For English speakers: about this website.
The descendants of survivors of the Shoah generally know little about those who perished. This is what led Françoise Milewski, herself the child of Polish Jewish immigrants, born in France in 1947, to begin researching about her family. She had the double aim of transmitting her family's story in Poland and France to her children (the 3rd generation), thus safeguarding its memory; and giving back an identity to the victims so that their descendants have some knowledge of who they were.
This research led to a first text which was self-published in 2004. With the research deepening, the historical documents accumulating, and the scope of the study getting ever more encompassing, widening the diffusion of this text seemed a logical continuation of the work undertaken eight years ago.
The result is two-fold: first the website that you are now perusing, and secondly a book: A Memorial Book, published in 2009 by La Découverte.
This site serves two purposes. For the readers of Françoise Milewski's book who want to know more - both about the lives and experiences of the Milewskis and the Ryfmans, and about the historical context - it is an important iconographic and intellectual support. It also constitutes a practical guide and a vital introduction for anyone who wants to undertake their own research of a similar nature.
Here you can find a multitude of reference points necessary for locating individual family stories in past times, as well as hundreds of documents (sometimes infinitely precious because of their rarity or because of the difficulty involved in unearthing them) collected by the author during her years of investigation.
This site also describes the methods used to carry out the research, and provides an example of what can be found through sheer tenacity and knowing the right tools to use. The most important of these tools are all described here. Thus, this site is probably one of the most complete online resources available at the moment in French.
A Memorial Book - In search of a Jewish family decimated in Poland recounts the investigations of the author in Poland, but also draws on archives in Germany, Israel, France, America, etc., enabling her to pass on the memory of events she didn't experience herself, thereby mending the broken link. She tells of the meticulous research for a decimated Jewish family. She paints a vivid picture of the lives of those who perished, and of the daily life in the shtetlekh (the Jewish villages) of Poland before the war. She recounts the stories of those who died and those who survived, and tells of the everyday life of the survivors in postwar France. This is a family's memorial book, in the image of those books written after the war by the survivors from the shtetlekh.