|My great-grandfather, Chaim's son Berish (1830-1895), married Marjasie. After she died in 1865, Berish left his two children, Simcha and Esther, with their grandparents Chaim and Keila and spent the rest of his life studying at a yeshiva.
The history of my grandfather Simcha Weidberg was told to me by his daughter Riva (Rivka Sosia) Weidberg Schwarzbach (my mother) and his son Leib Elya Weidberg (my Uncle Louis).
When Simcha was thirteen years old, they married him off to a young lady in order to avoid his being drafted into the army. He divorced her and, when he was fifteen or sixteen years old, he married again to avoid the army. As a young man of eighteen, he divorced his second wife and enlisted in the army.
In 1882, when he was twenty-eight years old, he married Siuva Gottesman and they had seven children. A few days after she gave birth to her daughter Riva, most of Skala burned down in a fire. The entire family survived, but Siuva died three weeks later.
Four of Simcha's children emigrated to the United States. He never remarried and raised his youngest three children by himself. He was a devoted father and the pain of never seeing his four children in America always remained with him. He also was of continuous help with his daughter Riva's first three babies.
Simcha was a trader in commodities such as salt and grain. He also helped smuggle Jews and political refugees from czarist Russia to Skala, which was on the Austro-Hungarian border with Russia. Uncle Louis used to tell me that Simcha had great strength of character. He had the kind of reputation that made a handshake enough to satisfy any business deal. He also was the leader of a group of Jewish youths organized to protect the Jewish community from hooligans. I remember him only vaguely as an ailing old man. His influence on me was minimal, as he died when I was only seven years old.
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|Susan Schwartzbach Karpfen at the Skala
luncheon in New York: August, 2006
See also: The Weidberg Family During the War