(Berk became Berg in North America.)
Chaya-Feyga Berk and Zalman Berk in 1915 (enlarge)
The earliest known family member is Yosl (Yosef) Berk, born ~1800. Yosl married Buna. The only known child of Yosl and Buna:
Shimen/Shimel (Shmuel) Berk was born in 1823. Shimen married Merka, born in 1824. Two known children of Shimen and Merka Berk:
I. Zalman (Shneyer Zalman) Berk was born in Raguva ~1851-1853. He cared for orchards, worked as a tailor, and acted as a shadkhn [marriage broker]. Zalman married Chaya-Feyga Zilberman. According to Berl Glezer, Chaya-Feyga was the bobe [grandma] of the shtetl and served as the shtetl's midwife and healer. Zalman Berk died in Trashkun on 6 October 1929.
PHOTO Chaya-Feyga and Shneyer Zalman Berk (1915)
PHOTO Chaya-Feyga Berk and four of her daughters (1901)
- The twelve children of Zalman Berk and Chaya-Feyga Zilberman:
- Dovid-Itzik Berk (later David Isaac Berg) was born in Trashkun on 1 September 1874 or 1875. In Trashkun he was a tailor. The first of the Berk family to emigrate, Dovid-Itzik left with the help of his brother Yosl, to avoid an order to return to the Russian army. When he arrived at Ellis Island in 1904, his surname was changed to Berg. He married Pesha Sapozhnik (later Bessie), who was born in 1880, daughter of Ortzik and Rochel Sapozhnik, and arrived in New York in 1906. David was a tailor and owned a retail store in New York City, selling men's clothing and shoes. Bessie, who taught sewing before her marriage, helped in the store. Bessie died on 6 August 1935. In his later years, David spent much of his time in the synagogue. He died on 8 September 1949.
PHOTO David Isaac Berg (late 1930s or 1940s)
PHOTO Bessie Sapozhnik Berg (before 1936)
PHOTO David Berg with daughter Matilda (1938)
PHOTO David Berg's gravestone
- The four children of David Berg and Bessie Sapozhnik:
- Yosef (Joseph) Berk was born in Trashkun in 1904. He died in 1906.
- Matilda Berg was born 29 September 1906 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Matilda didn't marry. She died on 15 January 1995.
PHOTO Matilda Berg with her father David Berg (1938)
PHOTO Matilda at party with Berg extended family (~1945)
PHOTO Matilda Berg with three first cousins and others
- Maurice (Morris, Moe) Berg was born 1 August 1908 in Long Branch, New Jersey. On 11 October 1936 he married Rose Babinski, who was born in Washington, DC on 13 February 1913. Maurice died in Washington, DC on 11 June 1973. Rose died in Rockville, Maryland on 25 October 2009.
- The two children of Maurice Berg and Rose Babinski:
- Philip Joel Berg was born 28 December 1943. From 1968 to 1980, he was married to Cherie Kristall. They had two daughters. On 9 June 1985 he married Sandra Wolfson. Philip died in Rockville, Maryland, on 7 December 2004.
- Marian Pearl Berg was born 15 April 1948. On 23 July 1972 she married Louis Irwin Apple (born 2 July 1949), and they had two sons.
- Henry Berg was born on 25 March 1910. On 2 June 1935 he married Anita Sepsenwol (born 19 December 1914). The couple moved to Lorain, Ohio. Henry died on 21 February 1979.
- The two children of Henry Berg and Anita Sepsenwol:
- Paul Benes Berg was born 21 October 1938. On 3 September 1961 he married Elaine Rollnick, born in 1943, and they had two daughters.
- Donna (Deanne) Berg was born 18 January 1944 in Lorain, Ohio. On 23 August 1973 in Watertown, South Dakota, she married Franklin Pass, born 14 August 1936 in Duluth, Minnesota. They had one son.
- Buna-Gitl Berk was born in Trashkun in 1877. She married Ortzik (Aharon) Glezer, born in Trashkun in 1875. Both Buna Gitl and Ortzik were murdered in the Holocaust in 1941.
PHOTO Buna Gitl with mother and three sisters (1901)
PHOTO Buna-Gitl, her husband Ortzik (Aharon) Glezer, and six of their seven children
- The seven children of Ortzik Glezer and Buna-Gitl Berk:
Rivka Glezer was born in Trashkun in 1903. She married Ovsei (Yeshiahu, Yeshike, Shaya) Puner, born in Trashkun in 1899, son of Abram Hirsh Puner and Tzira Michla Grinshteyn. Rivka, Ovsei and their children were murdered in the Holocaust in 1941. (See recollections of Rivka Glezer and her husband Osvei [Yeshike] Puner in Itzhak Konkurovich's letter about Avram Puner.)
PHOTO Rivka Glezer Puner
- The two children of Rivka Glezer and Ovsei Puner:
- Chaim Puner, born in Trashkun in 1938 or 1939; killed in the Holocaust in 1941.
- Michla Puner, born in Trashkun in 1941; killed in the Holocaust in 1941.
Gershon (Gershke) Glezer was born in Trashkun in 1904. In 1934 in Kupeshok (Kupiškis) he married Rivka Pesa Bas, born in Trashkun in 1905, daughter of Paltiel and Basha Bas. Gershon and Rivka lived in Birzh (Biržai), where they were murdered in the Holocaust, presumably in 1941, along with their children.
PHOTO Gershon Glezer with his bride Rivka
- The two children of Gershon Glezer and Rivka Pesa Bas:
- [first child], name and birth date unknown; killed in the Holocaust.
- [second child], name and birth date unknown; killed in the Holocaust.
- Leybe Glezer was born in Trashkun in 1905. He was murdered in the Holocaust in 1941.
Boruch Glezer was born in Trashkun in 1908. In 1932, he and Chaya Katkish entered into a fictitious marriage solely for the purpose of emigration to Palestine. He later married his actual wife, Rachel Gafni, born in Petah Tikva in 1917. They both died in Israel, Boruch in 1985, Rachel in 2004.
PHOTOS Boruch at school, wedding photo, with sister Dvora, with wife Rachel
PHOTO Boruch with Trashkun pioneers (1930)
PHOTO Boruch Glezer with his sister Dvora and her husband, with two first cousins
DOCUMENT Passenger list for ship to Palestine (1932)
The three children of Boruch Glezer and Rachel Gafni:
- Amos Glezer, born in Palestine in 1945.
- Aharon Glezer, born in Palestine in 1946.
- Bina Glezer, born in Israel in 1948, died on 26 December 2016.
Rosa/Roza Glezer was born in Aniksht (Anykščiai) ~1909. She married Jacob Fisher, born in Trashkun in 1915. In 1941, Jacob and the couple's young child were killed in an aktion in the Kovno ghetto. Rosa survived as a forced laborer in Lithuania and later in Germany, where she met Chaim Golandski, born in 1887. Chaim lost his first wife and four children in the Holocaust in Pinsk (then Poland, now Belarus). Rosa and Chaim married in Germany and went to Palestine in 1947. They had two children. Chaim died in 1986, and Rosa died in 1990, both in Israel.
DOCUMENTS Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony for Jacob Fisher (Rosa's first husband) and Miriam Golandski (Chaim's first wife).
DOCUMENT Stutthof concentration camp record for Rosa Glezer Fisher
PHOTOS Rosa Glezer Golandski, Chaim Golandski, children Gitl and Aharon
MEMORY Rosa remembered by her cousin Saul Rifkin
- The child of Rosa Glezer and Jacob Fisher:
- Chaim Fisher, born ~1939, murdered in the Holocaust in 1941 at age 2½.
- The two children of Rosa Glezer and Chaim Golandski:
- Gitl (Tova) Golandski, born in Germany in 1945.
- Aharon Golandski, born in Israel in 1948.
Dvora Glezer Lor
- Herzl Glezer was born in Trashkun in 1920. He was murdered in the Holocaust in 1941.
PHOTO Herzl and his sister Dvora in Trashkun
Dvora Glezer was born in Trashkun in 1921. In 1939 she emigrated to Palestine, where she married Israel Lor. Israel died in Israel in 2003, and Dvora died in Israel in 2014.
PHOTOS Dvora Glezer Lor, husband Israel Lor, brothers Herzl & Boruch
PHOTO Dvora Glezer Lor, Israel Lor, and their two daughters (1955)
PHOTO Dvora Glezer Lor with her brother Boruch, her husband Israel, and two first cousins
- Yosl (Abram Yosl) Berk was born in Trashkun in 1880. He owned the town's only general store. (See a recollection of Yosl/Yoshke Berk in Berl Glezer's memoir.) Yosl's first wife was Bluma Yoffe, born in 1884, daughter of Sholem. Bluma died in Vilna (Vilnius) on 28 May 1910, just months after the birth of her child. Yosl married his second wife Nechama Kaufman, daughter of Kopel, in Vilna. Nechama was born in Adutiškis in 1882, and died in Trashkun in July 1920. Yosl's third wife was Toyba (Taube) Kotsin, born in Ponevezh (Panevėžys) on 5 August 1894, daughter of David and Sheyna Beyla. Yosl sent his brothers Dovid-Itzik, Shimel and Fayvish to the U.S., and he sent his sisters Reyza, Gisa and Mirka—and possibly an additional girl from the Berk family—to Canada. Despite the pleading of Toyba's family, Yosl and Toyba could not bring themselves to leave. They both perished in the Holocaust in 1941.
PHOTO Berk family's home and store
PHOTO Yosl Berk at his son Berl's engagement party (1938)
- The child of Yosl Berk and Bluma Yoffe (Yosl's first wife):
- Berl Berk was born in Vilna (Vilnius) on 31 January 1910, and married Yente (Yael) Wisgardisky. Berl was an accomplished violinist, and during the war he worked in intelligence. He was shot by firing squad at the Ninth Fort in Kovno in the Intelligenzaktion (the action against intellectuals) on 18 August 1941. Yente and their baby daughter Bluma survived the Kovno ghetto, along with Berl's half-sister Sheyna Beyla Berk (see below). Yente remarried after the war. She, her new husband, and Bluma emigrated to Israel in 1948.
PHOTO Engagement party for Berl Berk and Yente Wisgardisky (1938)
- The child of Berl Berk and Yente Wisgardisky:
- Bluma Berk, later Shoshana Sarid, was born in Kovno on 18 June 1941. She spent her early childhood in the Kovno ghetto and a displaced persons camp in Zeilsheim, Germany. She emigrated to Israel with her mother and stepfather in 1948.
PHOTOS Bluma Berk and her cousin Henia Wisgardisky as children (1943-1947)
PHOTOS Shoshana Berk Sarid and Henia Wisgardisky Lewin as adults
AUDIO The Moth Radio Hour: "Sisters Forever" ► Henny Wisgardisky Lewin speaks about her childhood experiences in the Kovno ghetto and a DP camp with Bluma/Shoshana. [12:55]
- The child of Yosl Berk and Nechama Kaufman (Yosl's second wife):
- Frida Berk, born in Vilna (Vilnius) on 2 February 1913. On 23 March 1934 in Trashkun, Frida married Shmuel Faugel/Foygel, born in 1906, son of Lipman and Nechama Meller of Smilgiai. Frida perished in the Holocaust in 1941. PHOTOS Frida Berk
- The only known child of Frida Berk and Shmuel Foygel:
- Nachman Foygel was born in Ponevezh on 12 June 1935, and presumably was killed in the Holocaust in 1941.
- The three children of Yosl Berk and Toyba Kotsin (Yosl's third wife):
- Sheyna Beyla (Sonia) Berk was the only one of Yosl Berk's five children to survive the war. She was born in Ponevezh (Panevėžys) on 8 May 1925. She survived the Kovno ghetto and the Stutthof concentration camp, along with Roska Glezer. After the war she worked as an interpreter in Munich, then emigrated to South Africa with the help of her Aunt Pera, her mother's sister. She married Dov Ber (Leyb) Propis, born in Birzh (Biržai), Lithuania on 24 July 1914. Dov had gone to Palestine as a teen and studied to become a cantor. His first cantorial position was at an Orthodox shul in South Africa, where the couple met. They later moved to Canada and then the United States. Dov died in Pembroke Pines, Florida, on 26 November 1990. Sonia died in Houston, Texas, on 13 May 2006.
DOCUMENT List of displaced persons in Munich includes Sonia Berk (1946)
PHOTO Sonia Berk and her Aunt Pera
PHOTO Sonia (Berk) Propis with daughter Yosifa and son David (1994)
- The three children of Sonia Berk and Dov Propis:
- Yonina S. Propis was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 29 March 1952. She married Nathan Mandell in 1975, and she died on 27 June 2003 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Yosifa A. Propis was born in South Africa on 9 November 1954.
- David M. Propis was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on 5 March 1959. David Propis became a cantor like his father, and he married Karen Siegal.
- Zalman Berk was born in Ponevezh on 12 July 1930, and perished in the Holocaust with his parents in 1941.
- Dvora Berk, birth date unknown, also perished in the Holocaust in 1941.
- Reyza (Rissel, Rishka) Berk was born in Trashkun in 1883. With the help of her brother Yosel, she went to Manitoba, Canada, where she was later joined by her sisters Gisa and Mirka. In Canada Reyza married her first cousin Max Meyerowitz (born Mortkhel Meyerov on 16 August 1879), and they settled in Selkirk, Manitoba.
PHOTO Reyza Berk with mother and three sisters (1901)
PHOTO Reyza/Rishka Berg Meyerowitz with the Berg extended family (~1945)
- The six children of Reyza Berk and Max Meyerowitz:
- David Meyerowitz
- Hank Meyerowitz
- Sam Meyerowitz
- George Meyerowitz
- Goldie Meyerowitz, married Saul Kane.
PHOTO Goldie Meyerowitz Kane with husband and extended family (~1945)
- Sophie Meyerowitz, married Jack Fingold.
PHOTO Sohpie Meyerowitz Fingold with husband and extended family (~1945)
- Shimel (Shimon) Berk, later Sam (Simon) Berg, was born in Trashkun on 15 May 1884. He worked as a blacksmith. With the help of his brother Yosl, he emigrated to New York in 1905 to join his brother Dovid-Itzik. In New York on 29 May 1909, Sam (Simon) married Jennie Koch, born ~1889 in Raven, Russia [probably Rovin, Ukraine]. Jennie died in Manhattan in 1941. Sam died in Phoenix, Arizona, on 19 January 1961.
- The five children of Sam Berg and Jennie Koch:
- Etta (Yetta) Berg was born 10 May 1910 in New York. Etta married Meyer Cohen in 1949. She died in July 1993.
PHOTO Yetta Berg Cohen with three first cousins and others
- Louis Berg was born 7 December 1911 in New York. He married Rose Levy in 1954, and died on 5 September 1999.
- Freda (Freyda) Berg was born 27 March 1914. She married Fred Eison in 1939, and she died on 26 March 2003. The two sons of Freda Berg and Fred Eison:
- James Eison
- Michael Eison
- David Berg was born 15 August 1916. He died on 18 September 1984.
- Jacob (Jack) Berg was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 25 December 1919. He married Bernice in 1950, and they had three children. Jack died on 7 February 1969.
- Fayvish Berk, later Frank Berg, was born in Trashkun in 1885 or 1891, and became a tailor. With the help of his brother Yosel, he emigrated to the U.S. in 1909. On 27 December 1913 in Chicago, Illinois, Frank married Tillie Lederman, who was born in Brest-Litovsk on 15 April 1894. Frank and Tillie had four children. Frank died on 29 February 1964 in Tampa, Florida. Tillie died in January 1965 in Los Angeles, California.
DOCUMENTS Frank Berg's naturalization papers (1921)
PHOTO Frank Berg with his sister Freda Rifkin (1946)
PHOTO Frank Berg with Ben and Dave Kovitz and Harry Rifkin (1946)
PHOTO Frank's wife Tillie with her sisters-in-law Freda Berg, Libby Kovitz, and Sarah Karp
PHOTO Frank Berg's gravestone
- The four children of Frank Berg and Tillie Lederman:
- Lillian Berg was born 4 October 1914 in Chicago, Illinois. In October 1935 in New York City, she married Harold Pecker (born in 1912). They had no children. Lillian died on 27 February 1981. Harold died in September 1981 in Tampa, Florida.
- Frances Berg
- Annabelle Berg
- Harold Berg was born in New York City on 15 May 1919. On 12 April 1941 he married Ruth Liebhaber, who was born in Babylon, New York, on 1 May 1921. They had two children. Harold died in February 1964 in Tampa, Florida.
- Gisa Berk was born in Trashkun in 1886. With the help of her brother Yosl, she went to Canada with her sisters Reyza and Mirka.
- Mirka Berk was born in Trashkun in 1892. With the help of her brother Yosl, she emigrated to Canada along with her sisters Reyza and Gisa. She married Joe Cantin in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
PHOTO Mirka Berg Cantin with her sons Harvey and Oscar (1947)
PHOTO Cantin family members with the Berg extended family (~1945)
- The two children of Mirka Berk and Joe Cantin:
- Oscar Cantin
- Harvey Cantin, born in Detroit, Michigan on 16 June 1930.
Wedding of Freda Berg
and Harry Rifkin (1922)
Rose Rifkin with parents
Harry and Freda (1939)
Libka/Libby with family
- Fratka (Leya Frada) Berk, later Fratke/Freda Berg, was born in Trashkun on 19 March 1894. In 1922 she emigrated to Canada with the help of her sisters, who had arranged a marriage for her. On 2 July 1922 she married Harry Rifkin in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada. Freda died on 4 August 1963 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Harry died in 1973.
PHOTOS Freda Berk/Berg with unidentified children (1910) and with sister (1914)
PHOTOS Harry Rifkin with children (~1912) and in uniform (1917)
PHOTO Wedding photo of Freda Berg and Harry Rifkin (1922)
PHOTO Freda and Harry Rifkin peel potatoes (1930s)
PHOTO Freda and Harry Rifkin with daughter Rose Rifkin (1939)
PHOTO Rifkin family members with the Berg extended family (~1945)
PHOTO Harry Rifkin with Frank Berg and Ben and David Kovitz in Selkirk (1946)
PHOTO Freda Rifkin with sisters-in-law Tillie Berg, Libby Kovitz, and Sarah Karp
PHOTO Freda Rifkin with her brother Frank Berg (1946)
DOCUMENTS Harry Rifkin's military papers (1917 and 1919)
DOCUMENT Marriage license of Freda Berg and Harry Rifkin (1922)
DOCUMENT Marriage certificate of Freda Berg and Harry Rifkin (1922)
- The three children of Freda Berg and Harry Rifkin:
- Max Rifkin was born in 1923. He married Lucy Coop. Max died on 11 November 2014. The two children of Max Rifkin and Lucy Coop:
- Jackie Rifkin.
- Naomi Rifkin, married to Jack Chapman.
- Rose Rifkin was born on 28 December 1924 in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada. In ~1946 Rose married Morris Appel. Morris died in 1986. Rose died on 14 January 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
PHOTO Rose Rifkin with her parents Freda and Harry Rifkin (1939)
PHOTO Rose Appel with her three sons (2019)
- The three sons of Rose Rifkin and Morris Appel:
- Allan Appel was born in 1948. In 1976 he married Pam Bebchuk, and they had two children.
- Brian Appel, born in 1952.
- Fred Appel, born in 1963.
- Saul Rifkin was born in Selkirk, Manitoba, Canada, on 19 October 1930. He married Barbara Permack. Barbara died on 14 March 2016. Saul died on 3 April 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
MEMORY Saul Rifkin remembers meeting his cousin Rosa Glezer Golandski
- The two sons of Saul Rifkin and Barbara Permack:
- Gerald Rifkin, married to Andrea, later married to Jenny Griffiths. Gerald had two children.
- Martin Rifkin, married to Margo, with two children.
- Sarah (Sorka, Sorelka) Berk, estimated birth date ~1896. Apparently, she did not emigrate. The date and circumstances of her death are unknown.
PHOTO Sarah as a child with her mother and three of her sisters (1901)
- Libka (Lipka, Libby) Berk was born in Trashkun in 1900. In 1921 she married Bentzl (Bentzion) Itzikovich, later Ben Kovitz, born in Trashkun in 1897. In 1926 Bentzl emigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Libka followed a year later with her first son and her mother-in-law, Yochved Itzikovich. In 1965 the family moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ben died on 8 February 1985, and Libby died on 23 August 1985, both in Toronto.
DOCUMENT Handwritten invitation to wedding of Libka Berk and Benzion Itzikovich
PHOTO Libka's departure for Canada with Yochved & Dovid Mendel (1927)
PHOTO Libby with husband Ben, mother-in-law Yochved, and children
PHOTO Libby with husband Ben, their two younger children, and their niece Fran
PHOTO Victoria Kovitz wedding party (1951)
PHOTO Libby with with sisters-in-law Tillie Berg, Freda Rifkin, and Sarah Karp
- The three children of Libby Berk and Ben Kovitz:
- Dovid Mendel Itzikovich, later David Kovitz, was born in Trashkun in 1921. He came to Canada as a child in 1927. On 21 August 1945 he married Muriel Libin, who was born 20 February 1926. They had three children. David died on 26 February 1992 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Muriel died on 30 May 2021 in Vancouver, Canada.
PHOTO David Kovitz with his father Ben and his uncles Frank Berg and Harry Rifkin (1946)
PHOTO David and his wife Muriel and others at the wedding party of Victoria Kovitz (1951)
- Frank (Shmuel Fayvl) Kovitz, born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1928. He married Joan Boyd, and they had three children.
PHOTO Frank with his parents, sister, and cousin Fran (~1939)
PHOTO Frank with his sister Vicki and cousin Fran (~1939)
PHOTO Frank and others at the wedding party of Victoria Kovitz (1951)
- Victoria/Vicki (Vikhna) Kovitz was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, in 1929. She married Sidney Jacobs in 1951, and they had one daughter. Vicki died in Toronto on 10 April 1986.
PHOTO Vicki with her parents, brother, and cousin Fran (~1939)
PHOTO Vicki with her brother Frank and cousin Fran (~1939)
PHOTO Wedding party of Victoria Kovitz and Sidney Jacobs (1951)
- Freyda Berk was born in Trashkun in 1903. On 7 November 1924 in Trashkun she married Moshe Keler/Keller, born in ~1901 in Kavarskas, son of Yankel Keler and Leya. The two were divorced, and on 28 January 1932 in Kovno (Kaunas) Freyda married Chone Bar, who was born in 1910 in Traupis (a town just 6 km or ~4 miles southwest of Trashkun). Freyda (Berk) Bar died in Kovno on 26 September 1937.
II. Chaya Freyda Berk was born 15 May 1854. She married Leyb Movsha Meyerov (born 4 May 1846, son of Eliash Meyerov).
- The six children of Chaya Fegya Berk and Leyb Movsha Meyerov:
- Abram Yosel Meyerov, born in 1873.
- Dovid Meyer Meyerov was born 9 July 1877. He was a bricklayer, and he did military service from 1898 to 1902.
- Mortkhel Meyerov, later Max Meyerowitz, was Shimel's twin brother, born 16 August 1879. He emigrated to Canada and married his first cousin Reyza Berk, daughter of Zalman Berk. (Their children are listed above, under Reyza Berk)
- Shimel Meyerov, Mortkhel's twin brother, was born 16 August 1879. Shimel died as a child in 1884 or 1885.
- Leyzer Wulf Meyerov, born in 1883.
- Bentzel Meyerov, born in 1888.
PHOTO Several members of Zalman Berk's family appear in this 1927 group photo taken at the Trashkun railroad station.