Friday, July 31, 2009

My Fingerhut Family from Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (updated 1/27/2017)

Bernard and Adela Fingerhut, seen here, were my grandfather's parents. They came to the United States in 1906 from Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (aka Lwow, Poland; Lvov, Russia; and now L'viv, Ukraine). The surname Fingerhut is German for "thimble," implying that ancestors were tailors. Other family last names forcibly adopted by my Galitzianer Jewish ancestors around 1787 are also humble German: Fischer (fisher), Tafel (table), Niedrig (lowly).

But the Fingerhut men said they were part of the Tribe of Kohen, the direct patrilineal descendants of Israel's high priest Aaron, the brother of Moses who delivered the Hebrews from Egypt. These brothers were in turn the great-grandsons of Levi (the son of Jacob, the grandson of Isaac, and the great-grandson of Abraham).

The Book of Numbers says that Aaron's grandson Phinehas, the third high priest of Israel, used violent means to stop the Israelites from marrying Canaanite women. Winning divine favor, Phinehas entered a covenant that has marked his male descendants as a priestly caste for over 3,000 years. Technically, my grandfather and his brother were our family's last surviving male links of this long chain of Biblical descent, but I don't believe they ever blessed congregations or performed other Kohen duties.

The biblical family tree of Aaron (unknown Internet source).
Some surviving gravestones of Fingerhut men in Brody, Ukraine (about 60 miles from Lemberg) include the symbol of the Kohen priestly blessing, so they may have been part of the same family.


The Golden Rose Synagogue in Lemberg, where several members of the Fingerhut family were married in the mid-1800s. This picture is from Lemberg's yizkor memorial book.

A note on Jewish marriages in GaliciaThe anti-Semitic Austrian officials in control of Galicia tried to contain the growth of the Jewish population by not recognizing Jewish religious marriage ceremonies, and limiting the ability for Jews to get legally married. Until 1830, only one son from each Jewish family was allowed to officially marry. Until 1858, all Jewish couples in Lemberg had to pass a written test before their marriage. These discriminatory measures did not impact the size of the Jewish population, but as a result many Jewish birth records falsely list the children as “illegitimate,” with their mother's maiden names, and sometimes with no father listed. When Jewish couples did get married, it was often years or even decades after their first religious marriage, and it was often to legitimize children in the eyes of the anti-Semitic law. I list my ancestors below under their fathers' last names, even if their legal names may have been different.

The earliest-known generation was born when the city of Lwow was still part of the Kingdom of Poland. Then in 1772, Poland was conquered and partitioned, the region of Galicia fell into Austrian hands, and Lwow was given a German name, "Lemberg." In 1787, Austrian officials forced their Jewish subjects to take last names instead of traditional patronyms. In the 1790s, Lemberg started to keep a "Book of Residents," listing Jewish families that paid additional taxes to be deemed legal residents of the city, which likely funded activities in the Jewish community. These tax records are a primary source of information for this generation.     

Isaac Bergtraum took a surname that means "Mountain-dream" in German. Many Jews at the time took nature-based German surnames, possibly to fit in with the romantic German culture. A lot of relatives in our Fingerhut family love the mountains, so maybe it's genetic! By the 1790s Isaac was married to Perle David (born c.1756; died 1816 in Lemberg), and his children included:
1. Asriel Bergtraum (born c.1764; died 1852 in Lemberg), a son, whose family continues below.
2. Jütte Bergtraum, a daughter, who first married Saloman Hering (c.1779-1815), and their children incuded:
      2a. Joseph Hering (born 1810)
      2b. Rischel Hering (1814-1814)
Jütte then married Hersch Fiedler [or Fidler] (born c.1792) in 1816 in Lemberg, and their children included:
      2c. Malie Fiedler (born 1816)
      2d. Feibusch Fiedler (1818-1851)
      2e. Perel Fiedler (born 1821, twin)
      2f. Chaje Fiedler (born 1821, twin)
      2g. Schneyer Fiedler (1822-1825)
      2h. Leibisch Fiedler (born 1825)
Isaac also had a stepson, Sauel Wolf (c.1778-1845), presumably the son of Perle.

Mayer Tafel (born c.1747; died 1819 in Lemberg) was a widower by the 1790s. His other children included:
1. Raphael Tafel (c.1780-1846), a son, who married Ester Turk (c.1791-1837) and their children included:
      1a. Hersch Tafel (1807-1811)
      1b. Freude Tafel (born 1822), who married her first cousin Joel Tafel, seen below.
      1c. Mayer Tafel (born 1824)
      1d. Chaje Tafel (c.1827-1828)
      1e. Salomon Tafel (1829-1829)
2. Serke Tafel, a daughter.
3. Berl Tafel (c.1792-1854), a son, who married Rachel Basche Hobel (born c.1795) in 1810 in Lemberg and their children included:
      3a. Leib Tafel (c.1815-1821)
      3b. Meyer Tafel (born 1822)
      3c. Joel Tafel (born 1824), who married his first cousin Freude Tafel (born 1822), seen above. They were parents by 1851 but were legally married in 1871 in Lemberg.
      3c. Sara Chane Tafel (1827-1827)
4. Mendel Tafel, a son.
5. Gimpel Tafel was probably Mayer's son, and his family continues below.

Samuel Fischer (born c.1730; died 1810 in Lemberg) married Gittel (probably c.1775-1827), and his children included:
1. Sosche Liebe Fischer (born c.1806 in Lemberg; died 1879 in Lemberg), married Moses Mayer Löchel (c.1805-1859) in 1833 in Lemberg and their children included:
      1a. Salomon Löchel (died 1831)
      1b. Mathus Löchel (1832-1833)
      1c. Chaim Löchel (c.1833-1859)
      1c. Gittel Löchel (born 1834), who first married Tobias Heu (c.1828-1866) in 1856 in Lemberg, and then married Psache Einschlag.
      1d. Sime Pessel Löchel (1836-1837)
      1e. Aron Löchel (c.1838-1839)
      1f. Sara Löchel (c.1840-1863)
      1g. Samuel Löchel (c.1843-1863)
2. a nameless daughter (died 1807 in Lemberg)
3. Mendel Hersh Fischer (born 1808 in Lemberg; died 1864 in Lemberg), a son, whose family continues below.

Hersch [Zwie] Hopfen had a daughter:
1. Zluwe Hopfen (born c.1803; died 1863 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.

Baruch Schreiber married Rachael and his children included:
1. Jermias Schreiber, who married and had a family.
2. Daniel Schreiber and his wife Chaje had a family, including:
      2a. Ester Schreiber (born 1814)
      2b. Rachel Schreiber (born 1824)
3. Gedalie Iser [Isarias] Schreiber (born c.1777; died 1831 in Lemberg), whose family continues immediately below.
4. Ezechiel Schreiber
5. Haga Schreiber
6. Wolf Schreiber
7. Berl Schreiber (born 1804)

Gedalie Iser Schreiber (born c.1777; died 1831 in Lemberg) married his first wife Dwora (died 1806 in Lemberg) probably in 1799 in Lemberg, and their children included:
1. Pessel Schreiber (born 1804 in Lemberg; died 1806 in Lemberg), a daughter.
Gedalie married a second wife, Czeitel, and their children included:
2. Moses Hersch Schreiber (born in 1807 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.
3. Rifke Rochel Scheriber (born 1809 in Lemberg; died 1810 in Lemberg), a daughter.
4. Michel Nochem Schreiber (born 1811 in Lemberg; died 1813 in Lemberg), a son.
5. Chaim Aron Schreiber (born 1813 in Lemberg), a son, who married Rose Bierer (born c.1821). They were parents by 1841 and had a legal marriage in 1850 in Lemberg. Their children included:
      5a. Gedalie Isser Schreiber (1841), who married Rischel Kornhaber and had a family.
      5b. Chane Beile Scheriber (1842), who married Isak Munisch Schonfeld and had a family.
      5c. Emanuel [Kessiel Mendel] Schreiber (1844), who married Gietel Kornhaber and had a family.
      5d. Samuel Jozef Schreiber (1845), who married Rachel Kornhaber and had a family.
      5e. Dresel Schreiber (c.1849-1850)
      5f. Israel Schreiber (1850)
      5g. Feige Nesche Schreiber (1852-1853)
      5h. David Isaac Schreiber (1853)
      5i. Menachem Jehoschia Schreiber (1854)
      5j. Juda Schreiber (c.1855-1860)
      5k. Pincas Schreiber (1857-1857)
      5l. Cyla [Czeitel] Schreiber (1858), who married Izachar Pfau and had a family.
      5m. Elias Schreiber (1860)
      5n. Ernestyna [Ester] Schreiber (1861), who married Jozef Braun and had a family.
      5o. Abraham Schreiber (1863-1863)
      5p. Perl Schreiber (1866), who married Chajim Jakob Pineles and had a family.
6. Sara Rifke Schreiber (born 1817 in Lemberg), a daughter, who married Chaim Uhrech and their children included:
      6a. Gedalie Isser Uhrech (1846)
      6b. Pessel Uhrech (1848-1849)
      6c. Hersch Uhrech (1849)
      6d. Efrojim Uhrech (1854)
7. Isaac Leib Schreiber (born 1823 in Lemberg; died 1823 in Lemberg), a son.
8. Lazer Leib Schreiber (born 1825 in Lemberg), a son.

Joseph Silber married Laja Hersch (born c.1758). His children included:
1. Golde Silber, a daughter (born c.1777)
2. Lea Silber, a daughter (born c.1784), who in turn had a daughter, Nissel Katz (born c.1813), perhaps by Chaskel Katz. Nissel's family continues below.
3. Hersch Silber, a son (born c.1787)

The second generation lived through the turmoil of the Napoleonic Wars, when Lemberg was briefly part of a French satellite state, the "Duchy of Warsaw," before returning to Austrian rule. Vital records of Lemberg's Jews were first kept around that time, and as I stated above, many children were falsely listed as "illegitimate" because the anti-Semitic Austrian officials did not recognize Jewish religious marriages

Naphtaly Fingerhut (c.1778-1818) and his wife Ester Unterberg (c.1782-1842) are the earliest-known Fingerhuts. They had the following children:
1. Jakob Fingerhut (c.1803-1848), whose family continues below.
2. Cirl Fingerhut, a daughter (died 1806 in Lemberg)
3. Patiel Moses Fingerhut, a son (born 1807 in Lemberg; died 1808 in Lemberg)
4. Jüte Fingerhut, a daughter (born 1811; died 1812 in Lemberg)
5. Peisach Fingerhut, a son (born 1815 in Lemberg; died 1815 in Lemberg)
6. an infant son (born and died 1816 in Lemberg)
7. Rachel Fingerhut, a daughter (born c.1817; probably died 1879 in Lemberg), first married Leib Ax (c.1809-1842), and their children included:
      7a. Basche Jente Ax (1840-1845)
      7b. a nameless son (1842-1842)
Rachel's second marriage in 1849, to Berl Blind (c.1791-1856), was officiated by Rabbi Moritz Lowenthal, who succeeded the murdered Abraham Kohn as the chief rabbi of Lemberg. They had no children.
Rachel's third marriage was to Nathan Mimeles (c.1813-1871) in 1857 in Lemberg, and they had no children.
8. Dresel Fingerhut (born c.1819) and her husband Leib Mises (born c.1819) were officially married in the eyes of the anti-Semitic law in 1859 in Lemberg. Their children included:
      8a. Marjem Mises (1849-1849)
      8b. Lea Mises (born 1851)
      8c. Jacob Mises (born 1853), whose son Rudolf Mises (1896-1941) perished in the Holocaust.
Note: Rachel Fingerhut's 1857 marriage and Dresel Fingerhut's 1859 marriage took place in the Golden Rose Synagogue, which was built in 1582 and destroyed by the Nazis in 1941.

Asriel Bergtraum (born 1764; died 1852 in Lemberg) lived from the reign of Austria's Empress Maria Theresa until the reign of her great-great-grandson, Emperor Franz Joseph I. The children of Asriel and his first wife Beile (c.1780-1823) included:
1. Sora Bergtraum, a daughter (born 1805 in Lemberg)
2. Schaja Bergtraum, a son (born 1806 in Lemberg)
3. Schöndel [Scheindel Chaje] Bergtraum, a daughter (born 1808 in Lemberg), who married Jakob Fingerhut and whose family continues below.
4. Meyer Hersch Bergtraum born 1810 in Lemberg; died 1834 in Lemberg), who married Malke Mensch and whose children included:
      4a. Bunem [Benjamen] Bergtraum (1831-1833)
      4b. Chaim Bergtraum (1833-1833)
      4c. Moses Leib Bergtraum (born 1834), whose wife was Taube Landwer (born 1834). They were parents by 1861 but were legally married in 1887 in Lemberg.
5. Peretz Bergtraum (born 1812 in Lemberg, died 1813 in Lemberg)
6. Juda Bergtraum (born 1813 in Lemberg, died 1814 in Lemberg)
7. Jacob Bergtraum (born 1815 in Lemberg, died 1815 in Lemberg)
8. Moses Bergtraum (born 1816 in Lemberg, died 1832 in Lemberg)
9. Perl Feige Bergtraum (born 1819 in Lemberg)
10. Schiea Bergtraum (born 1820 in Lemberg, died 1827 in Lemberg)
After the death of Beile, old Asriel had a second wife, Jütte Bergtraum (c.1782-1842).

Mendel Hersch Fischer (1808-1864) and Zluwe Hopfen (c.1803-1863) married in 1828 in Lemberg, and their children included:
1. Moses Elieser Fischer (born 1831 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.

Moses Hersch Schreiber (born 1807 in Lemberg) and Nissel Katz (born c.1813) were parents by 1834 but their marriage was not recognized until an 1850 ceremony. Their children included:
1. Pacze Rifke Schreiber (born 1834 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.
2. Rachel Lea Schreiber (born 1836 in Lemberg), who married Samuel Moses Spät and whose children included:
      2a. an unnamed daughter (1856-1856)
      2b. Chane Spät (c.1863), whose family continues below.
      2c. Leon Spät (1864), who married Regina [Gittel Rechel] Menkes and had a family.
      2d. Simon Spät (1865)
      2e. Czeitel Spät (1869, a twin), who married Leib Reisner (1867) and had a family.
      2f. Sara Spät (1869, a twin)
      2g. Dawid Ber Spät (1870, a twin), who married Salcia [Sara] Grüner in 1896 and had a family.
      2h. Jakob Meschilem Spät (1870, a twin)
3. Jacob Meschilem Schreiber (born 1840 in Lemberg; died 1862 in Lemberg)
4. Henne Sara Schreiber (born 1842 in Lemberg), probably a twin.
5. unnamed son (born and died 1842 in Lemberg), probably a twin.
6. Gietel Schreiber (born 1843 in Lemberg; died 1848 in Lemberg)
7. Ester Golde Schreiber (born 1845 in Lemberg), probably a twin.
8. Scheindel Feige Schreiber (born 1845 in Lemberg), probably a twin.
9. Marjem Schreiber (born 1849 in Lemberg; died 1853 in Lemberg)
10. Meyer Schreiber (born 1851 in Lemberg; died 1852 in Lemberg)
11. Gedalje Schreiber (born 1852 in Lemberg; died 1853 in Lemberg)
12. unnamed son (born and died 1854 in Lemberg)
13. unnamed daughter (born and died 1855 in Lemberg)
14. Czeitel Schreiber (born 1856 in Lemberg; died 1862 in Lemberg)
15. Beile Schreiber (born 1858 in Lemberg; died 1862 in Lemberg)

The third generation saw Lemberg become a center for Reform Judaism in the 1840s, when Chief Rabbi Abraham Kohn constructed the Greek-inspired Tempel Synagogue. The culture clash between the Orthodox Jews and the supporters of Haskalah (the Jewish Enlightenment) led to the murder of Kohn in 1848. It's interesting to note that two of Jakob Fingerhut's sisters and two of his daughters were married in the older Golden Rose Synagogue, while the marriages of his son Majer Izak Fingerhut and Majer Izak's children were performed by the same Reform rabbi. Perhaps the Fingerhut family shifted from Orthodox Judaism to Reform Judaism over time.

Jakob Fingerhut (c.1803-1848) was a private clerk who married Scheindel Chaje Bergtraum (born in 1808 in Lemberg). In 1840, Jakob was listed on his son's birth record as being "in the service," which may mean that he served in the Austrian army. The children of Jakob and Scheindel included:
1. Naphtaly Fingerhut (born 1835 in Lemberg), named after his paternal grandfather.
2. Beile Jütte Fingerhut (born 1837 in Lemberg; died 1901 in Lemberg), whose first name came from her maternal grandmother and whose middle name came from her paternal aunt, married Nissan Adam (born c.1834) in 1861 in the Golden Rose Synagogue of Lemberg. Their children included:
      2a. Jacob Ber Adam (1857-1858)
      2b. Marjem Ester [Marie] Adam (1858-1859)
      2c. Malke Adam (1860), who married Chaim Mensch and had a family.
      2d. Feige Adam (1861), who married Abraham Jung (c.1872) and had a family.
      2e. Sara Adam (1863)
      2f. Zirl Adam (1864-1866)
      2g. Rifke Adam (1869)
3. Aron Josef Fingerhut (born 1840 in Lemberg)
4. Mordche Fingerhut (born 1841 in Lemberg)
5. Ester Fingerhut (born 1843 in Lemberg), named after her paternal grandmother, married Benjamen Kahane (1833-1878) in 1861 in the Golden Rose Synagogue of Lemberg. Their children included:
      5a. Izak Kahane (1862-1863)
      5b. Perl Kahane (1864)
      5c. Toni [Taube] Kahane (1866), who married Leizer Adam (1869) in 1897 in Lemberg and had a family. Leizer was the nephew of Toni's uncle Nissan Adam.
      5d. Reisel Kahane (1869)
      5e. Golde Kahane (1875, twin), who married Mechel Hersh Berger and had a family.
      5f. Fani Kahane (1875, twin)
6. Majer Itzig Fingerhut (born 1846 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.
7. Jakob Fingerhut (born 1848 in Lemberg), who was named after his father, who died before he was born.

Gimpel Tafel, who was listed in various Lemberg records as a gravedigger, a goods dealer, and a beggar, married Ettel Marjem Schnier (probably died 1877 in Lemberg) and their children included:
1. Meyer Baruch Tafel (born 1829 in Lemberg; died 1866 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.
2. Neche Malke Tafel (born 1834 in Lemberg)
3. Marcus Wolf Tafel (born 1836 in Lemberg; died 1848 in Lemberg)
4. Scheindel Tafel (born 1839 in Lemberg)
5. Fani [Fajga] Tafel (born 1848 in Lemberg), whose family continues immediately below.

Moses Elieser Fischer (born 1831 in Lemberg) and Rifke Patsche Schreiber (born 1834 in Lemberg) married and their children included:
1. Samuel Sholom Fischer (born 1853 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.
2. Malke Beile Fischer (born 1854 in Lemberg; died 1855 in Lemberg)
3. Chane Fischer (born 1856 in Lemberg; died 1857 in Lemberg)
4. Taube Fischer (born 1858 in Lemberg)
5. Abraham Dawid Fischer (born 1860 in Lemberg), who married his first cousin Chane Spät (born c.1863) in 1890 in Lemberg and had a family.

Aron Mojzesz Niedrig, a grain dealer, and his wife Perl Schpatzner (or Rosenzweig) lived in Rawa Ruska, a small town to the northwest of Lemberg. Their children included:
1. Sara Reisel Niedrig, whose family continues below.
2. Ruchel Niedrig, whose family continues below.
3. Abraham Niedrig (born c.1852; died 1859 in Rawa Ruska)
4. Salomon Niedrig (born 1858 in Rawa Ruska; died 1859 in Rawa Ruska)
5. Eisig Niedrig (born 1862 in Rawa Ruska), named after a possible grandfather, Eisig Niedrig (c.1806-1862), husband of Malke, of Rawa Ruska.

The fourth generation saw the legal emancipation of Galicia's Jews in 1869, but there were still many waves of anti-Semitism during the reign of Emperor Franz Joseph I, including an economic crisis in 1898 that led to "The Plunder," a series of attacks on Jewish businesses. Zionist groups were first formed in Lemberg in the 1880s and the Gimpel Yiddish Theater was founded in 1889.  

Majer Izak Fingerhut (born 1846 in Lemberg) ran a tavern at 8 Zrodlana Street in Lemberg. Legend says that at one point Majer Itzig ran the restaurant at Lemberg's royal armory, and there was familiarity between the tavern-keeper and the imperial household.
Majer Iztig and his wife, Fani [Fajga] Tafel (born 1848 in Lemberg), did not have an "official" marriage until 1911, when they were married in Zniesienie (a section of Lemberg) by Dr. Jecheskel Caro (1844-1915), one of Europe's leading Reform Jewish rabbis. Their children included:
1. Gietel Fingerhut (born and died 1869 in Lemberg, age 3 weeks)
2. Fredyryka [Freide] Fingerhut (born 1870 in Lemberg), whose family continues below.
3. Jakob Fingerhut (born 1875 in Lemberg; died 1894 in Lemberg)
4. Baruch Fingerhut (born 1877 in Lemberg; died 1952 in Brooklyn, NY), whose family continues below.
5. Herman Fingerhut (born 1879 in Lemberg)
6. Eljukim Gecel Fingerhut (born 1882 in Lemberg)
7. Marjem Fingerhut (born 1883 in Lemberg), who was named after her paternal grandmother.

Meyer Baruch Tafel (born 1829 in Lemberg; died 1866 in Lemberg), married Rose Wischek (born c.1838), the daughter of Elias Wischek and Perl Spruch. Mayer Baruch and Rose had a civil marriage ceremony in 1864, probably long after their religious marriage, to legitimize their children in the eyes of the oppressive law. The officiant, Rabbi Bernhard Löwenstein (1821-1889), was the leader of Lemberg's Reform Jewish congregation.
The children of Meyer Baruch and Rose Tafel included:
1. Gietel Tafel (born 1855 in Lemberg)
2. Elias Tafel (born and died 1856 in Lemberg)
3. Samuel Zallel Tafel (born 1857 in Lemberg; died 1858 in Lemberg)
4. Chane Tafel (born 1861 in Lemberg)
5. Perl Tafel (born 1862 in Lemberg; died 1895 in Lemberg), who married Mechla Bressler.
6. Markus Gimpel Tafel (born 1863 in Lemberg)
7. Osias Getzel Tafel (born 1866 in Lemberg, twin)
8. Samuel Tafel (born 1866 in Lemberg, twin)

Sara Reisel Niedrig (died c.1892) married Samuel [Shmuel Sholom] Fischer, a Talmud teacher (born 1853 in Lemberg). Among the children of Samuel and Sara Fischer were:
1. Adela Fischer (born 1877 in Lemberg; died 1927 in Brooklyn), whose family continues below.
2. Ester Rachel Fischer (born 1879 in Lemberg; died in Brooklyn), whose family continues below.
3. Lajb Fischer (born 1882 in Lemberg)
4. Hirsz Fischer (born 1884 in Lemberg, a twin)
5. Perl Fischer (born 1884 in Lemberg, a twin)
6. Mojzesz Szulim Fischer (born 1886 in Lemberg)
7. Eliasz Dawid Fischer (born 1888 in Lemberg)
8. Adolf [Dawid] Fischer (born 1891 in Lemberg; died 1894 in Lemberg)

Shortly after Sara Reisel died, Samuel Fischer married Hene Plager from Bobrka, and their children included:
1. Izydor [Israel] Fischer (born 1894 in Lemberg)
2. Maurycy Zygmunt [Moses Salomon] Fischer (born 1895 in Lemberg)
3. Ida Fischer (born 1900 in Lemberg)

Ruchel Niedrig married Mojsesz Hecht, and their children included:
1. Schmiel Hecht (born and died 1895 in Lemberg)
2. Pepi [Perl] Hecht (born 1896 in Lemberg; d.1901 in Lemberg)
3. Jozef Baruch Hecht (born 1898 in Lemberg)
4. Salomea Rozalia Hecht (born 1902 in Lemberg)

The fifth generation contributed to a major Jewish migration, as 170,000 Jews (including my great-grandparents) fled Austria-Hungary between 1900 and 1910. The Jews who stayed behind in Galicia were on the eastern front of World War I, and then suffered the horrors of World War II and the Holocaust.

Baruch Fingerhut (1877-1952) and Adela Fischer (1877-1927) married in 1902 in Lemberg but lived most of their married life in the United States. Their story continues below.

Fredyryka [Freide] Fingerhut (born 1870 in Lemberg) married Ignacy Kikiniss [or Izak Kikenis] (born 1868 in Lemberg, son of Meier Kikenis and Hene Wurm) in 1894 in Lemberg, and their marriage was officiated by Dr. Jecheskel Caro, the leading Reform rabbi. By the 1920s the family lived in Bobrka, Poland (now Bibrka, Ukraine), and Freide was still alive by 1935 but was suffering from diabetes. Their children included:
1. Malwina Kikiniss (born 1896 in Lemberg; died c.1942), who never married, lived in Bobrka, and died during the Holocaust.
2. Klara Kikiniss (born 1897 in Lemberg; died c.1942), who never married, lived in Bobrka, and died during the Holocaust.
3. Charlotte Kikenis (born 1898 in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; died 1946 in Brooklyn, NY), who married Joseph Mayer Treibitsch (1896-1974). Joseph immigrated to the USA in 1922 and Charlotte followed in 1929. They had three children.
4. Ludwik Kikiniss (born 1900 in Lemberg; died c.1946 in Zagreb, Yugoslavia [Croatia]), who survived the war with the help of his Christian wife but died of tuberculosis shortly afterwards.

Ester Rachel Fischer (born 1879 in Lemberg; died in Brooklyn) immigrated in June 1905, sailing on the ship Ottawa from Liverpool to Quebec City. She settled in Toronto, Canada, where she married in 1906 the tailor Isaac Goldberg (a.k.a. "Abraham Goldberg," born c.1878 in Russia; died 1940 in Brooklyn). She took a train with her infant son Harry to New York in 1907, and the family finally settled in Brooklyn. Isaac and Esther Goldberg had five children:
1. Harry Goldberg (b.1907 in Toronto, Canada)
2. Henry Goldberg (b.1910 in New York)
3. Sarah Goldberg (b.1914 in New York)
4. Helen Goldberg (b.1916 in New York)
5. Irving Goldberg (b.1919 in New York), who changed his name to "Edward Grey" and became an executive in advertising.

Remembering the Holocaust victims in our family
I only know of five people in our family (Baruch and Adela Fingerhut, Esther Fischer, and Joseph and Charlotte Treibitsch) who immigrated to the United States. The other siblings and their families endured the Holocaust, which reduced the Jewish population of Lemberg (Lwow, Poland) from 110,000 in 1939 to less than 300 in 1944.
Soviets controlled Lwow in September 1939, but Nazis occupied the city in June 1941 and incited pogroms that summer. The Germans set up the Janowska concentration camp in the northwestern suburbs of Lwow in September 1941, and then closed off the Jews in the Lwow ghetto in November 1941.
Between March to August 1942, the Nazis sent more than 65,000 Lwow Jews through Janowska to die in the Belzec death camp, while a smaller number stayed in Janowska for slave labor. The Lwow ghetto was destroyed in June 1943, and Janowska had processed at least 100,000 prisoners when it was liquidated in November 1943.
Belzec kept notoriously sparse records, but historians estimate that between 434,000 to 600,000 people were gassed with carbon monoxide and buried there between March to December 1942.

Rudolf Mises (born 1896 in Lemberg; died 1941 in Lwow) was the son of Jacob Mises (born 1853 in Lemberg) and Fani Pinson, the grandson of Leib Mises and Dresel Fingerhut, and the great-grandson of Naphtaly and Ester Fingerhut. That makes Rudolf Mises and Bernard Fingerhut second cousins. Rudolf was a merchant in Lwow with a wife named Mina, according to a Page of Testimony submitted to Yad Vashem in 1955 by his friend, Shmuel Hüttel. Rudolf was probably murdered in the Janowska concentration camp.

Malvina Kikenis, listed as age 60, lived in the Kulparkow district of Lwow, died on March 1, 1942 and was buried on March 4, 1942. Our Malwina (Bernard Fingerhut's niece) would have only been in her mid-40s but could possibly have seemed older.

Herman Fingerhut was a Lwow Ghetto resident born in 1895, who lived in Gostynska and was a "pickler" (sammler) of "raw material" (rohstoff). This may have been our Herman (the younger brother of Bernard Fingerhut) who would have been in his early 60s, possibly posing as younger.

Jozef Hecht was a Lwow Ghetto resident born in 1898, who lived in Weyzenhoff and was forced to work for the Luftwaffe (the Nazi airforce). Our family's Jozef Baruch Hecht (Adela Fingerhut's cousin) was the same age.

Benedikt Adam was a Lwow Ghetto resident born in 1901, the same age as Maurycy Benedikt Adam, son of Leizer Adam and Toni Kahane, grandson of Benjamen Kahane and Ester Marjem Fingerhut, and great-grandson of Jakob and Scheindel Fingerhut. That makes him the first cousin once removed of Bernard Fingerhut.

The family story is that only one male relative in Europe survived the war. This may have been Ludwik Kikenis, who was Bernard's nephew, who died shortly afterwards. The family talked little about Europe before World War II, and after the war all connections with Europe were severed.


The S.S. Pennsylvania, which brought over Bernard Fingerhut and his family from Hamburg, Germany to Ellis Island in 1906.

Bernard [Baruch] Fingerhut (born 1877 in Lemberg; died 1952 in Brooklyn), married in 1902 in Lemberg Adela Fischer (born 1877 in Lemberg; died 1927 in Brooklyn), a businesswoman who ran a tobacco factory. Their pictures are seen at the top of this post. The rabbi who married them, Dr. Jecheskel Caro of Lemberg, was one of Europe's leading Reform Jewish rabbis, who that same year of 1902 had conducted a controversial bat mitzvah for a young girl.

The children of Bernard and Adela were:
1. Charlotte Fingerhut (b. 1903 in Lemberg; d. 1967 in Manhasset, NY)
2. Sally [Sarah] Fingerhut (b. 1905 in Lemberg; d. 1984 in Miami, FL)
3. Alfred Fingerhut (b. 1912 in Brooklyn; d. 1998 in Miami, FL)
4. Rudolph Fingerhut (b. 1915 in Brooklyn; d. 2001 in Phoenix, AZ)

Baruch, Adela, Charlotte, and Salomea Fingerhut immigrated aboard the S.S. Pennsylvania, leaving Hamburg, Germany on February 16, 1906, and arriving at Ellis Island on March 2, 1906. Originally, they went to Toronto, Canada, where Adela's sister Esther was already living. But on September 1, 1906, the Fingerhut family reentered the United States aboard the Michigan Central Railroad to head back to New York City.

Baruch initially worked as a tailor, but by 1910 he went by Bernard and started a 30-year career as a waiter that included a stint at Feltman's near Coney Island, and his customers included the famous glutton Diamond Jim Brady and his actress girlfriend Lillian Russell.

By 1912, Bernard's family lived by Luna Park in Coney Island. They lost a home in one of Coney Island's many fires and Bernard wouldn't leave until he had shaven and put on a tie. Bernard always appeared well-dressed and as a younger man resembled George Fenneman, according to his daughter Charlotte (as related by her daughter, Leila White).

Bernard became an American citizen in 1924, and the following year the family moved into a brand-new house at 1016 Lancaster Avenue, which was the family residence for nearly 20 years.

Charlotte Fingerhut (born 1903 in Lemberg; died 1967 in Manhasset, NY) married in 1931 Leo C. Siegel (born 1896 in New York City; died 1990 in Great Neck, NY; son of Abraham Siegel and Anne Rudin), and they had two sons and one daughter. Leo graduated from college towards the end of World War I and became a lieutenant in the U.S. cavalry. He was willing to fight overseas but the war ended before he had the chance. Between the wars he was a mechanic engineer and then he re-enlisted during World War II. Leo trained in Ft. Sill in Oklahoma and then was sent to Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, where he was an officer in an Army artillerty unit. Charlotte and the children moved from Brooklyn to Southern Pines, NC, and then followed Leo a couple years later to Fort Knox, KY, where Leo became a major in the 4th Armored Division. There, Leo was appointed the head of the Officers Candidate School, a major distinction at the time for a Jewish soldier. After the war, Leo and his family moved back to Brooklyn, where they lived in veterans' quarters in Manhattan Beach. By the 1950s, they lived in Kings Point, NY. Charlotte and Leo are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Sally Fingerhut (born 1905 in Lemberg; died 1984 in Miami, FL) married in 1923 the storekeeper Irving Haspel (born 1897 in Radautz, Austria-Hungary; died 1987 in Utica, NY; son of Chaim Haspel and Frima Goldschlager). They had two daughters.

Alfred Fingerhut (born 1912 in Brooklyn; died 1998 in Miami), known as "Al" to his coworkers and “Eddie” to his friends, started work as a greengrocer after his mother's premature death, then worked for New York Life Insurance from 1928 to 1942. He attended night high school and got an undergraduate degree and law degree from St. John's University. Alfred was admitted to the New York Bar in 1936, but instead of becoming a lawyer he became a New York City policeman in 1942. He became a detective in 1948, a sergeant in 1953, lieutenant in 1957, and then squad commander in 1961. His most famous case involved the theft of bonsai trees from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, so he was called by his colleagues "The Bonsai." After retiring and moving to Miami, he worked as a special agent for American Express.
Alfred's great passions were comedy (from vaudeville he saw as a child) and sailing. He won the 1939 President's Cup Regatta aboard his sloop "The Aloha," with President Franklin D. Roosevelt cheering him on from the banks of the Potomac.
Alfred married in 1941 Frances Karasov and they had one daughter.

Rudy Fingerhut (born 1915 in Brooklyn; died 2001 in Phoenix, AZ) was a New York City fireman who married in 1940 Adelle Sigel (born 1918 in Worcester, MA; died 2007 in Phoenix, AZ; daughter of Nathan Sigelovitch and Minnie Rabunsky) and had one daughter. The family moved to Phoenix in 1958, and Rudy became a property management supervisor. In their later years, Rudy and Adelle traveled worldwide.

Questions? Comments? Please email me at ruedafingerhut [at]

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