Słomniki School Records Make A Difference

On more than one occasion we have been delighted to be able to say, “We just pulled a rabbit out of the hat!” JRI-Poland has worked what seemed like a “miracle” many times over the years when researchers required a record to break through a brick wall or more often, needed one or more records to complete their application for a Polish passport.  We see it as part of the mitzvah of honoring those that came before us.

In April, we were contacted by Robert Lebowitz of a Polish pension help organization which provides free assistance for Holocaust survivors to receive reparations.  Poland offers a centenarian pension of $1,400/month to Polish citizens who reach 100 years of age.

Lebowitz said the family of Moniek needed proof of his place and date of birth which they knew to be 29th November 1922 or 1923 in Słomniki (27 km NNE of Kraków).  A search of Słomniki vital records listed births of several siblings…but not Moniek. That’s when Lebowitz turned to JRI-Poland for help.

When presented with requests like this, our first go to option is to check Books of Residents…if they survived.  The Słomniki books did not.

School performance records are a second option, books that are most often still in the school’s archives.  Our phone call to the Słomniki grade school indicated that their records were almost complete from 1919 to 1939.  Understanding the importance of our quest, the school agreed to allow JRI-Poland to scan the yearly books (with a resulting collection of almost 3000 digital images).

Assuming Moniek likely attended school no later than age nine or ten, we quickly found the page with his school performance records in the 1931-1932 book.  It not only includes his critically important place and date of birth (29th November 1922) but also his father’s name, profession and residence, sufficient evidence to file Moniek’s claim for the centenarian pension!  

Moniek’s son David wrote, “I immediately forwarded the pdf to numerous family members and (also) telling almost anyone I knew who would be moved by it. 

Thank you and your associate, greatly, for the find. I will frame and hang it. My family is forever grateful.”

As we know from our many years of experience, not all births were recorded and not all vital record registers survived.  Thus, Słomniki school records are likely to be of benefit to others for years to come.

JRI-Poland takes great pride in the critical difference that  our data has made in people’s lives over the years.  We are even more proud when we successfully locate new sources of records – not already in our system – that address urgent needs or special cases.  It is why our motto is “Every record counts”.