Pinsk fell to the Russian Empire in 1793 in the Second Partition of Poland. According to the Russian census of 1897, out of the total population of 28,400, Jews constituted 21,100 (approx. 74% percent), making it one of the most Jewish cities in Eastern Europe. My fathers family, BACCEPMAH (Wasserman) lived there.Pinsk became part of the independent Poland in 1920 after WWI and a very short Polish-Soviet War. On March 5, 1919 the city fell to the Poles. Before that Germans were there for several years so my father had the opportunity to learn as a young boy, German as a fourth language.
|German troops wearing Prussian spiked helmets entering Pinsk during WWI. On the left, a Jewish merchant in a horse cart.|
|Pinsk became part of the independent Poland in 1920 after WWI and a very short Polish-Soviet War.|
In 1939 Pinsk and the surrounding territories were occupied (again) by the Red Army of the Soviet Union's part the Hitler-Stalin pact that started World War II. At this time, the city's population was over 90% Jewish.
Many family names were changed when Poland become "independent" and Pinsk was again part of Poland. Many documents were written in Russian and Jiddish. When they were changed to Polish numerous changes appeared.
So BACCEPMAH Wasserman could be changed to Wajserman... etc. The modern Russian alphabet consists of 33 letters uses letters from the Cyrillic script. Polish alphabet is based on the Latin alphabet, but includes certain letters with diacritics! So the changes from Russian to Polish were no straight forward!
My fathers and his sisters name was changed from Wasserman to Wajserman. The rest of the family had no "j" in their names.
In A Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship for the United States of America there are signatures of both my father and his sister as Wajserman
Volumes 7-13, bound in linen and adorned with Polish and American emblems designed by Jastrzebowski and Lenart , contain an estimated 500,000 signatures of teachers and students of about 1,000 secondary schools. Each sheet is decorated with a letterhead that reads "USA, 1776-1926, Szkolnictwo polskie w holdzie narodowi amerykanskiemu na pamiatke 150-lecia niepodleglosci Stanow Zjednoczonych" [The Polish Educational System in Tribute to the American Nation on the Occasion of the 150th Year of American Independence]. Many of the sheets are adorned with drawings and photographs of schools, students, and teachers.
Perhaps there has never been a more extraordinary gift given by one nation to another than the 111 volumes presented to the United States by Poland on the 150th anniversary of American independence. These volumes consist of a declaration of admiration (figs. 3 & 4) signed by an estimated 5,500,000 Polish citizens, representing more than one- sixth of the total population of Poland in 1926.
The idea of having the Polish people participate in celebrating America's holiday was introduced in February 1926 by the American- Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Poland, established in 1921, and the Polish American Society, founded in 1919 by renowned Polish composer and statesman Ignacy Paderewski. These two organizations invited various government departments, the municipality of Warsaw, and other important Polish institutions and associations to appoint thirty delegates to a national Sesquicentennial Committee to determine an appropriate tribute.
The Committee decided to present the United States with a declaration expressing the esteem, gratitude, and friendship of the people of Poland. This remarkable document would include the signatures of the president of the republic, national and regional officials, religious authorities, members of social organizations, and faculty and students of the major universities, as well as millions of Polish schoolchildren.
|A Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship signed a.o. by Polish the secondary schools in Pinsk|
|A Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship signed by Polish secondary schools in Pinsk. Fourth from the bottom Mojzesz Wajserman, klass III.|
|A Polish Declaration of Admiration and Friendship signed by Polish secondary schools in Pinsk. Fourth from the bottom, middle row, Chana Wajserman, klass II.|
|Document from the Warszawa University informing that Chana Wajserman will start her studies at the Department of Chemistry year 1932.|