In mid-December, I drove across the flat plain from Poznań to the city of Łódź, where I found the birth certificate of my great grandfather, my babcia Halina’s father. So here is one more fragment that connects me to Poland, and to my Jewish heritage. From it, I learn that in Skierniewice on the third/fifteenth of November, 1854, Josek Piwko, tanner, age thirty appeared with two witnesses (I can’t read the first’s name, but he’s listed as a laborer, age forty-five; the second is David Lęczner, szkolnik [teacher?], age fifty-one) to report that he and his wife Cywia (maiden name Raych), age twenty-six, had a son Hiel Majer on the 26th of October/ 7th of November.

Hiel Majer Piwko's birth certificate, 1854

Hiel Majer Piwko’s birth certificate, 1854

Someone, maybe my great great grandfather? Signed the document in what looks like Hebrew letters. The image quality is poor because I had to photograph the image on a microfilm reader. In other archives I have gotten to page through the actual record books.