Ph.D. Octopus

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Budaniv and Budzanow: The Weinfelds Come Home

with 59 comments

by David

The Weinfeld House in Budzanow

My dad and I came home yesterday. Not to Montreal, but to Budaniv, Ukraine, formerly Budzanow, Poland, where my grandfather, Arnold Weinfeld, was born and raised. We’d come a long way.

In my parents’ home in Montreal hangs a large, blown up framed photograph of house. Standing in front of the house are my great-grandparents, Moishe and Brauna Weinfeld, and two of their three kids, my grandfather Arnold, and his older sister, my great aunt Gizela. That was their house in Budzanow. Two stories and with a basement, apparently it had been one of the largest houses in town, as my great-grandfather had been a successful tobacco distributor. My father had that image seared into his mind, because he knew that that house was no more. Or so he thought.

Four years ago, I still didn’t think Budzanow existed. My grandfather had always told my father that Budzanow had been destroyed. Flattened. Erased like so many others shtetls by the Nazi killing machine. In 1999, I visited Treblinka, and took a picture of myself next to a stone commemorating the destruction of Budzanow, annihilated like so many other Jewish communities in eastern Europe. I thought that the last remnant of the town.

And so, four years ago, during my summer Yiddish class, in a discussion about shtetls, I told one of the instructors that my grandfather was from Budzanow, but it no longer existed. “Yes it does,” she said. “No it doesn’t,” I replied. “My grandfather said it doesn’t exist anymore. The whole town was destroyed.” I felt certain. But she said: “maybe he meant the Jewish community was destroyed, but the town is still there.”

And so later that day, thanks to the glory that is the internet, I googled the Polish shtetl Budzanow. And sure enough, it still existed, only now it was called Budaniv and was in Ukraine. I should have noticed an inconsistency long ago. After all, my grandfather had also said that he returned to Budzanow immediately after the war. Though his neighbours greeted him warmly, he found his childhood home looted. He never returned.

In any case, after learning about Budaniv, I excitedly told my father. He was in shock, but that quickly turned to happiness. We said that one day we would visit. And we finally made that happen.

So early yesterday morning, me, my father, our guide Alex, and our driver Vitali set out to find Budaniv. Neither of them had been there before either, but armed with GPS and maps, they said getting there would be no problem.

Our first stop, though, was Tarnopol, to visit the local archives. Tarnopol is the major city in the region Budaniv is located, and contained town registries for all the surrounding villages. The archives were old and dark. There was no internet access, and the computers appeared to be from the 1980s. Everything seemed a bit chaotic, but Alex spoke to a very friendly and helpful archivist, who was able to provide us with voting records from Budzanow from 1930.

My father, Alex, and I brought the two musty record books to the reading room, and began poring through them. Neither my father nor I can really read Polish, but we can read names. At first, it seemed fruitless. But then, not more than 10 minutes after we began, I saw them. “Weinfeld!” I shouted. There they were. Moishe and Brauna Weinfeld, my great-grandparents. The book listed their professions: we couldn’t make Moishe’s out, but knew he had been a tobacco distributor, a very religious man having come from nearby Zabraz (another shtetl in the Tarnopol region) to marry Brauna Schutzmann and work in her family’s tobacco business. Under Brauna, it simply said housewife. It also listed their ages: Brauna was 57, Moishe 56, meaning they had been born in 1873 or 1874. And best of all, it lasted an address. There were no street names, but they had lived in the central town area, house number 635.

My father and I were ecstatic. We looked through the books a bit more, but were too excited to stay in Tarnopol much longer. We thanked the archivists, ate a quick lunch, and got back in the van to go to Budzanow.

And then we got lost. Budzanow was not just off the main road. We asked a passerby, who told us we had to turn around, make a left on a smaller road, and travel 7 kilometers to reach Budzanow. And so we did. We got out of the car to take a picture near the sign that indicated we were approaching the village.

Once again, our initial experience was more of Borat’s Kazakhstan than Teyve’s Anatevka. We felt like we were going back to the 19th century. Men and women ploughing the fields, working their land with simple tools rather than heavy machinery. Chickens, roosters, and cows were walking by the side of the road. Some of the houses appeared to be new, but others seemed very old. And though the town had no running water, many of the homes were equipped with satellite dishes.

We eventually pulled up to a school. Alex entered as we waited outside. Five, then ten minutes past. Finally, he emerged with a young boy, maybe ten years old. The boy had agreed to take us to the oldest woman in the town, who might remember my grandfather.

We drove to her house. The kind woman invited us in. She told us she was born in 1930. Alex asked her if she remembered the Weinfelds, who sold tobacco. “No.” The Schutzmanns. “No.” She did, however, show us photos of another Canadian family, from Edmonton, that had come to Budzanow in search of their roots. We were disheartened, but then she told us to ask another woman, who was a year older than her, and whose memory was better. She might remember our family.

So we drove to yet another old woman’s house, but could not approach it, as it was guarded by a fence and a mean looking dog, who seemed incredibly menacing despite being tied to a chain. But eventually, someone emerged, and we asked for the old woman, Branislava Brana [or that’s how her name sounded to us]. She came out from the back. Maybe four feet tall, she had been tending to her chickens. We asked her, pleaded with her, to talk to us, to help us.

The first interesting discovery was that this woman was Polish, not Ukrainian, a remnant of Budzanow, rather than Budaniv. Alex asked her if she remembered the Weinfelds, who had sold tobacco. “Yes! Branislava said, her eyes lighting up. “Let me show you their house!” We couldn’t believe it. First, though, she wanted to finish with her chickens. But we pleaded with her. She said she was not dressed to travel in a car, but we begged and begged, and finally she relented. She got into the van, and on the way there told us she had been a shabbos goy for several Jewish families, including the Weinfelds and the Schutzmann’s. They paid her in money and cookies. They lived there until the Gestapo came, which must have been in 1941, when Branislava was 11.

And then, we turned onto a main road, got out of the van, and stood in front of the house. It was the house. We didn’t even need the address. My father recognized it instantly, and I did soon after, from that photo in our house in Montreal. We walked up to it, touched it, looked all around it. This was the house that my grandfather grew up in. My father could barely speak. He hadn’t believed it could be still standing. But there it was.

The house was in terrible condition, completely run down. But people still lived in it. Young Ukrainians, sitting in their backyard. They were the least friendly people we encountered in Budaniv. We asked if we could take pictures, and they reluctantly said ok. We asked if we could go inside, but they didn’t allow that, saying there was nothing old in there anyway. The eyed us suspiciously as we circled the house, snapping and posing for photos, in our own small town Polish heaven.

We looked more closely. Some of the stucco was new. So was the door. A fence from the Soviet era had been erected in the front yard, as had a giant monument celebrating some Ukrainian war hero. But the house was basically the same, and though ramshackled, was built on sturdy, solid foundations. Some friendlier neighbours gathered, and Branislava continued to inform us of the house’s past. There had been other homes on the opposite side of the dirt road, facing it, but they had been destroyed. Two charming churches were visible, one from the 19th century, one only a few years old. Beyond them, the countryside. A picturesque view that my family had enjoyed so long ago.

And then, another surprise. My father and I overheard someone speaking Hebrew. We were confused. It turns out that the woman living in the house next to where my grandfather lived had spent four years in Israel as a nanny and maid, and had learned to speak Hebrew. My father couldn’t help but marvel at the symbolism.

His father, Arnold Weinfeld, had been born in Budzanow in 1902, gone to gymnasium in nearby Stanislawow, then studied law at Jan Kazimierz University in Lwow and Jagiellonian University in Cracow. He worked as lawyer somewhere in Galicia, and served as a lieutenant in the Polish army, heavy artillery, until it was overcome by the Nazis and Soviets. After being imprisoned in a labor camp as a POW (not as a Jew), he somehow escaped. He spent a year in disguise, as a non-Jewish botanist named Zbigniew Zapetsky, and when his cover was blown, joined a group of Red Army partisans until finally the Russians liberated Poland in 1944. And then he spent time in a DP camp, married my grandmother, lived briefly in Salzburg, Austria, before immigrating to Montreal, where my father was born. In the 1970s, my grandmother having died young of a heart attack, my grandfather picked himself, himself in his 70s, and moved to Israel, where he married his childhood sweetheart from Poland. He died in Israel in 1990.

And there we were, next to his childhood home, speaking Hebrew to his neighbour. Her name was Lida. She had also worked in Italy, and saved up money to convert her home into a restaurant. She invited us in, served us coffee, chocolate, and cookies, along with a shot of some liquor, and refused to take payment. Since I don’t drink coffee or alcohol, I went to town on the chocolate and the cookies. The whole experience was surreal.

After that, Lida, the town mayor, and some others took us to what had once been the synagogue, just a short walk away. It was in even worse condition than the Weinfeld house had been. Beams and trash lay all over the floor. Still, it was an impressive stone building, well-made and sturdy, from the 19th century or earlier. More important, it was the synagogue my family had attended. My grandfather went there growing up, and when he returned to visit his parents for holidays. After the war, it ceased to be a synagogue, had been used by the Soviets for other purposes, but was now in complete disarray. The mayor told us that before the war, the town had a population of 6000, mostly Poles and Jews with some Ukrainians. Today, there were only 1600, mostly Ukrainians, some Poles, no Jews.

My father and I had simply been taking it all in, but then a more practical question occurred to him. Didn’t that house belong to us? After all, it had belonged to our family until 1941, when the Nazis had rounded up my great-grandparents. At 67 and 68 years old, they were probably not fit for working, and likely had been shot on the spot, or at nearby clearing or maybe a concentration camp. Perhaps that was why the current owners were so uneasy. Maybe they thought we wanted the house back?

In fact, the house was divided into three units, two families living there, and the top floor owned by a man who lived in Tarnopol and let his place fall into complete disrepair. He wanted to sell it for $5000. My father and I thought, rather than go through a legal battle to find a deed to the house, we could simply cough up several thousand dollars and own the place.

Of course, it would not be a financial investment. We’re not going to flip this house. Even if we could fix it, it’s in the middle of the Ukrainian countryside, without running water. And we thought, though the house’s condition is sad, as long as people live in it, it will continue to exist, remaining there for us to visit again, if we want to.

After walking by and touching the house a few final times, we decided it was time to go. On the way out, we stopped by the town’s fortress atop a hill, a relic of the Austro-Hungarian empire, where my grandfather probably played as a child. Just by the fortress was a large Catholic church. Though the church was also in terrible shape, chairs and modern iconography had been set up in the main chapel. Clearly, an active Polish Catholic community remained in Budaniv.

Our last stop in Budaniv, just on the edge of the town, was the remains of a Jewish cemetery. The stones were all broken and covered in moss, or completely buried over. Still, we could make out some of the Hebrew. איש תם וישר, from the first line of the book of Job, frequently translated as “perfect and upright.” Undoubtedly, some Schutzmanns, our ancestors who had older roots in Budzanow, were buried there.

And then we left. My father is on his way back to Montreal, where he and my mom still love. I’m in Vilnius, Lithuania, visiting a friend. In a few days, I’ll be back in New York. My sisters live in Ottawa and Toronto. The Weinfelds have come a long way. We’ve moved around, spread out. We are all in better places now. And yet that place from which our family had come had been a good home, at least for a time.

I wish I had something incredibly profound to say here. But I don’t. I guess all I can say is that it was simply amazing, for me as a historian, as a Jew, and as a human being, to have some kind of glimpse into this foreign and fascinating world my grandfather knew. For my father, it was even more. My grandfather lived in Israel when I was kid, and I had only seen him four times before he died, when I was eight years old. I knew him mostly through stories. Now, I felt like I knew him a little bit better. But for my father, I think, it was almost like seeing him again.


Written by David Weinfeld

September 16, 2011 at 11:28

59 Responses

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  1. Awesome stuff and very moving. What an incredible experience to have. And hey, getting paid in cookies ain’t bad. After money, cookies are probably the thing I’d most like to be paid in!

    Karla Bruning (@KBruning)

    September 16, 2011 at 14:49

  2. This is an absolutely amazing story. Thanks for sharing such a personal adventure to truly find your roots.


    September 16, 2011 at 16:26

  3. Beautiful written, must have been a special time for you both!

    Jonny Lang

    September 17, 2011 at 11:24

  4. Dave, what an incredible story. It’s quite an experience to get a sense of your “roots” in a place like that.


    September 17, 2011 at 18:58

  5. David–Thank you for writing this. My father was born in Budzanow in 1904 and came to the U.S. with his family in 1912. He had few memories of the town. Your story makes it all real for me.

    Marty Morganstein

    October 15, 2011 at 14:51

    • Marty, glad you appreciated it. If it interests you, I recommend making a pilgrimage to Budaniv. If you hire a guide/translator, you can probably find some records of where your father lived at the archives in Ivano Francisk (formerly Stanislawow). And then you could possibly find your family house, or at the very least get a sense of what living there was like, and you can see the synagogue he attended.

      David Weinfeld

      October 16, 2011 at 21:09

      • David, I love your story.

        By way of introduction I work on, creating projects on Jewish Communities of Galicia.
        You have wonderful photos of Budzanov and I am wondering if you would give me permission to use them in the project on

        Looking forward to hearing from you.

        Kind regards,

        Pam Karp (Australia)
        Volunteer Curator

        Pam Karp

        December 2, 2015 at 07:38

      • Hi Pam, you have my permission. Glad you liked the photos. – David

        David Weinfeld

        December 2, 2015 at 20:18

      • Hello Pam. I saw your note to David. In case you are interested, my family and I visited Budzanow (Budaniv) in October 2012. I have lots of photos. They are all on line. Please take a look and let me know if you are interested in any: (

        PS: I just happened to watch The Godfather Part II again. Did you know that famed Lee Strasberg (He played Hyman Roth) of the famed Actor’s Studio was born in Budzanow.


        December 3, 2015 at 11:53

    • Hi David-I have a copy of Safer Budzanow, the Yizkor Book written in Israel in 1968 by Budzanow survivors. Although most of the book is in Yiddish and Hebrew there is an article in English written by Abraham C. Weinfeld telling of a Jewish patrol that he and others formed to protect Jewish property during WW1.

      Marty Morganstein

      October 17, 2011 at 10:57

      • Dear Marty Morganstein,
        we found your entry on David Weinfeld’s site with his thrilling story on Budzanów. Our interest in Budzanów is this: A writer – you could say an Austrian or US-writer – was born there in 1890: Soma Morgenstern. He wrote very more or less autobiographical books on life in rural Galicia before 1914 in Budzanów, Loszniów, Tarnopol etc. Since he is not very well known within the German speaking literary world (despite an issue of his complete works some ten years ago) we are preparing an exhibiton on him and his better known friend Joseph Roth (he was from Brody and died in exile in Paris). Now, we have sufficient photographs of Brody, but only one from Budzanów – and we are looking for some more – to illustrat what life in Glaicia was at around 1900. Therefore we tried to find the yizkor book on Budzanów for months, to no avail. No library here in Austria or Germany or France has a copy, no one offers one to buy. Since you mention that you posses a copy – is it the original paper copy or a reproduction copy thereof? – we dare to ask you this question: Could you make scans (600 dpi or more) of two pictures in this book? We would love to include the group of priests in the synagogue on page 11 and the map of the town.
        We would love to hear from you
        Heinz and Victoria Lunzer in Vienna, Austria

        Heinz and Victoria

        January 18, 2012 at 11:27

      • e-mail address is not necessary. I posted a link which will take you to the photos. If you would like to see the photos (taken in October 2012) go to:


        November 8, 2012 at 19:04

  6. Wow, I missed this last month. Reminds me of “Everything is Illuminated” in many ways. How did your instructor just happen to be familiar with the place? That’s a really great story.


    October 17, 2011 at 14:11

  7. Hi, I loved your story. It appears my great grandfather was from Trembowla, near Tarnapol and according to a document I found on Ancestry, possibly from Budzanow (information is very sketchy). Is there a way for me to try to find the name Chaben/Chabin (probably spelled something like Czaben or Csaben) in the yizkor book, or anywhere else? I would consider hiring a local researcher to dig up this information. Thanks so much. Michele Chabin, in Jerusalem, Israel.

    Michele Chabin

    December 5, 2011 at 16:13

    • Thanks Michelle. I suspect you can find that in the Yizkor book, though if you live in New York, you can also visit the Center for Jewish History. The best thing, of course, is to visit the town. I can recommend a great tour guide.

      David Weinfeld

      December 6, 2011 at 22:11

      • David – My grandmother was born in Budaniv in 1892, was sent to Canada with a neighbor’s daughter in 1911 and never saw her parents again. We have no idea what happened to them. We are considering a trip to the town as well and would be interested in your tour guide recommendation. Thanks.

        Greg Aristoff

        June 8, 2012 at 11:58

      • Dear David – My grandfather was born in Budaniv in 1895, was move to Israel in 1922. I am considering a trip to the town as well and would be interested in your tour guide recommendation. Thank you in advance, Hagai.

        Hagai Peled

        February 10, 2013 at 01:43

  8. I’m a cousin of Marty Morganstein’s (for the record, first cousin, once removed). Marty posted here in 2011. Both of our names morphed to Morganstein from Morgenstern.

    I’m delighted to see the reference to Soma Morgenstern. His son, Dan Morgenstern, is also a writer. Dan is a renowned writer on Jazz having been Chief Editor of Downbeat Magazine and a faculty member at Rutgers.

    As an amateur jazz musician, I’ve written to Dan asking if we were perhaps related. Dan didn’t think so but this blog seems to get us closer.

    On another note, my sister and I hope to visit Budzanow in the fall of 2012. We will post if successful.

    Sanford (Sandy) Morganstein

    February 27, 2012 at 10:07

    • I believe my great great grandmother was Keile Morgenstern the daughter of Moses and Hencie Morgenstern. Were any of these names known in your family ?


      January 9, 2013 at 19:35

      • Yes, we think we know a good research resource. I don’t know if you know this, but we visited Budzanow in October 2012. Our guide told us that there would not be any records in Budzanow, but that there are likely to be very extensive records in Ternopil – it’s kind of a “county seat.” Our guide does research in Ternopil, for a fee, of course. I would be happy to give you his contact information if you are interested.

        Budzanow is a nestled in a beautiful valley. Hard to believe after all the grainy black and white photos we’ve seen from WWII years. There’s a link, a couple of posts above, to my photos.

        Lots of successful people come from there.

        From what I can tell, the population of Budzanow was about 40% Jewish in the nineteenth century. Just guessing, but I think that would mean about 800-900 Jewish people at the turn of the twentieth century. My Morgenstern family was large but I have only traced names to my great grandfather Schmuel Morgenstern and his wife Feiga nee Hellman. I would bet that Schmuel also had many brothers and sisters and that many Budzanow Morgensterns are related.

        Also, there is another resource you might like. It doesn’t have much information about Budzanow, but it does have some history, maps and other information:


        January 10, 2013 at 11:26

    • Thank you for your reply, yes if you kindly post the contact details for the guide, does he correspond in English ?


      January 12, 2013 at 15:52

      • Harvey: The guide/researcher we used was Alex Denisenko. He is fluent in English, Ukrainian and probably other languages. I hesitate putting his e-mail address on a website post. I don’t know if this site is restricted or if anyone can see what is here. I’m just trying to avoid having Alex being put on a number of e-mail spam lists. I think you can reach him on Facebook and LinkedIn.


        January 13, 2013 at 12:40

      • Sure, I understand, thanks so much for the name.


        January 13, 2013 at 19:02

  9. […] With all the history I had learned in college and graduate school, and because of the personal connection, that trip was even more […]

  10. Thats an amazing article. My great grandmother Beckie Schwartz and her family came from here. My great grandmother Beckie’s parents were Herman Schwartz and Anna Liff. Anna was born October 1861 and immigrated and married 1888. Herman immigrated 1884. Did you come across the name Schwartz at the cemetery?


    August 24, 2012 at 22:55

    • I don’t recall any of the names I saw at the cemetery. Most of the graves were pretty badly damaged.

      David Weinfeld

      November 8, 2012 at 17:54

  11. My great grandmother Beckie Schwartz and her family cane from Budzanow. Herman Schwartz and Anna Liff was Beckie’s parents. According to the 1900 us census, Anna was born October 1861 immigrated and married 1888. Herman immigrated 1884, which means he came to the US first. We all know that the US cenus might be misleading. Beckie was born in 1882. When you were there, do you remember seeing the name Schwartz at the cemetery? What an amazing experience this must have been.


    August 24, 2012 at 23:05

    • Most, if not all of the names in the cemetery are in the Hebrew Son (Daughter) ben Father format. So, there is not way to find a Schwartz or anything else. Besides, the cemetery is in an awful state of disrepair and the stones are hard to read.

      Budzaniv is a beautiful place. I took lots of pictures and they are posted on Google+. If you care to give me an e-mail address, I will send the link to you.


      November 8, 2012 at 18:34

  12. My maternal grandfather, Leib Fischer, was born in Budzanow; but also my paternal grandmother, Lea Migden. Leib Fischer moved to Trembowla when he married Leah Weiser, and Lea Migdens joined her husband Nathan Hirschhorn in Podwoloczyska. All left in 1914-5, fleeing the Russian invasions and pograms at the start of WWI.


    September 7, 2012 at 12:37

  13. My family origin was in Budzanow. Thr family immigrate to Germany were my father was born. I’m looking for other family members. If somebody knows the Linial family origin Budzanow and now living out of Israel, I’m interested to know about.

    Pinhas Linial

    October 3, 2012 at 03:23

    • Dear Pinhas, My grandmother, Sara Linial, born in 1897, As far as I know she born in Chrtcov. Name of her parents Aaron and Tova. She was married with my grandfather Israel Noyfeld who born in 1895 in Budzanow.

      Hagai Peled

      February 10, 2013 at 02:14

  14. I figured out a way to share my photos of Budzanow without asking anyone for an e-mail address. As I said in another post, Budzanow is a beautiful town nestled in what looks like an ancient valley formed by a mighty river. No wonder so many settled there.

    These photos were taken in October 2012. To see the photos, click on (or cut and paste):


    November 8, 2012 at 19:02

    • Sajemo, can you pleased send me your email address privately? Mine is and I would very much like to be in touch. -David

      David Weinfeld

      August 7, 2014 at 15:53

  15. Hi, my great grandparents lived in Budzanow. My great grandfather Isaac Perlmutter b. 1873, came to London, England in about 1920 but left the rest of the family behind. I found a source that suggested anyone left in the town during WW2 would have been sent to Belzec camp. Do you have any information about this or can you suggest any good research sources that I could use to find out more (other than Jewishgen which I already use) ? I believe his parents were Rachmiel Perlmutter and Keile Morgenstern, he had brothers Abraham and Sender and twin baby sisters who died a few days old. Keile was the daughter of Moses and Hencie Morgenstern but that is as far back as I have been able to find.


    January 5, 2013 at 19:11

    • Harvey, thanks for writing. I don’t really know the best resources for this. A trip or at least a phone call to the Center for Jewish History in NYC might help.

      David Weinfeld

      May 21, 2013 at 17:05

  16. I found another photo of the Weinfeld home. It’s on a great website:

    I would post the photo here, but I can’t seem to figure out how to do it.


    January 11, 2013 at 16:05

    • Thanks so much!

      David Weinfeld

      January 13, 2013 at 10:30

  17. Let’s have a great, big Budzanow welcome for…


    March 31, 2013 at 13:05

  18. My grandparents and my father were born in Budzanow. 1892, 1899 & 1922. My father only lived there for 4 months before his mother brought him back to their Canadian home in London, Ontario. Both grandparents emigrated to Canada separately with family members from Budzanow. They met in Thunder Bay, Ontario and were married there. They moved to London and my aunt was born. Believing that times were better back home, my grandfather returned to Budzanow. My grandmother followed several months later traveling back home with her 1 year old daughter and her 12 year old sister. I am returning to Budzanow in July 2013. It’s been 91 years since a family member returned. Jim Semchism (London) “Semczyczyn” originally.

    Jim Semchism

    May 18, 2013 at 00:28

    • Hey Jim, hope you have a great trip!

      David Weinfeld

      May 21, 2013 at 17:06

    • As mentioned in my previous post my grandmother (Sabina Wilieczkiewicz) was born in January, 1892. She emigrated to London, Ontario with her friend Eudoksia Zubyk. Sabina married my grandfather, Gregory Aristoff in 1912 in London and they lived on William Street, then Clarence Street and later William Street. My grandparents were socially active in London’s émigré community. There is a fair chance they may have known your grandparents.

      Greg Aristoff

      October 27, 2013 at 13:01

  19. I have also been to Budaniv, as it is now called, to see the village where my grandparents were born around 1890. As an amateur genealogist, it was a real thrill for me! My grandparents, Adolph Drabik and Maria Duplak, immigrated to Winnipeg in the early 1900s and were married there in 1911. We also visited the Archives at Ternopil, and I got a copy of my grandfather’s birth certificate. There was a lot of detail on it, and it was in Latin, so it was very helpful.

    There is a 1929 Business Directory of Budzanow that has been translated into English and posted here:

    Dave, you will see that your grandfather’s family were liquor merchants as well as tobacconists! Thank you for sharing your fascinating story.

    Teresa James

    June 27, 2013 at 20:49

  20. My mother also was born in 1937 in Budzanow. Her father, Franciszek Rogowski had slaughterhous in this city.I would like to go there, too.

    Kraszewski Leszek

    July 11, 2013 at 10:51

  21. David, I enjoyed reading your account of your visit to BudanIv so much!!! Thank you very much for posting it. I myself was born there in 1954. We were allowed to leave the Ukraine in 1958 for Poland because my dad was Polish and from there came to Canada sponcered by my mothers brother and father who were already here.

    My mother told me that our family was not living there at that time but that was where the birthing house was and she had to go by horseback over the mountains to get there, I think they were living in Ternopil

    The strange thing is that although I was always under the impression that my Birthday was August 11, and yet, when my father passed away I found my little cardboard baby bracelet in a box of papers of,his. It was quite crude, made out of a thin cardboard, with two little triangular holes punched out on each end of it with a little piece of string strung through the holes and handwritten on it – “baby girl, August 12” and no name.

    My mother said that she was 100% sure that I was born August 11, and said that the mothers were all in a room together and the newborn babies were kept in a separate room and brought to the mothers for feedings. That concerned me as I started to wonder if maybe she was given someone elses baby and although my mother passed away in 2005 I still have concerns about this. My birth certificate is also all handwritten

    stace nielsen (Birth name was Stanislava Tatiana Knysh (or knyzh)

    February 22, 2014 at 07:41

  22. My great-grandfather, David Schl. Drimer, arrived in Ellis Island in 1899 and lived at 193 Orchard Street. He arrived with a daughter, Francis Drimer (I know, doesn’t sound very Jewish). David and Feige Drimer appear to have had four children, Liber, Francis, Yetta and Morris (Moses). Drimer appears to have been a very common name in this town. Is anybody out there who knew this family?

    Kim Dramer

    Kim Dramer

    March 13, 2014 at 16:40

  23. David, I don’t know if you’re still checking this site. I saw it a couple of years ago, before all the comments and before I’d got very far with my own research. Your story was wonderful, I’d love to visit Budaniv one day. I keep waiting until I’ve finished my research, but I realize that will never happen.
    There were Schutzmans from Budzanow in my family too. My grandmother’s sister, Chana Kornstein, married Israel Mendal Schutzman (born 1863). Their daughters Mincia and Etia went to NYC, where they settled in 1902 and 1907.
    By now, I’m sure you’ve explored JewishGen, where I found a birth record for Brana Schutzman, born in 1870. My family were Auerbachs and Kornsteins. The Auerbachs haven’t been that hard to trace, but I’ve had a tough time with the Kornsteins. My great grandparents were Mendel Kornstein and Golde Perlmutter. They had a lot of children, and they essentially all went to NYC in the very early 1900s. Mendel Kornstein lived at the mill and I think he ran a tavern.

    Jane Gelfand

    April 9, 2014 at 17:38

  24. This is a fascinating story to me, not only because I enjoy reading how you made a modern connection to your own old family history, but because my dad’s father and uncle were Schutzmans from Budzanow. Burech Mendel (Max) and Moyzesz (Moishe = Morris) Schutzman were born in Budzanow in 1881 and 1886. They left to come to the USA, my grandfather in 1900, and my great uncle in 1904. It would be interesting to know what relation your great-grandmother Brauna Schutzman may have to my family.

    Bart Schutzman

    Bart Schutzman

    August 4, 2014 at 18:01

    • Hi Bart,

      Thanks for the comment. Yes would be interesting indeed to find out that relationship! I will return to this project eventually but any information you find would be great. You can email me to communicate further. Thanks again!


      David Weinfeld

      August 6, 2014 at 11:50

    • We have found a researcher who would find official records of Budzanow families. He believes those records are extant and are in Ternopil. Of course, he charges a fee. If interested, let me know and I will pass his name to you.


      August 7, 2014 at 12:55

      • I certainly would like to know about this. One can only go so far on the internet.

        Bart Schutzman

        August 7, 2014 at 13:05

      • Bart: I’m a little cautious about putting the researcher’s email address and name on the Internet. I will if there is no other choice. But first, please look at the photos I posted of Budzanow (my sister and I visited three years ago). See if you can send me a private message on that site. If not, I will figure out a way to get you the researcher’s contact info.


        August 7, 2014 at 14:06

  25. I have enjoyed not only reading the Weinfeld’s heartwarming story of “coming home,” but also perusing all the replies that widened the journey to more of us.

    After reading these I can’t wait to get to Ukraine and make the pilgrimage to Budzanow. My great uncles Moishe (Morris) Scheps and his wife Svre Beile Scheps and brothers (Abraham & Wolf) left Budzanow for New York in the 1890s. My great grandfather Getzel Adler was born in Skalat and was living in nearby Janow when he left to make the voyage to America (1907).

    I look forward to continuing my voyage back to the days of Galicia and wish everyone good luck on yours, wherever it takes you.


    December 29, 2014 at 14:03

    • We look forward to reading your comments!


      April 20, 2015 at 14:33

  26. This site was briefly defunct but I just renewed. Thanks so much to all here reading an commenting about Budzanow/Budaniv. I hope to eventually return.

    David Weinfeld

    April 20, 2015 at 14:18

  27. I ‘m looking for the names of the three sisters of my father, Natan Rotenstreich, born 16-12-1912 in Butzanòw . His father’s name was Schaje Rotenstreich and his mother name Hinde Bergman. I hope someone can help me. My father is deceased in Amsterdam on July 24, 2014 (he became so 101!) and I and my sister Hinde like to mention the names of his three sisters on the headstone.

    Thank you so much already ,

    Miriam Rotenstreich


    April 24, 2015 at 10:19

  28. I forgot to tell that my fathers sisters and his parents were murdered by the nazi’s.


    April 24, 2015 at 10:29

  29. Nice article in the New York Times about some who have visited this part of the world to see the lands of their ancestors. There is a mention of a translator in the article and I am happy to say that I have used Alex’s services and he is quite good. Here is a link to the article:


    August 2, 2015 at 16:38

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