Art Postcards Collected by My Grandfather
This web site is devoted to the postcards my grandfather collected from approximately 1906-1918. The collection is comprised of 435 postcards, most of which were produced in Russia, Poland and Germany. My maternal grandfather, Benjamin Swartzberg, lived from 1890 to 1985. For the past five years I have simultaneously been researching the history and origins of my grandfather’s postcard collection as well as the genealogical history of my grandfather’s family.
Both aspects of my research have resulted in discoveries about my grandfather and his family which have been immensely gratifying. What follows is an account of my exploration into my grandfather’s life as seen through his postcards and his family history. You will find 36 images of Benny’s postcards here on this web page. Please contact me with any questions that you may have concerning the information found here.
Benny Swartzberg was born in the shtetl of Panimunok, Kovno Guberniya (province), Russia. In Yiddish the family name was Shvartsberg which means “black mountain”. Two hundred Jews lived in this shtetl before World War One. Panimunok is the Yiddish name for Panemunelis, which exists today in the country of Lithuania. The cultural and commercial center for the Jews of Panimunok was the nearby town of Rakishok (now known as Rokiskis). Former residents of Rakishok that had settled in Johannesburg published in 1952 a yizkor (memorial) book for Rakishok and its neighboring shtetls. This yizkor book has been instrumental in my research into my family and their life in Europe. Two chapters on Panimunok are included in the memorial book. The Rakishok yizkor book is being translated from Yiddish and can be read online. To learn more about the Jewish history of Rakishok go to the Rokiskis Special Interest Group web site. (more…)