The story of BUNEWICKI family
Our story of the Bunewicki
family began in the early
20th century, while Mr Izaak
Buniwicki and his wife,
Batya-Bashka (Berman) had
settled down in a farm
house near Polonka .
The history records show
that in the early 20th about
206 of the 440 residents in
town (almost 50%) were
Jews, how they lived and
managed their life in town.
We also know that another
Bunewicki family had also
lived in that town, and
immigrated to the USA in
early 1908.
The main employment of
the family was selling
turpentine, made out of
trees, and according to the
documentation these
business work out quiet
POLONKA/ Палонка
In the memories of Batya’s sister,
named Hana Sara Rabinowich, it
is mentioned that Batya grew up
as a child in a small village near
Derechin, called Szhara (named
after the famous river, Szhara ).
The family had 4 boys (Wolf,
Shimon, Mendel And Berl) and
two daughters (Hana Sara and
Bashka- Batya).
As a traditional Jewish family the
children used to learn the Jewish
book “Talmud”, but they also
learned foreign languages, an
important tool for international
Their father, Rabbi Shneor Zalman
Berman from Sczara, was famous
as a tree trader in all Slonim
district , and was known in his
good working relationships with
traders. Many trades were used
to host in the house, while coming
to buy trees to reach them out in
the river all over till Danczig.
In her memory she
mentioned especially the fact
that the family was well
known as hospitable, and
closely associated with the
local count and local farmers
in the area for dozens of
in 1910, after the marriage of
Batya to Izaak, the family
expanded, with the birth of
the elder boy, wolf.
Soon the family grew,
adding the second child Haim
(1912-3) , the third child
Rachel (1915), and the forth
child, the youngest baby
Moshe (1918).
In 1919 , in the end of WWI , but before
the Polish authorities had reorganized,
the family house was attacked by a
murderess rioters, who killed the
parents, Bashka and Izaak, and left
behind their young children as orphans.
These attacks on the Jews’ homes
weren’t rare at all at that time, and
many Jews often were victims of these
brutal attacks ,mainly involved antiSemite groups.
We also know that in that year died
Rabi Shnieor Zalman in the city of
As a result of the murder, the family
ceased to exist as a family; the orphans
were separated and sent away to
family relatives all over the area:
Wulf Bunewicki was the elder son in the family, born in 1910.
After the murdered of his parents he was sent to relatives in Bialistok, where he grew up.
After finishing school, as a young boy he worked as carpenter , taking advantage of the fact
that selling trees was a tradition in his family.
He Joined The Zionist Organization Called “Ha-Haluth” Which Encouraged Jews To Settle In
Israel As Pioneers In The “Kibbutz”, And Was A Guide Several Years Before Leaving Poland .
After Wulf arrived in Israel in 1933 he joined the “Hagana” organization, which fought the
British mandatory occupation in Israel, wishing to establish an independent Jewish state.
He settled down in Tel Aviv city and marriage his wife, Tova, who also
came from Poland, leaving behind her family who were later killed in the
His elder daughter Batya, was called over his mother Batya-Bashka name.
Until his death in 1980 he refused to change his family name, hoping,
unsuccessfully, that his brother Haim had survived in the holocaust and
will able to find him.
Wulf (Zeev in Hebrew) had 2 children 6 grandchildren and many more
grand children, all of them leaving in Israel.
Rachel was the third child , was only 4 years old
witnessing the terrible murder of her parents.
She was sent to her uncles Shimon and Heshel
(Hasia) Berman, How owned gristmills in Mali
Racki (near the city Suwalki).
Rachel Was Raised In The Farm House Of The
Family, And Grew With The Children (Etka, Rivka,
Rachel, Shinka, Malca.,Shmuel And Zalman).
All Of Them Were Murdered Later In The
In 1935 Rachel left Poland on her way to Israel.
she married Shmuel Lipkowich and settled down in Haifa.
The couple had 3 children (Batya, Dalia And Haim) and many
grand children naming the eldest daughter Batya, in memory of
the mother, BATYA-BASHKA. In her last years Rachel preserved
more and more the Jewish tradition, as much as she could
remember from her childhood.
1912-3- ?
Haim was the second child of
the family, 8 years old at the
time of the murder. He was
sent to his uncles Mendel and
Haya Berman in Kosow Poleski,
in Slonim district.
He grew with his uncles and
their children: Yacob ,Elyaho, Etl
and Rivka, and from “Yad
Vashem” testimony his name
appeared as adopting his uncles
surname, Berman.
According To ”Yad Vashem”
Institute records, we know that
the Berman family ran away
after The German invasion To
Kosow Poleski , hiding in the
forests, joining the Partisans.
As far as we know, except of 2 grand
children, none of the Berman family in
kosow had survived.
The last information that was received
about Haim was that he joined the
partisans. After the end of WWII no
sign was received from him, i.e. there
is no information whether he is alive
or dead.
Moshe was the youngest child, being less than 1 year old when
the murder happened. He was sent to his uncles, Hana Sara
(Berman) and Wulf Rabinowich who lived In Derechin.
Moshe joined his
brother Wulf
and cousin David
Rabinowich in
Israel in 1935.
He joined the
British army in
North Africa,
taking part in the
mission to stop
the progress of
the German
troops in Africa.
After the end of WWII Moshe came back To Israel, married
Nechama and Settled in Tel Aviv.
The couple had one child, Irit, and many grandchildren, all living
In Israel.
The orphans built new families in their new
home in ISRAEL
immortalized the Jewish’s communities were
Bunewicki & Berman’s families had leaved
Jews first settled down in Polonka in the 16th century, probably after the
reservation from the princes of Radziwill family.
According to history records, in 1765 there were about 124 Jews, and in 1900
their number reached 549, out of 645 of the population (85%).
Most of the Jews were traders and artisans, and were especially reputed as
furniture carpenters. The Jewish community had its own cemetery, a place of
Tora study , a local rabbi and social organizations known as “Linat Tzedek”. Two
Jews owned gristmills on the river bank.
In 26.6.41 the Germans invaded
Polonka , fulfilling their goal to
kill all the Jews, known also as the
“end solution”.
The German troops gathered the
Jews in a Ghetto, forced them to
wear a “yellow badge”, took their
properties and forbade them to
leave. In 18.4.1942 the Germans
and local police gathered and
children. Two months later the
troops started to dig a huge pit,
Among the assassinated were also 7
few hundred meters from town.
children who were given to the monastery.
in 12.8.42 they gathered all the
In summer 1944 the Russian army released
Jews, took them to the dig and
the town from the Nazi occupation.
shoot them.
Only 4 Jews survived.
A Jewish family in Polonka
Writing this history of my family was a difficult and challenge mission, since not
only the “pogrom”- murder event had taken the lives of my great grand
parents, but it also had cut the circle of life for all their young children as well .
Unfortunately, the years passed by and we never documented their stories.
Although it was a command that time , none of the children – our grand
parents, ever wanted to put their sorrow on our shoulders.
These orphans, our ancestors, chosen to carry on with their lives, raising new
families and building new homes in Israel.
I dedicate this memory to them.
Wulf’s grandchild
[email protected]

שקופית 1 - Eilat Gordin Levitan