Nina Talbot

Painter - Writer
painting, Leizer Distenfeld, by Nina Talbot
Leizer Distenfeld, 2020, oil on linen, 24 x 18 inches

Places in Galicia

Leizer Distenfeld

Leizer Distenfeld was my paternal great-grandfather. He was born in the small village of Śródopolce, (now Seredpil’tsi, in the Oblast L’vivs’ka Oblast, Ukraine). Liezer married Deborah Adler and their eldest child, my father’s father Israel was born in the same town in 1896. Leizer moved with his young family to the nearby town of Kamionka Strumiłowa (Kamyanka Buzka), where the rest of their children were born.

My father told me that his father Israel said that his parents Leizer and Debora died before the Second World War and were spared the Nazi atrocities. But after my extensive research, that does not appear to be the case. On a photograph dated 1941 (no month indicated), Leizer, Debora and their daughter Adele are depicted in a studio in formal dress. Leizer would have been approximately seventy years old in 1941.

The Nazis invaded Kamionka on June 28, 1941, one week after the start of the nightmare begun with Operation Barbarossa, when the Nazis turned east, launching their invasion of Russia. Most of the Jewish population in Kamionka was rounded up, and shot in a nearby forest. The rest were transported to Bełżec, and murdered there in gas chambers. I met a survivor from Lwów whose brother went to Kamionka during the war to meet up with his fiancée. The survivor never heard from him again and didn’t know of any survivors from Kamionka.

“The Germans occupied the city on June 28, 1941, and the next day they detained and murdered 200 Jews. July 2,1941, the local population staged an anti–Jewish pogrom with the encouragement of the Germans. The same month the Germans established the Judenrat, a Jewish council that would comply with all Gestapo requests, including cheap labor. German actions continued and a labor camp was established in the city. Jews from the nearby small villages were driven to the Kamionka– Strumiłowa camp. On September 15, 1942, the big selection took place and 1,500 Jews were sent to the Bełżec death camp. A few days later, 600 Jews were murdered in the vicinity of the city during another German action.”

- From The Kamionka Strumiłowa Yizkor Book