Monday, October 10, 2011

What Happened to Fanya Rok?

 This is a photo of Fanya Rok nee Belinki/Belinka. Her father is Isaac Belinki, brother of my great-grandmother. A cousin I connected with thanks to the JGFF had this among several other photos of the family that were taken in Eastern Europe and we're still trying to figure out what happened to a couple of these families.

Isaac Belinki, son of Avrum, was likely born in Lysyanka, Ukraine in the late 1880s or early 1890s. His siblings are as follows:
Lea/Lena born c. 1889 (my great-grandmother)
Leib born c. 1889
Rivka, birth date unknown
Tsepa, birth date unknown
Sara, born c. 1892
Shlomo, born 1895

Lea, Leib, and Shlomo all came to America, changing the surname to Belinsky. Using the ship manifests we know that the Belinki family that was still in Ukraine was living in Lysyanka in 1907 when Leib made the journey and by the time Shlomo came to America in 1913, the family was living in Talne, Ukraine. Sara married into the Avrutzki family of Talne, later moving to Odessa and later evacuated east ahead of the Nazis. She died of hunger in Uzbekistan in 1942 leaving a young daughter who survived, married, had a family and emigrated to Israel as part of the mid-1990s exodus from the fomer Soviet Union. Tsepa died in a factory fire but we don't know the details and Rivka married and lived in Shpola. The fate of her family is also unconfirmed.

Since Isaac was born circa 1890 I figure that Fanya may have been born in the 1910s-1920s so she could have married before WWII. Rok does not seem to be a common surname. We don't know her husband's given name. Nor do we know the name of her mother (wife of Isaac) or if she had any siblings.

This is the back of the photo. The English notes are my cousin's translation of the Russian here and maybe info from the mailing envelope. As you can see from the information here, the photo was mailed by Isaac from Kremenchug (now Kremenchuk), Ukraine. That's a bit of a distance from Lysyanka and Talne so we're not sure how they ended up in Kremenchug. The surname Rok is listed in A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames From the Russian Empire as being seen in Elizavetgrad (now Kirovohrad) so we're in the same region.

We also do not know when the photo was taken. I'm not good at guessing ages, especially for black and white photos. There does appear to be a fountain or sculpture in the background but I don't think it's clear enough for anyone to identify the location. It could also just be a backdrop. Fanya's clothing style is interesting.

If anyone has any information on Fanya, her father, and their families I'd appeciate hearing from you. Also if you have any comments about the photo or the translation I'd welcome those too. One small clue could help us find out what happened to them. If Isaac had survived the war it seems unlikely that he would not have contacted the family in America. Fanya may have been old enough to know the names of the American uncles and cousins so if she had survived the war I would hope she would have contacted them. Maybe not, things happen.

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