Family Portraits & Stories ~ 1
Copyright © 2012 Amira Lapidot Hemme
Picture 1 - Henoch and Clara Katz
Henoch (Chanoch) (1867-1915) and Clara (Chaje) (1876-1947) Levit-Katz emigrated from Nikolajew to Argentina.  They embarked on the ship Cap Blanco on 20 Nov 1908 with their five children:  Eli, Ester, Sura (my grandmother), Naftule and Brandel.  Their destination was Buenos Aires, Argentina.  They were part of the Baron de Hirsch initiative to get Jews out of Russia. They ended up in the agricultural colony of Ubajay, in the province of Entre Rios. The photographs are from their headstones. Henoch is buried in Basovilbaso, Entre Rios.  Clara is buried in Santa Fe. Amira Hemme
My paternal grandmother was born to a couple from "Nicolajeff" as the German clerk wrote it on the ship manifest. In 1907, Rosie Lehman (mother's name Solkin) married Zalmon Dinkewitcz (the spelling is different on each document). Their story sounds quite similar to yours. At that time there was an effort to move American Jews to the interior of the country rather than allow them to concentrate at the port of entry (usually NYC). "The Galveston Project" was born -- brainchild of philanthropist Schiff and a Texas rabbi. Zalmon was recruited to take the Bremen- Galveston shipping route. At 5' 9" tall, he was one of the largest men on the ship, and he supposedly stoked the ship's boiler to help pay passage. Jewish Social Services in New York sent information that he was sent to Ottumwa, Iowa. In September, 1908, Rosie Lehman and her baby girl came through Ellis Island and joined Zalmon in Iowa. I will attach the photo of the reunion. It looks like one of the best Louis Hines photos from the era. Zalmon listed his last place of residence as Odessa, but his sister Rysia married a man from Nicolajeff named Feldman. William Feldman was also on the ship with Zalmon and when Rosy came, her sister-in-law, Rysia Dinkawitcz Feldman, accompanied her with her own baby daughter, Maria. Thus, it is highly likely that the Dinkawitcz, Feldman, Lehman, and Solkin familes all came from Nicolajeff. Vasalina Solkin Lehman was Rosie's mother. I have two photos of her and a woman who is probably her mother, whose surname I do not know. These are on an old postcard, written in rather colloquial Russian, sent to Rosie in the early century. In the lower photo, Vasalina is on the left and the woman in the center is probably her mother. This is the same city of which you speak -- the one in Gherson Gubernia. Apparently, there was a pretty serious pogrom there just before both our families moved. Marshall Cohen
Rose and Sam circa 1908
Lehman Family
Clara and Ephraim Geller immigrated from Nikolayev to Portland, Oregon
Bentzion Birenberg
Here is a second Birenberg family picture, undoubtedly from Nikolayev. The photographer's name, Krimmer, and the place, Nikolayev, is stamped on the paper frame.  It is of my great-grandfather, Ben-Tsion or Bentsion Birenberg, and was almost certainly sent to his son Jack, my grandfather, who by then had two children, and had moved with his wife Sophie to San Antonio, Texas.  An inscription on the back, written mostly in Yiddish, was translated as follows: I send you my picture for a memory (Slavic word transcribed in Yiddish: "pamet" meaning "memory" both in Russian and Polish) for you and for your wife and the children. From me, your father Ben-Tsiyon Birenber The 10th of November (Russian name of the month November transcribed in Yiddish) November 10, 1927 Nikolayev written in Cyrillic (Russian) letters. It is interesting that my great-grandfather wrote his last name as Birenber, not Birenberg.  One person told me she thought the "-er" ending meant that he was "from" some place, either known as Biren or Birenb.  I'm not sure that it is wasn't just a mistake, but it may be a clue to his origins, and Birenberg might have been a name that was an alteration of the original "Birenber."
Sarah Chaimovitch (married a Swett) and immigrated from Nikolayev to Portland, Oregon.
This is a photograph of the Birenberg family, apparently taken in 1910.  It was inscribed by my great-grandfather, Bentsion  Leibovich Birenberg in 1925, but the ink has faded so much that it is otherwise unreadable.  We would guess it was sent to his son, my grandfather Yakov/Jacob/Jack Birenberg, who was by then living in Brooklyn, NewYork. Seated in chairs are Bentsion, his wife Masha, and my grandfather Jacob, who was about 18.  I presume that the other six are children of Bentsion and Masha, whose names we don't know, other than one of the boys was named David.  David was about 11 at the time of the photo, so he might be the boy in standing in front of the pillar. The tall young man standing in the middle of picture may be Joseph, who later made his way to Argentina.  He made his way to Argentina.
Birenberg Family circa 1910
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The 1924 photograph (right) of Joseph Birenberg was taken in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The translation of the inscription on the back, which was written in Yiddish: "For memory to my beloved brother and sister-in-law from me your brother and in-law Hosse Birenberg April 9, 1924" Hosse, the translator agrees, is actually a Yiddish transliteration of the Spanish name: Jose.  By 1924, after 10 years in Argentina, Joseph would have been calling himself Jose.  What is particularly significant is Joseph's brother, my grandfather Jack, who had spent a decade in South America, too, had recently moved to America, and was never going to return.  So, the inscription is poignant: it really is a "memory" picture. The 1926 picture of Sonya Shteinberg (below right) was translated from Russian: "As a keepsake to [my] dear brother and sister from sister Sonya Shteinberg 20 October 1926" The picture of the boy with the violin (above) is of Sonia's son, was translated from Russian: "For good memory to my dear uncle and aunt from their nephew A. Shteinberg". There is also a photographer's stamp that says: "Electro-photography "Miniature" Odessa Lassalya (street name) # 18"
Joseph Birenberg
Sonia Shteinberg
The 1927 picture below is of Sonya's husband, with his inscription in Russian: "For good and forever memory to dear "shurin" (brother of wife) Yakov Bentsionovich and family. From M. L. Shteinberg. 6 November 1927. Nikolaev. Russland, Ukraine."
Seth Nasatir
A Shteinberg
M.L. Shteinberg