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Kosice's Coat of Arms

 Košice, Slovakia

About Personalities, Families, and Family Life in Košice

The intent is to add information and photographs of individuals or families who once lived in Kosice or who currently live there, something of the family's history,
 Input is, and would be, greatly appreciated.

After the initial launch of this KehilaLinks page (September 10, 2014), the people below have responded with the material added here.

In June 2017, Peter Absolon suggested adding Ludovit FELD to this site, to remember this artist and his work.

Rabbi Ignac (Yitzchak Zvi)  Zafir

Images and information courtesy of Yves Marton. Ignac Zafir
Rabbi Ignac (Yitzchak Zvi)  Zafir (or Safir) in soldier's uniform, probably World War I.

He was Yves Marton's maternal grandfather.  He was married to Jetti Grunwald, a descendent of the famous rabbi, Rabbi Akiva Eger (Z"TzL). 

He became a rabbi, but tragically died young in 1917, possibly from tuberculosis.  He is buried in the Kosice Orthodox cemetery.

Yves's mother was born shortly before he died.

His Birth Certificate

Ignatz Zafir, b. 23 July 1884, to Mor Safir and Czili Winkler, in Kassa (Kosice).

Note: The photo of Rabbi Zafir's tombstone was taken by Peter Absolon, an IT professional, whose hobby is to photograph such tombstones and post them in He was able to locate this one for Yves and his family. Thanks, Peter!

Textile shop of Samu BIRNBAUM on a main street in Kosice


The photograph and information below are courtesy of Debbie Raff, who received it from her 3rd cousin, Judy BIRNBAUM GRINSPAN, PhD.

Judy said,

"The older woman in the dark flowered dress 5th from left is my paternal grandmother Otilla (Toba) MANDL BIRNBAUM (1880 - 1944), to the right of her, the skinny young man [in light colored suit] is my cousin Bela MANDL (~1922 -  2009), the man in the suit two [more] to Bela's right is my Uncle Samuel (Samu) BIRNBAUM (1903 - 1944) whose name is on the store.

Adolph [Abraham Jacob] BIRNBAUM (b. 1878 - d. in Kosice, 1929 ) married Otilia (Taube) MANDL (b. in Hethars, Hungary [Lipany, Slovakia], Aug 1, 1881  - d. Auschwitz, April 1944). They were living in Kosice in 1903, and three children were born in Kosice: Roszi (Roza/Ruzena), Samu (Samuel) (1903 - d.  1945, [Oranienburg], and Joseph (Yosef)  (b. Kosice, April 1910 - d. Jan. 1, 1995 in Pikesville, MD)."

Per Debbie:

Judy is the daughter of Joseph BIRNBAUM and Helena Nelly Eisenberg (b. May 1917 Kharkiv, Ukraine).

Judy’s grandparents: Tzvi Yehuda (Hirsch Leib) Birnbaum (born in Nowy Sacz in 1884 and died in Hethars, Hungary (now Lipany, Slovakia) in Aug. 1924) and Sheindel Lea Birnbaum (born, most likely in Nowy Sacz about 1852 and died in Hethars, Hungary (now Lipany, Slovakia) on July 7, 1925.

Sheindel Lea Birnbaum was the sister of my ggrandmother. I believe that Tzvi Yehuda and Sheindel Lea were cousins although, I do not know how.

Note: Debbie is the creator of the Lipany KehilaLinks site!

Survivors of the Venetianer Family, 1946


Tom Venetianer, born in Slovakia, now lives in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Tom identified the people:

"Standing are my parents, Elisabeth and Alexander Venetianer. Sitting are my grandmother Adela, me and my grand-aunt Julia (Julka).‎

With the exception of my uncle Arthur and my cousin Katarina, who are not on the picture but survived, we ‎‎five were the sole survivors of my close family of 21 members."

Tom has ancestry connected to the town of Kezmarok, his great-grandfather, Nathan Neta Venetzianer, who had many roles in the community, while also having been something of the town's historian. See Jewish Religious Life in Kezmarok for more information.

Read more about Tom's background and the book he has published in two volumes, "The Holocaust in Slovakia." Some sample chapters can also be accessed there. Or contact Tom directly"

The Family of Zahava SZASZ STESSEL

Dr. Zahava SZASZ STESSEL, a retired librarian for the New York Public Library, was born in Abaujzanto and has written two books. The first is mentioned below, published in 1995, and the later one is "Snow Flowers: Hungarian Jewish Women in an Airplane Factory, Markkleeberg, Germany" published in 2009. Zahava and her sister (now known as Hava GINSBURG) survived their incarceration in Markkleeberg. Here, Zahava shares photos of her Kosice relatives.

From the back of Zahava's book, "Wine and Thorns in Tokay Valley: The History of Abaújszántó."
(Sample pages from googlebooks)

Zahava&Erszike&Lili Zahava (née SZASZ) and her sister Erzsike visit cousin Lili KLEIN (daughter of Rozsika/Regina/Rachel née MARKOVICS and Farkas KLEIN) visiting their grandmother Rivka WOLF MARKOVICS in Sátoraljaújhely, Hungary, pre-WWII.

Hannah Geiger

Zahava's maternal aunt, Hanna GEIGER   and her daughter Iren; both are buried in the Kosice Cemetery. Hanna's son Imrich, who went by the family name GREGOR, died in 1962 and is also buried there.


In 1984, Zahava visited cousin Lili KLEIN (Livia KLEINOVA) and her husband, Izidor KLEIN in Kosice. They were then living at Armady U. 21. Kosice, 04000. They are now both buried in the Kosice Cemetery.

Vivian KAHN's SIMKO Family

Ludovit SIMKO


 Dr. Lajos Ludvik SIMKO, was born Jan 1884, in Nemeskosztolany, Bars, Hung. (Zemianske Kostolany, Slovakia) and his wife Iren Mitzi MOSKOVITS, born Kis-Szeben, Saros (Sabinov, Slov.) Jan 1895.  Iren was Vivian's father’s first cousin.  Dr. Simko was a noted doctor, surgeon, and laryngologist in Kosice who was one of the first otolaryngologists in Slovakia and established the otolaryngology (ear, nose, throat) ward at Kosice State Hospital.

He served in WWI and received a Golden Cross of Merit for his service.  Dr. Simko and his wife made an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide by cutting their veins the night before they were to be deported to Auschwitz.  Dr. Simko died before the train left the station. 

According to Grandson Dusan Simko, his father Stefan believed they attempted suicide using morphine. It was not known whether they died during deportation or at Auschwitz.  You can read Dr. Simko's bio in Slovak.

Major General Stefan SIMKO

Stefan Simko
Maj. General Dr. Stefan SIMKO
(12 June 1916 - 27 September 2002)

Ondrej SIMKO
 Ondrej SIMKO (1926-2002)

My second cousins Stefan SIMKO (left) and Ondrej SIMKO, sons of Lajos and Iren SIMKO.  Stefan was born in Kosice in 1916 and died there in 2002.  Ondrej as born in Kosice in 1926 and died in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic, in 2002. Both Stefan and Ondrej were medical doctors.

Stefan was the first Jewish soldier to be awarded the rank of general of the Slovak Army.  His wife Kovinka CURIC was born in Serbia and died in Kosice in 1995. Stefan and Kovinka met during the war when they both joined the Yugoslav partisans. Read Stefan’s obituary from the Slovak medical journal Medicinsky Monitor.

Dusan SIMKOStefan and Kovinka’s sons Dusan and Pavel were born in Kosice after WWII. Dusan SIMKO, was born Kosice 1945; his younger brother Pavel was born in Kosice in 1947 and now lives in the US.

Dusan (photo at left) is a professor at the University of Basel and well-known Slovak author whose work has also been translated into Hungarian.

Read the transcript of Roman Sorger's interview with Dusan in 2013.   Dusan also wrote the script for video "The Sixth Battalion" about the Slovak version of the Labor Battalion. 

Ludovit FELD   LudovitFeld_stone
Artist, Ludovit FELD and his Tombstone, in Kosice Cemetery
LudovitFeld_Memorial  LudovitFeld_Memorial
Memorial Unveiling Ceremony, 23 September 2018

Ludovit FELD

Not knowing who might be the family of Ludovit FELD, Peter Absolon felt that it was appropriate to remember the Kosice-born artist, Ludovit FELD.

He survived the Holocaust and is buried in the Kosice cemetery.  Peter supplied both the photo at left and the tombstone.  Judging by the number of stones placed at the base of his stone, he has been gone more than 25 years, but is certainly not forgotten.

Adapting from the tribute words on the findagrave website, provided by Helaine M. Larina,

" a 'little pers
on,' he was among those taken in the attempt to exterminate all of the Jews during WW2.

He was deported
to Auschwitz and discovered by Dr Josef Mengele, who was interested in the unusual and unique. Since Ludovit was a little person he was not sent to the gas chamber but to Dr Mengele who experimented on him as well as many other little people including those of the Ovitz family..."

His black marble stone in the Jewish Cemetery bears his given Hebrew names and that of his father:   Yehuda Aryeh, son of Ephraim Fishel,
died 5 Sivan 5751.

Words in Slovak, imply Academic Painter (i.e. artist), 1904 - 1991

Peter also created a site in Geni for Ludovit and you can see samples of his beautiful artwork there.

To read more about him, see the article by Silvia FISHBAUM, who was his student: Unforgettable Uncle Lajos: The Life & Legacy Of Ludovit Feld, that appeared in the Jewish Press, 8 February 2017.

On Sunday, 23 September 2018, a ceremony was held in small park close to city center, named after the dwarf painter artist Ludovit Feld. A memorial was unveiled in his memory. This was driven by the artist's student Silvia Fishbaum née MOSKOVICS, who now lives in New York, and Jana Tesser, who acts as curator of Feld's gallery. Jana is shown standing next to the memorial, awaiting to be unveiled.

Note:  For help in researching your family's connections to Kosice, you might try Peter Absolon's genealogy services.

 Compiled by
Madeleine Isenberg 
Originally created
10 September 2014
Updated 26 September 2018
Copyright © 2014-2018
Madeleine R. Isenberg  
All rights reserved.

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