LAIBEL IN THE POLISH ARMY
This sepia picture is similar to the one found on page 168 of the Telechan Memorial Book. It shows a handsome young man in military uniform. The Yiddish caption translates ‘Laibel Eisenberg when he was serving in the Polish Army.' I know of no other military references to Laibel. In the hope of learning more, I sent a copy of the photo to Jan Lorys of the Polish Military History Society of America in Chicago. He confirmed that it was a Polish Army Uniform and by the soft four-cornered cap, known as rogatywka, placed it in the period between 1920 to 1936. (The cap was replaced with a different, more rigid model after 1936).
Laibel Ajzenberg was born May 10, 1910. Modern Poland came into existence in 1918. Men were inducted into the military between the ages of 19 and 20 in two call-ups every year. (Service was for two years and decentralized, that is, the responsibility of each regiment once they got the recruits from the basic training depots.) Therefore it is reasonable to assume that Laibel was called to the Army in 1929-1930 and served until 1931-1932.
There is almost identical picture (presumably taken at the same time) with handwriting and a printed circular stamp on the back.
The writing in Yiddish translates to “He is serving with the Holovkes." Alex Korn, the translator states, “I think this is a reference to Tadeusz Holowka, who was a parliamentarian under General Pilsudski’s presidency. Holowka was involved in the organization of Poland’s independent army in the early 1920’s. My guess is that recruits to the army might have been jokingly called ‘Holovkes.” I have been unsuccessful in further researching this information.
The circular printed stamp reads Rembrandt Studio, Gdanska 26, Bydgoszcz. My ‘long shot’ letter in February 1998 was returned stamped ‘Zwrot Retour’ and ‘Retour Inconnu.' Still we know that Laibel was in Bydgoszcz, at least long enough to have his picture taken.
Despite efforts to enlarge both pictures so that some of the insignia, especially the epaulets can be identified, I have been unable to do so. Uncle Laibel’s unit and rank remain a mystery, as do all other details of his service in the Polish Army.
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