families Stories and Pictures


The Bedeman Family

This information was donated by MG1

In 1902 our grandfathers came to England from Gorodok with their mother and father and sisters. The original family name was Bederov, but became Bedeman in England. The family consisted of our great-grandfather Menashe (Morris) Itskevitch Bederov Halevi, his wife Malka Zaboshinska, my grandfather Gershon (Harry), Trevor's grandfather Zalman (Solly), and their sisters Chava (Eva), Dwoshe, Chana (Annie) and Rosa. I eventually learnt through research that their was another brother called Mendel who remained in Russia. We also learnt that Menashe had a brother Michael Itskevitch Bederov, married to Mariasha Chaimovna Spekterova from the town of Nevel (it seems that it was common for men from Gorodok to marry women from Nevel). So we realised that we had a great uncle and his family who had remained in Russia. We also learnt that Menashe and Michael's father (our great-great grandfather) was Itsko (Isaac) Menashevitch Bederov who had been drafted into the Czarist army around 1830 at the age of 13, presumably as a so-called "cantonist". It seems that he returned 25 years later to Gorodok having been trained as a doctor in the army. He was given some land and the title "Barin". According to records in the Minsk Archives he built a house at No 10 Naberezhnaya Street. Menashe (his son) was according to family folklore a chemist in Gorodok before coming to England.

According to British Special Branch reports recently released, my grandfather Gershon (Harry) went back to Gorodok in August 1917, he said, to join the provisional army of Kerensky. However, by this time the provisional army had almost disbanded. He remained in Russia a while (I remember that he told me that he had been working as a cab driver at the railway station) but then at the end of 1918 he made his way to Odessa and then to Istanbul. Following this he got to Salonica and joined the British Army Pay Corp. In June 1919 he was discharged from the army and he was granted a free passage to Instanbul and then on the SS Partridge to Malta. From there he stowed away on a steamer and was discovered in a half-starved condition at Gibraltar. He was then put in prison for 14 days and then deported to England, arriving in London 10th August 1919. There is a story that before the war Gershon used to send money back to Russia for an old uncle (presumably Michael) but eventually discovered that he had died many years earlier and no-one had admitted it. As a result he cut all contacts with the family back in Russia! I have also learnt that Genya Bederova (probably Michael's daughter) came to England in the 1960's looking fro Gershon Bederov but unfortunately did not find him as she did not realise that his name was now Harry Bedeman.

Bedeman Family

As a result of the information obtained so far about this family, Trevor and I decided to make a short visit to Gorodok to see our grandfathers' home town and perhaps where they lived.

For further information please see:Vitebsk Districts and Towns Gorodok and/or