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The Djament family (see the
family tree) was headed by Itzhak Djament, born in 1883 in Chmielnik, a town east of Krakow towards the city of Lwow, where 80 per cent of the population were Hassidic Jews.  His parents were Moses Leiba and Pesla.  Itzhak’s brothers and sisters ran small shops in country villages selling largely to the local population.  In 1906, at the age of 23, a marriage was arranged by the local matchmaker and Itzhak married Chave Lind, (whose Polish name was Ewa).  She was born in 1885 in Tarnow, a city 65 km east of Krakow, with a Jewish population of 25,000, the daughter of Simon and Chaya Sandhaus (see the Sandhaus family tree) however went by the name of Lind since, in the eyes of the law, Simon and Chaya were not legally married (marriages conducted by a rabbi were not considered legal).  Simon Sandhaus ran a pub in Tarnow and it is thought that Itzhak worked as an accountant for a local brewery.

Their first child, Roman, (Romek in Polish) was born in 1907 and the second, Josef in 1909. Israel (also known as Julek) was born in 1911.  A year later Itzhak with his young family moved to Krakow where he worked as a salesman in a  shop owned by the Wechsler family selling His Master’s Voice gramophones.  In all they had five sons.  In 1913 Chave gave birth to identical twins, Samuel and Jakub.

They all lived in a one-room apartment, No. 7, on the third floor of 45 Starowislna, a large building on a broad avenue not far from the Jewish quarter of Kazimierz.  In 1917 Itzhak came home to announce that the government had ordered all families with young children to evacuate the city because of fear that Russia, in the wake of their Communist revolution and in the midst of the First World War, would invade Krakow. The Djaments packed all their belongings and reported to the train station where the seven of them, as well as their daily housekeeper, boarded a train that took them to Eichwald, a small town in Sudeten in what is now the Czech Republic.  Their time there was very pleasant, with plentiful milk and fresh bread and butter, fresh air and peace and quiet, just like an extended holiday in the country. Roman and Jozef were old enough to attend school, so they enrolled at the local primary school and became fluent in German.

After several months they returned to Krakow to discover someone else had moved into their one-room apartment, and for the two years that followed they were forced to share it. Then No. 9, a three-bedroom apartment across the hall, became available, and after handing over a substantial amount in key money, the family moved in and lived in relative luxury until the outbreak of the Second World War. Itzhak went into the timber business and the family became fairly prosperous. At the end of the First World War, there was a building boom in Krakow and Itzhak would travel to the countryside to contract with local lumberjacks for trees to be delivered to a mill for cutting, and then he would sell them to timber yards.  Unfortunately, during one of his trips he contracted rheumatic fever from which he survived, however it weakened his heart.

Before 1918, Krakow was not in Poland but was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was known for its tolerance towards Jews. Indeed, the Jews of Krakow were often quite wealthy and, more importantly, integrated into the city’s society. The Djament boys attended school at J. Dietel Primary School, and later high school or gymnasium where their classmates were an equal mixture of Jews and Christians.

Despite their origins, Chave and Itzhak were not very observant, attending synagogue only on the high holidays. Nonetheless, each of the five boys had a bar mitzvah. The family were also not very strict about Jewish dietary laws, although they did not eat pork — but even that went by the wayside when Itzhak came down with rheumatic fever and the doctor advised him to eat as much meat as possible to regain his strength. At the time, the cheapest meat available was ham.  

Itzhak succumbed in 1932, at the age of 49, to a fatal heart attack weakened by his rheumatic fever.

    l to r Jakub, Chave, Romek, Israel, Jozek, Itzhak and Samuel
    (Photo taken circa 1918)


    Your webmaster in front of 45 Starowislna St, the Djament residence in     Kazimierz. The family occupied the top floor.
    (Photo taken in 2006)

What's new
 Minor corrections regarding the year of Janek's defection to the US and the name of Stefan's theses advisor. 

 May 2020 Added pages relating to school years 1929-1930 and the graduation year of 1931.
 Also added Nat Drobot's diploma, telegrams regarding her travel to Poland, Stefan's order to travel to Russia and Chaja Lind's death certificate. All in the Memorabilia/Other Stuff page.
  Nov 2019 I added a paragraph to the MEMOIRS - THE BOOK page which contains a book summary written by my granddaughter Georgia.
Updated the Djament Family tree.
  Jun 2018 In the "Escape from Poland' page, where Janek describes how he defected from Poland to the US,
 I a
dded a link to a document relating to an act of Congress granting Janek permanent residency in the US. See bottom of the document.
 Apr  2017 Added a new page with videos and a few photos of the trip to India. Follow the link in the reunion section.
 Added a few interesting photos and images to the "Finland by Kayak" stories.
 Added advertisement for Eve's grandfather's fabric shop in the memorabilia section for Janek Drobot.
Aug 2016 
Created a new menu item under "Stories" to the "Finland by Kayak" adventure by Janek and Stefan.
Uploaded an updated Djament family tree for the passing of Kathy and the birth of Amelie, a daughter to Alexi and Grant.
 Vlad discovers over 60 cables on Wikileaks relating to Janek's troubles with the Indian tax authorities. A summary, created by Adam and edited by Eve, appears in a new page "The Westinghouse Cables" in the Stories section.
  Dec 2013 Added some Janek memorabilia located by Eve. Also added a copy of Wanda's driver's licence from her days in India.
  Nov 2013 Updated the Djament family tree for the marriages of Alexi Kaplun, Eric Lawrence, Nathalie Lawrence and arrival of Nathan, son to Alexi with other  minor corrections.