The Skowronek Bankers in the XX Century

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Pablo Edronkin

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A compendium of short family stories from the Jewish family of Warsaw that took place during the XX century, based on descriptions of its surviving members.

"We accept this word 'Jew', ostensibly a term of abuse, and shall turn it into a title." - Yheodore Herzl [250].

The Skowronek family of Warsaw was practically decimated during WWII; only a few of its members survived the Holocaust and most documents, buildings and assets were lost during that period. The banks and remaining companies belonging to the family that existed in Poland were nationalized by the communist regime around 1950, and its surviving members did not talk about what happened to them until many years later. These stories are based on their experiences.

Bashing the Villa - It was 1974 and my parents had just bought a villa near Buenos Aires; it is called Villa Julia, and it was constructed in 1870, but then it was in a need for restoration and the kids of the family just knew that we could be a little naughty and behave like a little horde in there.

Skowronek the Horse and Skowronek the Bank - If you like horses, perhaps you have already heard of Skowronek, the stallion bred by Count Józef Potocki in Poland and later purchased by Lady Wentworth; what you probably don't know is that at the time the horse was foaled, in 1909, my family was in apparently making a deal for a contract marriage between my grandmother, born in 1908 and the family of the Count.

The Skowronek Bank Robbery - In Dec 1915, Shlomo, my great-great grandfather, was shot in the neck as a band of eight thieves entered his bank at 5 Elektoralna st. in Warsaw. Two of his sons, Abraham and Motyl started shooting back, the police came, and after a few moments, three robbers, a passing-by 14-year old girl and a policeman died; Shlomo Skowronek died two days later.

How Wojciek's Stamp Collection Began - My uncle Wojciek has a large, valuable collection of stamps from Poland; he has been at this for more than seventy years, but the whole thing started with a matchbox filled with stamps and a dollar bill that saved his life, that of my mother, and my grandmother as well.

The Day Yolanda met General Anders and the Archbishop of Canterbury - Shortly after WWII, there was a big problem with the members of the Polish Second Corps that fought with the western Allies: Most of them could not and would not return to Poland after it fell in the hands of communism; so had to be assimilated int British society or migrate, and General Anders and the Archbishop of Canterbury went to visit Polish garrisons, where soldiers, officers and their families lived.

Dimitri and Dimitri, the Survivalist Counterfeiters - Usually, saying that your father and grandfather were counterfeiters would not be a wise idea, but if they were PhD – level counterfeiters, and the job was a matter of survival, the tale becomes interesting.

A Message From Israel - Around 1952 my mother was a high school student near Buenos Aires; one day, while she returned home, a lady was having tea with her mother and having a conversation; being a teenager, my mother just said hello and continued her way to her room but a little bit later, her mother went to see her and said that the visitor was a member of the Israeli diplomatic service.

The Engineer - My grandfather, Prof. Dr. D. J. Edronkin was an engineer, but it seems that just not one of any sort.

Dawid Blat - Dawid (1912-?) was one of the sons of Khaim Gedaliahu Blat; he would have been an uncle of mine if he had not been assassinated during WWII.

Natan Schoenberg - Natan and his family were some of the members of our family that lived at ul. Marszalkowska 101, right in the centre of Warsaw; almost none of those living in those luxury apartments survived the war.

Leadership Tips: Why we should not be selfish? - There are many moral arguments against selfishness, but there is one that is quite practical: In the end, life gives us back what we deserve, and not what we want; if by any chance you want to be a leader, you should understand this concept thoroughly, and for that, I will tell you a personal story.

The True Survival Story Of First Lieutenant A.H. Braun - What I am about to tell you is a true story that happened during WWII. It is a story like many others, of anonymous people who had to survive on their own, no matter what side they were in. It is also part of the story of my family.

Aftermath; pencil, 1998, by Pablo Edronkin.
Aftermath; pencil, 1998, by Pablo Edronkin.

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