One family


Illustration from Arina Agora

In Warsaw, Salomon Schwartzenberg and Fajga Berliner had four daughters. All got married. Chaya (Hélena) with Adolphe Swirc, Laya (Léonora) with Salomon Grünblatt, Ida with Herman Shershen and Ita with Abraham Hazensprung.

In the 1920s, three of the sisters left their hometown with their families. Chaya and Laya went to Lyon, and Ida went to Moscow.

What was the reason for leaving? A revolution in the Russian Empire, which then included Poland? From the pogroms that started Warsaw? Looking for a new life when the parents are already deceased?

Somehow, thanks to the departure, the family history continued. A frightening statistic: 80% of Polish Jews were exterminated during World War II. Including Ita's family, the only ones left in Warsaw.

Story of a hero
Letters from Salek Hazensprung, written in Polish in a scribbled, childlike handwriting, are
found in the archives of almost all branches of the family.

His mother Ita, his father, his sister Fela died in the ghetto.

The story of the Warsaw Ghetto is a tragic story, but there is a place for heroes. Salek
is one of them. He became one of the leaders of the militant Jewish youth movement, which
organized an uprising against the Nazis in 1943.
The attempt failed, but gave many people hope that war and genocide would end sooner or later.

Salomon and Léonora Grünblatt arrived in Lyon with their two young children, Rose and Maurice. France was chosen because Léonora could count on the help of her half-brother Paul. David
was born to them in Lyon.

Salomon was seriously ill and died in 1934. Léonora had to support her family
and she became a street vendor.

During the war, despite the help of the Resistance, Léonora was denounced by a neighbor. After a
time in the prison of Montluc, she was killed in Auschwitz in 1943.


Ida Schwartzenberg and Herman Scherschen settled in Moscow in a wooden dacha on the outskirts of the city. There were no sewers and the house was heated with wood.

Ida had to work in a tie factory and Herman in a tobacco factory.

Efim, Sofia and Faïna were born to them in Warsaw, and Salomon in Moscow.

Ida divorced Herman, reverted to her maiden name as Schwartzenberg, and gave it to her children. Some time later, Herman died of a brain tumor.

Abraham Swirc, father of Henri, Maurice, Pierre, Jacques, died shortly before Esther was born.
Chaya was left alone in Warsaw with five dependent children. She had to send her two oldest sons to Lyon at Uncle Paul's and could count on the support of his sister Léonora.
Then she moved to Lyon with the others.
During the war, Maurice and Jacques, who were conscripts, were taken prisoners, but Maurice
managed to escape twice, helped by his future wife.

Story of letter
The “iron curtain” of the then USSR also existed between the sisters who were in France and the one in Moscow. There was no longer any contact.
But one of Leonora's daughters, Rose, had not given up hope of reconnecting him.

Through the Moscow address office, she made a request to search for Ida Scherschen and her family.
She therefore sent a letter, but received in May 1968, at the time of the student unrest in France, and when the USSR sent its troops to Czechoslovakia.

The letter was not sent by post, but by a friend who simply threw it in the mailbox. According to the memoirs of Ida's relatives, they were very frightened by this fact, because in the USSR you could be punished or lose your job for having contact with foreigners.

The letter was read and destroyed. It's unclear if they tried to send a response, if they sent it, or most likely not.

54 years later, Dominique Herbreteau sent a letter to Sergeï Safronov via the MyHeritage website. According to the results of a genetic test, 2.4 % of his genes matched those of his brother Jean-Pierre. This letter has finally made it possible to re-establish the link between the families, after 100 years of unknown!

In April 2023, Sergei and Dominique will host a cousin meeting in Lyon to celebrate family reunion.
  • Dominique Herbreteau (Grünblatt)
    Born in Lyon. Mother of Pierre, Thomas, Alexandrine, Clémentine. Worked as an administrator,
    translator, secretary. She is currently helping her husband in the family business. Hobby :
  • Sergueï Safronov (Schwarzenberg)
    Born in Moscow. Fyodor's father. Has worked as a journalist, event organizer,
    public relations specialist. He is currently the editor of a media about business . Hobby: genealogy
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