Jewish name was Abraham but who was called Romek by the family, was
the eldest of the five Djament brothers. He was born Sept. 17, 1907
in Tarnow. At the age of 10, he became fluent in German when the
family spent several months in the Sudentenland, the German-speaking
part of what is now the Czech Republic. He graduated from the No. 7
State Gymnasium Adam Mickiewicz, and took a degree in law from the
Jagiellonian University in Krakow.
He launched a successful
law practice ( see listing in the Krakow Professionals 1939), and married Rosalie Meth from
Jaslo, a small town southeast of Krakow. In 1936, he became the
father of twin girls, Lily and Issa. Roman
was the only one of the five boys to be very religious. In his teens,
he became attached to a local rabbi, whom he consulted on all
matters, including nonreligious ones. He and his wife were the only
members of the family to keep a kosher home.
Roman and his
family were in Krakow at the outbreak of the war. Rather than be
forced into the ghetto, they, along with the Djament boys’ mother,Chave, moved to Jaslo. In 1942, Roman, Rosalie, Chave and the twin
girls, aged 6 at the time, were transported to Sobibor, a Nazi
concentration camp in the Lublin district of Poland. They were never
seen or heard from again.
Djament was the second son, born June 1, 1909, in Tarnow. Adored by
his younger brothers, who called him Jozek, he was considered by them
to be the handsomest and smartest of the family. He, not Roman,
became the de facto head of the family after Itzhak’s death, and
was often looked to as a “fixer” when any member had problems.
For example, he was the one who got Jakub into university in
Despite his obvious smarts, and a fluency in German,
Jozef did not have a stellar academic career. He skipped high
school altogether, but passed the exam known as the matura to earn a
leaving certificate, or high school equivalence. Nor did he go to
university until much later – he had found his calling in
journalism. At a very young age he became a correspondent and
columnist at the Nowy Dziennik (New Journal), a Polish-language
Jewish newspaper. There he wrote commentary on politics and economics
under the name Vir, Latin for “Man”. A cpuple of his
articles have survived, translated by his nephew Vladimir and can be
read on the Memorabilia page.
In 1933, he published a book
entitled "W Slepej Uliczce: Agonia Gospodarcza Zydow w Polsce".
(Dead End: The Economic Agony of the Jews in Poland). It
is dedicated to “my Mother, with deep love and respect.” Copies
of it are in the library at the Jagiellonian University, and Yad
Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
was because of his profession that the family name came to be written
as “Diament.” (see Stories:
What's in a name)
Jozef was very successful with the ladies. In
spite of, or because of his success, he never married. He was on his
way to visit his then girlfriend in Lwow on July 21, 1941 shortly
after the Germans had taken the city from the Soviets. He was
shot to death by Ukrainian nationalists who, in two pogroms that
month, murdered an estimated 6,000 Jews in the city.
Djament (Julek Rutkowski as he was later to become) was born in
Tarnow, southern Poland on the 19th of May, 1911. He was the third
and middle of the five Djament brothers.
After graduating from
the Krakow Polytechnic as a structural engineer, he moved to Warsaw
in 1938 and was employed as a resident engineer for a construction
company. During the war he spent most of his time in southern Poland
where, hiding his Jewish background, he continued to work as a
structural engineer in a number of places. He obtained false papers
under the name 'Rutkowski' and this enabled him to survive the war
(In October 1994 he wrote his war time memoirs).
As the war was nearing its inevitable end, he married and eventually
moved, with his family, to Warsaw where he was employed by the Polish
government in the rebuilding process. His son Adam was born in
1945, just as the war was coming to the end. His second child,
daughter Alice was born in 1952.
1958, deciding that Poland was not an ideal place to bring up a young
family, he packed up all the family belongings and moved to Sydney,
Australia. After his beloved wife Irena died in 1968, he remarried in
1971 and continued to live in Sydney. He practiced his
profession until his retirement in 1976. He and his second wife (also
Irena) lived together in Vaucluse until they could no longer look
after themselves. They moved to a retirement home in St Ives where he
died aged 94 on the 3rd of July, 2005. His son Adam wrote his biography
Djament (Stefan Drobot) was born on August 7, 1913 in
Cracow (Kraków), Poland. He and his twin brother, Jakub (Jan Drobot)
were the youngest of five children. Samek, as he was called,
graduated from high school in 1931 and immediately began studies at
the Jagiellonian University in Cracow, where in 1938 he earned
Master’s degree in mathematics with a thesis entitled “On the
mathematical theory of struggle for survival.” He also
studied physics at the same university, earning a “Certificate of
Completion”. In addition, he studied at the Warsaw Polytechnic
where he received “Half-a-Diploma” from the engineering
department. In 1939, after Poland was invaded by Germany and Russia,
he found himself in Lwów, in the eastern part of Poland. From there,
he and his twin brother moved deep into the middle of Siberia to a
town then called Stalinsk, since renamed Novokuznetsk, where he spent
the war. In Stalinsk he met his wife, Natalie, and had his first
child, son Vladimir, born in 1941. In 1946 he was allowed to go back
to Poland, and he settled in Wroclaw. There, he became a member of
the department of mathematics at the Wroclaw Polytechnic Institute.
In addition to his teaching and scientific work, he held several
administrative appointments. In 1949 he and his wife became parents
again, they had twins: Frank and Kathy.
1959, together with his family, he immigrated to the United States.
He held positions at the University of Chicago (1959-1960),
University of Notre Dame (1960-1963) and the Ohio State University
(1963-1983). In 1983 he became ill and never recovered. In 1993
he moved to San Jose, California, to be close to his sons. He died on
September 29th 1998. His ashes are buried in San Jose. He was
passionate about mathematics ̶ it was the most
important thing in his life. He was well liked and respected by his
students and colleagues, see an obituary
by two of his former students and later co-workers from Wroclaw:
Waclaw Kasprzak and Rościslaw Rabczuk. He had eight Ph.D.
students, wrote one book and about 30 scientific papers. His son
Vladimir provided a personal perspective.
Djament (Jan Drobot) was the youngest of the five brothers. He was
born a few minutes after his twin, Samuel, on Aug. 7, 1913. Growing
up, the two of them engaged in every trick known to identical twins,
from passing as each other to writing each other’s exams.
as he was known, studied electrical engineering at the university of
Lwow. He got his master’s degree at the German Polytechnic in Brno,
in what was then Czechoslovakia. Early in the war, he found himself
in Russian-occupied Lwow. As life became increasingly difficult for
Jews, he and Samuel signed up to volunteer to work in the Soviet
Union. The found themselves in Novokuznetsk, formerly Stalinsk, in
Siberia. Jakub spent most of his time there in outlying areas helping
to construct power lines.
the war ended, the twins returned to Poland believing they were the
only survivors of the family. Jakub joined the Communist Party and,
on the advice of his superiors, changed his name to the less Jewish
Jan Drobot, a name he took from a long ago Ukrainian classmate.
Working for the Polish government, he spent time building power
plants in Katowice and Krakow, and became head of Energobudowa, the
national power company. His CV details his significant professional experience. In 1948, he
married Wanda Lew, a widow with an infant son, Adam, whom he adopted.
A daughter, Ewa (Eve) was born in 1951. Joining the Ministry of
Trade, he was sent to India as commercial counselor. In 1956, when
his tour of duty was over, he defected to the United States.
a few years trying out life in the United States and England, he
finally settled in New York, where he joined Westinghouse
International. In 1968, he was sent to run their office in New Delhi.
He stayed there for eight years, until the political situation made
it impossible — Indira Gandhi nationalized all foreign firms and
Westinghouse closed its office, forcing him into retirement.
and Wanda moved to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. Wanda
died in 1998, and Jan eventually moved in with Adam. In 2001, he
moved to live with Eve in Toronto, where he died on Nov. 14, 2007 at
the age of 94. His obituary,
written by his daughter Eve appeared in the “Globe and Mail” on
Nov 20, 2007.