Saturday, January 3, 2015

Sonia Diamond, July 14, 1922 - January 2, 2015

Sonia & Paul Diamond, 1950s

My grandmother, Sonia Baich Diamond, passed away last night--on the 21st yahrtzeit of her husband Paul.  She was 92 1/2 years old.  She was born in what is now Horochov, Ukraine (then Poland), survived the Holocaust, and immigrated to America.  Her incredible story (based on an interview with her) through her arriving in America is below.

  1. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: Growing up in Horochov (1922-1935, part 1) 
  2. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: Growing up in Horochov (1922-1935, part 2) 
  3. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: Living in Shklyn and the Senkevychivka Ghetto (Part 3: 1936-1942) 
  4. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: Senkevychivka Ghetto Destruction (Part 4: 1942) 
  5. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: After the Senkevychivka Ghetto Destruction (Part 5: 1942-1943) 
  6. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: Hiding in Plain Sight (Part 6: 1943-1944) 
  7. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: The Ending of the War (Part 7: 1944-1945) 
  8. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: Displaced Persons' Camps (Part 8: 1945-1947) 
  9. Sonia Bajcz Diamond: Coming to America (Part 9: 1947-1948)
After coming to America, she and her husband Paul raised four children and had 15 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren--the youngest of which is only 2 weeks old.
Me with my grandparents, Miami Beach, 1980s?

With the help of family members already in America, they started a small business which grew into a large company of supermarkets (anyone remember Food-A-Rama and Super-Super?).

Diamond Family, 1991
My grandparents were involved in many different organizations, including Hadassah, Pioneer Women, AMIT, Suburban Orthodox, and tons more I'm sure I'm forgetting.

She loved hearing what I found out about the family--but always chastised me for finding more about all the branches other than hers (not that I haven't tried).

Sonia Diamond's 91st birthday, with her birthday twin and great grandson Doniel, 2013

While valuing the family that she built in America, she never forgot those who were lost in Europe.

May her memory be a blessing.


  1. What a lovely blog to remember her, Lara, and tough to write after your loss, I am quite sure. Thoughts with you at this time.

  2. What a story! I'm sure she's proud of your work and searches.
    : a french blogger

  3. I am sorry for your loss. Such a lovely family.

  4. So sorry for your loss. Your work will serve as a lasting tribute to her memory for many generations to come. My mother was a childhood friend of your grandmother and always treasured their friendship.

  5. Nothing like a wonderful grandmother, and nothing like losing one. So sorry.

  6. I just saw your post, Lara, and I am sad for the loss of your grandmother a few years ago ... what drew me to your website was your last name Diamond ... my husband is Diamond but his grandfather came over from "Russia" in the early 1900's as Zisie Darman and then changed is name to Sam Diamond ... I really can't find out any information about his father but I did find his mother, Beila Darman, came over in the 1920's and joined her son for awhile in Woonsocket RI. Alan has a second cousin, Ida Gass Ruben, who was a state senator from Maryland and I have been trying to track down her mother's history before coming into the US in 1920's ... her name was Sonia Esther Darman ... she kept Darman but Alan's family went with Diamond. Not being Jewish, it is difficult for me to understand all of the family lines and intermarriages ... wondering if you have come up with any Darmans or Diamonds that may be related to you and my husband's family. Warm regards, Susan Diamond

    1. The Woonsocket Darmans seem to come from what's now Krolevets, Ukraine, so likely not connected to my Diamonds. FamilySearch does have Jewish Krolovets records available.... for example, for metrical (vital) records and for census records.

    2. Lara, Sorry Just saw your reply ... it is interesting information which you have given me and I will pursue ... you do show up though as a DNA match on and/or FTDNA with my husband, Alan Diamond. Do you know of Ida Gass Ruben who was a State Senator from Maryland ... she and my husband, Alan, are second cousins ... her mother was Sonia Darman who was sister to my husband's grandfather, Zisie Darman, whose name was changed to Sam Diamond ... what a tangled web of intrigue especially since it is not my ancestry, I am not Jewish but love the history and the stories! God bless and have a wonderful, happy healthy holiday,
      Susan Diamond

  7. Great family. Would like to read about other grandparents.

    1. I actually have autobiographies of two other grandparents. (I should write something up for my Zaidy Louie though!) Here are the ones already posted:

      Paul Diamond:

      Minnie Joshowitz Tolchin: