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 Postcards from Home 



Czestochowa Cemetery

Family members gather around the gravesite of Felicja Engel, who passed away the year before.

A bit of family history from grandson Jan Engel:
Felicja (Fajga) ENGEL was the daughter of Laib MONIC and Roza (nee BOEHM). Laib was a furrier in Sieradz, Poland.  Felicja was born in 1852, probably in Sieradz and died in Czestochowa on the 24th October, 1935.  As a young boy, I remember attending her funeral.

There is an interesting story about her and her husband, Moses (Mojsze) ENGEL, my grandfather.  Moses ENGEL came from a strictly orthodox Jewish family, from Stawiszyn and Radomsko.  He was in the somewhat unusual
business for a Jew in those days of owning or renting forests and selling wood for lumber.  When his first wife died at a young age, leaving him with eight children, he married Felicja MONIC.  They had five more children which can be seen in the photograph above.  One of these was my father, Adam ENGEL.  Felicja came from an assimilated Jewish family.

Moses ENGEL introduced a novel concept (at least for Poland) at the time. For each tree sold for lumber from his forest near Belchatow, he planted a new tree.  About the turn of the century, the Tsar became aware of this and invited Moses and Felicja to come to St. Petersburg to obtain a special award.  There was some related publicity in the newspapers, which caused a significant conflict in the Jewish community in Russian-occupied Poland. The orthodox felt that no Jew should accept any awards from the feared Russian Tsar, whereas the assimilated Jews supported such earned acceptance hoping for greater acceptance of the Jews.  Eventually, my grandparents did go to St Petersburg, arriving at the Tsar's court in a special 'doroszka' (horse and carriage), and received their award.  The incident, however, caused a severe split in our family, which took many years to repair.

I assume that these photos were taken at the unveiling.  The man standing on the far left has been recognized as the Rev. Abraham FISZEL, the chazen at the New Synagogue at the time.  The expression 'z MONICOW' on the monument is the Polish for 'from the MONIC (family)'."





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