By Levi Clancy for לוי on
- Hillel Lazarus: Lewin-Paltiel Family Book
FAMILY MEMORIES OF JOSEPH LAZARUS
The following narrative is a transcription from a video tape recorded by Cindy Kirkland, grand-daughter of Joseph Lazarus and daughter of Nathan Lazarus. The items in parenthesis were added by your editor.
In Russia, the family name was Paltiel. I was born there as Yosel Paltiel on October 20, 1897. (The translation of the Russian Birth Certificate says it was on September 20, 1897). My brother Benjamin Lazarus was born as Benzion Paltiel on February 22, 1896. The family name of Lazarus came about becuse, when our father, Shmuel Lazar Paltiel, went through British Immigration, they dropped the Paltiel last name and my father became Samuel Lazarus. My dad and Ben went to Leeds, Yorkshire, England first (1897) and my mother, Malka or Ann followed with me some time later (1899).
In Leeds, when I was 10, I was asked to pull bastings in my dads tailor shop which was in our home. It was like a small factory in the house and my dad employed some workers. Morris (Lewin) Levi worked with my father.
We lived in the Jewish Ghetto of Leeds. The English, at that time, were very anti-semitic. All the kids in our school, except for three gentiles, were Jewish but all the teachers were gentile. We played in "Sheene" Park, which is a derogatory name for the Jews. Our home was strictly kosher and we had two sets of dishes for everyday and another two sets for the High Holy Days. Some dishes were just to be used for meat dishes and the other set for dairy dishes.
I remember one story. My mother (Malka) picked out her own chickens for our food. She picked one that was about to lay an egg so we got a free egg out of the purchase. She would bring the chicken home and, after the egg was laid, I would take it to a special chicken killer who did it by Kosher methods, namely he tied up hte legs, plucked out a few neck feathers, hung up the bird, and cuts its throat so it would bleed to death. I then took the bird home and mother would light a fire to singe the feathers that remained after pluckeing. If a chicken looked suspicious to my mother, I would take it to a Rabbi for inspections with instructions not to ask if it was "traif" (unkosher) but to ask it [sic] it was Kosher. Usually, everything worked out alright. My mother worked very hard to make ends meet. She was also a very good baker.
we had a three room house, one room on each of three floors, including the basement. Leeds was very very cold. We had one huge feather bed in which the three of us boys slept. Once I had chill-blains from the cold and my fingers and toes stuck together.
My father, who was known as Lazar, made sure that one boy was to be a musician. He took my brother Mickey (Myron Herbert Lazarus) to a music teacher. Mickey learned to play the violin. Later, Mickey graduated from the violin to the saxophone and the clarinet. On the violin, the teacher insisted that the students be able tomake the sound of a train coming and going.
At the Synagogue in Leeds, men were separated from the women and boys wore Tallis too. Yom Kippur serices were an all day affair, without any breaks. At the services, the men cried their eyes out.
I went to school until I was 13 and then got a work permit. From about the age of 10 until I was 13, I helped my father in the tailoring shop. I also took odd jobs in various stores but was very independent. If I didn't like the boss, I simply walked out. I earned 3 shillings a week which was about seventy five cents. For that, I worked ten to welve hour a day and, if I arrived 5 minutes late, I was penalized a whole hour on my pay. One boss would lose me in the morning and I'd have a new job that same afternoon.
The gentiles would throw rocks at the silk hats of the orthodo when they were walking to and from the synagogue on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. The Jewish women cut their hair and wore wigs in the orthodox tradition.
Just some notes. My mother, Malka, had a sister Fanny. Malka was the oldest and Fanny was the youngest of the 9 Lewin siblings. There was some talk that Fanny and my brother Ben might marry, but it was against Jewish law that an aunt should marry a nephew, even if they were approximately the same age---Fanny was born around 1893 and Ben in 1896. When Fanny was already in an old folks home, I went to visit her with my granddaughter and her daughter and Fanny told me that her mother's name was Sarah. (This information correspons with information received from Barry Levi of England who found that Mrs. Meyer Lewin had two names, namely Sarah Trotsky and Rivka Davidovitch. Research has, so far, failed to find out why).
As children, we went to the Leeds Public Schools. Twice a day, we were required to go to Chader or Hebrew School. Gentile teachers would chastise us if we didn't go. For discipline, they would beat our hands with a 3 foot wooden stick like a yard stick.
While playing on a playground, I broke two front teeth on a steep angle so that the missing edges formed a large letter "A" and it was my trademark for a while. When on the playground, the teachers would blow a whistle once and we had to "freeze" in our tracks. When they blew the whistle again, we would que up (stand in a line) according to our height. I was the second shortest in the class.
Our house had no external water shutoff valve. Uncle Morris assumed the role of family plumber. In those days right after the turn of the century you couldn't just buy a package of washers if your faucet leaked, so Morris would take an old shoe and cut a washer out of the leather. The rest of us would stand around with buckets and lots of rags to catch and absorb the water splashing out of the faucet as he tried to change the washer. It was quite a wet experience.
To answer the question of why we left Russia, I can only say that the Czar dominated the Jews and made life miserable. Uncle Simon Forman told a story of how the Russian Crossacks would ride horses through the village and hit Jewish children with a whip, etc. Morris (Lewin) Levi had severe respiratory trouble and that added to the impetus for him to leave Russia.
In Leeds, Morris' asthma acted up again so he decided to go to Canada which also made it easier to go to the USA later on. Dave Levi left a little later then I went on the steamship "Mauritania" in May 1911 with his wife Mary. (It was really on the steamship "Laurentic"). I was 13½ at the time, just 6 months after my Bar Mitzvoh. My mother and three sisters followed a little later. Eventually, most of the original 7 Lewin Immigrants who had lived in Leeds left for Canada, all except for Mattis' family who remained in Leeds. As I recall, Mattis died when we were still in Leeds. Rivel expected the family to support her which they did to the best of their limited financial ability. Rivel couldn't afford to emigrate to Canada.
(Mattis, really Mattisyohoo who was called Max, didn't die until June of 1933 so the basis for the above story lies shrouded in the mysteries of memory). (See 1/9/89 notes).
In 1952, my wife May and I visited the homestead in Leeds. It was disgusting and revolting with an outhouse. Rivel and her son Alf showed us around.
In Canada, the whole family automatically became Canadian citizens for a couple of dollars fee. (Your editor isn't convinced of the truth of this statement as on the U.S. Naturalization papers of many, is the indication that the former citizenship being given up was "Russian", not "Canadian". However, this might have been true of those children who were born in England, and therefore British subjects as they could easily transfer their citizenship from English to Canadian).
In Toronto, Canada, my father, Samuel Lazarus, got a job with a big clothing store called FOREMAN & CLARK. It's nickname was FOUR MEN & CLARK. Dad worked as a "busheler" which meant that when a customer brought a suit, he would chaulk mark the changes needed on the garment and then alter it to fit.
My brother Ben and I worked in a factor to reclaim rags. Ben worked downstairs on a big machine that shreded the old rags. The shreds were then transported upstairs where I worked. The shreds were recycled into some kind of material and woven into fabric. It would then come to me to be fed into another big machine and to be cut automatically into sheets of a particular size. I was able to set up the load and make it self-feeding so that I could nap for a couple of hours while it ran. My brother downstairs had no such luck and had to work hard all of the time, whereas I could catch up on my sleep.
I also worked as a plumbers helper and in a glove factory. When the first world war came along, I didn't want a temporary occupation, so I rented myself out as a plumbers helper for $5 a week for the first year and then $6 the second.
I was worried about being drafted when I was about 17 and I didn't want to serve the anti-semitic English, so I decided to go to the United States. I got on a train in Toronto with my uncle, Reuben LEvy, and we went to Windsor, Ontario, Canada where we were separated. Uncle Reuben was interrogated and arrested and sent back to Toronto. I had been "primed" to tell the right lies such as where I was from in the United States and what school I went to. It worked and I entered the United States illegally. I went by Ferry boat to Detroit and stayed there with a friend of an aunt while I waited for my brother Ben in Fresno to send me a ticket to go to California. I waited and waited only to find out, in a few days, that the money had been waiting for me all the time at the telegraph office.
Before i was able to leave Detroit for California, I had grown long hair and whiskers and I wanted to get cleaned up to look presentable so I went to a Barbershop. He must have thought that he had a sucker and he tried to give me the works. I told him that he could do whatever he wanted but that I was only going to pay for a haircut. He quickly changed his mind.
When I finally got going, I had very little money and I couldn't afford to tell uncle Morris and brother Ben where I was. Everyday, they would go to the Santa Fe depot to look for me. When I finally got as far as Bakersfield, I sent them a telegram to Fresno where they were at the time. When I got to Fresno, we all greeted one another and sat down to eat. The doorbell rang and I answered it, only to receive my own telegram. My mother was there visiting Morris and Annie who sent her back to Toronto to get the rest of the family.
In Toronto, my dad bought a cleaning and dying establishment for cash. It was a big mistake as the seller owed creditors a lot of money and they were about to close down the business at 363 Dundas Street. Dad had to pay them so essentially bought
the business twice. I helped in the store and it was very successful for a while. (See photo of Sam, Joe and Bee in the shop). When businessgot slow, we sent for brother Ben to help revive it but it didn't work so we eventually all moved to California. Several of us went back and forth a few times between California and Toronto. In the meantime, Mickey had given up the violin and was playing wind instruments. The approximate pattern of events from Toronto to California was (1) Ben left, (2) Malka went on a visit to Fresno, (3) Joe left, (4) Malka went back to Toronto, and (5) Ben and Joe accumulated money in order to bring the whole Lazarus family to California in 1920. At that time, Joe and Ben remained in Fresno while the rest of the family continued on to live in Oakland.
I went into partnership with Simon Forman in Fresno where we would comb the countryside for junk and then sell it to uncle Morris. To form the partneship, Simon had $150 in cash and I had just bought a Model-T Ford truck from brother Ben. The crankshaft broke the first day. Simon (with Fanny and Leonard) and I then moved to Turlock to start a junk business. We rented an old stable in Turlock and were the first and only junk business there at the time. A year later, we bouht a 40x100 foot building on Rider Street that had a backyard big enough to hold junk metals, etc. We named it the "Turlock Bargain House" and it was a big success for a few years.
In 1923, I went to a picnic in Oakland where I met my wife, May, who was singing. We fell in love and were married 60 days later at the San Jose Court House. We couldn't find a San Jose Rabbi but found out that a Rabbi from Pasadena was visiting with his brother who had a furniture store in San Jose. He agreed to marry us. We decided to honeymoon in Southern California. When Itka and Dave Singer heard of this, they wanted to go along for the ride. When we got as far as Fresno, Ida Lazarus, wife of my brother Ben, wanted to go along too. So, we had a car full on our honeymoon which limited privacy. I had an old Overland car which oerheated on the ridge-route (now highway 5 between Bakersfield and Los Angeles) because it was carrying so many people and their luggage. However, we eventually made it to Los Angeles. We stayed overnight with Uncle Reuben and Aunt Brina and the next day, left for Santa Maria which was up the California Coast. From there, we went to Turlock and my business.
As we were married in the summer, it was very hot when we got home. May couldn't stand the heat so I sold out my share of the Turlock Bargain House to Simon, we gave up our rented house of only a couple of months, and we moved to Oakland where I found a store at 2321 San Pablo Avenue. I didn't have enough money so got my uncles, Dave and Morris Levi to co-sign a note so I could buy the business from a black gentleman. Meanwhile, Ben and Ida Lazarus who were married the prior year, stayed in Fresno, moving on to Delano some years later. The rest of the family, that was still kosher, remained in Oakland close to kosher butchers, etc.
Joe and May were married July 30, 1923. We do not know if the Singers were living in Oakland, Los Angeles or in Turlock on that date. The honeymoon began August 1st.
In Fresno, Morris and David Levi had their "Levi's Furniture Company", which did a terrific business. For tax purposes, they opened "Levi's Sack Company" and "Levi's Truck Company" and others so that they had a separate business entity for each of their enterprises.
Sam Lazarus, my father, had a tailor shop on Chestnut Street in Oakland. My sister, Mimi, met her husband Jack there when he had a haberdashery. In the meantime, Bee met her husband, Ben Baylinson, and I employed him for a while in my second hand store. Later, they moved to Petaluma where Ben had a produce business. My brother, Mickey, stayed in the music profession and eventually had a ballroom on Broadway in Oakland.
Business in my store in Oakland wasn't too good so, around 1923-4, I decided to move to 3333 Foothill Boulevard. The idea was to live upstairs in the back of hte store and save some rent. May's sister thought it was terrible to raise a boy in those surroundings so I rented a room next door which increased my overhead again. I finally had to close the store as I couldn't makea go of it.
My experience on Foothill Boulevard wasn't pleasant so we moved to Petaluma. I bought an old Dodge truck and bought old sacks from farmers and sold them to Simon Forman or a milling company. Once, they gave me a counterfeit $10 bill but, when I confronted them, they admitted it and gave me a good one. I turned the bad one over to the postal authorities. On making my rounds one day, I came upon a poultry farm which was about to dispose of a couple dozen "scrub chickens", those that didn't meet quality standards or something like that. I said, "don't waste them. I'll take them." They gave them to me, I took them home, fed them for a while until they were fully grown and fat, and then had the whole family in Oakland over for a big feast.
After a year in Petaluma, May wans't happy, so we looked around for a while and decided to move to Napa. We found a place at 620 Coombs Street in 1929 but the rent was $20 a month. I didn't have $20 sohad to pay the rent in installments. The police didn't like me piling up junk I had collected at the rental place as it was not the proper zoning. I got away with it for a year. My brother Ben was in the wholesale automobile parts business at the time and he suggested that I take along some automobile accessory items on my route to see if I could sell them to dealers, garages, etc. I took $15 worth of accessories from Ben with the provision that he take back any that I couldn't sell. It was a good suggestion because from that meager start from Ben, in a year we couldn't see the living room floor as it was all covered with merchandise. In 1930, I rented a store at 932 3rd Street in Napa and got glass showcases from a department store that was being remodeled, at a cheap price. So, I opened my auto parts store. Dad's tailor business in Oakland wasn't doing so well so he moved to Napa and helped me in the store for a while. He could neither read nor write English but managed to take care of the store so I could continue my route selling automobile accessories.
Nathan grew up in the store and learned to be a good salesman and manager. In 1950, when I was worn out running the business, Nathan went to Armstrong College which was a private school. Within 6 months, we had to recall him to run the store as I had to go to a sanitorium for recuperation from exhaustion. Nathan did most of the buying and it was often hard to get merchandise. Once, he went to San Francisco to the U.S. Rubber company. He was looking for thin sheets of rubber which were recycled from old tires and used as a relining inside of worn tires to make them last longer. This was a common remedy during the tire shortages of world war II. Anyway, these items were called "books". When he asked them for boots, they said sure and took him upstairs where they had stocked hip boots. Just a funny memory.
Around 1935, the United Jewish Appeal asked me to collect money for them in Napa. I didn't know how many Jews were in the town but, with some help from the Jews I did know, we counted about 100 adults. Thus, we started to socilize and we started the "Napa Jewish Group". We were advised not to use the word "Jewish" but I insisted. This was not a religious group. For Jewish services, we drove to Vallejo. I was President of the organization for 5 years but couldn't get anyone to take over so we disbanded.
That first store of mine in Napa was very small and overcrowded so I rented a store on Main Street which was much larger and stayed there two years until the lease we had assumed ran out. Rentals were hard to find during the war in the early 1940's. The building across the street became available but the price wa a huge $50,000. It had several storefronts downstairs and upstairs had some offices and a lodge hall. I was finally able to borrow the mney and bought the building. I took two storefronts for myself and raised the rents on the rest of the building so that the income made the property self-supporting.
Those of us in the Napa Jewish community collected money for overseas relief and then we finally started saving for oursevles for a Napa Jewish building. We bought a building at Brown and Clay Streets from a contractor for $1,500 and had it cut in half and moved to 1458 Elm Street and then reassembled it. Ben Baylinson was very much involved in this project. Today, the building and property is worth more than a quarter of a million dollars. We have a part-time Rabbi, 150 members and, thanks to Ben Baylinson who saw one at a Jewish center in Mexico City, a swimming pool. We have started a new building fund to add a social hall or something like that.
A little something about the B'Nai Brith. I was a charter member of the Modesto lodge when I lived there in the early 1920's and then became a charter member of our Napa group. In 1987, I was awarded a 50 year membership certificate. In the early years, I let the Jewish community use the lodge hall I had in the upstairs of my building. I charged them rent but donated that amount back to the community fund.
I joined the Lions Club and was active for fifteen years. They had to accept me as I was their best ticket seller. On one world cruise, I took along Napa Valley wines and attended Lions Club meetings around the world (see photo section). The Lion required perfect attendance so I attended wherever I could to meet the requirements.
One cruise on the steamship "President Roosevelt", which was not in a good state of repair, I wanted to have Passover services. There was a Rabbi aboard, on vacation, and he was exhausted. However, after considerable rest, he agreed to conduct the services. On another trip, we had Passover in Sydney, Australia. On another trip, I asked around to find out if any Synagogue was going to hold Pssover services. None were but a Rabbi invited May and I to have dinner at his home, after regular orthodox services in his Synagogue on Friday night.
Selling tickest for the Lions Club gave me a championship reputation so now I sell tickets for the Jewish Community Center.
I retired at age 54 after recuperating in the sanitorium. That was in 1951. From 1951 to 1960, I rested. Now, I'm 91. My wife died January 30, 1986. Now, I am working for the National Federation for the Blind as I am gradually losing my eyesight. However, I have initiative and stay active and take care of myself. I have an enlarger to project magnified images so I can still read.
I recently spent a couple of hours on a local radio talk show where people called in with questions. I told of my story of rags to riches in Napa. I must be one of the oldest living Napa residents who can remember the old days since I have lived here for 60 years.
As I can still get around quite well, I recently travelled to Alaska and to Israel and I stopped in Hawaii one the way back to visit my sister Mimi.
I wish to thank my nephews Neil Goldberg for suggesting this family history project and Hillel Lazarus for his research and efforts to put everything into a book. I'll probably donate this tape for the family records.
EXCERPTS OF LETTERS FROM JOSEPH LAZARUS
My birthdate is Octoer 20, 1897. I was surprised that, when Sarah Levi had my Russian birth certificate translated, it said September 20, 1897. My mother always told me that I was born on Shabbas-Shuva, the Holiest Sabbath of the year, which comes between Roshashona and Yom Kippur. I'll try through the Jewish agencies to see if that date in 1897 on the Jewish calendar can be matched to the current calendar. In the meantime, don't change the date on any of my documents as it would just confuse everyone.
My recollection of my sister Nellie Lazarus, May Her Soul Rest in Peace, is that she was a very lovable sweet girl and was very popular with the boys. She gave Mimi and Bee a lot of competition. A life insurance policy was bought for her which I decided was too expensive so cancelled it. Before I could get her a replacement, she passed away. I'll never forget the last time I saw her alive. I was crossing the Carquinez bridge and had to stop driving and I broke into tears. I told my wife, May, that I had a feeling it would be the last time I would see Nellie alive. It was. Nellie did go to high school and I think she may have worked in a department store but I can't really remember anything more.
My parents were the most thoughtful parents anyone could wish for, May Their Souls Rest In Peace. My mother worked all night washing clothes and was a slave to her family of 8. She would make one large Chala (loaf of bread) for the Sabbath and three little loaves for the three boys. When the boys misbehaved, she saved the spanking for my father, who had an awful time catching up with us, but we were all a happy family. Sometimes we had other relatives living with us in the house such as Brina and Rubin and their family and my Aunt Fanny who married Simon Forman.
My father made the clothes for the boys between customers. When he started a garment for brother Ben, by the time it was finished, it would be fit for me or my other brother Mickey.
My mother had surgery in 1924 or 1924 for breast cancer. They removed one breast and the lymph glands but she recovered nicely without further problems. Nathan Lazarus and Lillian Baylinson (now James) were at her bedside on Oak Street in Napa when she passed away. Everyone else was in San Jose to attend the wedding of Mickey Singer.
When Simon and Fanny Forman and I went into partnership in the "Turlock Bargain House", we rented a "Cannery Cottage" for $88 per month. (See the transcription of Joe's video tape). I always helped Aunt Fanny and was such a devoted "father" that Leonard Forman called me daddy. I always helped bathe the baby in 1921 and she was "Love Eifie Forman" (according to recently received birth certificate). However, on the fatal day, Aunt Fanny decided to bathe the little girl herself. She gave the baby a can of baby powder to play with and the top came off and the powder went into the infants throat. The doctor said it was no problem as it would go through her; however, fate didn't play it that way. Uncle Simon, Aunt Fanny and I watched the child gasping for breath. Unfortunately, or by fate, none of thought to take the baby to the hospital and, in the wee hours of the morning, she stopped breathing. The next day, I took her in the back of my car and, with the cooperation of either or both, she was buried in Fresno. I don't remember her name (as mentioned above, it was offiially "Love Eifie" but some relatives think she may have been called Rebecca. Her death certificate states that her name was "Sarah R. Forman".)
To clear up the Turlock story, our first store, really a junk yard, was on Rider Street. The 40x100' building was on Broadway, I think, and it was the one called the Turlock Bargain House.
I think that Simon and Fanny lived in Fresno for about a year, probably around 1920, before we went into partnership in Turlock. Their baby girl died in Turlock around 1922 and I took her little body in the back of my car to Fresno for burial.
The building May and I bought in Napa was at 1032 Main Street and was called the Reavis Hotel. It had several stores at street level and we converted the building name to MAJOR for MAY and JOE.
Fanny (Fratka Lewin) arrived alone in Leeds around 1910.
In answer to the question of how, after entering the USA illegally in 1917, I then became legal for naturalization, it was my brother Ben Lazarus who saw an article in a newspaper which mentioned amnesty and he alerted me to apply.
Ben left Toronto first in 1916. I followed in 1917. Mimi, Bee, Mickey and Nellie migrated with my folks in 1920.
That funny picture of Bee in a dress covered with flags was for a costume party in Toronto.
While Morris and Annie Levi were in Hanford buying sacks, etc., in the earliest days, they went into partnership with a scoundrel and they lived in a "covered wagon". One night, their partner stole all of their money. The family still in Toronto rescued them by "chipping in" some dollars to get them started again. I suppose they sent the money by Western Union telegraph.
Morris and Dave Levi rented a horse and wagon for me out of their Fresno business and loaned me $5 to buy junk which I then sold to them. I don't remember just when it was that they went into partnership nor exactly when or why they broke up but I do know that even when Morris was in Fresno with Dave, he still owned the furniture business in Hanford which I managed for a while around 1920 or 1921 before I moved to Turlock to go into parntership with Simon Forman.
The following narrative is a transcription from an audio tape recorded by Joseph Lazarus on January 9, 1989. It is an accumulation of memory tidbits to answer a great many questions asked Joe by your editor, Hillel Lazarus.
May and I left on our honeymoon on August 1, 1923, the day after we were married.
It doesn't seem right that Dave Singer could have had a Bar Mitzvoh in Turlock because we had no Rabbi there in 1923. It was probably either in Oakland or in Los Angeles. (Dave's photographs wre taken in Turlock. Joe says that the Singers also lived in Oakland for a short time). (Was there a Synagogue in Modesto in 1923?).
Reuben Levy, and probably Brina and their three children, left Toronto for California about six to twelve months after I did. Probably in 1917 or 1918.
Simon and Fannie first came to Fresno where Simon and Joe collected junk in the country for Morris and Dave Levi. This was probably around 1919. A year or two later, Joe and the Formans moved to Turlock where they had their own partnership.
Joe moved to Fresno in 1917. He recalls that, shortly before then, Morris and Annie Levi had lost a young son due to "Bright's Disease". This couldn't have been their son Bennie as he didn't die until 1918. While in Fresno, Joe lived with Morris and Annie.
Ben and Joe Lazarus both shared the hobby of photography and took pictures of pictures and miniaturized them down to the size of postage stamps.
Joe remembers, from long long ago, that there was some talk that Shmuel Lazar Paltiel (Sam Lazarus) and Annie Paltiel (Annie Levi) had one Paltiel brother that they had lost track of. That is all that Joe recalls. This could have been the ancestor of the Lebwols who went to Israel around 1947 or so.
In Russia, the Jews were Orthodox. Sam Lazarus laid "Tiffilin" and went to Schul (the Synagogue) twice a day.
Joe doesn't know who the second lady is in the circa 1880 photo from Iwie.
Joe can't recall his brother Mickey ever living in Turlock. Mickey met Louise while on a trip to the Russian River in Northern California.
The "Smiling Joe" photographs were taken for use on the business cards of Joseph Lazarus in the 1923-25 period, for his Oakland furniture store.
Joe and May took a trip to Leeds in the 1950's and met Alf Levy there. At that time, Alf had a hairdressing salon (barbershop in the U.S.A.) in front of his house. In my previous recording, said Joe, I said that Rivel wanted financial help after her husband, Mattis Levi, died. I was probably wrong and maybe he was just very ill.
Joe Lazarus lived in the Fresno/Hanford area for about three years and then moved to Turlock for another three years before he married May Abrahams.
Dave Levi worked hard to sell Israeli bonds and to raise money for the Labor Party of Israel. Joe and May attended a big dinner Dave gave in Fresno where a lot of money was raised for those purposes.
In Turlock, Joe cut the hair for Simon, Eli, Harry, Lou and David Singer. It was a free service. When Joe asked them to chip in so he could go to a barbershop to get his hair cut, they refused so he quit cutting their hair. Then they each had to pay a barber far more to get their hair cut in the future.
All through 1988, Joseph Lazarus wrote many letters to Hillel Lazarus, with the help of Cindy Lazarus Kirkland, to answer familial question. Those answers, many one-liners, are edited here and annotated.
The family left Russia due to oppression in general and for health reasons also. Morris Levy had respiratory trouble so his motivation was always to get to California.
The date of migration for the Lazarus family was 1899 (but Sam Lazarus may have emigrated first in or around 1897).
Shmuel Lazar Paltiel (Sam Lazarus) and (Chae-) Malka Lewin (Annie Lazarus) were married in Devenichok in 1895. Moshe Lewin (Morris Levi) and Annie Paltiel/Lazarus were married in Leeds in 1907.
Morris, Annie and Bennie Levi, David Levi and Sam and Ben Lazarus were all in Toronto before Joe arrived there in May 1911 with mary Levi (and son Saul Levi).
Joe and Ben Lazarus had their Bar Mitzvohs in Leeds and then got work permits.
Joe and Mary traveled on the steamship "Laurentic". Other family embers may have migrated on steamships named "Mauritania" or "Teutonic".
Sam Lazarus was discharged from the Russian Army in 1891. Nellie Lazarus was born in Leeds in 1906 and died in Oakland in 1930.
Fannie Levy, who at the time was Fratka Lewin, migrated alone to Leeds after the older Lewin siblings were established there. She was the youngest. She probably moved to Leeds when she was about 16 or 17 which would have been around 1910 or 1911.
Joe never heard of "Perez Levi", supposedly a Lewin brother of Mattis Levi that showed up on some old documents of Mattis in Leeds. Perez could have been invented for document purposes or could have been an incorrect transliteration of Pesach Lewin.
May Abrams Lazarus was a "30" person. She was born on October 30, 1892, married Joe on July 30, 1923 and died January 30, 1986.
Rueben Levy was a tailor, cutter and baster.
The Lazarus family, at some point, lived in the Kensington Park section of Toronto. (See the maps of Toronto in the Geography section of this family history book).
May Abrams (later May Lazarus) moved from Scotland, where she was born, to Ohio and then to West Virginia and to California. She was born as Martha Abrahams but, somewhere along the way, became May Abrams. Her Jewish name may have been Malka. She was born in Glasgow, Scotland on 30 October 1892 to Nathan Abrahams, who was a tailor, and Fanny (Solomon) Abrahams. Nathan and Fanny were born in Pultusk, Russian-Poland in March of 1866. Fanny died in California in the 1940's, well past her 100th birthday. See Lazarus section in this book for a photograph of May, Nathan and Fanny.
The photograph of Joe, "Bee" and Sam Lazarus in the Toronto cleaning/dying/tailor shop was probably at 363 Dundas Street. Simon and Fanny Forman were married there.
In 1960, Mimi Goldberg and Joe and May Lazarus visited Israel and were told to meet Bella and Shlomo Ashman, which they did. However, nobody seemed to know how the two families were related.
When Aunt Fannie was in a rset home and was visited by Joe, she told him that her mother's name was "Sarah". (This fits wiht the "Sarah Trotsky" information from Barry Levi in England but the alternate name for her, Rivka Davidovitch, hasn't been verified).
Informational tidbits from Millie "Mimi" (Lazarus) Goldberg, 1988
I remember our shop at 363 Dundas Street in Toronto and that Simon Forman married Fannie Levy in the back of the shop at a very gala affair. The shop had a large space and we moved some things around to make room for the wedding. Aunt Fannie lived with the Lazarus family for a while before she married Simon and, perhaps, for a while thereafter.
Eli Singer and Itka and their three boys lived out on the western edge of Toronto. (See map section of this book for exact locations).
The British form of the ENglish language caused me to be teased at school in Toronto and the local kids pulled my hair and dipped it into the inkwells on the school desks.
Besides myself, Joe Lazarus was also in the Jewish Volunteer Group around 1916 but I can't remember much about the organization except that we worked as a civic duty. I also recall tha another person in the group was named Levine.
While in Toronto, I worked for a while in the offices of the Davidson Gold Mining Company.
1891 RUSSIAN DISCHARGE PAPER OF SCHMUEL LAZAR PALTIEL (SAMUEL LAZARUS)
[Military discharge certificate.]
INCOMPLETE AND LOOSE TRANSLATION: "BY THE DRAFTING COURT, 20TH DEPARTMENT #628. DEPOSITION, O YA K. ACCORDING TO MILITARY DUTIES, PALTIEL, SHMUEL LAYZER, GERSHELOV OF HEBREW RELIGIOUS COMMITTEE, CAME TO THE DUTIES OF THE MILITARY SERVICE WHEN CALLED IN 1891 AND WAS PLACED IN THE RANK OF PRIVATE SECOND CLASS. GIVEN BY THE OSHMANSKY DECREE OF THE MILITARY SERVICE." SIGNED AND WITNESSED. SCRIPT NOT TRANSLATABLE.
SAM AND ANN LAZARUS IN LEEDS AROUND 1900 WITH SONS JOE AT 2½ AND BEN AT AGE 4.
BEN, MILLIE "MIMI" AND JOE LAZARUS IN LEEDS, ENGLAND AROUND 1903