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       Date Last Updated: 18-May-2012

Vitebsk Families Stories and Pictures


The Cohen/Schecter Family

This information was donated by PSh

The family came to America when my father, Benjamin (born Pinchas in Vitebsk), was 5 years old -- in 1905, and settled in Philadelphia. The story goes that when my Aunt Annie (pictured) took him to school in Philadelphia, the teacher asked his name. He said Pinchas. The teacher said she couldn't pronounce Pinchas and would call him Ben. The name stuck and he was Benjamin P. Cohen all of his life.

He belonged to the Vitebsker Society in Philadelphia, which I think was a building and loan company operated by landsmen to benefit immigrants from Vitebsk.

I also remember that my mother told me a group of Russian athletes came to Philadelphia in the 1940s and one of them had the same last name as my father's family in Russia. Daddy had thought about contacting the young man, but decided it might jeopardize either him or my father and his family, so he decided not to make the contact.

My bubba, Vita, was a Schulrichter who married into the Krivoshevie family.

The portrait, below, must have been taken before they came to America because my dad looks like he is four or five in the photo. He had two more sisters who were born in the U.S.

Cohen family

Identifications left to right:

Unknown Girl
Back row: Great Uncle Jake Schulrichter (changed to Schechter)
Great Uncle Sam Schulrichter
Unknown Lady

Middle row: Great Aunt Hanna Gittel Schulrichter (changed to Schechter)
Unknown Girl
Great Bubba Rachel Schulrichter (changed to Schechter) my grandmother Vita’s mother
Great Zayda Joseph Schulrichter (changed to Schechter) my grandmother Vita’s father
Bubba Vita Schulrichter Krivichavie (changed to Cohen)
Great Bubba Chaya-Sura Krivichavie (changed to Cohen)

Front row: Aunt Anna Krivichvie (changed to Cohen) Lichtenstein (changed to Lit)
Aunt Rebecca Krivichavie (changed to Cohen) was killed in a fire
The baby was my Uncle Abe (Schpitz) Krivichavie (changed to Cohen)

I know that the names might not be spelled properly since the cousin who gave me the information only assumed the names were correctly spelled.