Today is Saposnik/Safosnik/Sapoznik Day (decreed by my cousins and myself) because it is 100 years TO THE DAY that my grandfather and my grandmother, with their five sons, were reunited at Ellis Island in the New World after 4 years apart.
For years, we dabbled in trying to learn more about our family but got nowhere. We searched Ellis Island, ancestry sites, and Castle Garden. We knew the family name had been changed to Pozner from something else but there were dozens and dozens of possibilities. That generation of 6 brothers and 1 sister is now gone and their stories are gone, too. Out of all of my uncles (my mother was the 1 girl), Berl/Barney/Ben was the most silent, so it is ironic that he was the one that provided the needed clue. I found his naturalization papers two weeks ago and he had the wrong debarkation and wrong date, but he had the correct name of the ship, SS Neckar and the name of their home, Pavoloch, a town near Kiev. I turned the information over to my cousins…………….
Gary, my determined cousin-in-law, tracked them down. I was deeply moved to see the ships’ (Korea 1909 and Neckar 1913) manifests with my grandfather, Aron Sapoznik (in 1909) and my grandmother Hinde Safosnik (in 1913) listed. They were so young. I knew they left their parents to make the journey but I was saddened to see that they also lost their names to become the Americans, Harry and Anna Pozner. I know it is the story of millions and millions of our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. Tonight at 6-6:30 EST, 5-5:30 CST, and 3-3:30 PST, (because we are also separated), we are toasting the reunion. One hundred years to the day – l’chaim!
A side note: during WW2, the Nazis killed every Jew in Pavoloch/Pavolitch. The town no longer exists.