These photos were taken in the late 1800's.

Pearl Okulist

My maternal, paternal great grandmother Pearl Okulist is the little girl in the picture with her parents.  My grandfather (Samuel Katz), who died in 2016 last year at the age of 99, was born in 1917.  Pearl was his mother.  In the pictures, I think she is about 13.  Pearl's parents are Rivka or Riva Bricker and Mendel Okulist.  They are in this photo with Pearl. ┬áRivka and Mendel both died in Romania while attempting to escape from Mogilev Podolsk. The story is that they fled in the middle of the night because either Mendel or Isaac Katz (Pearl's husband) was drafted into the army, which was apparently a death sentence.  It only makes sense to me that Mendel was drafted, because otherwise, I don't understand why he would have left his other family, business and wealth.  I have not confirmed any of this, but it does seem that they fled because they left all of their wealth and were imprisoned along the way--and Rivka and Mendel died quickly into the trip.  This occurred in 1924 I believe, when my grandfather was about 7 or 8. On the trip, Pearl lost both of her parents and gave birth.  The baby was named Riva for her mother.  The baby was born in Romania, where they sat shiva and spent time in a prison cell, according to my grandfather.

I do not have a photograph of Pearl and her husband Isaac Katz (my mom has one, and I will get a copy because it is a beautiful photograph of them as a young couple).  I was lucky and learned that the Katz family comes from Ozarintsky.  I know this because it appears on Isaac Katz's immigration papers as the address of his closest family.  




My grandfather recalled a lot of information.  He told me that Mendel Okulist owned a grain business (and perhaps a horse business).  I found a Mendel Okulist who had some sort of license to run a grain business in Romania that was renewed at about the time they fled.  It seems he owned it with other Okulists--perhaps his brothers?  That is the end of the line for my research, other than finding Okulists in the area until the 1950s, which is fascinating to me.  

Re Katz, other than the name of the village (Ozarintsky), I'm stuck.  Lots of bad things happened to Katz' in that village during the war, but I cannot tell if they are my Katz'.  My grandfather recalls his father trying to find the Katz family during the war and not ever learning what happened to them.  He doesn't have names other than his grandparents, and he's not entirely sure of these names, but he told me he recalls that they are Genzel and Blooma Katz.  


Katz Okulist


Returning to Okulist:  In the larger family photo, the handsome guy with the smirk in the back row "Kiva" later immigrated to Canada, and his family remains in the Vancouver area.  Kiva's name appears on Pearl's immigration papers as her closest family member in MP.  Some of the little girls may also be some of the Canadian family's matriarchs, but I can't identify them.  


Katz Okulist



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