The First Skowroneks in Warsaw

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Pablo Edronkin

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Comments about the first Jewish people that used the surname Skowronek in Warsaw.

"The future of a nation is in its past." - Yokhanan Twersky[250].

The Skowronek family appears using that name around 1823, altough it has used the surname Effron indistinctly and since it is related to the Soloveitchik family as well as other names linked to the Vilna Gaon, it is quite probably the Effron family branch that descends from Eliash Vilner[1.19].

The oldest Skowronek tombstones found in Warsaw so far correspond to those of Israel Skowronek (1810 -1886)[1.65] and Krajndla Skowronek (1831 -1991)[1.66]; despite the age difference, they were either siblings or cousins, but certainly related. Likely, the parents of both were Jakob Skowronek[1.63], born in 1782 and Sori Laja[1.64], for whome we have no other information.

Jakob's father was Aaron, born around 1740, who didn't use the surname Skowronek himself, as far as we know. However, due to the fact that his son and grandsons indeed used it, we commonly identift him as Aaron Skowronek[1.62].

The Skowronek male descent line was Levitic; due to familiar traditions and the Effron name that they used interchangeably with Skowronek up to the twentieth century, we are pretty sure that they moved from Lithuania to Warsaw, Poland.

Jakob Skowronek appears on record as a schoolteacher, very religious. His son Israel was already a financier and one of the directors of the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

Krajndla Skowronek was married twice: Once with Elyahu Katzenellenbogen[1.67], and with Szymon Cyryng[1.68].

Apparently, some of Jakob's sons migrated to the UK and Germany, but we are not quite sure of that. However, the fact that Krajndla married so well means that the Skowroneks already enjoyed a pretty good social standing in the city around 1830, since such marriages were often planned around the time of birth of each child.

On the other hand, the grandsons of Jakob Skowronek already married with very well established names like Wagman, Schoenberg, Sendyk, Goldman and Braun. This includes my great great grandfather, Shlomo Skowronek[1.15], son if Israel, married to Dinah Estera Schoenberg[1.16] and who was later assasinated during a bank robbery.

The Cyryngs were related to the Gans family by the marriage between Khaim Icko Gans[1.69] and Rukhla Cyryng[1.70], from which in turn, we are related thorough the Schoenbergs, Worms, Eger and Rothschild family names, among others. By the way, the surname of my mother is Braun; this shows again how these families kept themselves together, into one group, since you can find their surnames linked to one another thorough several centuries

But the VXIII century in what is now Poland represents some kind of a gap: Public records were kept from aroun 1805 by Prussian authorities, and from around 1820 by the Russians. In Warsaw, around the year 1800 very few Jews lived since thre were restrictions: Only rich Jews like bankers and financiers, as well as medical doctors, some merchants and lawyers were allowed. Some estimations put the total numer of Jews in Waraw, in 1799 at around 2.000 people.

There are very few records from the XVIII century due to the fact that they were uncommon and the destruction sustained by the city in successive wars sadly left even fewer traces. What can be learned comes from tombstones of people born in the XVIII century as well as genealogical information from rabbinical families.

What it is certain is that during the XVIII century many of the names that later apear in Warsaw moved from neighbouring countries, so by means of estabisled rabbinical names it is possible to find connections with people named similarly mostly iin Germany and Lithuania.

That is precisely the case with Skowronek, a name that derives from Effron, and this name can certainly be connected to the family of the Vilna Gaon. Just that name would be an ambiguous sort of proof, but the relationship with the Soloveitchik family, whose connections with Eliash Vilner's family are a fact suggests that a somewhat direct link is real.


Polish Jews, XVIII Century.
Polish Jews, XVIII Century, from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, public domain[54].



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