English Texts

History of the Sokol Family

The family of Gershon Sokol and his wife Nehama arrived in Kamin-Koszyrski from the nearby town of Lubieszow.

Gershon, the head of the family, was a tall and strong man, befitting his profession: constructor of wooden buildings.

The family had three sons: Shlomo, the eldest (born in 1920); Hayim-Leib (1924) and the youngest son Aharon (1928) who was called Arczyk.

As an excellent professional, Gershon had enough work and had provided all the needs of his family. He was also a decisive voice among the craftsmen in the town.

With the outbreak of the war and the Nazi occupation, he was the head of a group of constructors who built the official apartment of the Gebiets-Kommissar (the area commander). His sons also joined the group of builders.

After the first Aktion (rounding up of Jews) on the 10th of August, 1942, the whole family succeeded in rescuing itself thanks to Gershon's workplace. We all knew that the end was near. Gershon had probably prepared already at the time a shelter for himself and his family with a Ukrainian peasant named Piotr, who lived at the edge of the Wetly forest. And so it happened that with the final liquidation of the ghetto (2/11/42) the whole family succeeded in escaping from the ghetto and reached the farm of that peasant.

To return his favor, they began building a new house for him, because there was no lack of wood in the forest.

Being in a partisan unit, I had the opportunity to visit them one day in 1943 and I saw them working on the construction of the house, happy with their fate, because all the family members had rescued themselves.

The oldest son Shlomo joined the partisans in 1943 – the Ordzhenikize Regiment of the Pinsk Brigade. He laid mines on the road near the village of Zaozyried and was killed when a mine exploded. Together with three other partisans he was buried in a communal grave near the village. The second son – Haim-Leib – was recruited in the spring of 1944 to the Red Army and fell in the battle for the liberation of Warsaw in January, 1945.

In the spring of 1945, when the former citizens of Poland were repatriated, the remaining members of the family (the parents and Arczyk) moved to Poland, from which they reached a refugee camp in the city of Graz, in Austria.

From Austria they went to Italy and from there they were lucky to reach the United States. Arczyk continued his studies with distinction and after a few years of teaching he began to engage in business. It turned out that Arczyk was not only a talented student, but he was also successful in business. During his stay in the United States, Arczyk married a doughter of Moshe and Lea Sinowitz, also a Shoa survivor. Two daughters were born to them, who also became mothers of families.

The Sokol parents passed away in New York at an advanced age. When the "Perestroijka" started in the Soviet Union in the 1990's, we went with a group of former residents of the Kamin-Koszyrski region to visit the "old home" where we left behind our past, our memories and our loved ones. Arczyk and Fradel joined this visit. Arczyk succeeded in finding the burial places of his two brothers: Shlomo in the Ukraine, and Hayim-Leib in Poland. Both are buried in communal graves of the Red Army soldiers.