Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In the spirit of Jams

Jams has gotten some mileage out of talking about long dead relatives here is my version.

My grandfather was from a long forgotten town on the Bug River. It was in what was known as the frontier region. Janover is most likely one and the same with the Yanovka that is said to be the birth place of human fecal matter Trotsky.

My grandfather was a short but very powerfuly built blonde man with green eyes. He was a Polish cavarly man for a short spell and hated horses. He was well known for his marksmanship
and a few Bolsheviks found this out the hard way in skirmishes shot through the head when they thought they were safe. War was not something he enjoyed, Bolsheviks were invaders and oddly for a man who hated business he described it in business like terms. Bolsheviks were foreign invaders and he had a job to do. Contrary to the Commie myth, Jews who practiced the relgion loathed Commies. Those who had some faith often drifted into the early Zionist movement. Zionism was seen as a competitor by Commies who remain obsessed with it today.

He was dead set against hunting for sport. However, if you were going to eat what you shot this was another story. However, old world people were much different than Americans. I remember dumping two Perch into a large fish tank and going out to play baseball. When I came back they were gone. Apparently, cleaning fish was a common skill that my octogenerian grandmother was well aquainted with. How she caught the fish in a huge tank remains even more of a mystery. My grandfather had his Yidish paper and complimented his wife on a great meal. I suppose keeping food in a huge tank seemed nutty to them.

My grandfathers family was localy prominent and owned several businesses. Yet my grandfather was more interested in building high quality furniture than accounting. He hated the fighting over the business and was devoted to his craft.

My grandmother was from a far less prominent family. In fact they were near the bottom of the social order. However, she had something more valuable than gold American Legal residence.
So my grandfather left the fighting and went to the USA. Of his family only one sister survived
as she emigrated to Israel. Another brother survived the Holocaust but was killed by locals when he returned home. This was not uncommon and is a seldom discussed part of the Holocaust.

My grandfather never considered himself a Pole. He would tell you we were Jews. He had no nostalgia for Poland and never wanted to visit. He sometimes would reminiss about his cavalry
days and the bad food. Shooting game was one way to avoid bad meals. His greatest pride was his children and his furniture. He also made the trip to Israel and proudly displayed pictures of himself at the Western Wall and Rachel's Tomb. Oddly his sister never appeared in any of the photographs.

My gradfather loved America and was oddly placed in the Navy. The Navy had great need for carpenters as the decking on aircraft carriers and battleships were made of wood. My gradfathers cousin served as a flight instructor. Before he was sent out a liver ailment sent him
to the hospital and out of the Navy.

He was known for his jovial nature and relaxed personality. He was a simple man who was dedicated to his craft. Yet the man who didn't say much loathed communists. They were ignorant, corrupt and uniformly evil. One of our cousins a nasty man was a big mouth Communist. However spending the war in Siberia under slave labor conditions cured him quickly, but he remained mean and nasty without the Marxism.

His wife was not nearly as well liked. In fact other than my grandfather she didn't have many friends. She ran the house and the budget and was not kid friendly. She was dedicated to produce and poultry. I'm still puzzled that she always seemed to know what to do with strange items. Yet the period after WWI was very rough and people learned to survive. Some of the advenures with the dreaded evil gourds were comedic. What is this????? I tried to explain that
the odd gourds were part of an art project. My grandmother soon found other uses for the gourds after my friends finished his photography. She thought going to school and photographing produce was dumb, and she was right.


Anonymous said...

A good friend of mine's Jewish grandfather was ex-Hungarian Cavalry. He managed a large collective type farm that employed German? and Soviet prisoners as workers.

Whenever he said the word communist... he had to spit.

"Communist" **spit**

I think that sums it up.

Jungle Mom said...

I'm spittin' too farmer!

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

My recently departed grandfather was a radioman in the US Army Signal Corps attached to the Headquarters company of the 3rd Armored Division with the Jewish General Maurice Rose in Europe during World War 2. He saw with his own eyes many of the first leftist Nazis run down by the "Spearhead" Division's Sherman tanks and coordinated artillery fire, as General Rose led his forces in battle from the front lines and Papaw was with him.

sonia said...

According to this source, Trotsky wasn't born on the Bug River (which is on the Polish-Ukrainian border), but near Kherson in Southern Ukraine, in a village of Yanovka (today Bereslavka).

I couldn't find Janower anywhere. Maybe it's Janow Podlaski, located near the Bug River west of Brest Litovsk ?

Mr. Beamish the Kakistocrat said...

After the war, my grandfather took a job with the railroad, maintaining their communication equipment, as well as running a TV / electronics shop on the side. His activities with the Republican party registering black people to vote and teaching black people radio and television repair in his shop earned the ire (and the terrorism) of the Democratic Party / Ku Klux Klan in 1950 and 1960's Alabama.

But he kept on keeping on. He was quiet proud of his lifetime membership in the National Rifle Association, which he bought when the lifetime membership fee was only a dollar. He took it upon himself to teach his 4 children and 17 grandchildren how to use firearms and rifles, producing 5 "marksmen" and "experts" with pistol and rifle among those of us who joined the military or became police officers, as well as shooting competition champions.

I remember my first lesson with a rifle from my grandfather. He handed me a copy of the US Constitution and said "this lists your rights as a US citizen." Then he handed me the rifle and said "This keeps your rights."

A patriot to the end. I miss him.

Always On Watch said...

Yet the man who didn't say much loathed communists.

So, you're following the family tradition?

I love family anecdotes. Before 9/11, I was writing a book of them about my own family.

Always On Watch said...

Sorry if this is a double post....

Yet the man who didn't say much loathed communists.

So, you're following the family tradition?

I love family anecdotes. Before 9/11, I was writing a book of them about my own family.

Warren said...

Seems to be consensus, "communist... (spit)".

When I was a kid, i lived next door to a Lithuanian family. The old man had been a college professor and was arrested by the Nazis for speaking out for his Jewish friends. The old lady went into hiding with their two oldest children and miscarried a child while she was hiding. The old man escaped from a Nazi slave labor camp and damned near died of starvation but eventually found his way home.

As the communists took over his country at the end of the war, he saw what was coming and managed to gather his family and with a sponsorship, made it to the US.

As much as they hated the Nazis, they hated the communists more.

z said...

Most Eastern Europeans spit on communism.....they know what it was like to live in it, not just idealize it like our Dem candidates. Was it Spielberg who said meeting Castro was one of the highlights, or THE highlight of his life? Sounds so cozy, doesn't it...take from the rich and give to the poor...get those Mao jackets into action? I'll never understand it.

What's that about Jews from the holocaust returning to get killed at home? Never heard that.

beakerkin said...


Many Jews who returned home were killed by the locals including an Uncle. Locals has taken the property and possesion of those who had gone to the camps.

Communists were well aware of the situation and in some cases encoraged these killings as peasant expressions of class warfare. The most notorious of these post Holocaust killings was in Keilce.

The Merry Widow said...

And here in apartied America, when the Japanese were rounded up and sent to camps, their neighbors in most cases took care of their businesses and homes until they were released.
Hmmmm, says something about America and Europe, democracy vs. communism!
Good morning, G*D bless and Maranatha!