As I’m plowing through the list databases housed on JewishGen taking note of any mention of family names, I’ve found a number of new name spellings to search. Not only is my family’s original name Schmatnic also spelled Schmatnick and Smatnic, it’s apparently spelled Smatnik. Bingo!

The following record, from the World Jewish Congress Collection, must have been dated around 1945.

 Karl Smatnik= Gil Carl AlRoy

Smatnik, Karl
Age: 20
Last residence: Cernauti
Most recent citizenship: Romanian
Father’s name: Samuel
Mother’s name: Ettel
Set: D51.14.h
Page: 9

This collection has an index of what is called ‘Set’ ID numbers (Dad’s record is Set D51.14.h)  listed here. On  JewishGen, there is an index of list descriptions, and D51.14.h = “List of immigrants who arrived in Palestine from Romania on January 11, 1945“.

January 11, 1945

So, January, 11, 1945 is the date he arrived in Palestine, from my mom I know that he made his way through via the Red Cross – and was matched up with a wife for travel purposes, who must have been barely out of her teens as well.

Sabina Smatnik

There is a “Sabina Smatnik” in the same World Jewish Congress database- her birth year is 1928 and her most-recent citizenship is listed as Romanian. So, in 1945 she would have been 17, three years younger than my dad. The list she was on identifies her as “Jewish refugee in Italy, list no. 2, 1946”. Could she have been his traveling companion in 1945, only going as far as Italy? When I search the Czernowitz Birth/Marriage/Death records online I see no Sabina Smatnik with parents Zanwl and Luta, so it could be she took the Smatnik name to pose as wife.

Smatnik, Sabina
Birthplace: Czernowic
Birth date: 1928
Citizenship: Rumanian
Father’s name: Zanwl
Mother’s name: Luta
Set No: D51.9.e
Page: 100

Immigrants to Palestine

January 11, 1945 was a Thursday. Here is a photocopy I found online of a list of immigrants from Romania who reached Palestine that day, from the University of Capetown Libraries Digital Collections. And there he is on page 8 (not 9):


In whose company did he travel – besides the girl who posed as his wife?

The Steurmann’s from Warsaw- Jadwiga (aged 25), Bronislawa (3 1/2) and Anna (2 1/2).  Ida Biermann (42) came from Zhuravno with her son Hertz (6). Hertz’ father’s name is listed as Zelig Biermann but he is not with them. Rosa Hershkowitzi from Vaslui Romania was with her mother Sofika.

Isack Chavis (29) came from Telemanesti with his wife Rosa (29) and daughter Nomi (6).

But most of the people were travelling alone and were very young. From Bucharest came Yosiph Antzel (16), Mali Landsman (18),  Abraham Liebermann (13), Georg Schwartz…Alex Schwartz, Rivka Steinberg.

They arrived in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine, or Mandatory Palestine. ¬†Later that year, in July, survivors of the Buchanwald camp arrived at the port of Haifa. According to an article written on 18 July, 1945 is titled “New Palestine Arrivals Are Cross-section of Surviving Jews of Europe“:

Children from the Bergen-Belsen camp, all of whom are orphans, showed a JTA correspondent their hands upon which the Nazis had tatooed prisoner numbers. A boy from Oswiecim had his number burnt into his arm, and a third boy proudly displayed some money circulated in the Buchenwald camp, which he had been given for “good work.” The money could be used to purchase small articles at a commissary inside the camp.

Young Shmuel Baumfolk, 13, who left Warsaw on May 28, told the correspondent that he had fought with the partisans in poland and killed four Germans. In sharp contrast was an octogenarian who had survived four years in concentration camps. This male “Scheherazade” attributed his survival to the fact that he beguiled his guards by telling them jokes.

VIDEO: Jewish Refugees Docking in Haifa, 1945