Surname: KELLER (GINSBURG/ GUENSBURG)
Birth Date: July 1939
Birth Place: Lviv, Ukraine (then Lwow, Poland)
Father’s Name: Szlomo Keller born 1909 in Stary Sambor
Mother’s Name: Sara Keller nee Ginsburg/Guensburg born ca 1910 in Rymanow
PATERNAL GRANDFATHER: Szymon Simon Keller
PATERNAL GRANDMOTHER: Itta Juette Keller nee Weiss
MATERNAL GRANDFATHER: Szlomo Ginsburg/Guensburg
MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER: Rifka Ginsburg/Guensburg nee Socher/Soicher
Szlomo Keller and Sara Ginsburg married around 1937/1938.
They settled in Stary Sambor, the hometown of Szlomo Keller.
Here Szlomo worked in the family store for agricultural tools.
In July 1939 the couple’s only daughter Itta was born in the city of Lwow, now Lviv.
The family continued to live in Stary Sambor.
In September 1939 the Second World War broke out, and for a short time the fighting was also going on around Stary Sambor. Then the Germans withdrew according to the Molotov-Ribbentrop agreement, and Stary Sambor now became part of Soviet territory.
Life was not easy under Soviet rule, but it had some resemblance to normal life. This changed drastically when the Germans attacked the Soviet Union in the end of June 1941, and occupied this part of Galicia.
That summer Itta was just turning two years old.
The parents decided to try to save little Itta.They had a non- Jewish friend named Tadeusz Kobylko who lived in Lviv.
At that point Tadeusz Kobylko was already living together with Itta’s maternal aunt Feige Ginsburg/Guensburg.
In August 1942 Tadeusz Kobylko came to Stary Sambor and brought little Itta with him back to Lviv.
Itta grew up in Lviv as the child of Tadeusz and Feige. Tadeusz Kobylko did many courageous acts during the war to save Itta and Feige.
After the war Tadeusz Kobylko wanted to go with Feige and Itta to Eretz Israel to live his life with them there.
Unfortunately, for several reasons, this was not to be. First Itta and the aunt were brought by Jewish organizations from Poland to France. Tadeusz Kobylko never managed to leave Poland. In the end he started a new family in Poland. He is no longer alive, but from the testimony he wrote and that his new family gave Itta, she understand he was as a warm, intelligent and courageous man. He was recognized as a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem.
After arriving in France from Poland with her aunt, Itta was put in a Jewish orphanage and then brought to Eretz Israel in October 1947.
Itta’s parents Szlomo and Sara Keller did not survive the Holocaust.
The Keller family from Stary Sambor.
Itta’s grandfather Szymon Simon Keller owned a shop for agricultural tools at the main street in Stary Sambor.
He and his wife had the following children: Fruma-Frida, Szlomo, Israel and Jakob.
The Ginsburg/Guensburg family from Rymanow
Itta’s grandfather Szlomo Ginsburg had a shop for sweets in Rymanow. He and his wife had the following children:
Hersch Tovia, Moshe, Sara, Tsivia, Chana, Feige and Bernard .
RESEARCH JOURNAL JUNE 2005
ITTA’S FATHER SZLOMO KELLER
What happened to Itta’s father Szlomo Keller ?
Was he sent to Belzec? Was he killed in Ghetto Sambor? Was he shot in the Radzlowice forest?
He was probably killed in the end of 1941 or in 1942.
KELLER FAMILY MEMBERS
What happened to the other members of Keller family ?
Are there any surviving relatives from the Keller family?
What was the fate of Itta’s mother Sara Keller nee Ginsburg/Guensburg?
GINSBURG / GUENSBURG FAMILY MEMBERS
Any additional information about the Ginsburg/Guensburg family from Rymanow is also most welcome.
RESEARCH JOURNAL JULY 2005
JAKOB KELLER, BORN 1895, ITTA’S PATERNAL UNCLE
A search on JRI-Poland http://www.jewishgen.org/jri-pl/jriplweb.htm revealed that Itta’s grandparents Szymon Simon Keller and Juette nee Weiss had at least one more son named Jakob Keller who was born in Stary Sambor in 1895 . (Itta’s father Szlomo Keller was born in 1909.)
MORE ABOUT THE KELLER FAMILY FROM PAGES OF TESTIMONY
A further search on Yad Vashem’s website http://www.yadvashem.org.il/ shows that a relative in 1957 wrote a Page of Testimony for Jakob Keller, calling him Jankiel Keller and telling that he had a shop in Stary Sambor, was married to Judith Keller and during the war he was in Bircza.
Further searches for other Pages of Testimony submitted by this relative,also includes a Page for Itta’s paternal grandfather Simon Szymon Keller. It says that Szymon Keller was the son of Leib and Chana Keller and that Szymon and his wife Itta had four children.
We see that these four children were:
1. Jakob Jankiel Keller, born 1895, married to Judith, lived in Stary Sambor
2. Israel Keller , born ca 1909 (?) , married to Peppi, with two young children, who lived in Komarno
3. Frajda Spic nee Keller, born ca 1910 (?) , married to Moshe Spic, one child, lived in Stary Sambor
4. Szlomo Keller, born ca 1909, married to Sara Ginsburg
ITTA’S PATERNAL GREATGRANDPARENTS LEIB AND CHANA KELLER
Studying the Pages of Testimony this relative submitted in 1957 one can find the names of some of Leib and Chana Keller’s children:
Pinchas Pini Keller, born in Rymanow, married, lived in Rymanow
Mosze Keller, father of submitter of Pages of Testimony for the relatives; no Page for him ( died before war or survived?)
Szymon Keller, (probably born around 1875), married to Itta Juette nee Weiss, lived in Stary Sambor
Naftali Keller, born in Rymanow, married to Pesia, lived in Rymanow
A POEM ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY ITTA IN HEBREW, TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH
I want to remember my past,
To see before my eyes
The image of my parents,
The house I grew up in
The shteitel where my family lived for generations.
I don’t want to remember my past.
I am afraid of what my memory
Might bring forth
If I can go on living
What I wanted to forget.
RESEARCH JOURNAL SEPTEMBER 2005
EXHIBITION “CHILDREN’S PLAY” AT VAD VASHEM
In September 2005 I showed a friend around Yad Vashem, following many of the changes made there during the last years.
We entered the Art Museum and found there was an exhibition called ” Children’s Play ” in the cellar.
We both found the exhibition moving. Imagine my surprise when I suddenly saw Itta’s photo as part of that exhibition!
ITTA’S BOOK “MY MOTHER GAVE BIRTH TO ME TWICE”
By chance, the day before I had received as a present, a book of poems Itta has written, and that same photo of her with the doll was on the front page of the book!
For those of you who read Hebrew I strongly recommend Itta’s book. The poems were made during the years that Itta “made her past, part of her present” as she herself writes in the introduction.
written by Richard Keller, April 21, 2006
My great-great-great grandfather was Israel Mendel Keller of Tarnow, Poland. He had numerous offspring including the famous writer Naftali Keller (born 1835), Moses Keller (born 1844) and Lieb Keller (born 1846). The family names are so similar to yours I would not be surprised if we were related. Also, the offspring of Naftali Keller were Czarne Diene, Chane (Chana), Hersh and Malie. Naftali’s wife was Frommet Keller (daughter of Isaac and Keile Lea Keller) and Malie married Moses Keller, son of Israel Mendel and Marjem Keller (he married his niece). I don’t think it is a coincidence many of these names are in your family too.
written by Sara Anne Keller-Jorgensen, April 21, 2006
I was just looking for anyone with the same name as me and came across your site. It is a beautiful testiment to your family. I really have no idea who my father’s relatives are except that his grandfather came from Germany and I was named after my mother’s grandmother. I hope you can find the information you seek. Thank you for a beautiful journey. Sara Anne Keller-Jorgens
written by Eva, April 21, 2006