Monthly Archives: May 2011

Memories Of The Baumwolls’ Warsaw Poland, 1760-1943: “Lift My Burdens” Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens

I knew nothing about my grandfather’s life before he came to America. All he ever said was that he was from Belgium. I now know that my family lived in Warsaw Poland as far back at this point to 1760. To be able to say all there names and who they were is beyond any thing.

I had begun this journey just over one year ago. I started a blog, and just began. To date over  38,850 people have come to see it all. I am very humble. I had begun this, for I was in great despair .

I am a quiet man living a life mostly in the house. Due to my partner’s health and my health we do not get out much, we have been together now 31 years. Our days are filled with lots of pain. Andrew is very ill with two differant diseases Each one moving forward never leaving us in there inch toward trying to take him. I am often alone in the house due to large blocks of time when Andrew is resting; escaping the pain. So all of this has come to me.

Our house is a large old Victorian three blocks from Lake Erie in Cleveland Ohio. Our area is right out of downtown called the Gordon Art Square District in one of the oldest parts of town here. On one of those days I was walking around through the house and got to the main second hall way on the second floor. I stopped at the two photos of my great grand parents. I knew nothing about them except that I was named after my great grand mother Beile ( Bella) and my great Uncle Samuel. I did not know where they were buried or what happened to them. I had been crying thinking of my dear mother and brothers.

I could no longer take all the pain. Sixty years is enough to be the one that is always on the outside. To be a victim is hard enough but to allow it, all in the hopes that I would be loved just for myself and who I am was more than I could take any longer. We all have a voice. My family would just let me go. For I would not let them tell me my truth or the truth that they felt I was not seeing from their point of view. So in my hallway, at that moment I realized with all that I believe that I would not meet them when I leave this earth. The shock of that was almost too much for me. I broke down in that hallway and prayed to keep my faith. And then it came to me.

As I look at the photos of my great grand parents, I knew that I would see them. I would meet all the people that had come before me. And so the journey began. Through my blog two angels came to me and they found my great grandparents graves. I have found things out that I could have never seen. I am now putting together a little film on their times and places. Who were they? How did they live? I am very close now to all these souls.

Most of the Baumwoll men as far back to 1760 lived in Warsaw . Abram Baumwoll is my 4th great grand father, born in 1770. They lived in Warsaw with his wife Esther and their children, their first son Zelik and my 3rd great grandfather Josef born in 1794.
The census of 1764 counted 2519 people, and that of 1778 testified to the presence of 3512 Jews residing mostly in the jurydykas little towns right out of the city. They constituted about 6 per cent of the entire population of Warsaw, and came from more than 200 localities all over the Polish Commonwealth. All the time, Jews strove to obtain the right to settle freely in Warsaw. Their actions gained impetus in the second half of the 18th c., and, in particular, during the “Four-Year Diet” (1788-1792) sessions.They change laws for the families that were born there before 1798. Those jewish families could live within the city limits.

My family was able to live in the city of Warsaw at the time. For they had been born their before 1798 . Jews that lived outside the city were given day passes to come in. I have also found out that I had a great-great-great-great-great grandfather who was a Rabbi there also was a cantor which makes total sense to me for both my father and I were singers . There are so many lives that have come forth. I have come to see that life is a circle . I am a man that can not live with out his family. I am will try and find a way to have them in my life.There is always Hope and Faith.
I can feel all the souls around me filled with joy for there is nothing more inportant then famliy and love .

Bruce Baumwoll

Bella Baumwoll 1880 Warsaw Poland

Josef (Yossel) Baumwoll 1880 Warsaw Poland


Scott Ligon: Digital Artist, Filmaker & Author comes to meet Andrew at our house

Andrew was introduced to Scott Ligon through Max Eternity, founder of Art Digital Magazine. Max Eternity is a mentor to Andrew. Max is also a contributing writer to the Huffington Post Arts.

His blog says, “Scott Ligon is a digital artist and filmmaker. His work is frequently exhibited and has won several awards. Three years ago he relocated from his native Virginia to Cleveland, Ohio, in order to accept a job as the coordinator for the digital foundation curriculum at the Cleveland Institute of Art.”

He is also author of the acclaimed book Digital Art Revolution

Andrew is being assisted by the non-profit organization Leap through the Ohio Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation to help him  further his art career as well as providing assistive technology to make it easier to work on his art. In the city of Cleveland, Andrew was selected for this special program along with 12 other severely disabled individuals.  Leap’s Sheryl Whalen and Christine Henry brought in Scott Ligon to visit Andrew at home for his advice and expertise.

See Scott Ligon’s Blog post about Andrew below.

Lost In A Place Where Pain Does Not Live

Digital Artist Andrew Reach
Saturday, May 7, 2011

When I spoke at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Andrew Reach and his partner Bruce Baumwoll. Andrew has had an illustrious career as an… Read more…