The adjacent Balicer portrait was donated by Eilat Gordin Levitan. It depicts Hela Weindling Spira (Daughter of Feygl RAKOWER and Izak WEIDLING) and was taken from Roman Rakower's book The Rakowers from Krakow.
Szymon Balicer was a photographer in Krakow whose ancestry (also from Krakow) can be traced back to the mid-18th Century. His photographic portraits appear to be from the period 1876 to as recent as about 1910. Each portrait card (or 'Cabinet Card') has Balicer's name inscribed on the bottom or reverse of the card. From these inscriptions, it is apparent that he had several shops or that he moved a couple of times. Although most portraits were black-and-white and printed on hard cardboard, there were some that were hand colored and some that were copied on metal.
The following info comes from Dan Aronson whose ancestors were Balicers:
Szymon Balicer (who appears in our family records also as Süssman Balicer) was my great-great grandfather's brother. His studio operated from about 1870, and he is recognized in the Krakow photographic museum as one of the earliest of the photo studios in the city. For a while (the dates are uncertain) he operated as Atelier Kamera*. Some of the card-style photos "signpost" the studio (which had two or three addresses but was situated for the longest period on ul. Gertrudy) by saying it was "opposite the Hotel Royal." (This hotel is still in existence and has a website). There is also a sketch of the hotel and of the Castle, under the walls of which is the hotel.
Balicer's children reported that some of his work was for the military and the castle staff, allowing him to brag that he was a court photographer, but we have no evidence of that. Szymon Balicer died in 1895, and immediately that year a nephew (my grandfather's half-brother) was named after him.
It may also be of interest to know that the skills were passed to my own grandfather, who was involved in the studio until he moved to Vienna in the early 1890s, where he carried on a photography business with a partner, doing experimental work on transferring photos to cloth. There, they were visited by Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), the writer, who was very interested in new inventions. It was that work that brought my grandfather to America, "brain-drained" by the Ansco Camera works of Binghamton, New York in 1905. Meanwhile, the original Balicer studio had been passed to a brother-in-law, Wilhelm Kleinberg, who, with his entire family save two, perished in the Holocaust. The namesake of the original Szymon, Simon Balicer, had also immigrated to the US.
The following Balicer portraits were generously donated by Paul Auerbach. The first pair (front and back) depict his great-great grandmother Esther (Taffet) Rosenlicht by herself and the second pair of photographs are of both his great-great grandparents, Joseph and Esther Rosenlicht.
The portrait to the right is of Simon Rakower (1885-1941), son of Getzel RAKOWER and Sara nee ZUCKER. Simon was the brother of Esriel (Edward) RAKOWER, father of Roman Rakower. The picture was taken from Roman's book about the Rakowers of Krakow.
More Balicer portraits can be seen in the Kraków Album. Should you have any Balicer portraits that you wish to donate to this site, please contact Eilat Gordin Levitan at email@example.com.
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Compiled by Eilat Gordin Levitan. Updated February 24, 2020 Copyright © 2007 Eilat Gordin Levitan (firstname.lastname@example.org).