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Bierfass, Bykov, Drozhanski, Fisch, Freifeld, Gärtner, Goldsmith, Hamer, Hoch, Lauberfeld, Lischner, Löwenthal, Mond, Orling, Rothstein, Schnell, Tepper, Tobias, Turner, Puryc

Bircza area, Drohobych, Dynów, Jawornik Ruski, Khyriv (Chyrów), Korzeniec, Leszczawa Dolna, Mrzygłód, Nowa Wieś, Przemyśl, Rybotycze, Sanok, Vinnitsa, Żohatyń [Poland, Ukraine, and Russia]
New York City [United States]


replanting roots genealogy details

if you recognise any details or have information to contribute, please contact reproots@reproots.org

MOND interests

Unfortunately, I know very little about my Mond ancestors, even though this represents my direct paternal line. My grandfather recalls that they were an affluent family in Bircza, Poland, where he grew up. His grandfather is the farthest back in my family tree: Mosze Mond, born c. 1860 to 1870 and died in 1940. He had four children, who all took their surnames from his wife, Sima Löwenthal (presumably since they never registered their marriage in a civil institution): Lea, Israel, Esther, and Dawid. Israel moved to Argentina in the 1920s and supposedly died there. Lea married Hersz Orling (from the city of Przemyśl) and had a family in the Bircza area, where the whole family was located. (Mosze lived in Korzeniec, near Bircza. Most of the family stayed in Korzeniec, although some settled in neighbouring villages.) Esther married a Lauberfeld, and had a family, too. After her mother Sima’s death, she and her brother Dawid both received the family house, which they split. Dawid, my great-grandfather, married Mindl (Mina) Tepper, and they are the parents of my grandfather and his siblings.

This is all the information I have on my family’s connexion to the Monds. I have more information on Monds in Bircza, mentioned in various lists I have obtained, available at Bircza Online!. Click here to see Bircza Online! and access the lists.

LÖWENTHAL interests

Although Löwenthal is the origin of my surname (the Polish government changed it to Lewental after the War), I know very little about this family, as well.

We do know that his paternal grandmother, Sima Löwenthal, came from this family, although the paucity of others with this surname in the Bircza area suggests that she came from another town, possibly Przemyśl. My great-grandfather and his siblings legally bore their mother’ surname, since (as explained by Suzan Wynne and detailed in her book, The Galitzianers: The Jews of Galicia, 1772–1918) some Jews failed to register their religious marriage in a civil institution; thus, Dawid wrote his name as Dawid Löwenthal-Mond recte Niger. My grandfather also remembers that when his grandmother died in the mid-1920s, his father and his paternal aunt Esther Löwenthal, received the family house. My grandfather grew up with his cousins - the house was split between the Löwenthal-Mond and Lauberfeld Families.

BIERFASS interests

For many years, the information my family knew about our Bierfass ancestors was limited. However, through the miracle of the Internet, we came into contact with others searching Bierfass in the vicinity of Żohatyń and Jawornik Ruski (or possibly in Niżankowice), where our family lived. Given the fact that the Bierfass name is uncommon, such a close geographical connexion prompted a renewed examination of old documents, which revealed the name of a common relative. Unfortunately, the link has come too late to share with a surviving relative who died just six months earlier in late 2009. Therein lies the bitter irony of modern technology and the Internet, whose value and power make possible the discovery of relatives—but more often than not, too late to share with the survivors themselves.

Dawid Bierfass had five children: Szajndel, Regina, two daughters whose names are not remembered, and a son, Meilech (Elimelech). Szajndel married Majer Israel (Meʾir Yisraʾel) Tepper, the grandfather of my grandfather. Regina married Aron Schnell and had five children: a daughter born in 1896, Moti (born in 1906) and Szmuel, both of whom married before the War, Icyk Hersz, and Josef. Of the other daughters, one married a Friefeld from Żohatyń (near Bircza), and had a daughter named Feige, who emigrated to the United States in May 1911; the other sister married into the Hoch family and had a son, who survived the Holocaust, but was murdered by Poles shortly thereafter. When Feige Freifeld emigrated to the United States in 1911, she arrived together with a cousin, Gittel Hoch, the daughter of Moses Hoch, from Jawornik Ruski. However, it is uncertain whether Moses Hoch was Feige’s uncle, or perhaps another relative.

Only in 2010, did we discover that Szajndel had a younger brother named Meilech (Elimelech) Bierfass (born 01 Jan 1882), who married Etl Dyler (born in 1891, the daughter of Asher Lemel Dyler and brother of Tsvi Dyler, who survived the Holocaust). They had several children: Malia-Brendl (born 1913), Chana (born 1915), Markus, Zisl (born 1922), Shaindl (born 1925), and Shava or Sara (born 1927). Except for Markus, they all perished in July 1941 in Jawornik Ruski, where the Bierfass family had originated. Markus survived the Holocaust believing that his entire family had perished. He and his family immigrated to Israel, where he died in 2009—six months before our families discovered each other and before he could learn of the existence of his surviving first cousin in Sweden, Jakób Tepper.

Other Bierfass relatives, namely the Hamer and Turner families also lived in Żohatyń or Jawornik Ruski. These families were somehow closely connected, for Esther described Szajndel as being of the ‘Bierfass, Hamer, and Turner houses’. Further proof of a connexion emerged from the immigration records of Feige Freifeld and Gittel Hoch, who listed their destination as the home of their cousin, Sara (Sure) Turner, on Rivington St in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

GÄRTNER interests

Josephine Gartner,
unknown date

The farthest that my Gärtner family tree goes back is Ari Gärtner and his sister Matel (Molly) Gärtner, in south-eastern Poland around Sanok, near Przemyśl. Matel married Jonas (Jojne) Tepper and had four children. The descendents of Jonas and Matel are discussed in great detail in the summary of Tepper interests.

Ari Gärtner married and had Sigmund Gartner (né Gärtner). Sigmund married his cousin Josephine Tapper (née Tepper) (Matel’s daughter, née 1880). Sigmund, Josephine, and the latter’s two sisters all emigrated to the USA around 1902. Sigmund, a painter of fine murals, caught lead poisoning from the paint and died in in New York City, 1922. Josephine faced adversity in raising a large family of six children alone, but succeeded. After her children grew, she re-married in Miami, Florida, but passed away a little over a year later, on 13 March 1938.

Basically, this is all I know about my Gärtners. I am trying to trace the family farther back. My Gärtners were found in the area of Sanok, Poland, before they emigrated to the United States.

LAUBERFELD interests

Apologies; I have yet to complete this section.

LISCHNER and FISCH interests

My knowledge of my Lischner (or Liszner) relatives is limited, and based mostly on Pages of Testimony that Nahmad Lishner submitted to Yad Vashem in the 1950s. I know that my direct ancestor Jonas Tepper’s sister, Feige Tepper married Majer (Meir) Fisch, and had at least two children: Esther, Sara Tsirl/Tsurl, and Mendel. Esther Fisz married Salomon Leib (Shlomo Aryeh) Lischner from Tyrawa Woloska, near Sanok, and they had four sons in Dynów: Isak, Mechel (Mikhaʾel), Nachman (01 Apr 1901–23 May 1993), and Hersch Meilech (Tsvi Elimelekh). Isak (1896–1942) married Ita Knor and had Rachel and Yisrael. Mechel (1899–1942) married Schifera Landau (c. 1906 to 1908–1941) from Tyrawa Woloska and had a daughter, Lea (Lusha), in 1936. Hersch never married, but moved to Przemyśl. These three sons and their father all worked as merchants until the War, when they all perished, at the Bełżec concentration camp, in Tyrawa Woloska, or in Lviv, Ukraine. Nachman Z”L survived the war and moved to Israel with his wife Hadasah (Yudit) Hudis, where he passed away on 23 May 1993. Nachman had one daughter, Rivqah, who died of cancer in July 1998, but she is survived by her husband and children who live in Israel.

Mendel Fisz married Malka Elster and had four children: Icchak, Naftali, Peisach, and Feige, all of whom apparently perished in the Holocaust.

Jonas and Feige Tepper had a brother who married and had at least two sons: Shiye (or Shaye) Tepper, who married Malle Wöfling (related to our family through a maternal line) and David Tepper. Both brothers may have emigrated to the United States. I am tracing the origins of the Lischner and Fisz families in Dynów and their connexion to my Tepper family.

ORLING interests

On the Löwenthal side of my family tree, a Lea Löwenthal, who was born c. 1890, married a Hersch Orling from Przemyśl. They had the following children: Mendel, Israel, Rywka, Sara, and Jakow. In 1941, when my grandfather escaped eastwards to Russia, he stopped at Rywka’s house. He recalls that she was married and had a baby. However, he does not remember the husband or the gender of the baby.

As noted, my Orlings were centred around Przemyśl, Poland. Because this surname is so rare, however, I would be interested to hear from anyone researching this family. Furthermore, I know another individual searching Orling from south-eastern Poland, so please contact me—even if your names do not match.

SCHNELL interests

The little we know about this family is as follows: Aron Schnell (possibly Sznel) had married Regina Bierfass, the daughter of Dawid and sister of my grandfather’s maternal grandmother Szajndel. Aron and Regina had five children: a daughter born in 1896, Moti (born in 1906) and Szmuel, both of whom married before the War, Icyk Hersz, and Josef. The Schnells lived in Leszczawa Dolna, a small village around Bircza, Poland.

FREIFELD interests

Feige Freifeld,
unknown date

One of the daughters of Dawid Bierfass married into the Friefeld family from Żohatyń (near Bircza), and had a daughter named Feige (b. c. 1893), who emigrated to the United States in May 1911. From the immigration records, it is clear that Feige travelled together with a cousin, Gittel Hoch, the daughter of Moses Hoch. However, it is uncertain whether Moses Hoch was Feige’s uncle, or perhaps another relative. They listed their ultimate destination as the home of their cousin, Sara (Sure) Turner, on Rivington St in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Unfortunately, I know little more than this about the Friefelds.

HAMER, TURNER, and HOCH interests

An old letter mentions that my grandfather’s maternal grandmother, Szajndel Bierfass was from the ‘Bierfass, Hamer, and Turner houses’. We know little more than this, other than the fact that the Hamer and Turner families were found in Jawornik Ruski and perhaps also Żohatyń, near Bircza, Poland.

One of Szajndel’s sisters married into the Hoch family and had a son who survived the Holocaust, but was murdered by Poles in 1945 or 1946. Another Hoch, Gittel, the daughter of Moses, emigrated to the United States from Jawornik Ruski in May 1911, together with her cousin Feige Freifeld. They listed their ultimate destination as the home of their cousin, Sara (Sure) Turner, on Rivington St in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. However, it is still unclear whether Gittel’s father was Feige’s uncle or another relative, as well as how exactly the Turner in New York fits into the family tree. We know no other details.


Until recently, my family did not know much about our Oberländer relatives, since it is the family of my
Artur Abraham Oberländer,
c. 1950s
great-great-aunt’s late husband, Artur Abraham Oberländer (né Oberlender). He married my grandfather’s maternal aunt, Esther Tepper, after the Second World War. They lived for a while in Walbrzych (formerly Waldenburg), Poland, before moving to Malmö, Sweden. Artur passed away on in 1991, and Esther followed him in 2002.

Before the War, Artur had a family in Drohobycz, Ukraine—a wife, Klara (née Augarten) and child, Michał—but they were killed by Ukrainians. He served in the Soviet army during the War, and then went to Poland, where he met my great-great-aunt.

Through the Internet, my family came into contact with relatives of Artur’s paternal family, revealing a large family that lives mostly in Israel. This discovery is testament to some of the wonderful powers of modern technology to restore links severed by the Holocaust. Artur’s mother was named Klara Rothstein, and she had a brother named Isak Samuel Rothstein. All of the Oberländers appear to have lived in Drohobych (Drohobycz), present-day Ukraine, but it is possible that his mother’s family was from Berlin.

on josef PURYC

In 1941, my grandfather Jonas Lewental (né Löwenthal) fled east from the invading Germans, working the summer in the town of Zolochew. He worked as a zoötechnic (veterinarian / animal husbandry) until the Germans approached the city. While there, he met a school-mate, Josef Puryc, who was, in my grandfather’ words, ‘an excellent student- even scored higher than me; he was the top of the class’. Josef had lost his documents and certificates and my grandfather vouched for him, saving Josef’s life by getting him a good job in that terrible time. On the night that the Germans were closing in, and the last trains were leaving, Josef ran back to my grandfather’s place and warned him, thus returning the favour, and saving my grandfather. They survived many troubles, escaping from many dangerous situations. Eventually arriving in Volgograd (Stalingrad), they took a boat to Perm (Molotov) and then to Pervo-Uralsk. Around there, however, they separated temporarily (Puryc had gotten in trouble with local anti-Semites) and were supposed to rendez-vous in Ekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk), but Puryc never showed up. My grandfather has a number of theories about what possibly happened to Puryrc:

  1. Puryc was possibly killed by someone angry over his popularity. Although Puryc went first (they split up so nobody would suspect them of running away or they would surely have been killed), he never met my grandfather Jonas at Ekaterinburg, and could have been killed on the trip;
  2. Puryc just couldn’t find him. They had a back-up arrangement to meet in Cheljabinsk, but perhaps the chaos of the War separated the two friends;
  3. Puryc could have been captured by soldiers, and taken to Uzbekistan to train for the army (my grandfather has also suspected that perhaps Puryc went willingly); or
  4. Puryc fought in the war for the Russians, married, and had children, supposedly, in Poltava. However, this is hearsay from a man who supposedly knew him during the war years. My grandfather believes this to be the most likely outcome.

Obviously, I do not know what happened to Puryc, but he was a good friend of my grandfather’s and we would very much like to know what happened to him. If you think this sounds familiar, please contact me.

pages 1 | 2 | 3

If you have researched or know someone from any of the above cities or villages, please contact me. There is a chance you might stil be able to help me. All names are, of course, subject to different spellings: like Lischner (I can think of a few: Liszner, Lischner, Lishner), Löwenthal, Oberländer, and others. If any names come close to some of yours, please let me know.


general information

specific surname interests

specific location interests

19. Bircza area interests
(separate page)

specific location interests

note: this page is best viewed using UTF-8 encoding.
D Gershon Lewental, PhD
26 Jan 1997–19 Oct 2011