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                These photos depict the extended Sitsky and Toper families during their time in Harbin, Tientsin and other parts of Manchuria from about 1900 to World War II.

                Boris Sitsky (1873-1938) and Yulia Sitsky (1873-1940), were married circa 1900 in Harbin, where Boris had a clerical position with the Chinese Eastern Railway. Boris Alexeivitch Sitsky (Jewish name: Chaim Ber Itschok), was born in Tcheliabinsk (now Chelyabinsk), east of the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1873, and Yuliya Abramovna Yudova, was born in 1873 in Samara in southeastern Russia.
                Their four sons were born in Harbin. One died at birth, and the others were Abe (Abraham), David and Joe. The family moved to Tientsin (now Tianjin) around 1917, possibly because of growing anti-semitism in Harbin. Boris died there in 1938 and Ulia in 1940. Abe attended St. Louis College in Tientsin but left school at 15 or 16 to go to work because his father was ill.

                In 1932 Abe married Sarah Toper (born in Irkutsk, Siberia, in 1909) in Tientsin. They had two sons Larry (born 1934) and Bob (born 1939).

                Sarah's father was Pavel Toper and her mother was Sofa Toper (nee Rosenzweig). Her brothers were Gregory (Grisha, born in 1903 in Irkutsk) and Samuel. Pavel was a lance corporal in the Russian army during the Russo-Japanese War. He destroyed his Russian citizenship papers after the Russian Revolution because he feared being drafted into the Soviet army.

                Pavel  went to Manchuria around 1913-14 to open a fur and skins business. Because of World War I, the borders between Russia and China were closed. Pavel was forced to live in Harbin by himself until 1919, when he was joined by his son Grisha and nephew Leova Preisman. The rest of the family arrived around 1920 -21.

                Gregory and Samuel Toper moved from Tientsin to New York in the mid-1930s. Sarah and Abe and their sons moved from Tientsin to Australia in 1950.

Photos and documents were submitted by Bob Sitsky, son of Sarah Toper Sitsky and Abe Sitsky.
Click on any thumbnail image below to see the photograph in original resulotion.

Migration Map.
This map shows the migration of the Sitskys, Topers and other families from
Poland, Belarus and Russia to Harbin and Tientsin, now Tianjin.  Isaac Sitsky is the father of Boris Sitsky.
Click on the map for a larger view.

Boris and Yulia Sitsky.  Abraham Sitsky.  Sarah Sitsky Tientsin 23 Sep 1932. 
Boris and Yulia Sitsky, circa 1930 in Harbin.  Boris Sitsky (1873-1938) and Yulia Sitsky (1873-1940), were married circa 1900 in Harbin, where Boris had a clerical position with the Chinese Eastern Railway. Their four sons were born in Harbin. One died at birth, and the others were Abe, David and Joe. The family moved to Tientsin (now Tianjin) around 1917, possibly because of growing anti-semitism in Harbin.
Abe (Abraham) Sitsky was born in Harbin in 1904. He was the son of Boris and Yulia Sitsky and the husband of Sarah Sitsky, nee Toper. Click here to see his birth certificate from the Harbin Jewish Community.
Sarah Toper was married to Abe Sitsky in Tientsin on September 23, 1932.
Click here to see the marriage certificate.
Toper Brothers in Rural China.   Tober Brothers Fur Business Mid-1920s.  Toper Brothers Entrance.

Gregory (Grisha) Toper, in the fur hat 3rd from left, with Chinese associates in rural Manchuria. Fur and skins purchased for the Toper company are displayed at their feet.


Inspecting skins at the Toper Brothers fur business in the 1920s are, from left, Gregory (Grisha) Toper, Moses (Mosia) Toper, Pavel Toper, Leova Preisman and an unidentified employee.  Employees of the Toper Brothers Fur and Skins business in Tientsin stand at the company's main door. 
Toper Party in Harbin, 1920s.  Jewish Middle School Students.  Aisenberg Shop Manzhouli, 1930s. 
Pavel and Sofa Toper hosted this party in Harbin in the 1920s.  In the front row, from left, are three unidentified people, Grisha Rozenzweig (fourth from left), Sofa and Pavel Toper, an unidentified woman, Dodya Ponevejsky, Fira Patushinsky and Samuel Preisman. Directly behind Grisha Rozenzweig are, from left, Sonia Preisman (nee Toper) with the children Sam and Lily Toper standing behind Sofa and Pavel. Leova Preisman stands in back on the left in a bow tie and Grisha Toper stands on the right in a bow tie. Pavel's younger brother Moses (Mosia) Toper, wearing a boutonniere, stands on the far right.
Sarah Toper (later Sitsky), fourth from left in the back row, poses with fellow students at the Jewish Middle School in Harbin in the 1920s. A native of Irkutsk, Siberia, Sarah was about 14 years old at the time. The Jewish Middle School was built in 1918. The building on Tongjiang Street is now the site of the Harbin Korean Nationality No. 2 Middle School.
Ronya and Israel Aisenberg ran this shop in Manzhouli in the 1930s. Now part of the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Manzhouli in the 1930s was a major entry point into China from Russia. The sign on the shop offers "a wide choice of books, paper, toys, ribbons." Ronya (nee Ponevejsky) was a first cousin of Sarah (Toper) Sitsky. The Aisenbergs moved to Sydney, Australia, in 1938 and sponsored the Sitsky family when the Sitskys emigrated to Australia in 1950.
Toper Family in Harbin, 1925.   Toper Brothers in Shuntehfu. Rosenzweig, etc. 
The Toper family is shown in Harbin in 1925. They are, from left, Sarah, Pavel, Gregory, Sofa and Samuel. Pavel Toper ran a fur and skins business in Harbin from 1913 to 1926 and in Tientsin from 1926 to 1947.    Gregory (Grisha) Toper, seated in the cart, is shown on a business trip about 1929. The Chinese writing says "foreign businessmen in Shuntehfu."   The extended Rozenzweig, Aisenberg, Bender, Ponevejsky and Meiroff families gather in Harbin in 1932. In the back row standing, from left, are Annushka Rosenzweig, Mania Bender, Tolya Ponevejsky and Galia Bender (nee Ponevejsky). Sitting in the middle row are Israel Aisenberg, Ronya Aisenberg (nee Ponevejsky), Sarah Meiroff (nee Ponevejsky), Michael Mieroff, Maria Ponevejsky (nee Rosenzweig) and Grisha Rosenzweig. On floor are Osik (Joe) Bender, Acea Aisenberg and Joe Aisenberg.

Tientsin, 1932.   Fira Ponevejsky, etc.  Tientsin, 1935, Dina and Fira.

David Sitsky and his son Mara pose in Tientsin in 1932 with Mara's amah.  

Fira Ponevejsky and Ronya Aisenberg (nee Ponevejsky) accompany Larry Sitsky in his baby carriage in 1934 in Tientsin.  


 Dina and Fira Ponevejsky,cousins of Sarah Toper, strike a humorous pose with a rickshaw in Tientsin in 1935. 

Stage Production 6.  Grisha in Amateur Production in Harbin.  Stage Production 2. 

Gregory (Grisha) Toper and a friend drive a "car" in a photo studio.


Gregory (Grisha) Toper frequently participated in elaborate Harbin theatricals. He is standing near the door, second from left.


This Harbin theatrical production may have been a Purim play.

Tientsin Jewish Cemetery.  Tientsin Betar 1947.  Tientsin Crowd in 1948. 
A community gathering at the Tientsin Jewish Cemetery, probably in the early 1930s.
Tientsin Betar (Zionist scout troop) meets in 1947.  Larry Sitsky is second from the left.
A crowd at the Tientsin Synagogue celebrates Israel's statehood in 1948. At its peak before World War II, the Jewish community of Tientsin, now Tianjin, numbered 5000 members. The synagogue is still standing and has been fully restored.
British-American Tobacco Company Staff - Late 1940s.
Abe Sitsky worked for the British American Tobacco Company in Tientsin for 30 years.  He is in the front row, 11th from right (knees crossed), in this company photo from the late 1940s.
Be sure to click on this image and maximize its size for better viewing.

Permission to print these photographs was granted by Bob Sitsky in June 2013.

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