The List

The Making of an Online Transnational Second Generation Community

by Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection 224 Pages


This is a book about an online community of the Second Generation (2g), children
of Holocaust survivors. Created in 1995, “ e List” was the brainchild of Paul Foldes,
a 2g electrical engineer and consumer attorney turned businessman. Knowing that
online communities were an opportunity to reach beyond local meetings, he founded
e List even before the web existed.
Created when internet communication was just beginning for most people, it was
the rst to break local and national barriers to become a truly international, Englishspeaking,
2g framework. Based on a free internet platform, with moderators working
on a volunteer basis, it required no funding. e “Second Generation” had nally
come into its own. e book tells the story of the List and its members over a quarter
of a century.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface: Generations of the Holocaust: Invisible to Visible Identity and Community (Dr. Eva Fogelman)
  • Introduction (Prof. Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz)
  • From the Ashes to a Flame (Marilyn Boehm)
  • The Outsider on the Inside (Dr. Paula David)
  • The Lie (Patrice Flesch)
  • The List Creator’s Story (Paul Foldes)
  • How the List Transformed My Life (Martin Herskovitz)
  • You’ve Got 2G Mail (Clara Jacob)
  • My Journey – Discovery, Connection, and Community (Gail Ellen Rubinstein Lipton)
  • My 2G Life and My Virtual Community (Dr. Betty Unger Needleman)
  • My Life in Lists (Prof. Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz)
  • Taaseh Lach Chavurah – Create Your Own ’Hood (Jeanette Friedman Sieradski)
  • You Can’t Know What You Don’t Know (Laurie Solnik )
  • We Are Family: A Journey With the 2G Discussion List (Dr. Ruth Samuel Tenenholtz)
  • Notes on Contributors

Dr. Eva Fogelman

Preface: Generations of the Holocaust: Invisible to Visible Identity and Community


I was born in a half-burned-out hospital in Kassel, Germany. Ninety percent of its old city was bombed to smithereens by the Allies during World War II. The medieval buildings and the city center were devastated during a seven-day fire, which killed 10,000 Germans, and quarter of a million people were homeless, including my parents. They were two Holocaust survivors who met soon after the war, by chance, on a bus not far from Munich. My mother, Leah Burstyn, was traveling with her brother, George.

My father, Simcha Fagelman, approached them and asked if they knew of a place where he and his comrade could live. My mother suggested they all go together to the Goldkopf Displaced Persons Camp, where the four new friends started a business of buying and selling cigarettes, chocolates, and other goods.

There were rumors saying that pregnant women and elderly Jews could be transferred to row houses in a Displaced Persons Camp in Kassel, so my mother put a pillow over her stomach, covered it with a coat, and before they were married, stood in line with my father to role play a pregnant woman. It worked. They got an attached row house.

My Family

My mother was the youngest of five children in the Burstyn family and grew up in Wyshkow, a town on the Bug River, 55 km northeast of Warsaw on the highway to Bialystok. Of the 12,650 residents, 45 % were Jews of all persuasions, from HaShomer HaTzair Zionists to Hasidim. When the Germans invaded the area, the Jews were the most vulnerable. At the start, 65 Jews were killed. Houses with Friday night candles were set on fire. The synagogues, shtibelach (usually a room in a rabbi’s family home that served as a small synagogue), and the Beit Midrash (House of Study) were burned to the ground. My mother’s family managed, with a few meager possessions, to get a ride on a horse and buggy. The most important items ←9 | 10→they took were blankets and pillows. Bombs dropped around them, left and right, but they managed to dodge them. Others were fleeing east as well, and they were not that lucky.

The family rode from one town to another without food and slept along the way. A week later they arrived in Stocheck-Wengrofsky and stayed for three months. The Burstyn clan then continued towards the Bug River and arranged to cross it. Eventually they got to Bialystok and went to the first place they could think of – the synagogue. It was packed with people, so that night, the family slept on the street. Luckily, a relative got them an apartment where they were able to stay for a few months.

The German troops, following the same route, soon reached Bialystok, and the Burstyns again fled the bombs, heading east to Orsha, near Minsk, Belarus, where they were incarcerated in a slave labor camp for 18 months, from April 1940 until October 1941. After being released, they continued heading east by train, almost starved to death, and eventually came to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, but were told they had to leave. The family ended up in Kyrgyzstan, where they worked in the cotton fields near the Uzbeki border.

My father’s life began in Dokshitzy, a town 68 miles northeast of Minsk, which at the time was part of the Second Polish Republic. His father died when he was 10 years old, and his mother was left to feed five children on the slim wages of a seamstress. To bring in extra income, my father was sent to work in a relative’s bakery in Vilna, where he studied at the Slobodka Yeshiva, until the Rebbe realized he was more interested in Communism than the Talmud. Conscripted into the Polish army, he could not join his family when they emigrated to Palestine in 1935. When the Polish army was defeated at the start of World War II, my father returned to Vilna and then escaped to live with relatives in Illya, Belarus. Until the Germans invaded, life under Russian rule from September 1939 until June 1941 was tranquil. Then, on Purim 1942, the Germans dragged Jews out of their homes to the town square, had them dig a pit, stripped them and shot them so they fell into the mass grave they dug for themselves. By noon the Germans killed 1,500 men, women, and children. Then they poured gasoline over the bodies and set them on fire to get rid of “the evidence.”

My father watched the massacre from the attic of the bakery where he worked, and that night escaped into the woods, where he met other Jews who survived because they had special skills needed by the German occupiers. He and a comrade lived like scavengers. Every few nights they knocked on doors of the local farms, hoping to get a bottle of milk and some bread. They foraged for berries and made efforts to join the Belarus partisans, but had little chance to be accepted without guns, especially as Jews.←10 | 11→

Every night, Ivan Safanov, an acquaintance and righteous gentile, sent his children to bring them food and wash their lice infested clothes. He eventually persuaded the partisans to accept them. My father was valuable to them even without a rifle. During his time in the Polish Army, my father had learned to fix ammunition blindfolded and was an expert saboteur. He received many medals for bombing railroad tracks, and German army stations. Toward the end of the war, he and his fellow partisans joined the Red Army, where he was assigned to the liberating forces as a translator in Berlin.

I can just imagine how heartening it was for my father to be integrated into my mother’s family of parents, siblings, and cousins, with celebrations of holidays, marriages and births. My grandfather appreciated how my father prayed and was learned in Jewish texts, and he said to him, “I like how you daven (pray), why don’t you marry my daughter?”1

My mother’s family dispersed to Israel and America. My parents opted for Israel because my mother wanted to be with her parents, and my father was eager to reunite with his nuclear family, but tragedy intervened. His brother was killed fighting in Latrun, when they tried to capture Jerusalem during the 1948 War of Independence. Unlike other children of survivors who were named after a relative murdered in the Holocaust, I was named after Aryeh Fagelman. Aryeh is Hebrew for Leibeleh, which means lion, and beloved one, and Haviva, my name, means beloved one.

Leibeleh was looking forward to being reunited with his older brother and wanted to help him acclimate to Israel. The family never got over his death because his body was never found. It is believed his remains were buried in a mass grave on Har Herzl, the military cemetery in Jerusalem.

My Story

With Leibeleh as my namesake and growing up in Israel for the first 10 years of my life, my identity as an Israeli and a Zionist were forged in steel. Being a child of Holocaust survivors was not part of my consciousness. I was very disheartened to learn that we were moving to America. My uncle George, who came to Israel to find a bride, was appalled at how we were living on a dirt road in a one-room house with a kitchen. We had a spacious back yard ←11 | 12→with fruit trees, a chicken coop, some ducks, and an orange grove a few feet away. But all the trappings of our humble home did not impress him.

My father was very disillusioned with God and religion, as was the rest of his family, with the exception of his mother – who was very pious and lived in Mea Shearim with her second husband, a rabbi of a synagogue and Beit Midrash.

My Jewish identity emerged in the United States when I became cognizant of Christians. I recall often asking new acquaintances, “Are you Christian or Jewish?” I was enrolled in public school, in Borough Park, Brooklyn and attended Talmud Torah in the afternoons. On Saturdays, we were required to go to junior congregation. I became congregation president, excelled in the classroom, koshered my house for Passover, instituted the family’s Friday night Shabbat ritual and meal. I sat next to my father for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, enveloped in his tallit (prayer shawl) as he taught me how pray. As I got older, I had to sit next to my mother and the rest of the women in their section of the Orthodox synagogue.

The shock of learning about the persecution of Jews came when we visited relatives and I was flipping through a coffee table book with pictures of heaps of dead bodies. I don’t recall asking any questions. Also, one of my mother’s cousins, Herschele, from her hometown, lost his wife and children in “The War,” der milchume. He never remarried and lived with his brother and his family. Every summer when I visited them for a few days in Brighton Beach, Herschele would always greet me with a smile. I knew of his loss but was given no details.

My awareness intensified, but still felt amorphous until I met Dina Rosenfeld, on the first day of seventh grade. She was born in Rumania to parents who each lost their spouses and children during the Holocaust. Her father was imprisoned after the war for political beliefs and died of a heart attack soon after he was released. Dina’s mother had a number on her arm, and visits to their apartment evoked loss and mourning.

Dina and I made an effort to Americanize. We joined the local chapter of B’nai B’rith Youth Organization (BBYO), and I became president. We got involved in volunteer activities such as selling chocolates for a cause, and we were candy stripers at the local Maimonides Hospital. We went to summer camp and became very active in our respective high schools. My father was not pleased with the BBYO because it was not Zionist. I got involved in regional activities as co-chair – with a fellow child of Holocaust survivors – of the Jewish heritage committee. We only discovered the daughters of survivors’ part of our identities later in our lives.←12 | 13→


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (December)
Holocaust survivors Online community Free internet platform
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 224 pp., 13 fig. col.

Biographical notes

Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz (Volume editor)

Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz is the Director of the Finkler Institute of Holocaust Research and Professor of Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. She is the author of numerous books and articles and specializes in topics pertaining to gender, Jewish religious life, the Holocaust, memory, State of Israel, the United States, commemoration, and descendants of Holocaust survivors.


Title: The List