Srul Chil / Jakob Zmidek

Jakob, Rene and Mick (date unknown)

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Srul Chil´s Parents: Moszek and Sora Sprinca (nee Szterensis)


Children : (See Tree below)

Zmideks of Chmielnik

Zmidek Family Tree

Smiths of London

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1875 Born : Srul Chil to Moszek & Sora Sprinca Zmidek

Marriage: Srul Chil marries Necha Ryfka Goldsztejn (eldest daughter of Meir Goldsztejn)  
JRI- Poland Akta 29    Warsaw


This happened in Warsaw on the eighth / twentieth of February in the year one thousand eight hundred ninety six at ten o’clock in the morning in the office of the Civil Registrar for the Non-Christian Faiths on in the seventh Wola district in the city of Warsaw appeared: an assistant of the district Rabbi Szlama Dawid Kagan, as well as the groom, a bachelor, a permanent resident of the city of Chmielnik in the Province of Kielce, Srul Chil Żmidek, a tailor, twenty one years old, born in the city of Chmielnik, currently residing here in Warsaw at number 1908 (see below) son of Moszek and his lawful wife Sora Szprinca née Szterenszys, currently deceased; the father resides in the city of Chmielnik.

Also appeared the bride, a maiden, a permanent resident of the city of Radzymin in the province of Warsaw Necha Ryfka Goldsztejn, residing with her parents, millers, she is twenty years old, residing with her parents at number three hundred one in the village of Wola in the district of Czyste, she was born in the city of Radzymin, a daughter of Majer and his lawful wife Małka née Blumsztejn; in the presence of witnesses Szlama Majer Finkel, a house manager, forty seven years old, residing at number one thousand three hundred four, and Mordka Szwabe, a shoemaker, twenty nine years old, residing at number one thousand thirteen B.

The aforementioned Rabbi Szlama Dawid Kagan, in the presence of the above mentioned persons, declared to Us that  on the fifth / seventeenth of February in the current year he joined in marriage, according to religious laws, a bachelor Srul Chil Żmidek with a maiden Necha Ryfka Goldsztejn, and that this marriage was performed with the mutual agreement of both parties, and that there were no impediments to the said marriage, and that to this marriage an oral consent was given by the father of the bride present here personally, and finally, that this marriage was preceded by three readings of the banns issued according to the established order on the twentieth, the twenty seventh of January and the third of February in the current year; also the newlyweds declared that they have made no prenuptial agreement. This record was read, and signed by Us, the Rabbi, the bride, her father and the witnesses, the groom is illiterate. [signatures follow]

Note: Comments on the above from the JHI Genealogy Centre

The (house) numbers are land registry numbers - what is referred in Polish as MHipoteka, ir numer hipoteczny. You can find it in pre-war address books.

1908 is 5 Baczynska street - which is not a common place for Jews to live in at the time. It is hard to see in the record itself (as it is part black) but the number could actually be 1208 which is actually better fitting - the address is Pańska Street number 9, which is a more likely area

Czyste was a village near Warsaw which was incorporated into the city into the Wola district, so 301 is the old Cyszte numbering - which can be found inside the address registry. They searched more than 200 Czyste records but did not find exactly number 301. However 307 and 306 were at Prądzynskiego St.

9 Panska Street and Prądzynskiego St. are about 40 minutes walking distance from eachother. See here on Googlemaps

Another Note: from Marsha re: Necha Ryfka's parents being millers .................. the area around Ostoroga St and Obozowa St (near the Jewish cemetery and 40 minute walk north of the likely places our bride and groom lived) was full of windmills to the extent that the district is now known as Młynów (mills).


A picture of the area from 1895

1902: Srul Chil moves to London

" Srul Chil was enterprising and ambitious, frustrated by the restrictions on Jews and the constant danger to life and property.  Some 'landsmen' had already settled in London, and he learned from them that tailors were in demand there, making uniforms for British soldiers who were fighting in South Africa - the Boer War had begun in 1899 and was to last until 19O2.  

It was thanks to an immigration officer, who decided on his arrival in England that year that Zmidek was too difficult a name to spell, that for the rest of his life he was known simply as Smith - without a first name. Soon he became one of the thousands of Jews working long hours for small pay in East London's tailoring sweatshops, supporting his wife and three children.  

Rivka had followed him from Warsaw with Sidney and Annie, and Sylvia ??  was born in London - but Rivka was very homesick and wanted to go back to Warsaw and her family.  Smith would not do so without sufficient capital to start his own business in Poland"

1908 Srul Chil and family return to live in Warsaw

"The business [in Poland] prospered and the family moved to a smart apartment on Czapla Ulica which boasted a bathroom, a rarity in those days, and a grand piano.  It was a fashionable family - Smith immaculate, with a clipped moustache; and speaking fluent English from their years in London, they were dubbed "die Angelski familia".  

Jewish children were prohibited from free education in Poland, so Annie and Sidney became paid pupils at the "gymnasium"  (secondary school) and Annie was to study to become a teacher. Between Yosef Goldstein and his older sister Rivka there was a particular bond of affection, and the two brothers-in-law, both tailors, got on well; so when an apartment in the Czapla Ulica complex became vacant, across the "hoive" or inner courtyard from the Smiths, Yosef and Feigele, his wife, took it over.

The friendship which developed between the two families during these years was always to continue across the miles from Poland to England."

1913 Srul Chil and family return to live in London

"Srul Chil decided the time had come to leave Warsaw once again, this time with capital which would start him up in business in London, and knowing well that his brother-in-law Yosef would be an invaluable asset in his venture, a hard-working, conscientious, clever man,  he persuaded him to join him in London.  He could stay with the Srul Chil and the family, and send for his wife and children as soon as circumstances permitted.  Once again they set out for London - sad only to leave behind their treasured grand piano.

Srul Chil became quite wealthy very quickly at the beginning of the twentieth century and so the family had a high standard of living which was then exceptional for Jewish immigrants.  They had a live-in nanny and chauffeur called Winnie and Bob.

Srul Chil worked long hours but the evenings were given to card playing and the weekends were for entertaining and they went dancing too and to Yiddish plays. Malkah, Ryfka's mother was brought to live with them from Poland.

The oldest son Sydney Smith had a classy shop "Esterelle" at one of the seaside towns (Southsea or Southport). Anne and Sylvia both married and the youngest son Teddy (also known as A.T.) continued his father's business. He gave large contributions to the Chichester Theatre and married twice. Teddy's second marriage was to a Hungarian artist called Zsuszi Roboz ."  

The memories come from “And Then There Were Eleven, a book of family memories” compiled and edited by Esther Rosenquit  MBE, 1988.  Esther was a daughter of Srul Chil’s brother-in-law Joseph Goldstein.  The book was a collaboration between Esther and her siblings and deals mostly with the period between to wars. 

Jacob Smith's Tailor Shop

1922 Death: Necha Ryfka
  Marriage: Srul Chil and Ruchze (Rene) Goldszstein, Ryfka's sister.

Rene with two sons Mick and Monty, and Nanny