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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk Families Stories and Pictures


The Pyenson Family

This information was donated by LRP.

My grandfather, David Pyenson (spelled Paienson/Paiensohn in Yiddish or Paenson/ Paensohn in cyrillic) immigrated to the US in 1905. He brought 1 brother (Liewik) here in 1907 and his father (Yankel or Jacob)/mother (Musche), 2 sisters (Broche and Friede) and 1 brother (Henach) here in 1910. Their address circa 1900 is listed as: Chashniki, Lepel d, Vitebsk p., Riga.

I suspect the change in spelling of the family name to Pyenson was made phoenetically by US immigration officials when my grandfather arrived in 1905.

I do not know the specific names of relatives who stayed in Latvia/Russia after my grandfather and great-grandfather came to the US or if my great-grandfather had any brothers or sisters, although my great-grandfather is rumored to have had a twin brother.

While many relatives perished in the Holocaust, I believe some survived in Russia and Israel according to recently available information from the Yad Vashem and Jewish Gen websites plus Google searches of variations on the family name: Paienson, Paiensohn, Paenson, Paensohn, and Pajenson.

Below is a wedding photo of my grandfather (David Pyenson) and my grandmother (Rebecca Golub). They were married here in the US in 1905. They met while my grandfather attended an agronomy school in Minsk.

David & Rebecca

Below is a photo taken in 1904 of my grandfather's school class in Minsk. He is the student sitting on the ground on the left.


Below is a copy of a letter written in yiddish describing the school photograph that he sent to a Brooklyn, New york yiddish newspaper, The Day, in 1950. I do not know why he did not want his name used as a contributor of the photograph.

Note in Yiddish on the back of David Pyenson's (spelled Paenson/Paiensohn in Cyrillic & Yiddish) school graduation photo, as sent to THE DAY (a Yiddish newspaper published in Brooklyn) in 1950.


Below is an english translation of the letter.

Translated by Tina Lunson, Takoma Park MD on July 20, 2003.

"This is the first group of students with their teachers who graduated in 1904 from the Agronomy School in Minsk, founded in 1900 by VEKO and disbanded in 1908.

Listed below are the names of the teachers and students.

First row top standing, right to left:
1) Agricultural teacher (a gentile)

2) Povembrowski
3) Fridland
4) Pasvianski
5) Rogenov
6) Dikman
7) Gurevits
8) Kreslav

Sitting on the ground:
9) Baflan (right)
10) Paenson (left)

Middle row sitting:
4th from the right: Emanuel Moyesevitsh Khaykin, superintendent of the school and teacher of Agronomy
9th from right: Yefim Abramovitsh, ag. and teacher
10th from right: Rep. From St. Petersberg VEKO

The others are members of the school trustees. All are Minsk businessmen.

In uniform is a rep from the Russian government.