Photographs of My Hecht Cousins

Thanks to one grandson and three great-granddaughters of my great-aunt Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht, I have some photographs to share of Taube and Jacob’s children and grandchildren.

Harry Hecht’s granddaughter Jan shared these two photographs of Harry, Sophie, and their three children. The first is from Helene Hecht’s Sweet Sixteen celebration in 1944, and the second is from her sister’s Claire’s Sweet Sixteen in 1945:

Harry Hecht, Helene Hecht, Ed Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, and Claire Hecht 1944. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Helene Hecht, Harry Hecht, Claire Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, Ed Hecht 1945.
Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Taube Brotman Hecht’s grandson Jerry shared these photographs of four of the Hecht sisters with him, probably taken in the 1940s:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jerry Oshinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Jerold Oshinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jean Hecht Gross, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky c. 1947 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Ida Hecht Goldfarb’s granddaughters Sue and Debrah shared this photograph of the Hecht sisters and their families at a Hanukkah celebration in the 1950s:

Seated left to right: Joan Tushinsky, Sylvia Goldfarb Leyner Horowitz, Neil Horowitz, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Susan Leyner, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Renee Gross, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Standing left to right: Julius Goldfarb, Sam Oshinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Sam Block, Ethel Goldfarb Rothman, Louis Gross, Gertrude Goldfarb Levy, Herbert Rothman, Stan Rappaport, Ben Levy, unknown c. 1955 Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol and Sue Leyner Wartur

And Sue shared this photograph of the Hecht family at her wedding in 1959:

Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jean Hecht Gross, Louis Gross, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Joan Tushinsky. Standing are Sam Oshinsky, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jerold Oshinsky. 1959. Courtesy of Sue Leyner Wartur

Jerry shared this undated photograph of Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

By the late 1950s, the family began to suffer losses of these Hecht siblings. Both of the Hecht brothers died in 1959. Harry Hecht died on February 11, 1959; he was 66 years old.1 His wife Sophie and their three children survived him. Sophie died sixteen years later on June 8, 1975; she was 81.2 There would be seven grandchildren to survive them.

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

David Hecht died ten months after his older brother Harry. He was 63 when he died on December 7, 1959.3

Sue shared this Hecht family photograph taken in 1961, the last photograph I have of all the Hecht sisters and their families:

Rear, left to right: Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Jerry Oshinsky, Renee Gross Rappaport, Stan Rappaport, Joan Tushinsky, Lou Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Lou Gross, Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz, Susan Leyner. Middle row, left to right: Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Front row, Toby and Jennifer Rappaport

Ida Hecht Goldfarb was the first Hecht sister to pass away. She died seven years after her brothers Harry and David on March 7, 1966, at the age of 71; she was survived by her husband Julius and their four daughters and nine grandchildren. Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968; he was 81.

Etta Hecht Schwartz was 77 when she died on February 4, 1976;4 her husband Nathan Schwartz had predeceased her in November 1965 when he was 72.5

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky died on December 20, 1980, when she was 77;6 her husband Louis Tushinsky had predeceased her. He’d died on December 6, 1977, when he also was 77.7They were survived by their daughter Joan.

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky and her husband Samuel Oshinsky both died in 1991.  Ruth was 86 when she died on February 7, 1991,8 and Samuel was 79 when he died on July 4, 1991.9 They were survived by their son Jerold and his family.

Jean Hecht Gross outlived all her siblings as well as her husband Louis Gross, who died on July 26, 1992, when he was 96.10 Jean was just a few months shy of her 101st birthday when she died on February 3, 2001.11 She was survived by her daughter Renee and her family.

The Hecht siblings—Harry, Ida, David, Etta, Jean, Shirley, Ruth, and Evelyn— were my mother’s (half) first cousins, yet as far as I know, she never knew them. Their children, Taube and Jacob’s grandchildren, are my (half) second cousins—including my cousin Jerry. Jan, Sue, and Debrah are my half second cousins, once removed.11 I am so grateful to them all for helping me tell the story of these two families, the Hechts and the Goldfarbs.

 

 


  1. Harry Sidney Hecht, Record Type: Military Service, Birth Date: 24 May 1892
    Military Date: 9 May 1919, Residence Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 11 Feb 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940 
  2.  Sophie Hecht, Social Security Number: 140-18-4807
    Birth Date: 25 Apr 1894, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey
    Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975,
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  3. David Hecht, Age: 63, Birth Date: abt 1896, Death Date: 7 Dec 1959
    Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 24385,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  4.  Etta Schwartz, Death Date: 4 Feb 1976, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1976; Surname Range: O-Z; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  5.  Nathan Schwartz, Social Security Number: 132-09-5377, Birth Date: 27 Apr 1893
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Nov 1965, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Shirley Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 063-52-2110, Birth Date: 3 May 1903
    Issue Year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File; Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008057/shirley-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Shirley Tushinsky (3 May 1903–20 Dec 1980), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008057, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  7.  Louis Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 102-09-9667, Birth Date: 15 May 1900
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1977, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008131/louis-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Tushinsky (3 May 1901–6 Dec 1977), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008131, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  8. Ruth Oshinsky, Age at Death: 86, Birth Date: 2 Jun 1904, Death Date: 7 Feb 1991
    Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  9. Samuel H Oshinsky, Age at Death: 79, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  10.  Louis Gross, Social Security Number: 080-28-8420, Birth Date: 22 Oct 1895
    Issue Year: 1952-1953, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11374, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 26 Jul 1992, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/88019160/louis-gross : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Gross (1896–26 Jul 1992), Find a Grave Memorial ID 88019160, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by DMC (contributor 47184694) . 
  11. Sue and Debrah are also my third cousins through Ida Hecht’s husband Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother’s first cousin, and so my double cousins, as I discussed in earlier posts

The Legacy of Meier Katzenstein

Today I want to share some photographs and other documents that were shared with me by a cousin named Miles who found my blog and then generously sent me a large collection of photographs.

Miles is my fifth cousin through our shared four times great-grandparents, Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann. Miles is descended from their son Meyer Goldschmidt, and I am descended from their son Seligmann Goldschmidt. Miles’ lineage is from Jacob Falcke to Meyer Goldschmidt to Amalie Goldschmidt Katzenstein to Meier Katzenstein to Sophia Katzenstein Lustig to his mother Nancy  to Miles.

I wrote about Meier and his family back on October 23, 2020 here. I will just summarize that blog post briefly in order to provide context for the photographs Miles shared with me. For more details and sources, please refer back to my original post.

Meier Katzenstein was the youngest child and only son of Amalie Goldschmidt and Juda Callman Katzenstein. He was born in 1860 in Eschwege, Germany, and was also the only child of Amalie and Juda to leave Germany and immigrate to the US. He immigrated in 1888, and three years later he married Emma Bacharach, also a German immigrant. They lived in New York City where their only child Sophia was born in 1892. Meier was in the business of manufacturing fancy linens.

Here are some photographs of Meier and Emma. You can see from Meier’s photographs how accurately he was described on his US passport application: “five foot seven inches tall, high forehead, light blue eyes, straight nose, small mouth, round chin, blond hair, florid complexion, and a round face.”

The first photograph was taken in Eschwege so presumably before Meier immigrated.

Meier Katzenstein in Eschwege
Courtesy of Miles Mark

Meier Katzenstein
Courtesy of Miles Mark

Emma Bacharach Katzenstein Courtesy of Miles Mark

Meier and Emma (Bacharach) Katzenstein. Courtesy of Miles Mark

And these are some adorable photographs of Sophia Katzenstein as a girl alone and with her parents, including some taken in Germany, showing that Meier and Emma did return to visit their families back in Germany.

Sophia Katzenstein Courtesy of Miles Mark

Sophia Katzenstein Courtesy of Miles Mark

Sophia Katzenstein Courtesy of Miles Mark

Emma and Sophia Katzenstein Courtesy of Miles Mark

Sophia Katzenstein in Germany Courtesy of Mark Miles

Sophia was not only a beautiful little girl; she grew up to be a beautiful woman. In 1914 she married Elias Lustig, who was a very successful hat manufacturer. Here are some photographs of Sophia as a young woman and one of Elias.

Sophia Katzenstein Courtesy of Miles Mark

Sophia Katzenstein Courtesy of Miles Mark

Elias Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

Elias and Sophia had two children. Their first child was David Miles Lustig, known as Miles. He was born in 1916. His grandfather Meier had died just six months before, and I assume that Miles was named for his grandfather.

Elias and Sophia’s second child Nancy was born five years later in 1921. Here are some delightful photographs of the two children of Elias and Sophia, grandchildren of Meier and Emma:

David Miles Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

David Miles Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

David Miles Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

Nancy Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

Nancy Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

David Miles and Nancy Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

Sophia and Elias divorced sometime thereafter, and in 1936 Sophia married her second husband, Saul Baron. Here are two photographs of Sophia and Saul:

Sophia Katzenstein and Saul Baron Courtesy of Miles Mark

Sophia Katzenstein and Saul Baron Courtesy of Miles Mark

Emma Bacharach Katzenstein died in 1941, and thus neither Meier nor Emma lived to endure the tragedy that befell their only grandson, David Miles Lustig. Miles was a 1939 graduate of Princeton University, a young man with a bright future ahead of him. He enlisted in the US Army on January 17, 1941, almost a year before the US entered World War II. Here are two photographs of Miles in uniform looking so proud to be serving his country.

L David Miles Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

David Miles Lustig Courtesy of Miles Mark

Miles was assigned to the 44th Bomber Squadron, 20th Bomber Command. Here he is with some of the men in his squadron:

David Miles Lustig, right Courtesy of Miles Mark

Tragically, while flying over China in December, 1944, the plane in which Miles’s crew was flying was shot down and crashed. Miles landed in a river and drowned, but the rest of the men on his plane survived and recorded what had happened, as described in these documents shared with me by David Miles Lustig’s namesake, my fifth cousin Miles.

The first is a letter written to the family by the members of the crew on the plane that day. It’s interesting that they called him Dave, not Miles.

45th Bomb Squad

APO 631, NY

Jan 24

Dear Mr. Lustig and Family,

Several of the boys have received letters asking about Dave so we hope you get a little bit of comfort from as much as we can tell. (The events related in this letter concern 1st Lt. David Miles Lustig, 0-416239.)

We know it must have been a terrible blow to you and you have our deepest sympathy. If there is anything we can do, please don’t hesitate to ask any favor. We all thought an awful lot of your son.

Their plane was shot down returning from a combat mission and all the crew members were forced to bail out. Dave landed in the water and was drowned. The rest of the crew remained several days in the vicinity conducting a search until he was found.

You might like to know that just before he jumped from the plane he took his navigators’ log and carried with him so he could tell the rest of the crew their location on the ground. The paper was picked up later and returned by natives and that’s how we happened to know about it. So even in the emergency, his primary consideration was to his duty to the rest of the men.

It’s as hard to write about it is to think about and I think that is as much as we are allowed to tell at this time. I’m sure that at a later date, any of his friends will be glad to give you any information you desire.

Now we can only tell you how terribly sorry we are that it had to happen.

Sincerely,

[signatures of the crew]

The second is a compilation of memories and details from various members of the flight crew. You can read it by clicking on the link below. It is too long for me to transcribe and too important to be merely paraphrased.

article on shooting down of plane David Miles Lustig

Sophia died just six years after the tragic loss of her son Miles; she was 58 when she died on November 9, 1950. She was survived by her remaining child, Nancy, and two grandsons. Nancy had married Mitchell Mark in 1943; they had two sons, Mitchell II., and Miles, the namesake of Nancy’s brother and the cousin who has shared all these photographs and documents with me. Nancy later divorced Mitchell Mark and married Saul Waldman in 1956.

The death of David Miles Lustig was not the only tragedy this family faced. In 1969, Nancy’s older son Mitchell was killed in a horrific accident when his car was crushed by an eighteen-wheeler. Mitchell II was only 25 years old. Nancy donated an ambulance to Israel in his memory. He was survived by his wife Linda and young son, also named Mitchell.

Nancy Lustig Waldman died on June 8, 2004. She was 83 years old. She was survived by her son Miles and by his children as well as her grandson Mitchell III.

I am so grateful to my fifth cousin Miles for sharing his family’s stories—both the triumphs and the tragedies—and for sharing all these beautiful photographs. He carries on the rich legacy of all his namesakes—his three-times great-grandfather Meyer Goldschmidt for whom his great-grandfather Meier Katzenstein was named and his uncle David Miles Lustig who was named for his grandfather Meier Katzenstein. That’s a chain going back to at least 1784 when Meyer was born to our mutual 4-times great-grandparents, Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann.

 

One More Photo to Crowd Source and to Analyze

After such great success crowd-sourcing the identification of the people at one Goldfarb celebration, I decided to try again with another large group photograph shared with me by my cousin Debi. Together the cousins were able to identify almost everyone in this photo with a few exceptions. Maybe someone out there can help with the few mystery people.

Goldfarb and Malzberg cousins Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

After creating a numbered version of this photograph and circulating it to all the cousins and getting their input, I was able to create a guide naming all but three of the 25 people squeezed around that table.

  1. Steven Levine
  2. George Horowitz
  3. Morty Goldfarb
  4. Saul Malzberg
  5. Anita Spector Malzberg
  6. Sam Block
  7. Rose Goldfarb Levine
  8. Benny Levy
  9. Barbara Weinberg Malzberg
  10. Gustave Malzberg
  11. Herbert Rothman
  12. Ethel Goldfarb Rothman
  13. Unknown
  14. Unknown
  15. Florence Glasser Goldfarb
  16. Marvin Goldfarb
  17. Norman Malzberg
  18. Toby Diller Malzberg
  19. Ted Goldfarb
  20. Syd Ort Goldfarb
  21. Annette Levine (thank you, Ted, for the update!)
  22. Leo Goldfarb
  23. Evelyn Goldfarb Block
  24. Barbara Karp Goldfarb
  25. Ellen Shankman Goldfarb

No one could identify Numbers 13 and 14. I had one theory about them, but it doesn’t look like that theory holds up. Let me explain.

In my own amateurish way, I tried to date this photograph based on the clothes and hairstyles and also the apparent ages of some of the identified people in the photograph. I believe the photograph was taken sometime in the mid to late 1960s but no later than 1975.

Of those identified in the photograph, Leo Goldfarb was the oldest. He died in 1975, so we know the photograph was taken before then. Ted Goldfarb married Barbara Karp in 1964; although I cannot see her hand clearly enough to know if she’s wearing a wedding band, if we assume they were married or at least engaged, this photograph probably is no earlier than 1963.

Then the clothing. Those plaid pants worn by Saul Malzberg stood out as a 1960s style. I also had other photographs from Debi that appear to have been taken at the same event. Notice Marvin and Leo are wearing plaid jackets.

Florence (Glasser) and Marvin Goldfarb Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

The sign over this photo reveals that this was an anniversary part as you can see the A after Happy.

Morton Goldfarb, Ted Goldfarb, Norman Malzberg Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

I found this photograph from Vintage Dancer website of men wearing plaids like this in 1966.

Morton’s aviator glasses seem more 1970s than 1960s, so that confused me about the dating of the photo.

Marvin’s tennis sweater vest and Benny’s double breasted blazer with gold buttons look more 1960s than 1970s, however.

Marvin Goldfarb, Benny Levy, Florence (Glasser) Goldfarb Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

 

I also noticed that some of the younger men at the party—Marvin and Morty in the photos above, for example—had longer sideburns. According to this article about hairstyles in the 1960s, “In the late 1950s and early 1960s, sideburns did not extend far past the ear and they were kept neatly trimmed. By the middle of the 1960s, British bands brought long sideburn styles back into the mainstream.”

Wikipedia said this about sideburns: “Sideburns later gained popularity in the counterculture of the 1960s: the struggle of a New Jersey youth to wear sideburns to his public high school graduation made a newspaper article in 1967.[citation omitted] Sideburns were associated with young mods and hippies, but in the ’70s became prevalent in all walks of life.”

I also think the women’s hairstyles date the photo in the mid to late 1960s. The younger women tend to have short hair worn simply like Florence Glasser Goldfarb and Anita Spector Malzberg or even quite naturally curly like Barbara Weinberg Malzberg and Toby Diller Malzberg—not the bouffanty style of Jacqueline Onassis of the early 1960s or the shag haircuts of the 1970s.

So I am assuming the photograph was taken sometime between 1964 and 1975 based on the clothing and hairstyles and the people present.

I also considered who was not identified in the photograph although not much can be determined by their absence since there could have been any number of reasons they might not be in the photograph.

None of Morris Goldfarb’s sons are listed, but they all lived far from New York by those years. Joe Goldfarb died in 1962; his son Marvin is present, but not his daughters Selma and Francine or their husbands or Joe’s widow Betty.

Julius Goldfarb and his wife Ida are not listed; Julius died in 1968, Ida in 1966. Two of their four daughters and their husbands are present—Evelyn and Ethel; Sylvia and Gertrude are not in the photograph, but their husbands George Horowitz and Benny Levy are so presumably Sylvia and Gertrude just weren’t at the table when the photo was taken.

Also not listed but still living in 1964 are Max Levine, who died in 1974, Bessie (Goldfarb) Malzberg(1971), Meyer Malzberg (1966), and their son Burton (1994).

My theory was that Numbers 13 and 14 were Meyer and Bessie Malzberg. I even had a theory that this was a party to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1964. They were married on August 9, 1914. I thought I saw similarities between Number 14 and three photos of Bessie. But the photos are blurry when I zoom in, and I know that I often just see what I want to see. Also, in the last photo taken in 1960, Bessie appears to be much taller and Meyer does not look like Number 13.

Two of Bessie and Meyer’s grandsons did not think that couple were their grandparents. They would know best. And if the party took place after 1966, as some of the styles suggest, then Meyer wouldn’t have been there.

So for now three people in the photograph are not identified. Maybe someone will show up at some point and complete the picture. A few of those pictured are still living so perhaps they will recall who was there and what the occasion was.

Thank you once again to all my wonderful Goldfarb cousins! I hope we can meet in person someday soon.

Who is in this Photograph? A Collaborative Effort by the Goldfarb Cousins

Discovering and learning about my Goldfarb cousins has been such a joyful adventure. And to illustrate why, let me tell you about how we identified everyone in this photograph:

Alyce had previously sent me this snip from that photograph of the people she believed were Malzbergs taken at her brother Stewart’s bar mitzvah in 1960:

Evelyn Ginsberg, Burt Malzberg seated. Standing, Gus Malzberg and Barbara Weinberg. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Before I first posted it, I sent it to Steve Malzberg, who confirmed that the couple standing were his parents, Gustave and Barbara (Weinberg) Malzberg, and that the seated couple on the left were Burton and Evelyn (Ginsberg) Malzberg. But we didn’t know who the woman sitting to Burt’s left (our right) was, so I labeled her “unknown woman.”

Once I published the post I received an email from my cousin Ann and then one from her daughter Melissa informing me that the unknown woman was in fact Ann’s mother, Melissa’s grandmother, Marcia (Berger) Goldfarb. So I went back and relabeled the photo in my post.

That prompted Alyce to send us all the full photograph from which she had clipped that closeup, asking whether the man sitting to the left of Marcia (our right) was her husband Martin Goldfarb, which Ann and Melissa confirmed.

Then when Sue saw the whole photo, she identified the couple standing to the right of Gustave and Barbara as her mother and stepfather, Sylvia Goldfarb (daughter of Julius and Ida) and George Horowitz and the couple seated in front of them as Evelyn Goldfarb (daughter of Julius and Ida) and her husband Samuel Block.

That prompted Alyce to ask if George Horowitz had been a photographer as she vaguely recalled, and Sue confirmed that recollection.

So in the end we had names for everyone in that photograph. The three oldest Goldfarb siblings—Julius, Morris, and Bessie— were represented at that table by some of their children.

In fact, in 1960, five of the seven children of Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb were still living—Julius, Bessie, Joe, Leo, and Rose. Gussie and Morris had passed away by then. Were the five remaining siblings at the bar mitzvah?

Joe Goldfarb was the grandfather of the bar mitzvah boy and is in this photograph also taken at Stewart’s bar mitzvah:

Seymour Wahl and son Steven, Selma Goldfarb Wahl, Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Francine Goldfarb Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, Alyce Shapiro, Stewart Shapiro, Florence Glasser Goldfarb, Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1957 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

But were Julius, Bessie, Leo, and Rose also in attendance? And what about the other members of the next generation—the other daughters of Julius and Ida, the other sons of Bessie and Meyer, and the other sons of Morris and Anna? Were they there? I guess we need to check the rest of the bar mitzvah album.

As they say, it takes a village. And amazingly we now have connected many of the children of the people who were seated together back in 1960.

Standing L to R, Gustave Malzberg, Barbara Weinberg Malzberg, George Horowitz, Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz. Seated, L to R, Evelyn Ginsburg Malzberg, Burton Malzberg, Marcia Berger Goldfarb, Martin Goldfarb, Samuel Block, Evelyn Goldfarb Block.

I have another big group photo that was labeled “Goldfarbs and Malzbergs” that I asked this group of cousins to identify. Next time.

Joe and Betty Goldfarb and Their Children: A Close and Loving Family, Part II

When World War II ended, the children of Joe and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb were young adults. Marvin was 22, Francine was 20, and Selma was seventeen. Although these photos aren’t dated, I believe they were probably taken around this time.

Francine, Marvin, and Selma Goldfarb 1940s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine, Joe, and Selma Goldfarb 1940s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Marvin and Francine Goldfarb 1940s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joseph and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Francine was the first of the siblings to marry. On September 15, 1946, she married Irving Shapiro in Brooklyn. Irving was born in Brooklyn on October 2, 1917, to Sam Shapiro and Fanny Lipschitz, both of whom were immigrants from Russia. Sam was a furniture upholsterer.1

Wedding invitation for Francine Goldfarb and Irving Shapiro Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Irving served overseas in France and Germany during World War II and met Francine at a club in 1945 after returning from the war. Irving worked for American Razor Company while also doing furniture upholstery and later worked for E.J. Korvettes, the one-time department store.  They had two children, Stewart and Alyce, the cousin who has so generously shared so many family photographs, including these of her parents Francine and Irving and of her brother and herself.2

Francine Goldfarb and Irving Shapiro. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Stewart Shapiro 1949 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce Shapiro c. 1954 Courtesy of Alyce herself

Betty Amer, Alyce Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, Francine Goldfarb, and Joe Goldfarb c. 1950s Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Selma married next. She married Seymour (“Chippy’) Wolotsky (later changed to Wahl) in November, 1948.3 Seymour was born in New York on April 13, 1923, to Isidore Wolotsky and Ida Yellin; his father was from Russia, his mother from Poland.4 Seymour grew up in Brooklyn and was a musician; his World War II draft registration indicates that in 1942 he was employed by Juilliard, the highly prestigious music and performing arts school in New York.

Seymour Wolotsky, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Here a photo of Selma and Seymour, known better as Chippy:

Selma Goldfarb and Seymour “Chippy” Wahl. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce told me that her parents lived in the basement of Selma and Seymour’s house in Flushing for a few years before moving to East New York in Brooklyn where Alyce grew up. Seymour and Selma moved to Valley Stream, New York, and had two children. Selma and Seymour later divorced.5

Marvin was the last of the siblings to marry. Alyce told me that he had been quite ill with tuberculosis for an extended time.6 He married Florence (“Florrie”) Glasser in February 1950. Florence, born in 1927, was the daughter of Solomon Glasser and Lillian Schwartz, both of whom immigrated from Russia.7 Marvin and Florence created their own wholesale jewelry design and manufacturing business; according to Alyce, Marvin’s experience in the dental lab gave him the skills to cast jewelry. Marvin and Florrie did not have children.8

Here are Marvin and Florrie on their wedding day:

Florence Glasser and Marvin Goldfarb, 1950
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Thus, by 1950 all three of Joe and Betty Goldfarb’s children were married, and Joe and Betty had one grandchild. Two more grandchildren were born in the 1950s and one in the early 1960s. Alyce, one of those grandchildren, shared a number of photographs of Joe, Betty, their children and grandchildren during those years:

Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer, Florence Glasser, and Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1950s
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Alyce Shapiro, Francine Goldfarb Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, c. 1957 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

This photograph was taken at Stewart’s bar mitzvah in late 1960.

Seymour Wahl and son Steven, Selma Goldfarb Wahl, Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Francine Goldfarb Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, Alyce Shapiro, Stewart Shapiro, Florence Glasser Goldfarb, Marvin Goldfarb, 1960. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Alyce shared this sweet memory of her grandfather Joe in addition to her memories of his deliveries of many types of cookies to their home in Brooklyn:9

One of my few memories of actually spending time with grandpa, he would sit on the bench outside of my building and watch me play with my friends. He would always give me nickels to go buy candy at the corner luncheonette. It’s sad I don’t remember much else, but I was young.

Joe Goldfarb died on July 8, 1962, at the age of 64.10 Alyce shared that he had been quite ill for some time with Hodgkins lymphoma.  Her grandmother Betty survived Joe by eleven years; she died in December 1973, when she was 73.11

Alyce has more memories of her grandmother since she lived that much longer, and she shared some of those with me:12

After grandpa passed away, grandma Betty ended up living in the same housing project I did. She lived in a different building and I would walk to her apartment, she and would cook for me. I used to play cards with grandma Betty. She taught me how to play rummy. She also taught me how to knit although I wasn’t great at it. She knitted clothes for my Barbie dolls. Eventually she moved to Florida to be with her sisters and brother. After a while she became too ill to take of herself, so she came back the NY and shared her time living with us, Uncle Marvin, and Aunt Selma. She eventually went to a nursing home in Queens. By that time I was getting married. She was not able to attend the wedding in 1973. She was too ill. We did go see her that night after the wedding was over. She passed away later that year on December 23, 1973.

Joe Goldfarb and his wife Betty Amer were first generation Americans. They grew up with immigrant parents, helping to bridge the gap between the old world and the new. They spent almost all of their adult lives in Brooklyn. As Alyce wrote, the family was not wealthy, but they also were not poor. Joe worked hard to earn a living, spending many years as a salesman for the Sunshine Biscuit Company. He and Betty were adored by their children and grandchildren.

Joe and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb, 1960 Courtesy of their granddaughter Alyce

Joe and Betty (Amer) Goldfarb Courtesy of their granddaughter Alyce

They were survived by their three children and their four grandchildren. Marvin Goldfarb died on February 2, 1988, when he was 64, the same age his father had been when he passed away.13 His wife Florence survived him and may in fact still be living as I have no record of her death. Francine Goldfarb Shapiro died at 73 on August 28, 1998;14 her husband Irving died just a year later on September 18, 1999; he was 81.15 Selma Goldfarb Wahl outlived her older siblings; she was ninety when she died on November 3, 2018.16

I am so grateful to my cousin Alyce who has shared so much with me—her photographs, her memories, and her own family history research. I feel so very blessed that she and I matched on 23andme and that we have not only found each other but that she also helped me connect with our mutual cousins, Ann, Melissa, Kay, and Becky. Now along with Sue, Debi, Lisa, Steve, Mark, Ted, Michelle, Morty, and Lori, as well as all my Brod/Brotman first and second cousins and their children and grandchildren, we have a large family circle of the descendants of Joseph Brod and Gittel Schwartz.  Finally DNA testing has paid off! Perhaps it’s time for a reunion to celebrate our shared roots.

But first—a look at the two youngest Goldfarb siblings, Leo and Rose.


  1. Irving Shapiro, Birth Date: 2 Oct 1917, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 40520, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. Samuel Shapiro, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Vols 100-105, Certificates 49021-52007 1920-1921, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943. Family tree of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt on Ancestry. 
  2. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 
  3. Selma Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 15 Nov 1948, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Seymour Wolotsky, License Number: 24028, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Ida Yellin, Marriage License Date: 30 Jul 1917, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Isidore Walatsky
    License Number: 25402, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 11, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Seymour Wolotsky, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 42; Assembly District: 02; City: Brooklyn; County: Kings; Page: 86, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1925 
  5. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 
  6. Ibid. 
  7. Marvin Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 20 Feb 1950
    Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
    Spouse: Florence Glasser, License Number: 2728, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Florence Glasser, Birth Date: 27 Jul 1927
    Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 31085, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. Lillian Schwartz
    Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 3 Dec 1925, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Solomon Glasser
    License Number: 21501, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Glasser Family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 21B; Enumeration District: 0773; FHL microfilm: 2341266, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 
  9. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, April 30, 2021. 
  10. Joseph Goldfarb, Birth Date: abt 1897, Death Date: 8 Jul 1962
    Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 14582,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764363/joseph-goldfarb : accessed 24 May 2021), memorial page for Joseph Goldfarb (unknown–8 Jul 1962), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764363, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  11.  Betty Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 052-52-2394, Birth Date: 5 Jan 1900
    Issue Year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11361, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1973, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/77764305/betty-goldfarb : accessed 24 May 2021), memorial page for Betty Goldfarb (unknown–22 Dec 1973), Find a Grave Memorial ID 77764305, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  12. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, April 30, 2021. 
  13.  Marvin Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 089-16-6702, Birth Date: 15 Apr 1923
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: 2 Feb 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14.  Francine Shapiro, Social Security Number: 112-18-2207, Birth Date: 29 Jul 1925
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11961, Ridge, Suffolk, New York, USA, Death Date: 28 Aug 1998, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  15.  Irving Shapiro, Social Security Number: 051-07-9403, Birth Date: 2 Oct 1917
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11763, Medford, Suffolk, New York, USA, Death Date: 18 Sep 1999, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  16. Email from Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt, May 11, 2021. 

My Cousins Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht: Lives Well Lived

Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother Gussie’s first cousin, and Ida Hecht, my grandmother Gussie’s half-sister’s daughter, knew each other as teenagers when their families were living next door to each other on Avenue C in New York City. They married in 1913, had four daughters, and by 1940 had created a happy and comfortable life for themselves and their daughters in Jersey City, New Jersey, supported by their real estate investments and their liquor business.

Julius Goldfarb had been forced out of the liquor business by Prohibition, but once Prohibition ended, he returned to it, now as the owner of a liquor store in Jersey City called Stuyvesant Wine and Liquor. He also continued to be involved in real estate and was prospering in both businesses.

But starting in 1939, the store was repeatedly the target of robberies. We already saw the news article about that first robbery where Julius was held up by three armed gunmen who then locked him in a storeroom closet. He lost $220 in that crime.

Julius was robbed again in 1941. A single armed robber walked behind the counter and forced Julius to lie on the floor; he then stole $124 from Julius. This time, however, Julius was insured for the loss.

“Holdup in Boulevard Liquor Store,” Jersey Journal, April 15, 1941, p, 1

But Julius and Ida’s life was not overshadowed by these events. Rather, they were enjoying life with their growing family—their four daughters and their grandchildren. Julius and Ida’s oldest daughter Sylvia remarried on October 31, 1942. Her second husband was George Horowitz; he was also a native of Jersey City and was born on September 16, 1912, to Abraham Horowitz and Sophie Margulies. George was working as a photographer for Sun-Ray Studios in Jersey City in 1942. Sylvia and George would have one child together born several years later.1

The third of Julius and Ida’s daughters, Ethel, became engaged to Herbert Rothman in May 1944; he was then a corporal in the US Army stationed at Camp Ruston in Louisiana. Herbert was the son of Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger and was born on July 26, 1922, in New York. At the time of their engagement, Ethel was attending New York University. Ethel and Herbert were married in November, 1945, and had two sons. Herbert ended up working in the liquor business with Julius.2

Evelyn Goldfarb was briefly married in the 1940s to a man named Seymour Hutchinson, but that marriage did not last or produce any children.3 As noted below, Evelyn would remarry some years later.

Here is a beautiful photograph of three of the four daughters of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, my double cousins, Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel:

Evelyn, Sylvia, and Ethel Goldfarb c. 1942 Courtesy of Sue Wartur

And here is a photograph of Julius and Ida with their youngest daughter Evelyn in 1951.

Julius, Evelyn, and Ida Goldfarb 1951. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

My cousin Sue recalls many happy times with her grandparents Ida and Julius. She wrote to me about the beach house on Long Island where Julius and Ida and their extended family would spend their summers:

“From spring until late fall, sometimes until after the High Holy Days, my grandparents would be at their beach house, steps from the Atlantic, in Long Beach, Long Island. [My grandfather Julius] would arrive in the wee hours of Sat night/Sunday morning, his car laden with Sunday papers, his favorite…eggplants and grapefuits, and sodas and chips from the store. We had huge family spreads on the beach…cousins, aunts, uncles, and Grandma’s sister Jean and family, whose “dacha” was just around the corner.” 4

This is a photograph of Ida and Julius at their summer cottage in Long Beach and then a photograph of Julius on the beach:

Ida and Julius at their summer cottage on Long Beach, LI. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius Goldfarb, Long Beach, NY. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Meanwhile, Julius continued to have trouble at his store. In June 1951 Julius was again robbed; this time he was forced to lie on the floor of the lavatory at the back of his store while the robber made off with almost $100.5

Julius was not present in the store for the next robbery in July 1952. Instead his son-in-law Herbert Rothman, husband of Ethel, was the victim. He and two other employees were locked in the storeroom by two thieves armed with penknives. This time the criminals made off with $150.  The news story about this robbery refers to it as the fourth holdup of the store in the past year, so there must have been other robberies that did not appear in the paper.6

But it appears that Julius finally received more protection from the local police after this event. When another attempted robbery occurred in November 1952 while Herbert Rothman was working at the store, two plainclothes detectives stopped the holdup, and when the robber pointed his “toy gun” at them, one of those detectives shot and seriously wounded him.7

I don’t know whether that was the last time the store was the site of a robbery, but that was the last article reporting one that I could find in the Jersey City newspapers.

Not long before this last robbery, on October 25, 1952, Evelyn Goldfarb married her second husband, Samuel Block. He was also a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, born there on September 17, 1922, the son of Meyer Block and Gussie Greenberg. Evelyn and Samuel had two children born in the 1950s.8

Thus, by 1952 all four of Julius and Ida’s daughters were married. And in 1959, their first-born granddaughter, my cousin Sue, was married, and Julius and Ida were there to celebrate. Thank you to Sue for sharing some of her beautiful wedding photographs.

Sue (Leyner) and Larry Wartur, 1959. Courtesy of Sue Wartur.

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

Julius and Ida Goldfarb at their granddaughter Sue’s wedding. Courtesy of Sue Wartur

In the end there were nine grandchildren who survived Ida and Julius as well as their four daughters and sons-in-law. Ida died on March 7, 1966, in Jersey City; she was 71.9 Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968, also in Jersey City. He was 83.10

Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht had lived a full and interesting life together. Born in Galicia, Julius came to the US when he was ten years old and had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture. According to his granddaughter Sue, he remained a religious man all his life. He belonged to an Orthodox synagogue where Sue would watch him praying from her seat in the women’s section above the main sanctuary. Ida also was quite observant. Sue remembered that Ida always lit candles on Friday night, went to services on Saturday morning, and studied Torah at home.

But Julius also adapted to American life. He was a success both in the real estate and liquor businesses and more than once survived attacks on his business and himself, determined to protect his livelihood and his family. Ida contributed to that success not only on the homefront, but also by working with Julius in both the liquor and real estate businesses.

Their granddaughter Sue reminded me that what we see in newspapers and records is only a small part of the lives people lived and that while the news articles might leave an impression of a life darkened by robberies and crime, that was not how Julius and Ida saw their life. Rather, it was a life filled with joy and faith and love.

Sue wrote that even long after Julius and Ida’s four daughters were grown and married with children of their own, they always thought of 24 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City as their home. That itself is a testament to the warm and loving family life that Julius and Ida created for their children and grandchildren.


I will be taking a short break from blogging in the next week or so. See you with more Goldfarb history when I return.


  1. Family records. George Horowitz, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1912, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 23 Sep 1999, Father: Abraham Horowitz, Mother:
    Sophie Marqulies, SSN: 140077673, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. George Horowitz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; 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: 303, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  2. “Miss Ethel Goldfarb To Wed Corp. Rothman,” Jersey Journal, May 16, 1944, p. 22. New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1945; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016. Herbert Rothman, Birth Date: 26 Jul 1922
    Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965. New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WF-8T8 : 10 February 2018), Irving Rothman and Sarah Berger, 20 Sep 1921; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,292. 
  3.  Evelyn Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 1 Oct 1945, Marriage License Place: Queens, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Seymour M Hutchinson, License Number: 5965, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Queens, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Email from Sue Wartur, April 14, 2021. 
  5. “Fat Thug Gets $100 in Holdup,” Jersey Journal, June 29, 1951, p. 1. 
  6. “Store Held Up Fourth Time,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 1. 
  7. “Shots Fell ‘Toy Gun’ Bandit,” Jersey Journal, November 17, 1952, p. 1. 
  8. “Evelyn Goldfarb,” Jersey Journal, July 30, 1952, p. 10. “Miss Goldfarb, Jersey City, Wed to Samuel Block,” Hudson Dispatch, October 1952. Samuel Block
    Gender: Male, Birth Date: 17 Sep 1922, Birth Place: Jersey City, New Jersey
    Death Date: 3 Nov 1988, Father: Meyer Block, Mother:Gussie Greenberg
    SSN: 140185188, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9.  Ida Goldfarb, Death Date: Mar 1966, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1966; Surname Range: G-N; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000.Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017. Family records. 
  10. Julius Goldfarb, Death Date: 20 Nov 1968, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1968; Surname Range: A-G; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 

Julius Goldfarb, My Grandmother’s First Cousin: An American Success Story

In 1937, Sarah Brod Goldfarb died, leaving behind her six surviving children, my grandmother’s first cousins: Julius, Morris, Bessie, Joe, Leo, and Rose. Now I want to go back and focus on each of them and their lives as adults.

I will start with Sam and Sarah Goldfarb’s first born child, Julius. We’ve seen that he married Ida Hecht in 1913 and that they settled in Jersey City, New Jersey, where they had four daughters, Sylvia, Gertrude, Ethel, and Evelyn. Those four daughters were related to me both through Ida, my great-aunt Taube Brotman Hecht’s daughter, and through Julius, my great-great-aunt Sarah Brod Goldfarb’s son. We also know that when he registered for the draft in 1917, Julius was a saloon keeper in his own business.

Julius Goldfarb World War I draft registration
Registration State: New Jersey; Registration County: Hudson; Roll: 1712213; Draft Board: 10

In 1920, Julius Goldfarb was living in Jersey City and still working in the liquor business, according to the 1920 US census.1 But the times were changing, and soon Julius would face the restrictions of Prohibition. Some of the consequences of Prohibition are illustrated in this article involving Julius’ saloon:

“Sells Booze to Wife, Husband Has Him Held,” Jersey Journal, November 7, 1921, p. 8

The headline of the article seemed to suggest that a woman could not buy herself a drink at a bar if her husband did not allow it, and the bartender could be arrested for selling it to her. But the crime was not that specific; it was for selling alcohol to anyone because as of January 17, 1920, liquor sales were prohibited everywhere in the US by virtue of the 18th Amendment and the Volstead Act. In fact, it’s remarkable that Julius even admitted to being in the liquor business on the 1920 census.

The article refers to the Van Ness Act, a New Jersey law enacted in 1921 and named for Jennie Van Ness, an ardent prohibitionist, New Jersey legislator, and women’s suffrage activist. The law was not targeted specifically against sales to women, however; it was a general prohibition law penalizing the sale of alcohol modeled after and intended to reinforce the federal Volstead Act. Van Ness’ sponsorship of that law cost her the next legislative election because so many in New Jersey were opposed to Prohibition.

But how did Julius even have a saloon in November 1921 if sales of liquor were illegal because of Prohibition? Julius still listed his occupation as “sal,” presumably saloon, on the 1922 Jersey City directory, so obviously he wasn’t hiding anything. It seems many bars and “speakeasies” continued to exist in the area. Perhaps at least for some time the police looked the other way.

Julius, however, soon transitioned to the real estate business. This article from the October 9, 1924, Jersey Journal discusses a legal issue regarding the assignment of options, an issue outside of the scope of this blog but one relevant to my former career. But what is of genealogical interest are the facts that raised the issue:

“Is An Option on Real Estate Assignable?,” Jersey Journal, October 9, 1924, p. 5

According to the article, Julius and Ida Goldfarb had entered into a contract with Alfred Strohmeier in which they agreed to sell him a piece of property and also granted him an option to buy an adjoining piece of property. Strohmeier assigned the contract—including the option—to Edward Ornstein, and the Goldfarbs refused to grant Ornstein that option, arguing that an assignment of an option is not enforceable. I don’t know how this specific case was resolved, but under general principles of contract law, an option is considered assignable unless the contract itself provides otherwise.

The 1930 census confirmed that Julius was now in the real estate business as he listed his occupation as “Proprietor, Real Estate.” Interestingly, however, Julius was renting the home where he lived at 701 Hudson Boulevard in Jersey City in 1930, according to the census. Although the census doesn’t reflect it, Ida was also very involved in the real estate business; acording to her granddaughter Sue, she enjoyed the buying and selling of homes. Sylvia (15), Gertrude (13), and Ethel (7) were all in school, and Evelyn (5) was at home.

Julius Goldfarb and family 1930 US census, lines 40-45
Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1352; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0075; Image: 209.0; FHL microfilm: 2341087

By 1934, the Goldfarb family had moved to 24 Clendenny Avenue in Jersey City. Although I couldn’t find the exact house number on Google maps, this was a street of mostly private homes, and Julius now owned his home, the home the family would live in for many years to come. He also owned a building at 115 Fairview Street where he was the landlord and was sued by a tenant who was injured by falling in the lobby:

Jersey Journal, July 27, 1934, p. 20

Google Maps has this image of that apartment building. It certainly suggests that Julius was doing well investing in real estate, a fact confirmed by his granddaughter Sue:

Meanwhile, the daughters of Julius and Ida were growing up. Sylvia was engaged to Louis Leyner in 1935 and married him later that year. Louis was born on December 25, 1912, in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Isaac Lehner and Anna Pearlman. He graduated in 1931 from New York University with a degree in industrial engineering.2

“Miss Goldfarb Betrothed to Lew Leyner,” Jersey Journal, October 29, 1935, p. 13

Julius and Ida became grandparents a few years later when my cousin Sue was born in Jersey City.

Here is a photograph of Ida Hecht Goldfarb with her granddaughter Sue:

Ida Hecht Goldfarb and Sue Leyner, July 1938. Courtesy of Sue Leyner Wartur.

In 1938 Sylvia’s younger sister Gertrude married Benjamin Levy.3 They settled in Jersey City and were living there in 1940. Benjamin was working as a salesman.4 They would later have three children born in Jersey City.

By this time, Prohibition was long over, and Julius had returned to the liquor business. Ida worked for sometime with him in the store just as she worked with him in the real estate business; Sue described Ida as “ahead of her times” and as a very cultured and sophisticated woman even though she’d had to leave school after eighth grade to support her family. Sue said Ida had “exquisite taste in music, decor, clothing and jewelry, china, silver and fur and she designed her own hats.  She could recite the entire poem Evangeline from memory, took me to my first opera, and gave me a Saturday matinee subscription to the Metropolitan Opera as a high school graduation gift.”5

In 1939,  Julius experienced the first in a long series of very frightening robberies at his store on the Boulevard in Jersey City.

1″$220 Holdup in Liquor Store,” Jersey Journal, March 6, 1939, p. 1

I was surprised to see that there is still a liquor store named Stuyvesant Liquor at that location in Jersey City:

Julius’ granddaughter Sue told me that Julius owned that entire strip of stores at one time and was quite successful with his real estate investments as well as his liquor business.

In 1940, Julius and Ida still had their two younger daughters Ethel and Evelyn living at home as well as Sylvia. Although still listed as married, Sylvia and Louis Leyner were living separately on the 1940 census, Sylvia with her parents, and Louis elsewhere in northern New Jersey. They would soon thereafter divorce.

Julius Goldfarb and family 1940 census lines 13-17
Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2406; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 24-197

Julius continued to be in the liquor business in 1940, and as we will see in the next post, that business continued to be a target for crime in the 1940s and 1950s. But, more importantly, as remembered by their granddaughter Sue, Julius and Ida lived a good life and created a warm and loving home for their four daughters.

 

 


  1. Julius Goldfarb and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Jersey City Ward 3, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: T625_1043; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 135, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  2. “Louis Leyner, East Asheville,” Asheville Citizen-Times
    Asheville, North Carolina, 06 Jan 2011, Thu • Page 10 
  3. Gertrude Goldfarb, Maiden Name: Goldfarb, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 1938
    Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: Benjamin Levy, 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. Benjamin and Gertrude Levy, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02408; Page: 66B; Enumeration District: 24-246, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Email from Sue Wartur, April 23, 2021. 

Sarah Brod Goldfarb, My Great-grandmother’s Sister: From Immigrant to American Grandmother

Sarah Brod Goldfarb, my great-grandmother’s sister, was widowed on October 4, 1926, when her husband Samuel died. She was sixty years old. The 1930 census shows her living at 526 William Street in Brooklyn, her long-time home, with her two youngest children, Leo and Rose. Leo was now 28 and working as a real estate salesman. Rose was 24 and not employed outside the home.1

Thank you to my cousin Alyce for sharing this photograph of Sarah with her son Leo. I love the shadow of Leo, pipe and all, that appears behind them:

Leo Goldfarb and his mother, Sarah Brod Goldfarb
Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Living just down the street at 542 Williams Street was Sarah’s son Morris Goldfarb with his wife Anna and their two sons, Martin (10) and Irvin (8). Morris owned a grocery store.2 Not long after the 1930 census was enumerated, Morris and Annie had a third son Saul, born June 10, 1930, in New York.3

Sarah’s three other surviving children were all married and living with their children in Jersey City, New Jersey, where their families also continued to grow. Julius and Ida had their four daughters. Bessie and her husband Meyer Malzberg had had another child, their fourth son, Saul, born on January 23, 1928, in Jersey City. Joseph Goldfarb and his wife Betty had their third child, Selma, born January 13, 1928, ten days before her first cousin Saul Malzberg.

I have two more photographs from Alyce of Sarah with her family that appear to have been taken the same day and location as the photo of Sarah with Leo above. My cousin Steve believes that the first one shows his grandmother Bessie with her husband Meyer Malzberg standing behind her and her mother Sarah.

I am particularly intrigued by the photograph that appears on the piece of furniture behind Bessie. Is that her wedding photograph? A graduation photograph? Too small to say.

Meyer Malzberg, rear. Sarah Brod Goldfarb and Bessie Goldfarb Malzberg, seated. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

The next one is of two of the Malzberg grandsons although we are still not sure which of the four are in the photograph.

Sarah Brod Goldfarb, seated. Possibly Burton and Saul Malzberg, standing. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

If I had some way of dating the photograph, it would be easier to identify the two boys. Norman was born in 1915, Gustave in 1919, Burton in 1923, and Saul in 1928. To my grandmotherly eye, the two boys look around seven and eleven, but each could be a year or two older or younger than that guess. Sam Goldfarb is not in the photograph, meaning it was probably taken after his death in 1926.

So if the photograph was taken in the late 1920s, it would have to be Norman and Gustave. But if it was taken in the mid 1930s, it’s Burton and Saul. I believe it’s the latter. First, Steve did not see his father Gustave in the photograph. Second, something about Bessie’s dress makes me thing this is the 1930s, not the 1920s—the tight belted waist on her dress seems unlike the dropped waist dresses worn in the 1920s. But I am far from a fashion expert, so I’d love others’ opinions.

By 1930, Sarah had fourteen grandchildren. Three more would come, but after Sarah died on July 2, 1937, at the age of 71. Sarah died from hypertensive heart disease with hypertension and diabetes as contributing causes.

New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WT7-T1D : 3 June 2020), Sarah Goldfarb, 1937.

Sarah had outlived her older sister, my great-grandmother Bessie Brod Brotman, by three years, as Bessie had died in 1934 at the age of 77. Like my great-grandmother Bessie, Sarah had stayed behind in Galicia when her husband went off to America. Sarah had four young children at the time, and in 1896, she had traveled with those children alone to meet Sam in America. After immigrating, she had three more children. She raised those seven children first in Galicia, then in Pittsgrove, New Jersey, and then by 1902 in the Lower East Side of New York, living right across the street from her sister Bessie.

I like to imagine the two sisters whose lives had so many parallels raising their six American-born youngest children together. Bessie’s American-born children were my grandmother Gussie, born in 1895, Frieda in 1897, and Sam in 1900. They were close in age to Sarah’s American-born children Joe, born in 1897, Leo in 1899, and Rose in 1902. The six first cousins, living across the street from each other for at least their earliest years, must have played together and been close to each other even after Sarah and Sam moved a mile away from 84 Ridge Street to 321 Avenue C by 1910.

 

One piece of evidence I have of that cousin connection is the amazing photograph that Alyce shared of my grandmother Gussie with her two cousins Joe and Rose. In this more clear version of that photograph I can see my grandmother’s arm affectionately draped around Rose’s shoulder:

Rose Goldfarb Levine, Joe Goldfarb, and Gussie Brotman Goldschlager

Sarah Brod Goldfarb outlived her husband Samuel and her daughter Gussie. But she was survived by her other six children and ultimately by seventeen grandchildren. The choice she and Sam made to leave Europe when they did still has rippling effects down the generations to their many descendants, including my cousins Sue, Alyce, Rebecca, Ann, Melissa, Steve, and many others.

Now I will return to the stories of each of the six children who survived Sam and Sarah and tell their stories more completely.

 


  1. Sarah Goldfarb and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 1220; FHL microfilm: 2341228, District: 1220; Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. Morris Goldfarb and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 1218; FHL microfilm: 2341227
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  3. Saul Goldfarb, Birth Date: 10 Jun 1930, Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 234??, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Birth Index, 1910-1965 

Of DNA Testing and The Magic of Photographs: Who is That Woman?

As many of you know, I have not had much success using DNA as a genealogy research tool. Because I have thousands of matches on each of the major DNA testing sites (Ancestry, 23andme, FamilyTreeDNA, and MyHeritage), finding a true match—not one just based on endogamy—is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Over time I have found some “real” matches, but I usually only know they’re real because I’ve already found those cousins through traditional genealogical research. Finding that the DNA confirms what I already knew is nice, but not really helpful in terms of advancing my research. Even when I look at the matches that cousin shares with me, I am not making progress because our shared matches also number in the hundreds if not thousands.

Nevertheless, I periodically check my matches on each of the sites to see if any truly close matches have appeared. A couple of weeks ago I checked with 23andme and discovered a new third cousin match, Alyce, who also shared a family surname that appears on my tree—Goldfarb. Since the Goldfarbs are related to my Brotman line, I was quite excited. My Brotman line is one of my biggest brickwalls. I cannot get beyond the names of my great-great-grandparents.

Some background: my maternal grandmother’s parents were Joseph Brotman and Bessie Brod. But sometimes Joseph’s surname is listed as Brod, sometimes Bessie’s is listed as Brotman. Family lore is that Bessie, Joseph’s second wife, was his first cousin. Various US records revealed that Joseph’s parents were Abraham Brotman and maybe Yette Sadie Burstein; Bessie’s parents were Joseph Brod and Gittel Schwartz. But I have no records from Poland where they once lived to verify those names, nor can I get any further back to determine if Joseph and Bessie were in fact first cousins.

Then years later I discovered the Goldfarb cousins after seeing the names Joe and Julius Goldfarb and Taube Hecht in my grandfather’s address book and my aunt’s baby book.

After much digging, I learned that my great-grandmother Bessie Brod had a sister Sarah Brod (or Brotman) who married Sam Goldfarb. Joe and Julius Goldfarb were two of their sons, my grandmother’s first cousins. And Taube Hecht was my grandmother’s half-sister Taube Brotman, daughter of Joseph Brotman and his first wife. Taube’s daughter Ida had married Julius Goldfarb.

Through more research I was able to locate cousins descended from the Goldfarb line and from the Hecht line—Sue, a granddaughter of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, and Jan, a descendant of Taube Brotman Hecht line through her son Harry. They tested, but the results didn’t help me advance my research. I still couldn’t determine if my great-grandparents were in fact first cousins, and I still hadn’t found anything to expand the reach of my Brotman/Brod family tree.

Then a few weeks ago I found Alyce, a granddaughter of Joe Goldfarb and his wife Betty Amer and thus a pure Goldfarb (non-Hecht) cousin. She connected me with a few other Goldfarb cousins—descendants of Joe or one of his siblings. That’s a lot more DNA to work with, and I am hoping that I can get someone who’s more expert at parsing these things to help me use the DNA of these new cousins to advance my research. So far all I can do is stare at chromosome browsers and see overlaps, but I have no idea how to parse out the Goldfarb (Brod) DNA from the Hecht (Brotman) DNA to get any answers.

All of this I will return to at some point when I have more to say about what the DNA reveals. For now I want to talk about the photographs that Alyce shared with me of my Goldfarb relatives. Alyce sent me over twenty photographs. She was able to identify the people in many of them, but unfortunately a number are unlabeled. Also the quality of some of the photos is quite poor. I won’t post them all, but I will post a few today and more in a later post.

First, in Alyce’s collection was this photograph she labeled “I think this is Grandpa’s mother Sarah Brothman. I could be wrong.” (Brothman was yet another variation on how Joseph, Bessie, and Sarah spelled their surname.)

“Sarah Brothman” Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

I almost fell off my chair. I had that exact same photograph, but in our collection the photograph was said to be of my great-grandmother Bessie Brod Brotman.

My great-grandmother Bessie Brotman (or so I was told)

I wasn’t sure who had the right label for the photograph, but just the fact that Alyce and I had in our possession copies of the same photograph seemed to confirm what the DNA and all my research had already told me—we were cousins!

Alyce had other photographs of her great-grandmother Sarah, and when I saw those I thought that in fact that first photograph was of Sarah, not Bessie. Here are her other photographs of Sarah, all courtesy of Alyce, and then another photograph I had of my great-grandmother Bessie.

Sarah Brod/Brotman Goldfarb and her son Leo Goldfarb. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Bessie Brotman

Bessie Brotman

It seems to me that Bessie had a rounder and softer edged face than the woman seated in front of the grocery store, so I think that woman was indeed Sarah, Bessie’s sister.

So somehow my family ended up with a photograph of Bessie’s sister Sarah. And we never would have known if I hadn’t found Alyce and she hadn’t shared her copy of the photograph.

I slowly flipped through the rest of Alyce’s photos, noting the faces of my grandmother’s Goldfarb first cousins Joe and Leo and their wives and children, hoping I could identify some of the unknowns in Alyce’s collection, when I came to this photograph. This time my jaw dropped.

Rose Goldfarb, Joe Goldfarb, Gussie Brotman

Alyce labeled this photograph, “Grandpa Joe. I think that could be Aunt Rose [the youngest child of Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb] on the left. Not sure who’s on the right.”

But I knew who was on the right. I had no doubt. That woman was my grandmother, Gussie Brotman Goldschlager, posing with two of her first cousins, Joe and Rose Goldfarb. I was blown away. How could Alyce, who until just a few days earlier was unknown to me, have a photograph of my grandmother—a photograph I’d never seen before?

I sent the photograph to my brother for confirmation, and he agreed. I ran the photograph through Google’s face identification software, and Google agreed. Here are some other photographs of my grandmother.

Gussie Brotman

Goldschlagers 1935

Jeff and Gussie c. 1946

I think you also will agree.  Alyce, my third cousin, had a photograph of her grandfather Joe and my grandmother Gussie together. Wow.

More Photos of My Double Cousin Hannah Goldsmith Benedict and Her Family

I recently posted photos that my cousin Bruce Velzy sent me of his great-great-grandmother Hannah Goldsmith. Hannah is one of the relatives whose lives most fascinate me. Her parents were both related to me. Her father Simon Goldschmidt was my four-times great-uncle, and her mother Fradchen or Fanny Schoenthal was my three-times great-aunt. Simon and Fanny were recent immigrants from Germany to the US when Hannah was born in 1848. And then Hannah lost her mother shortly after Hannah’s second birthday.

Hannah and her brother Henry then moved with their father Simon to Washington, Pennsylvania, where they lived with Hannah’s half-brother Jacob Goldsmith and his wife and children. Then when she was just eighteen, Hannah married Joseph Benedict, a rag dealer who was fourteen years older, and moved to Pittsburgh; her father moved with her. Hannah and Joseph had five children, but only three survived infancy: Jacob (1870), Herschel (1871), and C. Harry (1876).

Bruce is descended from Hannah’s son Jacob and shared these photos, which I’ve previously posted:

Hannah Goldsmith Benedict. Courtesy of the family and edited by the Photo Restoration Facebook group.

Sons of Hannah Goldsmith and Joseph Benedict, c. 1890. Courtesy of the family

Joseph Benedict, Helen Benedict, Marian Benedict, and Hannah Goldsmith Benedict. August 24, 1908. Courtesy of Bruce Velzy

One of the things that makes Hannah’s story so remarkable is the success of her son C. Harry Benedict and of his two sons, Manson Benedict and William Benedict, as I wrote about here and here. They all were Ivy League graduates who pursued highly successful careers in science and engineering.

A few weeks ago I heard from Manson’s Benedict’s daughter Mary, She found my blog and commented as follows:

My father was Manson Benedict, son of C.Harry Benedict. Manson played a large part in the successful development of the atomic bomb. His contribution was developing a process to separate the isotopes of Uranium at a plant in Oak Ridge Tennessee. After the war he became the first professor of nuclear engineering at MIT, and was active in research on peaceful uses for atomic energy, such as nuclear power. I got a Master’s degree in chemistry, doing research on radiation chemistry. My granddaughter, Kirsten Benedict Sauer, earned a PhD in geology and is now employed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she is developing ways to safely dispose of radioactive waste from reactors.

I emailed Mary and learned that she and her granddaughter are not the only ones carrying on the Benedict tradition in the sciences. Both of Mary’s sons are scientists as are her daughter-in-law and some of her grandchildren, and her daughter majored in psychology. It’s amazing to see how the DNA carries certain interests and skills from one generation to another.

Mary also shared three photographs with me, including this one taken at the celebration of Hannah Goldsmith’s 90th birthday in 1938. The photo includes Hannah’s three sons Jacob, Herschel, and C. Harry, her grandsons Manson and William, her daughters-in-law and granddaughter-in-law, and her great-granddaughter Mary.

Celebration of Hannah Goldsmith Benedict’s 90th birthday in 1938. Standing in rear Jake, C. Harry, Manson, Herschel, and William Benedict. Seated Marjorie Allen Benedict, Lena Manson Benedict with Mary Benedict Sauer, and Hannah Goldsmith Benedict. Courtesy of Mary Benedict Sauer.

Mary also sent me two wedding photographs. This one is of her grandparents C.Harry Benedict and Lena Manson on their wedding day, February 7, 1902.

C. Harry Benedict and Lena Manson, 1902. Courtesy of Mary Benedict Sauer.

And this one is from Mary’s own wedding in 1959. Mary and her husband Myran Charles Sauer, Jr. are standing with Mary’s grandparents, C Harry Benedict and Lena Manson Benedict.

Mary Benedict, Myran Charles Sauer, Jr., Lena Manson, and C.Harry Benedict, 1959. Courtesy of Mary Sauer.

Once again, I am so drawn to the story of Hannah Goldsmith and so grateful to her descendants for sharing the stories and photographs they have of her.