You are on page 1of 11

Narrative

Joachim Schongut was born in Krakow, Poland (then Austro-Hungarian Empire), in 1889, to Emanuel

and Sura Schongut. He lived there until 1913, when he decided to move to the United States so that he

may earn a better living for the family he hoped to start there. Thus, he went to North Hampton

England by train to take the boat, the “New York [City]” to New York. Upon arrival to Ellis Island, his

first name was changed to Henry, which he lived by for the rest of his life. The only family he had in

the United States was an Uncle, Jacob Datner, and some cousins, which he rarely kept in contact with.

He worked as a waiter, and then a house painter and carpenter for that period of time, meeting and

marrying his wife, named Celia Taub (1900-1993), in around 1923 or 1924. He had a daughter first,

Shirley (Born 1924, Died in 1975), and Emanuel (1936). Before Emanuel's birth, he opened up a farm,

and tended to it during the summer months, and lived in Manhattan during the winter months, working

in a toy factory. Upon having Emanuel, he and his family completely moved to Upstate New York,

and stayed there until 1941, selling off the farm and moving back to Manhattan, and working in a

laundry as a packer. In 1944, he decided to open a boarding house with a small farm in Upstate New

York, and moved his family back to Upstate New York, where he lived until his death in 1984

(unfortunately living past his daughter, Shirley, who died in of brain cancer [which traveled up from

her lungs] in 1975). His hobbies included going to race tracks (horses) while in Manhattan, and tended

to his farm and boarding house later in his life. His education was that of Primary and High School,

and yet he spoke English, Polish, Hebrew, German, Russian, and Yiddish. He had a sense of Humor,

temper, and was very religious/Orthodox Jew. Yet, he became religious the day he left Poland for New

York. As he was getting on the train to England to get to the boat to travel to New York, his mother ran

to him with his Tefillin and prayer books and made him promise to keep the religion. He committed to

this promise, and thereafter became an an Orthodox Jew, which he continued throughout his entire life.

In the 20s, he wore a Fedora and the traditional American suit, and later wore casual clothes most of the
time, along with a baseball cap whilst outside. He regretted leaving his parents and 9 siblings.

Unfortunately, all but 3 or 4 of his brothers survived the Holocaust. He nevertheless continued contact

with those surviving relatives via mail.


Krakow, Poland
Krakow history dates back to a mythical ruler name Krakus, who apparently built it above some cave,

and yet the first mention of the city dates back to the year 966, when it was described as being a

substantial commercial center in the region. In 1364, the second oldest university in Central Europe

(the first being the University of Prague) was formed by Casimir III. When Henry III of France and

then other people of foreign countries became king of Poland, the city became less and less important.

This was furthered by a plague that killed approximately 20,000 residents as a result of the Swedish

invasion. In 1596, the capital of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth was moved from Krakow to

Warsaw. In 1866, as a result of the Autro-Prussian War, Austria gave Eastern Europe (Galicia)

somewhat of an independence, and thus, Krakow then was considered an important symbol of Poland,

rapidly growing as a center of art and culture. It was called the “Polish Mecca” or “Polish Athens” by

many, and a large number of famous Polish artists lived there. In the early 20th century, Krakow rapidly

developed into a modern city – in 1901, running water and electric streetcars were put into operation.

Between 1910 and 1915, Krakow and its surrounding suburbs were combined into a large area, referred

to as Greater Krakow. During World War I, a military unit called the 1st Cadre Company was formed

in Krakow as a predecessor of the Polish Legions, which set out to fight for Poland during the war. In

November, 1914, it was attacked and held by Russia for a short period of time, but taken bake soon

after. After World War I, Judaism of all sects and a large Zionist youth movement flourished up until

World War II, when it was taken over by Germany and turned into the capital of the General

Government, lead by Hans Frank. It remained mostly undamaged at the end of the war. As of the

1890s, the population was around 75-80,000. As of 2009, its population is around 755,000.
Krakow City Plan in 1890s
Present Map of Krakow:
Market in Krakow, 1910:
Present Day Krakow: