Surname: LEWINSKI during the war ZIMIERSKI / ZIMIESKI
Name: Given name: Tuvia Tuwia
Given name during the war: Tomasz
Nickname during the war: Tomek
Birth Date: 1932 (or 1931?)
Birth Place: Radzymin, Poland
Father Jakub Lewinski
Mother’s Name: Chana Lewinski nee Platkowska
RADZYMIN Radzymin is 26 km northeast of Warszawa and had a Jewish population of 2206 before the war.
Tuvia’s father Jakub Lewinski, son of Rachel, was a butcher working in the slaughterhouse in Radzymin.
Jakub Lewinski married Chana Platkowska and the couple had five children:
Raytze Lewinska born ca 1925 or 1926
Lewi Isak Lewinski born 1926 or 1927
Tuvia Lewinski born 1931 or 1932
Rivka Lewinska born ca 1936
Rachel Lewinska born ca 1938
They lived in a two storey building at Stary Rynek 21 in Radzymin, not far from the church.
According to what Tuvia remembers, these are the names of his grandparents:
Paternal grandfather: Isak or Lewi Lewinski (died before 1926, Tuvia’s brother Lewi Isak Lewinski was named after him)
Paternal grandmother: Rachel Lewinski (died between 1935- 1938, before Tuvia’s sister Rachel was born)
Maternal grandfather: Tuvia Platkowski (died before 1931, before Tuvia was born)
Maternal grandmother: NN Platkowski (still alive around 1941)
During the war Jakub and Chana and their children were forced to live inside the Radzymin ghetto.
The conditions were so difficult, the children now and then managed to escape the ghetto to obtain food for the family. Their father would lift the barbed wire for the children to pass, saying “Run!”
In 1942 the oldest siblings Raytze Lewinski, around 16 or 17 years old, Lewi Isak Lewinski, around 15 or 16 years old and Tuvia Lewinski, around 10 or 11 years old, were on one of these missions together to find food. After a few days Raytze decided to go back to the ghetto to be with the family. Lewi Isak and Tuvia continued looking for work and for food to bring back. At one point Lewi Isak found a job in Karniewek ( spelling? Location?), so Tuvia continued on his own. He never saw anybody in his close family after that.
From what he has heard, his family was deported from Radzymin to Treblinka where they were murdered.
But could it be that any of his siblings also survived?
Raytze? Lewi Isak? Rifka? Rachel?
TUVIA LEWINSKI BECAME TOMEK ZIMIERSKI
Tuvia’s father had two Polish Christian friends – Boleg and Mietek Zimierski. Despite his young age, Tuvia understood that he must have a Christian identity, so he pretended he was the son of one of these two friends (he has forgotten who…) and called himself Tomek Zimierski.
SURVIVING THE WAR UNDER GERMAN OCCUPATION
In 1942, Tuvia, then ten or eleven years old, all alone, was roaming the countryside, trying to survive as Tomek Zimierski.
After some time he met Bronislaw Sagan in Wolka Szczawinska in the county of Nowe Miasto, in the Warszawa district. Bronislaw Sagan who took pity on him and despite the great danger, took him into his home and let him work on the farm.
During this time, there were several German raids on the farm. During one of them Tuvia managed to hide himself inside a haystack. Despite the German bayonet wounding him when the German soldier poked in the haystacks, he managed to keep quiet.
Another time the daughter Basza hid him under her dress!
TUVIA STAYED WITH THE SAGAN FAMILY TILL AUGUST 1946
When the war was over, Tuvia stayed with the Sagan family till the Zionist Koordynacja organization picked him up and brought him to one of the children houses. He was then 14 or 15 years old.
After staying in one of the two Koordynacja homes in Lodz, Tuvia was brought to France and arrived from Marseille to Haifa in July 1948 aboard the ship Kedma.
BRONISLAW SAGAN RECOGNIZED AS RIGHTEOUS GENTILE BY YAD VASHEM IN 1988.
Tuvia did not forget the family that saved him and in 1988 Yad Vashem recognized Bronislaw Sagan as a Righteous Gentile and in 1989 he visited Israel for the first time. He died a few years ago.
Tuvia and his family still keep contact with this Polish family, visiting each other.
TUVIA’S BIGGEST DREAM: FINDING ANY OF HIS SIBLINGS ALIVE
Tuvia, after all these years, still have a tiny hope that one of his siblings may have survived, and this is one of the reasons he wanted to publish his profile here. Will he, through the internet, at least be able to find out what happened to his siblings?
ANOTHER OF TUVIA’S DREAMS: FINDING PHOTOS OF HIS PARENTS AND SIBLINGS, PERHAPS THROUGH RELATIVES HE DOES NOT KNOW
In the Koordynacja index card shown above, it was noted that Tuvia thought he had relatives in America or in Africa – possibly the sister of his father – but that he did not know where.
Now, in 2006, he was quite surprised to read this, as he knows that two sisters of his father lived in France. He has been in contact with these aunts and their families.
Could it be he had other more distant relatives abroad?
If these relatives received letters with photos of the Lewinski family in Radzymin during the 1920’s and 1930’s – then they may possibly have the photos Tuvia is dreaming about.
PAGES OF TESTIMONY SUBMITTED BY CHANA FRIEDMAN IN 1957 HELPS TUVIA IN 2006 REMEMBER MORE ABOUT HIS RELATIVES FROM RADZYMIN
In 1957 Chana Friedman, living in a Maabara (temporary dwellings – tents or barracks – for new immigrants) near Haifa, got help to fill in Pages of Testimony for her relatives murdered in Holocaust. From Chana’s signature we see that she writes her family name in the Yiddish version with an Aleph for the a in Friedman and her handwriting is different from the one who filled out the form.
Some of the Pages are for the Lewinski family from Radzimir. Checking Where Once We Walked there seems to be no Radzimir, only Radzimin / Radzymin. My theory was that the person filling in the form did not hear the name of the place clearly and that he / she had no map to refer to. So my theory was that this Lewinski family probably lived in Radzymin.
UNCLE SZLAMA LEWINSKI AND HIS FAMILY
Showing these Pages of Testimony to Tuvia, he got quite excited.
“Szlama Lewinski was an older brother of my father” says Tuvia. “He was also a butcher in Radzymin and married to Jente. They had four daughters and one son. The son was Simcha Lewinski and he was a butcher as well. Simcha was married and had two very young daughters.” (This probably means that Simcha got married after September 1939, as we think Chana Friedman fled to the USSR in August or September 1939 and thought Simcha still was a bachelor)
The girls in that family were:
Beila Roza Lewinski born 1922, unmarried, murdered in Radzymin
Sara Friedman nee Lewinski, born 1924, married to Jakub Friedman, one child
Jospa Faskewitz nee Friedman born 1925, married, probably two young children
Masza Lewinski nee 1926, unmarried
Tuvia: “After the war broke out in September 1939 my uncle Szlama Lewinski tried to reach Pultusk through Arciechow. (Arciechow is located on the south bank of the river Bug just where it meets the river Narew, about 11 km northwest of Radzymin.)
As he was crossing the Bug River on a boat, the Germans managed to shoot him to death. His body was brought back to Radzymin and buried there.
Later, during the war, I remember my father coming home to our apartment in the ghetto, telling us that Szlama’s daughter Roiza Friedman, my cousin, had been killed.”
THE FRIEDMAN FAMILY FROM RADZYMIN
Tuvia: “Our family was also related to the Friedman family in Radzymin. They were also butchers. I clearly remember Jankel (Jakub) Friedman who was married to my cousin Sara Lewinski.”
According to Chana Friedman’s Page of Testimony for Szlama Lewinski’s wife Jente Lewinski nee Friedman, we learn that she was born in 1895, the daughter of Josef and Rosa Friedman.
Chana Friedman also listed two of her brothers:
Simcha Friedman , born 1896 in Radzymin, a butcher in Radzymin, married to Sara Lea Toib (spelling?) , father of Sara and Rifka.
Elijahu Friedman, born 1902 in Radzymin, a merchant in Warszawa, married to Miriam Rozenka (spelling?), father of Josef and Ajzik.
The parents of Chana, Elijahu and Simcha were Itche ( Isak) and Rifka Friedman, so based on the ages of the grandchildren we must assume that Itche Friedman had died between 1926 – 1930 and Rifka between 1936 – 1938.
THE PLATKOWSKI FAMILY FROM TLUSZCZ AND WOLOMIN NEAR RADZYMIN
Tuvia’s mother Chana Lewinski was born Platkowski. He knows that the Platkowski relatives lived in Tluszcz and Wolomin.
RESEARCH JOURNAL APRIL 2009
In 1886 Lazer (Eliezer in Hebrew) Platkowsky / Platkowski was born in Poland and in 1909 he emigrated through Hamburg to England where he called himself Lewis Platkowsky. His descendants still live in the UK. .The combination of the Platkowski and Lewinski name made Lazar’s daughter Cynthia Wall and Cynthia’s grandson contact Missing Identity. Is there a connection? So far, we don’t know.
Lazar’s daughter found on MyHeritage that in the 1907 Russian Duma voting lists there was an Aba Platkowski – Jciekow, father Joiek, in Radzymin, landlord. (Our note: Could the given names be Jakow and Josek?) Is this Aba Platkowski related to Tuvia? So far, we don’t know.
written by Bob Niklewicz, June 30, 2007
In early 1942 my mother (Emilia Miller) was 12 living in Kobylka. She often told a story of her family hiding a Platklowski family in her attic for 5 weeks. She could not remember the names of the family but remembers her mother giving them clothes so they would blend into the population better when they decided to leave and try to get to Russia. They promised to send word when they got there, but they were never heard from again.
I do not know if this is the same family but I thought you might be interested in hearing this story.