Mendel (Max) Popinski (Page) born 1916 in Brzeziny, Poland
The Popinskis are different to all other families in this book as only one came to England (my father). He settled here after World War II during which all his family were murdered by the Germans. His family, as they were Polish Jews, were Holocaust victims which makes it very difficult for me to trace them as I have no idea where or when they died. They may have perished in the Lodz ghetto or they may have been sent to a concentration camp e.g. Auschwitz.
My dad was firstly captured by the Russians and they sent him to a concentration camp in Siberia. This caused me an amusing problem as many years later when I was at work I was due to be vetted and so I had to complete an enormous form full of daft questions but the one that made me laugh was a question something like this:
‘Has any member of your family, living or dead, ever lived, is living or may be going to live in a country that used to have or currently has or may have in the future a communist government.’
In order to answer this question I had to phone the relevant department and ask them if being an inmate of a concentration camp counted as residing in that country. The person to whom I was speaking replied that it was enforced residence so it should count. So I said that in the place for their address would ‘Somewhere in Siberia’ be sufficient and he grudgingly agreed that it would have to do as I had no idea whereabouts he was held.
Whilst doing my research I found the web site of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB) and also a site for Polish Jews and through them I have found a distant cousin who lives in America. Her mother (whose maiden name was Popinski) was the only surviving member of her family. She found out that all her other relatives died in Auschwitz in about 1942. Through the JGSGB and ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ (otherwise known as the Mormons) I have obtained a copy of the birth registration document for my dad’s dad (Chil Majer Popinski). The translation of this birth registration document is shown below (an image of the document may be seen in Annexe 2):
"This registration took place in Passad Ujazd on the 8th (20th of December) in the year 1896 at 9:00 in the morning. A Mendel Popinski arrived, which his occupation is a ‘CUTTER’ (not clear if it is a butcher or a wood cutter or maybe tailor's cutter), that at that time was 56 years old and lives in Passad Ujazd, and in the presence of 2 witnesses Haskel Brenner who is a wood worker and 65 years old, and the 2nd witness Elli-Yasha Zilbershtang- a seller age 54, both also live in Passad Ujazd, they brought a male child which he announced was born in Passad Ujazd on the 2nd (14th of October) in 1888 at 3:00AM to his wife Zlata (Wiata?) Popinska- Galas or Galjas age 34.
They gave the boy the name Chil- Meir.
This registration is signed by the 2 witnesses and is being read to Mendel for the reason that he presented himself as an ‘analphabet’.
He gave a reason for the lateness in the registration as his unintentional mistake’.”
‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter - Day Saints’ have what they call Family Centres all over the world and I discovered that there is one in Hastings, therefore, not too far away. At my local Family Centre I looked up all the Popinski birth registrations I could find in the relevant area of Poland and using my limited O-Level Russian and from this I made my Popinski tree. Obviously, I have no idea how accurate my tree is but when I get some more time etc I’ll do some more research. In 2005 I went (along with my mum, husband and son) to Poland to see if we could find where my dad came from. Which we did and it was much prettier than any of us expected. One day I hope to return to Poland and do some research there.
One of my American contacts (Deborah Long who is a distant relation by marriage to the Popinskis) has sorted out an interesting fact. Mendel Popinski, who was born in 1839, and was my great grandfather first married a lady called Feyga Gittel Galas. Feyga was born in 1843, the daughter of Michal and Sura Galas. Then after she died he married Zlota Galas who was born in 1863. Zlota was the daughter of Michal's SON, Abram and his wife Udel and so she was Michal’s granddaughter.
My dad’s Soldier’s Pay Book.
If you look closely at the information in my dad’s pay book (shown above) you will see that he was 162 foot tall and he weighed 62 lbs. Now that’s what I call a POLE. Also, on the page it says that his chest measurement was 86 inches. I think maybe the person measuring him was using metric systems not realizing that the book was using the imperial systems.
2ND QUARTER 1949 – HACKNEY (District Hackney Vol. 5c Page 1678)
Mendel Popinski married Eileen C Harris
The wedding of Mendel Popinski and Eileen Harris.
3RD QUARTER 1950 – ISLINGTON (District Islington Vol. 5c Page 1368)
Jeffrey Popinski born (Mother’s Maiden Name: Harris)
CERTIFICATE OF NATURALISATION (Cert. No. BNA 22025 - Home Office No. P. 47342)
Date of certificate 05/03/1952
Date of swearing the Oath of Allegiance 12/03/1952
Date registered at the Home Office 20/03/1952
Mendel Popinski became a British Subject
2ND QUARTER 1953 – WOOD GREEN (District Wood Green Vol. 5f Page 600)
Simone Popinski born (Mother’s Maiden Name: Harris)
CHANGE OF NAME (By Deed Poll)
Date 14/04/1955 - Mendel Popinski became Mendel Page
3RD QUARTER 1955 – WOOD GREEN (District Wood Green Vol. 5f Page 599)
Madeleine Page born (Mother’s Maiden Name: Harris)