Sunday, March 5, 2017

Book of Sorrows & My Great Grandmother's Possible Sibling

Within the past few years, many parts of Ukraine have published volumes of "The Book of Sorrows" (Книга Скорботи), in which they catalogue civilians who were killed during WWII.  Each volume seems to cover a district, and within the district, individuals from each village/town/city are catalogued separately.
Some of the Rutners from Kolodne listed in the Book of Sorrows

I've found a few relatives listed who actually survived the war, even though their fate was listed as "Була депортована в 1944 р. і пропала безвісти в фашистському концтаборі" (Was deported in 1944 and disappeared in the Nazi concentration camps).  I also found two relatives born in the 1920s who died as young children (and I have the death records to prove it) who weren't alive in 1944 to be deported.  So while being listed in this book isn't firm proof of an individual's demise during the Holocaust, I've found it relatively comprehensive people who lived in my family's towns.  And at least it gives some evidence that a person existed.

I was paging through the Tiachev district's book, looking for my family names.  There were quite a few Rutners, most of whom I knew.  But one from the town of Tiachev was intriguing.
Smil-Mozesh Ruttner of Tyachiv in the Book of Sorrows

Translation: RUTTNER Shmil-Mozesh, (born) August 14, 1928, a Jew. He was deported in 1944 and disappeared in the Nazi concentration camps.

I do not have this Shmil Mozesh/Shmuel Moshe in my tree.  But I do have another record from the summer of 1928 about a Shmuel Moshe Ruttner:
Death of Mosko Rutner; July 7, 1928

My great-great grandfather Shmuel Moshe "Mosko" Ruttner died on July 8, 1928.  And here was a boy born soon after who may have been named for him.

Now, there were two Shmuel Moshe Rutners from Kolodne.  And the "other" Shmuel Moshe died sometime before 1922, when he had grandchildren named for him.  So it's possible that the Shmil-Mozesh born in 1928 was named for the "other" Shmuel Moshe.  But by this time, the other Shmuel Moshe's family mostly lived in Borsa, Romania, much further from Tiachev than was Kolodne.

None of the known children of my Shmuel Moshe Rutner were living in Tiachev in 1928, .  However, I do have gaps in the years of birth of children to "my" Shmuel Moshe Rutner and his wife Rochel Fuchs.  Their son Boruch Hirsch was born in 1881, Esther (my great grandmother) was born about 1889, and Abraham/Adolf was born in 1894.  The children after these three were born much more closely together.  Could there have been another child (or children) born in the 1880s or early 1890s who later moved to Tiachev and had a son in 1928?  It's certainly possible.  Looks like I need to wait until we get the Tiachev records to find out for sure!

(2022 update:  He was actually my great-great grandfather Shmuel Moshe's great nephew, not grandson.)

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  1. Yes, it certainly looks good. But yes, you should wait for additional evidence. In any case, you have no place to put him yet in the family structure.

    1. Yes, I know. But hopefully when I get Tiachev records, he'll fit right in.

  2. Fascinating. Where can one find the different "Books of Sorrows"?

    1. The Family History Library has some. JewishGen has translated a few. Some are digitized and copies are floating around. Try googling (in Ukrainian) Книга Скорботи along with the name of the oblast your family's towns are in.

    2. I first saw the Khmelnitsky volume in Ukraine in the museum in Yurovshchina (aka Labun) in 2013. When I got home I searched on Not many around. The best bet is traveling to the Family History Library which has several volumes (none of which are available on Interlibrary loan).