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Letter from Mir

The translation of a letter from friends in Mir, sent to Sarah-Reisha Buniewickiey, who came to Lancaster, Ontario, Canada at age 14, with her parents and younger brother in 1926.

Dear Rysiu,

We finally received your letter which we have been waiting for, wondering what took you so long to write. However, having read your letter we now know you are not the one to blame. Dear Rysiu, you want to know how we are spending our time. We have a lot to write about, however you know that we cannot write everything, so we will shortly describe how we have been spending our days since you left. As you know we have been thinking about entering the Shomer. Not a whole 2 weeks after you left that we became members of Shomer. Since then life has been very different. As you remember Rysiu, during your last days in Mir, we were not so happy. Back then we did not know what to do with ourselves or how to spend our time.

Everyday we were going for walks, and that was how days were passing us by. Now things are a little bit different. Almost every day we go to Shomer where we have fun from 6 to 9 in the evening. Over there we enjoy ourselves very much, we play games and sing. As we leave at 9 PM we go for walk and everybody follows us The whole street then is loud from our laughter and talk. All already know that it Szomer coming out. Often we gather together and we go to the wood, where we play and sing and dance etc. and in general we spend our time joyfully. Recently we went to (because in Nieswiez there's also a Shomer). This excursion was a great opportunity for us. First, we had a chance to visit Nieswiez. We liked this city very much. Second, we could see how Shomer there differs from ours, and what happy place it is. Was great to see how boys and girls get along. We also learned many new songs and dances. Because as you know, Shomer here taught us only one dance and a single song. I imagine to myself as if you, dear Rysiu, were here now it would be a lot more fun for all of us. Very often we talk about you and believe us that we are always with you in our thoughts. We assure you that we will never forget you, will you remember us also? Resiu, why did you write so little in this letter about yourself? What is happening with you? How do you feel in Montreal? How do you like the city? Are you going to start studying anytime soon? Please write us more about everything because as you know we are very curious about your new life and the new place you live in.

All the girls here live in peace. I means the six of us. As for the rest of the girls at Shomer, we do not interact with them too much . Bronia with her sister left on vacation to the summer resort (in the countryside). Tania also went to a summer resort to Propasc.

Next year Tania will study at the Government grammar school in Nieswicz and Bronia is planning to go to Baranowicz.

Be well and write us detailed letters. How are your parents? We are sending our dearest regards to your family and friends. Regards from our parents. So we end this letter, but still we haven't written what we had on our minds, because not all can be written. We are kissing you from far.

Your sincere girlfriends who wait with impatience for your letter.


1. The translation from Polish to English above has two sources. Bob Chazonoff found a translator in Canada. At the same time, Marek Januszewski (whose great grandfather worked at one of the businesses in Mir that belonged to head of the Sviatopolk-Mirski family of Mir Castle) e-mailed a translation of the letter written to Bob's mother. I have combined the translations.

2. The word Shomer is Hebrew and means "guardian" or "protector. Hashomer Hatzair (The Young Guard) began in Vienna in 1913 when two zionist groups merged. Hashomer (The guard) originated in Galicia, and had its roots in zionism and scouting. Ze'irei Zion (The Youth of Zion) was a highly ideological youth organization, stressing Zionism, Jewish history and Socialist thought. The merger gave birth to Hashomer Hatzair, incorporating Zionism, scouting, Socialist ideas, self education, and the independence of youth. The concept of internal education by the membership is one that still exists in present day Hashomer Hatzair. (See It is quite possible that the Shomer group in the letter above was part of this Zionist organization.

3. School children in Mir has photos of Sarah-Reisha Buniewickiey and her friends.
Updated February 2005


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