Monday, September 22, 2008

                                                                Max Klein of Michalovce (formerly Nagymihaly)

    My great-grandfather Max Klein was born in 1860 in the town of Nagymihaly, Hungary (now Michalovce, Slovakia). His parents were Simon Klein and Fany Grunval. They owned a store that sold agricultural supplies. Max's Hebrew name was Meyer (Yivo transcription) and his father's Hebrew name was Shimen. Max was a Levite. My uncle Bill (Shimen Velvl) who was named for Shimen Klein was born January 2, 1911 implying that Shimen had died by that time.

   Max came to the New York in 1879.  He married Rosa Reich in 1889 and they had a daughter Estelle (Stella), my grandmother in 1890.

Max worked as a cigar-maker until he was disabled by a stroke. He died on October 26, 1916.
   The Jewish scholar, Jakob Klein was born in 1883 in Nagymihaly and may have been a relative. According to the Michalovce Yizkor book the Kleins were an old established family in the town. Estelle was taken there twice by her aunt Emma once in 1895 and once in 1905. Her Klein relatives were economically well off. Estelle found, though, that she could not communicate with her first cousin who only spoke Hungarian.

      The year that Max was born, 1860, was an epochal one in the history of Michalovce and in Jewish history in general. That year the leaders of provincial Hungarian Jewry convened a conference in that town and resolved to keep using Yiddish as a language of religious instruction. This decision which was followed by the Satmar and other Hasidic groups is responsible for the fact that Yiddish is still spoken in the twenty-first century.

                                                                                                                                                 Charles Nydorf

                                                                                                                                                  New York

                                                                                                                                                  September 24, 2008 









1 comment:

eugene said...

I guess, I belong to the "Rothstein branch" of the "Soloveitchik tree". My great-great grandfather Morduch (Mordechai) Rothstein was born in Gorodok in 1854 and moved to Minsk where he worked as a goldsmith. He arrived in NY in 1902 together with his son. His daughter couldn't join him in the US (she had trachoma), so he arranged her marriage to my great-grandfather (an old widower at that time) Isaac Kashdan. They had 3 children together and one of them was my grandfather Shimshon.