The Galewskis of Middlesbrough,
by Michael Bharier
Ah, yes! but I hear you saying "I never knew any Galewskis in Middlesbrough", that is unless you are one of them. There wasn’t much contact between the Polish and Jewish communities in that town anyway.
The fact is that a large number of members of the Middlesbrough Jewish Community were descendants of Yehuda Leib Galewski and his wife Bajla Heniksztok of Lodz. They had at least four daughters, who lived in Middlesbrough, and three sons, two of whom stayed in Poland and one of whom settled in Rotterdam. It is of this family that I write.
The four daughters who came to Middlesbrough were Anna, Rosa, Ellen and Sarah.
Anna married Abe Goldberg. They had two sons, Maurice and Jack. Maurice married Jenny Server, and they had two daughters, Flora and Miriam ("Mimsie"). Mim married David Serebrin of Winnipeg and Maurice, Jenny and Flora later followed them to Canada then Seattle, where Mim and Dave live now. They have two sons, Raymond and Alan, and a granddaughter, Hester.
Jack married Gertie Ziff of Leeds. They also had two daughters, Rita and Anne. Rita married Woolf Rosenberg and Anne married Stewart Dove. Rita and Woolf lived in London, as do their children and grandchildren. Anne and Stewart live in Jerusalem, as do, I believe, all their family.
Are the names starting to sound familiar?
Rosa Galewska married Yaakov Zalman Bharier in Lodz in 1897, where their older children were born. They came to London around 1901 and Middlesbrough around 1907. They had six children who survived infancy, Morris, Pauline, Max, Louis, Nat and Sam.
Morris Bharier married Lily Viner and their children were Betty and Ronnie. Betty married Eddie Gould of Leeds and their children are Michael (of Leeds) and Susan (now Fernandez) of Manchester. Ronnie married Nita Cohen and their children, living in London, are Linda and Colin.
Pauline Bharier married Joe Brechner (later Breckner). Their children are David (Vancouver), Ruth (now Mushin, London) and Arnold (still in Teesside, who, with some of his family, is the only one of the entire family still living there, I think). The next generation of Breckners is widely scattered, from Ted (Philippines) to Joe (Los Angeles), to London and Tania Mushin Kraus (Israel).
Max Bharier married Annie Axelband, sister of Leba Breckner (see below). Their daughters are Eve (now Teiger of Glasgow) and Zena (now Figa of London). Their grandchildren live in Glasgow, London and Israel.
Louis Bharier married Miriam Anderson of Newcastle. Their children are Michael (now of Providence, Rhode Island, USA), Rose (now Leigh, London) and Judy (now Obrart, London).
Nat married Sophie Samuel of Wales. They lived a while in Middlesbrough then settled in New Maiden, Surrey. Their children are Julian, now living in northern England, Roma (now Brooks of Pardess Hanna) and Yaakov (Jake).
"Sam" Bharier (whose real name was Joshua) married Golda Osteroff of Birmingham and settled in the Birmingham area, where his children and grandchildren now live. They have one daughter, Rana (now Lister) and one son, Jeffrey.
At least some of the family believe that Ellen Galewska was a twin to Rosa. Ellen married Louis Brechner (the uncle of Joe Brechner, Pauline Bharier’s husband). They had four children, Belle, Hymie, Lily and Dolly.
Belle Brechner married Jack Solomon of Wales. They have two sons, both living in London, David and Harry (now Sir Harry). Hymie married Leba Axelband, the sister of Annie Bharier. Their daughters still live in northeast England, Joy (now Mendoza, Sunderland) and Gill (now Gold, Newcastle). Lily Brechner married Sam Solomon, the brother of Jack, and known to generations of those of us who grew up in Middlesbrough as a cheder teacher. They had one son who survived childhood, Alan, whose whereabouts I do not know. Dolly married Sidney Sive of Stockton. Their children are Elaine (now Pencharz, London) and David (still in the northeast, I think). The Brechner grandchildren and great-grandchildren are scattered all over England, Israel and the USA.
Sarah Galewska married Sam Pankowski (later Sam Smith). They had three daughters who survived childhood. Pauline married Steven Bromberg Stuart and they have one daughter, Susan (now Hyde, London). Bertha married Simcha Glaser of Jerusalem. She had met him rehabilitating orphaned Jewish children from the Nazi camps at Belsen and they were married in Germany. They settled in Jerusalem and have three children, Sarah (now Pri-Chen of Petach Tikvah), Dov and Amihud. They and their children all live in Israel. Lotte Smith moved to Australia and there married George Green. They did not have children.
That is the happy part of the story. I’m sure many of you reading this know some (or are some) of the Galewski descendants, now scattered all over the globe.
There is a sad part to the story too. There were at least three Galewski brothers who remained on the European continent. As far as we know, and we know for certainty with respect to the Rotterdam family, even down to the dates of deportation and death, that entire part of the family was murdered by the Nazis. My father, Louis, his brother Nat and Hymie Brechner would sometimes visit their Uncle Mozes, Auntie Manya and cousin Bertha in Rotterdam, and she would come to England. They died in Sobibor in 1943. They would also visit their cousins, Bendit, Lipman and Hersz Galewski in Lodz. Indeed, Louis and Nat went to Lodz in 1937, sensing the Nazi threat, to try to get the cousins to move to England. They would not come, stating they had had problems with anti-Semitism before and that this too would pass. They and their families were also wiped out, leaving only a few yellowing photographs we have of them, their homes, their pharmacy and their country villa, all looking so established and comfortable.
In writing this, I was afraid it would sound too much like a catalogue or list. Perhaps it does. But I did want to pass on the family information I have to those who knew us and might be interested in the matter. More than that, I hope it will stimulate others in the family to write to the Kehilat Middlesbrough Newsletter and tell us about yourselves, where you live, what you do, and also about your children and grandchildren, where they are and what they do. We are all one big family.
Providence, Rhode Island
February 28, 2000
Ed note: See follow up correspondence in October and November 2012 in the January 2013 Newsletter here.