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Hirsch Grynfeld LettersIntroduction
According to envelopes and postmarks, Hirsch GRYNFELD wrote several letters from Wysokie-Litewskie to his relative --nephew or cousin-- Morris GOLDSTEIN, in Long Island, New York during 1932 and 1933. According to the 1929 Polish Business Directory, an H. GRYNFELD was the proprietor of a sawmill in Wysokie. This is consistent with very limited information available from the family.
However, the content of the letters strongly suggests that the author was someone else, perhaps a paid letter-writer. The lack of specific details implies that the actual writer knew only the barest outlines about the family. We see in one letter: ...people haven't got money enough to build or repair... This can be read as a confirmation that the family was in the lumber business. Was this Hirsch feeling no need to repeat common knowledge?
No matter how dire his economic situation, it seems unlikely that Hirsch would stoop to what reads today as begging for cash help from his relative --probably, his sister's son-- in America. Florid exaggeration is seen in other correspondence of the time and similar place. Or could this have been some sort of code?
Could Hirsch have written the reasonably fluent English seen in the letters? It is said that two GRYNFELD brothers came to the U.S., probably not long 1900, and --finding it “not to their taste”-- returned to Wysokie. Could one of them have acquired such skills, along the with the American diminutive, Harry?