Tarnow Calling

Tarnow Calling

I’ve gotten used to people contacting me through this blog because they’ve come across the Kornmehl name on it. Now, for the first time, Freud’s Butcher has grabbed the attention of an entire city: Tarnow, Poland.

Or at least the attention of Jerry Bergman, the Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Monuments of Jewish Culture in Tarnow, a committee that I didn’t know existed.

Which makes sense. Up until recently, I had never heard of Tarnow, and I certainly didn’t know that my mother’s entire family originated from there.

Committee Tarnow

Some Tarnow Facts

From JewishGen.org:

Tarnow facts-001

By Coincidence

Bergman, a photojournalist from Tarnow who now lives in Copenhagen, was writing as his committee’s vice-chair to inquire if I had “pictures of my family in Tarnow.” I wrote back that I didn’t know where to begin, that the entire huge Kornmehl family came from Tarnow.

He told me to begin at the beginning but, instead, I decided to begin at the end.

One of my newfound relatives, Flora Selwyn, had grandparents who were born in Tarnow, Doba Schmerling and Elias Kornmehl. Not too long ago, Flora visited Tarnow with her daughter-in-law, Anna — who, by coincidence, was born in Tarnow.  Anna located Doba and Elias’ home as well as Elias’ birth certificate, and they visited various Jewish sites together, including the Jewish cemetery. Here is a picture of the two of them there.

Flora Selwyn and Anna Selwyn in the Tarnow Jewish cemetery

Flora Selwyn and Anna Selwyn in the Tarnow Jewish cemetery

Mothers-in-law often get a bad rap, but not on this blog (see An Inspiring Woman: Frances Kornmehl)

A Mystery and a Promise

Anna Selwyn is not Jewish so it’s no surprise that she was born in Tarnow. Jerry Bergman, on the other hand, is — I’m pretty sure — and he was born in Tarnow after the war; he wrote that he left in 1969. But the fact sheet I posted, above, says that there were only 35 Jews remaining in Tarnow in 1965. Was he one of them?

I asked him, and he promised to tell me the story later, when he wasn’t so busy. I’m going to hold him to it. In turn, I promise to get LOTS of pictures to him.

Bergman also told me that a Polish woman at Berlin University is writing the history of Jews in Tarnow for her Ph.D. dissertation. He said that she was away in August, but that I should contact her when she returns “if you want the story of your family in her work.” You bet I do.

I have mentioned the huge Kornmehl family tree and book that a cousin, Leonard Schneider, put together several years ago and that is now being updated. It is exciting to think that the family will now find a place in yet another work, a scholarly one. Of course, it will probably be in Polish.

Luckily, one of our relatives has a very good relationship with her Polish daughter-in-law.

Update: The website of the Tarnow Museum — the url is on the photo of the committee but I didn’t provide a live link — is mostly in Polish but there are some interesting links in English in the Judaica section, including a downloadable guide to Tarnow’s Jewish cemetery and the sad story of the Jews of Tarnow, with details of one heroic rescue.

14 Responses to Tarnow Calling

  1. Elaine schmerling says:

    Wow. I had no idea Tarnow had such a huge Jewish population. So many things coming together.

  2. Shirley Collier says:

    My Trinkenreich family originated from Tarnow. My great grandfather Menachem Israel Trinkenreich moved to Krakow where he married and had four children before moving to the UK. I would love to visit Tarnow but unfortunately this has not been possible.

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      I have not yet been able to visit Tarnow either but I hope to one of these days. I will give you the contact information of Mr. Bergman in case you also want to be involved in this project.

      Thanks for writing.

  3. Jana Last says:


    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today’s Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/08/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-august-9.html

    Have a great weekend!
    Jana Last recently posted..Follow Friday ~ Fab Finds for August 9, 2013My Profile

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      Jana — I’ve hit the trifecta! Thank you so much for your continuing attention to this blog.

      Have a great weekend yourself!


  4. Clare says:

    This is so exciting! Let’s go to Tarnow!!

  5. Edie,

    Does this committee have a web site? I have a branch from Tarnow and have some photos as well, not all that I’ve been able to identify. I also have copies of telegrams sent to my family there.

    Philip Trauring recently posted..Routes to Roots, improvedMy Profile

    • Edie Jarolim says:

      How interesting! No, there is no website — except the Judaica section of the Tarnow museum site, which is mostly in Polish — but I will put you in touch with Jerry Bergman.

  6. Sally says:

    This is my first visit, and your site is really interesting! I love the graphics 🙂

  7. […] by Edie Jarolim’s post Tarnow Calling in her great Freud’s Butcher blog, I’ve decided to share this document I discovered in […]

  8. […] genealogy, jewish genealogy, Tarnow, yad vashemPhilip Inspired by Edie Jarolim’s post Tarnow Calling in her great Freud’s Butcher blog, I’ve decided to share this document I discovered in […]

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