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Harbin Photographs from Katherine Bader Nigel

Information provided in May 2009 by Marcia Nigel Grant, daughter of Katherine and Maurice Nigel

Ekaterina (Katherine) Naumovna Bader was born on October 29, 1915, in Harbin, China.  Her father was Naum Bader and her mother was Anna Lvovna Bader (nee Gorfung).  Katherine’s brother was Boris Bader and her maternal uncle was Peter (Samuel on his passport) Gorfung. Katherine’s grandmother Rebecca Gorfung also was in Harbin.

The Baders emigrated from Odessa, Russia, with Naum Bader leaving first in order to avoid being re-drafted into the Russian army. His wife and young son followed later after their jewelry store was robbed and all the contents of the safe stolen.

Peter Gorfung offered them a home in Harbin. He owned a two-story compound that included eight housing units and a stable on Konnaya Street, about eight houses down from Kitaiskaya Street (now Central Street).  Katherine lived in one of these units from birth until she immigrated to Seattle in the United States in 1939, after marrying Maurice Nigniewitzky in 1937. When they arrived in Seattle, they changed their name to Nigel. They later moved to San Francisco.

Click on any photo for a larger version.

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Peter Gorfung’s compound on Konnaya Street with the Bader family apartment on the upper left Back courtyard of the Gorfung compound Katherine Bader during the flood of 1932
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Katherine Bader during the flood of 1932 Peter Gorfung’s mare and carriage in the compound’s back courtyard Maurice Nigel and a classy motorcar in mid 1930s
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Peter Gorfung with his niece Katherine and nephew Boris Bader Peter Gorfung with his niece Katherine Bader  Main Synagogue of Harbin, also known as the Old Synagogue. Completed in 1909, it burned down in 1931 and was rebuilt. It was a guesthouse for many years and is now a concert hall.
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Structure on banks of the Sungari River (now the Songhua River) Katherine Bader in front of a movie poster Maurice Nigel, fourth from left, with coworkers at a horsehair factory in Harbin
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Peter Gorfung with his trusty mare in the family compound’s courtyard Boat hired to access Peter Gorfung’s summer rental cabins across the Sungari (now Songhua) River Katherine Bader’s friend Luba and unknown man in Brit Trumpeldor uniforms

Permission to print these photographs was granted by Katherine Bader Nigel through Marcia Nigel Grant on May 31, 2009.

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Web Page: Copyright © 2009 Irene Clurman