Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family: Some Tragic Times

When the 1930 census was taken, the Hecht family was divided between Brooklyn and Jersey City. Taube and Jacob were living with David, Ruth, and Evelyn in Jersey City. Jacob was not working, but the three adult children were all employed. Ida Hecht and her husband Julius Goldfarb and their four daughters were also in Jersey City as were Jean Hecht and her husband Louis Gross and their daughter and Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz. Brooklyn was home to Harry Hecht, his wife Sophie Slotnick, and their children and to Shirley Hecht and her husband Louis Tushinsky.

Unfortunately, 1930 did not end well for the Hecht family. Jacob Hecht died on October 21, 1930; he was 67 years old.1 The family remembers him not only as a fine tailor who sewed beautiful clothing for his daughters but also as a “bucher,” a learner or student.2

The next major lifecycle event for the family was Evelyn Hecht’s marriage to Samuel Oshinsky in 1938.3 Samuel was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 25, 1912, to Harry and Dora Oshinsky. He grew up in Brooklyn, and his father was an operator in a coat factory just as Evelyn’s father Jacob had been.4 In 1930 Samuel was working as a shipping clerk in a wholesale house.5

Here are two sweet photographs of Samuel and Evelyn, courtesy of their son Jerry.

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky. c. 1938 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Samuel Oshinsky and Evelyn Hecht, c. 1938. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

After marrying, Evelyn and Samuel moved into the same building where her mother Taube was living with David and Ruth (formerly Rose) in Jersey City. According to the 1940 census, Samuel was working as a bartender in a tavern, Evelyn was a clerk in a pencil factory, and Evelyn’s sister Ruth was an assistant in a doctor’s office. David was not employed.  On his World War II draft registration, Sam Oshinsky reported that he was self-employed.6  There was no World War II draft registration for David.

Hecht and Oshinsky, 1940 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Harry Hecht and his family were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and like his brother-in-law Samuel Oshinsky, Harry was working as a bartender in a tavern.7 Were they working in the same tavern? Could it have been my great-uncle Hyman Brotman’s bar in Jersey City? Harry’s World War II registration reports that he worked at Sherman’s Bar in Jersey City. My great-uncle Hyman was known as Herman in business. His wife’s name was Sophie. I have a hunch that both Harry and Samuel were working for Hyman; he was, after all, Harry and Evelyn’s uncle, their mother Taube’s half-brother. And Harry had been working for him in 1925 in Jersey City.  But I can’t prove that’s where they were working.

Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of New Jersey; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1986, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Harry’s granddaughter Jan shared this adorable photograph of her mother Helene, Harry and Sophie’s oldest child.

Helene Hecht, 1933. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and Nathan was working as a salesman. But by 1942 when Nathan registered for the World War II draft, he was living in Brooklyn and working for the Drake School in New York City.8

Jean Hecht and Louis Gross had also left Jersey City for New York by 1940. They and their daughter were living on West 74th Street in Manhattan, and Louis was the owner of a liquor store at 206 West End Avenue in Manhattan, according to his World War II draft registration.9

Shirley Hecht and Louis Tushinsky and their daughter were also in New York in 1940, though in Brooklyn. Louis described his occupation on the 1940 census as a chauffeur for a taxi company.  On his World War II draft registration he reported that he had his own business.10

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky’s son Jerold was born in the early 1940s, giving Taube her tenth and last-born grandchild. Here is a photograph of Evelyn, Sam, and Jerold:

Sam Oshinsky, Jerry Oshinsky, Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky c. 1943 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Overall, by 1942, the family of my great-aunt Taube Brotman Hecht was doing fairly well. Taube had ten grandchildren, and her children were all living fairly close by—some in Jersey City, and no one further than New York City.

And then tragedy struck. On August 12, 1943, Taube’s daughter Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky died after a long illness, according to an obituary in the Jersey Journal; the family reports that she had leukemia. She was only 35 years old and left behind her husband Samuel and a very young child, their son Jerold.11

As often happened when a father was left with a young motherless child, Samuel turned to Evelyn’s sister Ruth, and in January 1944, Ruth and Samuel applied for a marriage license. They were married soon thereafter.12 Ruth became Jerold’s adoptive mother and, according to Jerold, raised him with as much love and devotion as if she’d given birth to him herself. In his memoir he wrote, “She devoted her life to mine, and I think that whatever value system I have today came from the unconditional love of my father Sam and my mother Ruth, the only mother I knew…”13

But that was not the end of the family’s heartbreak. In February 1944, after a snowstorm that left the sidewalks and roads slippery, Taube fell and broke her leg after falling in Jersey City.

Jersey Journal, February 12, 1944, p. 6

That in itself was not tragic. But that fall ultimately led to Taube’s death five months later on July 23, 1944. According to her death certificate, her death was caused by osteomyelitis “following injuries received in accidental fall on sidewalk.” The Mayo Clinic defined osteomyelitis as follows: “Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.”

Tillie Hecht death certificate, 1944 NJ Death Certificates, Microfilm 921 (Trenton, NJ: State Archives)

Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht was “about 71” at the time of her death, according to the informant on her death certificate, her son Harry. She had lived a challenging but, I hope, fulfilling life. She had arrived in the US from Tarnobrzeg in today’s Poland, possibly alone and as at most a young teenager. She married Jacob Hecht in 1891 and gave birth to and raised eight children to adulthood. She never became a US citizen and was never wealthy. She and Jacob raised those children on the earnings of a tailor in a sweatshop in New York City. They moved at least every few years if not more often between 1892 and 1925 or so when they moved to Jersey City.

Taube lost her husband Jacob in 1930 not many years after the move to Jersey City, and then in 1943, she lost her youngest child Evelyn, who was only 35 years old. And then less than a year after losing Evelyn, she herself succumbed from an illness caused by an unfortunate accident.

Taube was the lost sister of my grandmother Gussie Brotman for so many years of my research, discovered only by the serendipity of seeing the name “Mrs. Taube Hecht” in my aunt’s baby book from 1917. I am so glad that I found her and that I could tell her story.


  1. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/131974364/jacob-hecht : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Jacob Hecht (1863–21 Oct 1930), Find a Grave Memorial ID 131974364, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) . 
  2. Email from Sue Wartur, September 28, 2016. 
  3.  Evelyn Hecht, Marriage Date: 1938, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel H Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1938; Surname Range: A – Z; Reel Number: 36, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. Samuel H Oshinsky, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Birth Place: Brookyn, New York, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Claim Date: 4 Feb 1974, Father: Harry Oshinsky, Mother:
    Dora Unk, SSN: 152206742, Citizenship or Alien Status: U.S. citizen, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Oshinsky family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 19, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1174; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 1159, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.  . 
  5. Samuel Oshinsky, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0355; FHL microfilm: 2341268, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6. Samuel Oshinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 494, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  7. Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  8. Schwartz, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02402; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 24-58, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Nat L. Schwartz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  9. Gross, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02636; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 31-572, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Louis Gross, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  10. Tushinsky, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02586; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 24-1544, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census;  Louis Tushinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  11. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/130163022/evelyn-oshinsky : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Evelyn Oshinsky (unknown–1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130163022, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) ; “Mrs. Evelyn Oshinsky,” Jersey Journal, August 13, 1943, p. 10. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012). 
  12.  Ruth Hecht, Marriage Date: 1944, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1944; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016; Jersey Journal, January 27, 1944, p. 19. 
  13. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012) 

13 thoughts on “Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family: Some Tragic Times

  1. The photo’s are always so priceless to see and for you to have. I noticed Evelyns shoes in her pictures. Weren’t they wonderful! Another fun twist with the bars and possible connection. Sadly Evelyn passed so young and then the fall for Taub. Reminds me how still today, a fall in older age is sometimes the beginning of the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is so sad about Evelyn. What a tragedy. The photo of them kissing, though, is such a treasure. Rare to have a photo like that to begin with–and under the circumstances, even more special.

    Liked by 1 person

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