Szpic family archive
Archive of the Harriet Jedwab family
Hersz Szpic and Estera Wajsfisz married in 1910 in the synagogue in Ryki. They lived in a tenement house at 16 Grodzka Street in Lublin, near the Lublin branch of the Wajsfisz family living in a tenement at Grodzka 7. They had three daughters: Serka, Szajndla and Anka and son Szmul. Hersz owned a dairy shop at ul. Lubartowska. Anka studied dentistry at the University of Reims. She returned to Lublin, married Arthur Syrkin and gave birth in 1937 to a son Samek. Szajndla also studied dentistry at the University of Nancy. There, she met Janek (Abraham Jakob) Jedwab, a student from a Jewish family living in Kalisz, where they fell in love.
In 1939, the whole family spent a holiday in Domaczewo on the Bug (now Belarus). Shortly after the outbreak of the war, the family split up. Estera with Szajndla and Szmul escaped under cover of night to the Soviet Union, while Hersz with Anka, Serka and Sameczek stayed in Lublin. Artur Syrkin stayed with his family first in Kosovo Poleski and later with his sister Klara in Krynki. Both towns were outside the General Government.
In 1940 Estera, together with Szejndla and Szmul, were sent to a labor camp in Kojgorodok (Koygorodok), in the Komi Republic, in the north of Russia, where they worked in the forest felling trees. Hersz with his daughters and grandson still lived in a tenement at Grodzka 16 Street. He continued working in his dairy, which went under the German board and store. The Szpic family kept living at Grodzska 16, even after the creation of the ghetto in Lublin. More Jews were also billeted to them. Serka worked in a store at Lubartowska Street for half a day and then took care of the house. Anka was involved in raising her son; she was often the author of the letters. Family members writing letters and postcards, mainly in Polish, tried to get information on the location of other family members and seek help from relatives and friends from Russia, the United States and Palestine. The exchange of letters between the family lasted until Germany invaded the Soviet Union, when the mail between the countries ceased to function.
In the family tradition there is information about the death of Hersz and Serka during the liquidation of the Jewish hospital and orphanage. According to the family version, they were made to walk together with the children from the Forestry Association to the forest and dig graves there. Artur Syrkin was to die during the bombardment of one of the towns in which he lived. It is not known how Sameczek - son of Artur and Anka- was killed. Anka (Chana) survived the liquidation of the Podzamcze ghetto. The list of inhabitants of the Majdan Tatarski ghetto mentions Chana Dyna Szpic with the number J-ausweis 1687. In the documents of the Jewish Council from 3 to 4 November 1942, Chana Syrkin was mentioned, who lived in the building at 15 Gromadzka Street and covered the communal tax. According to the family information, Anka was to die during the Erntefest action in the concentration camp at Majdanek on November 3, 1943. Estera, Szajndla and Szmul Szpic at that time were moved to Kazakhstan to the city of Dzambur (now Taraz). At the beginning of 1946, they returned to Lublin, where they learned that only some members of Estera’s family survived. With their help, mother and children moved to Lodz and then went to Paris. There Szmul worked for Chaim Wajsfisz in women's tailoring. Szajndla- thanks to a university friend from Nancy - discovered that Janek had survived and was living in London. Together with his brother Henryk, he took part in the defensive war in 1939 and then managed to get to the west of Europe, where he participated in the formation of the Polish army and was involved in the French resistance. Later on in the war, he trained as a commando and paratrooper in the UK and took part in operations against the Germans in Italy and other countries. After six months of exchanging letters, Janek and Szajndla decided to marry. To be able to formally get married Szajndla had to recreate her documents. Therefore, at the beginning of 1947 she came to Lublin and stayed a few months to meet all the bureaucratic requirements to get the documents necessary for the wedding. On October 21, 1947, the marriage of Szajndla Gitla Szpic and Janek (Abraham Jakob) Jedwab took place in Paris. In April the following year they decided to go to London, and Szajndla changed her name to Sonia Jedwab. Szmul and Estera decided to settle in Paris permanently. Estera died there in 1952.