The Hirsch Family from Mlynov


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Ephraim Hirsch (left to right) with 2nd wife Mollie, with his sisters, and first wife Gitel.
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The Gurtin Family before 1922 immigration.
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The Newman family circa 1912 in Providence.
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Ephraim's son Albert "Lewis" Hirsch the day the Titanic went down.
Courtesy Deborah Dickmann.
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A. D. Hirsch, President of Standard Laundry, was involved in helping to start a new synagogue in Jersey City.
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Lipa in Noter guard uniform in Palestine, 1938-39 (left) and holding handle of a plow during kibbutz training (right). Courtesy of Miriam Aharoni.
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Lipa (center) with his mother Rivkah-Leah Shrentzil (seated right) and her sister Sorke (Shrentzil) Gertnich (seated left) and children. Courtesy of Miriam Aharoni.
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The Halperin family in front of their haberdashery in Mlynov. Courtesy of Miriam Aharoni.


The Arrival of Ephraim's sisters

With Ephraim's family settling into Jersey City around 1911, his sisters and their children began arriving in the US, to rejoin their husbands/fathers who had already arrived several years earlier. Ephraim's sister, Clara Newman, arrived in 1911 with her children and headed to Providence to join her husband Jacob who had arrived in 1907.

Two of Ephraim's other sisters arrived in 1913. His sister, Zelda Berger, now widowed, arrived in May 30, 1913 with two of her daughters, Sheindel (Sara) Berger and Eva Neistein, with Eva's two eldest children. They headed to Chicago to join Zelda's son, Nathan Berger, and son-in-law, Paul (Pinchus) Neistein, who had arrived there earlier. The Bergers were accompanied by other Mlynov travelers, Jacob Wallace, and Ruchel Steinberg; the latter would soon marry Zelda's son, Nathan. The Berger family saga is told in more detail earlier. Arriving six months later was another of Ephraim's sisters, Henie (Anna) Katz, age 38, with her three younger children, Samuel 19, Aleph ("Moische"), 16, and Helen (Chane), 9. They too were finally reunited with her husband, Chaim Yerukim and eldest daughter Sophie (Shifre), who had arrived in 1907.

An overview of the Hirsch family migration
Date of Arrival Details
July 8, 1905 Hersch (Harry) Hirsch arrives going to 55 Rutgers to "J. Israel"
Sept 5, 1906 Harry declares Intention to naturalize while living on 86 Lewis Street
Dec. 10, 1906 Gedalie/Jacob arrives going to brother Harry c/o J. Waitzer, 86 Lewis St.
May 21, 1907 Uncle Chaim Yerukhem Katz arrives with daughter Shifre, using the last name Fisz (variation of Girz or Hirz)
May 22, 1907 Uncle Jacob Newman with Pinchas Neustein headed to 86 Lewis or 86 Division St (or both) c/o Waitzer or Wazer
Aug. 21, 1907 Abraham "A. D." arrives headed to brother c/o A Waitzer at 86 Lewis
July 15, 1909 Eisik (Isaac) Girsch arrives via Baltimore headed to brother Harry on 86/26 Lewis St c/o J. Waitzer
Dec. 14, 1909 The brothers’ parents, Ephraim, Gitel, and siblings Abe (Lewis) and Jennie arrive, headed to son, Harry, now at 248 E. 116th. They were traveling with Mlynov-born Mollie Shargel.
July 31, 1911 The arrival of Ephraim's sister, Clara "Chaje" Newman, and her four children, headed to her husband Jacob Newman in Providence, RI
Aug. 19, 1912 Isaac Hirsch's wife, Sara, arrive with their five children to join her husband who was at 244 E 116th St. in East Harlem.
May 30, 1913 Ephraim's sister, Zelda Berger, arrives with two daughters and two grandchildren. They are headed to her son and son-in-law who had already settled in Chicago.
Dec. 2, 1913, Ephraim's sister, Anna (Henie) Katz, arrives with her three younger children to join her husband and oldest daughter in New York.
Sept. 28, 1922 Ephraim's daughter, "Ruchla Leja" (Ruth) Gurtin, arrives with her husband and five children. They are headed to her father's home in Jersey City.
Nov 16, 1926 Daniel Mordko Hirsz, his wife Rachel (Loshak) and daughter Doli arrive. They are headed to Daniel's cousin “Isac Hirsz” at 121 Wegman in Jersey City.


The Last Wave of Migration

During WWI, immigration was no longer possible. Once the war ended, Mlynov became part of the newly recreated Poland and immigration to the US opened up once again. Ephraim and Gitel's daughter, Ruchel Leah Gurtin, and her family made their way to the US arriving in September 1922. At the time of arrival, Ruchel Leah is 40, her husband Jacob is 45, their son Szowel (Saul), 18, Basia (Beatrice) 15, Malka (Miriam) 13, Enia (Edna) 10, and Michel (Milton), 7. Milton who was the youngest of the Gurtins later recalled what it was like getting ready to leave for America for a young boy. He writes:
The preparing for the journey was in itself an adventure. The taking of passport pictures, the selling of the house and of its contents, the hurrying and scurrying about, excited us. Preparations were high for our trip to America. The day before we left will always be fixed in my mind. My friends gathered in a group and we were discussing my prospective journey. One boy predicted that the boat would sink and we would all drown. He exerted all his imagination to paint this scene and by the time he was finished I was terribly frightened.

The others came to the rescue by saying they heard that the streets are paved with gold and silver in America. They ended up in wishing me Bon Voyage and asking me to spare a few gold coins for them. I remember the trip vaguely, - the getting on and off trains, the surge of the crowds around the stations, the hustle and bustle of the larger cities. The journey across the ocean is hazy. A few times I had to take a cold shower of salty water and then was inspected. I dreaded this procedure because the brine would splash into my mouth and eyes leaving a stinging and thirsty feeling. The third class passengers enjoyed their journey better than the first or second. The many songs and dances that filled the air showed their enthusiasm and happiness in the thought of beginning a new life in a new country with every chance of success. At the sight of the Statue of Liberty everyone began to sing, shout, dance, and even to cry for sheer happiness.

There was one additional Hirsch family member who arrived in the 1920s. His name was Morko Daniel Hirsz (soon to be Daniel Hirsch) and he arrived on November 10, 1926 with his wife Rachel (Losak) and daughter, Dolli. The family somehow made it to the US just in the nick of time before immigration completely shut down. Their immigration in 1926 is the last direct legal immigration of a Mlynov born individual found to date. In fact, the Immigration Act of 1924 substantially curtained immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe by setting quotas based on national origins and limiting the number of new immigrants to two percent of each nationality in the US as of the 1890 national census. Because of these quotas, a number of young men from Mlynov could only get to the US circuitously via Buenos Aires and Mexico between 1923–1926.

Daniel Hirsz was born on July 10, 1886 in Mlynov and met Rachel Loshak in Rovno (Rivne) where they got married on March 2, 1920 shortly after the end of the War. It seems likely that the dislocation of the War years brought them together at some point in Rovno. Their daughter Dolly was born there on Oct 22, 1922. They arrived in New York in November 1926 and were headed to the home of their "cousin Isaac Hirsz at 121 Wegman St." in Jersey City.

While it is clear that Daniel was a Hirsch relative, it is not entirely clear the precise nature of the relationship. In some family trees online and circulating in the Hirsch family, Daniel is recalled as a sibling of Ephraim. However, it appears that he may have been a cousin, or a step-brother, since his mother’s name, as given on his passenger manifest, is different than Ephraim’s. Ephraim’s mother’s name was “Liebe” and Daniel Morko lists his mother’s name as “Dwojrah”. Since we don’t know the name of Daniel’s father, we can’t be sure if he was a cousin or half-sibling of Ephraim.

Back in Mlynov: Lipa Halperin and Luba (Goldenberg) Kravitz

While Ephraim and three of his sisters and their families immigrated to the US, there were still two siblings of Ephraim (Pessia Halperin and Moishe Hirsch) who had remained back in Mlynov. Almost all of of their descendants that we know about were killed in the liquidation of the Mlynov ghetto in 1942. We know the most about Pessia's descendants.

Pessia had married Lipa Halperin before 1882 when they started having their six children: Israel Halperin (1882–1942), Avraham Halperin (1924–1942), Sarah Halperin (?–1942), Yosel (Joseph) Halperin (?–1942), Faiga Halperin (?–1942), and Chaike Halperin (?–1942). These six children in turn produced at least twelve grandchildren whose names have been preserved in family trees. Moishe Hirsch, for his part, married a woman named Bluma and had at least one daughter, Ester. It is not known if they had other children.

Of those thirteen grandchildren, four lived beyond 1942. Two of them (Luba Goldenberg and Lipa Halperin) made aliyah in the 1930s to Palestine. A third, Benjamin, joined or was recruited to the Red Army and married and settled in Russia, and a fourth, Saul "Shaul" Halpern, survived the liquidation of Mlynov. Their names are highlighted in bold in the family tree below and what we know of their stories follows.

The Children and Grandchildren of Pesia (Hirsch) and Lipa Halperin
Children Spouse # of Children Grandchildren
Chaika Halperin Beryl Goldenberg 5 Luba (Goldenberg) Pesis / Kravitz | Ethel Goldenberg
Faiga Halperin Yishayahu ? 5 unknown
Sarah Halperin Yalka Schlian 4 Moishe Schilian
Yosel (Joseph) Halperin (1889–1932) Tzipa (or Cipa) Rywiec (Rivetz?) 5 Ada Halperin (~1903–1942) m. Berel Gebert | Roza Halperin (1904–1942) | Lipa Halperin (1906–1942), a cousin to the Lipa who made aliyah | Aron Halperin (1908–1942 ) | Saul (Shaul) Halpern (1912–1996) | Benjamin Halperin (1914–1986 )
Israel Halperin (1882–1942) Rivka-Rachel Shrenzil (1888–1942) 5 Lipa Halperin (1907–1969) | Elka Halperin (1909–1942) | Chaika Halperin (1912–1942) | Batya Halperin (1920–1942 ) | Avraham Halperin (1924–1942)

We don't have much information about Luba Goldenberg's story. According to the memory of her son, Raffi, Luba and her husband, Dov from Kremenets, arrived in Palestine around 1934. Soon after they arrived one or both of them was wounded by Arabs while in a bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. After recovering, they went back to Kremenets to be with family. There Luba gave birth to Rafi’s brother, Ari, in 1938. Just before WWII, they went back to Palestine because they British certificates permitting immigration. At some point, Luba became a tax collector in Eilat. She also divorced and married Shmida Kravitz and had another son, Ron.

We know quite a bit more about her cousin Lipa Halperin from his daughter, Miriam Aharoni. Lipa was born in Mlynov in 1907 and named for his grandfather. He was the oldest son of his parents, Israel Halperin and Rivkah-Rachel (from the Shrentzil line). Both of his parents were born in Mlynov.

Lipa had three sisters and a brother. The family made a living in Mlynov from a small haberdashery which can be seen in the photo below and in the 1935 home movie that the Hirsch family took during that visit back to Mlynov in 1935.

Lipa's home was Zionist, all the sons and daughter spoke and wrote Hebrew. Lipa was himself involved in the Mlynov Zionist youth movement, Hashomer Hatzair, and had many friends in the movement. In Mlynov, there was a preparatory kibbutz (hachsharah) for the youth movement and they engaged the young people in activities which excited them.

When he was 26, in 1933, Lipa left Mlynov and joined a preparatory kibbutz (hachsharah) in Golina. He was older than most of the members by a number of years and promptly became one who had to care for all of them, seeking sources of financial support and advice in moments of crisis. After a year and a half, he was called to work in the center of “General Zionist Pioneer” (Hechalutz) in Warsaw, even though he was not a charismatic or organized man. The movement was seeking a man who could in fact strengthen the spirit of the members in the preparatory kibbutzim, which were beginning to disintegrate as the British government began halting aliyah. Lipa’s friends so appreciated his understated and consistent activities on the ground, that they refused, time after time, to guarantee him a certificate for aliyah at the end of his year of work. Finally, he was able to make aliyah to the Land of Israel (still Palestine) in 1937.

Lipa's parents and siblings were tragically killed in the Shoah. He only became aware of the circumstances of their death from a letter from his first cousin, Shaul Halpern, who managed to survive the mass killing. Shaul was then in a displaced person camp in Germany, and later he migrated to Canada. Miriam tells me that "the murder of her father's family and the community did not give her father rest until his last day."

Shaul was born on May 15, 1912 in Mlynov to Joseph (Yosef) Halperin and Cipa Rywiec (possibly a variation of Rivitz). They had six children: Ada (1903), Roza (1905), [another] Lipa (1906), Aron (1908), Saul (1912), and Benjamin (1914). All of Saul’s siblings and his mother perished in the Shoah, except for Benjamin who left for Russia in 1939, as a bookkeeper, and never left Russia. Benjamin is the very tall man in the Hirsch home movie taken in Mlynov in 1935. Benjamin married but had no children. He died in Leningrad in September 1986. I learn from Saul's daughter, Arlene, that the iron curtain was lifted too late for the brothers to ever meet again face to face but they did reconnect and exchange letters. She continues:

“Saul was a member of a Zionist youth group in Mlynov. In this photo below, he is in the back row third from the left. His house was on a street called Rynkowa, which was the Main Street in town. It was a large house with a store front where his family conducted business."

"Saul and his siblings stayed in Mlynov to support their mother who was a widow but in 1943 Saul ran away. He hid on the farm of a gentile school friend’s parents in a hole buried in their barn. He hid until 1944 when the Russians freed the town. The Russians conscripted him into their army where he remained until the end of the war. He did return to Mlynov after the war. From there he was sent by Betar to a DP camp in Pocking, Germany as an administrator to head the education department. In Pocking he met, Leah Fijalkow, who was from Pinsk. They married in 1946 and had a daughter, Arlene (Halpern) Leder. In 1949, the family immigrated to Toronto, where Saul was offered a position as a Hebrew teacher at the Associated Hebrew Day School in Toronto."

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[23] From Jacob standing center, continuing clockwise, the children: Hyman (Leo), Sophie, Benjamin, brother Isaac (Isadore) Newman and his wife Lena (Goldstein), Harry and Abraham.

[2] Top Row (l t r) Isaac (eldest Hirsch brother), Abraham (A. D.), Jacob (J. G.), Lewis (L. A.), Yankle Gurtin, Saul Gurtin (Yankle’s son), Nathan Kotler. Middle row (l t r): Ellen Hirsch (Abe’s wife), Clara Hirsch (Jacob’s wife), Fannie Hirsch (Lewis’s wife), Ruchel Gurtin (oldest Hirsch sister), Jeannete (youngest Hirsch sister), Annie Kotler (Nathan’s wife) Front row (l t r): Sondra Hirsch, Edward Hirsch, Gloria Hirsch. An article in the Jersey Journal (Oct. 4, 1949) identifies Norman Kotler as an employee of Standard for 16 years.

[3] 1937 photo of the Halperin siblings in Mlynov with their mother, Rivka Rachel (nee Shrentzil), standing back left. Lipa is standing in the back between his sister, Batya (right) and his younger brother, Abraham (left). His sister, Chaika, sits on the right and sister Elka on the left. Courtesy of Miriam Aharoni. Photo on the right: The Halperin family and Gertnich family. Lipa sitting center with his mother Rivka Rachel(Shrentzil) seated right. Standing (l to r): Lipa’s sister Elka, a Gertnich cousin, sister Batya, brother Abraham, unidentified, sister Chaika. Seated left, Lipa’s aunt Sorke/Sarah (Shrentzil) Gertnich, with small baby Faiga.


Compiled by Howard I. Schwartz, PhD
Updated:July 2020
Copyright © 2019 Howard I. Schwartz

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