On November 25, 1939, Adolph “Adek” Kotzin (who was Leo’s main support and U.S. family contact when Leo was fighting his way through the bureaucracy to get a visa to come to the U.S.) asked Leo to write to Adolph’s father-in-law, Nachum Lewartowicz, in Ostrów Mazowiecka (northeastern Poland, then under German occupation), asking Nachum to let them know how he was doing. (They had not heard from Nachum since the war began. Since Leo had received letters from Poland, Adolph was hopeful that he would be able to contact Nachum.) Leo did write to Nachum, as requested, but the card (shown below) was returned. In fact, the Jews of Ostrów Mazowiecka were not doing well, and Nachum in particular had been targeted: On September 10th, the Germans had beaten Nachum till he was “covered with blood and could not see where he was going.” [JewishGen, testimony from Abraham Jakubowski, translated by Judie Ostroff Goldstein, https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ostrow/ost429.html] He died in the Holocaust. (He is listed in the JewishGen Yizkor Book Necrology Database, which indexes “Holocaust martyrs”: https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/ostrow/ost639.html)

“Reb Nachum Levartowitz [Lewartowicz], who was thought of as a wealthy man, was a worshipper at the new study hall. Above and beyond his wealth he was known as a charitable man. Poor people stood in line outside his store, where he willingly and lovingly provided them with everything. This Reb Nachum was the son of Rabbi Fishel David, one of the distinguished citizens of Ostroveh, who was one of the leaders in education in the city.”

The first three words in the body of the postcard are “Adek i Lotka” — Adek and Lotka. “Lotka” was the nickname of Leah, Adek’s wife and Nachum’s daughter.  The handwriting on the card says, “wyjechał w niewiadomym kierunku” – “he departed in an unknown direction”, and the stamp zurück (German for “back”) of course indicates that the card was returned to sender.

This postcard is dated May 8, 1940. I’m sure Leo wouldn’t have waited that long to write to Nachum. Perhaps other attempts were not even returned, as this one was?

Rhoda Kotzin, Nachum’s granddaughter, put some information about Nachum, as well as other Lewartowicz family members, on the yadvashem site.

Thanks to Ari Kolbar for help with the Polish!

Genewa,  8.5.40

Szanowny Panie !
Adek i Lotka nie mieli od Pana wiadomości bardzo długo i szalenie się niepokoją.
Byłoby mi nalenie miło, gdybym mógł dowieść memu kuzynowi (Adkowi) że u Pana wszystko w porządku.  

Łączę serdeczne pozdrowienia.

L. Hurwicz

 note: “memu” is an archaic, literary form of “mojemu” (my)

Geneve,  8.5.40

Dear Sir  !
Adek and Lotka have not heard from you for a very long time and are very worried [“worried crazy”].  It would be nice for me if I could forward to my cousin (Adek) that everything is fine with you.

I attach hearted (heartful) regards.

L. Hurwicz

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