Sunday, December 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #52: My Schwartz Family from Ungvar


I'm honoring Great-grandpa Herman Yehuda Schwartz and Great-grandma Hana (or Hani) Simonowitz Schwartz in this final post of the "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" series, a wonderful weekly challenge by Amy Johnson Crow that has attracted hundreds of participating blogs.

My Schwartz family was based in the market town of Ungvar, Hungary, which is now known as Uzhorod, Ukraine. It's a busy town at the base of the Carpathian mountains that passed from one empire or nation to another as the map of Eastern Europe was redrawn again and again in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Three of Hani and Herman's grown children left Ungvar before 1906 to make their homes in New York: Sam (originally called Simon), his younger brother Tivadar (hi, Grandpa Teddy!), and their younger sister Mary. I know, from photos and postcards that have been passed down to me, that the Schwartz siblings in America stayed in touch with their family in Ungvar year after year.
The patriarch of the Schwartz family, Herman, died sometime before 1926, when his granddaughter Viola was born. Matriarch Hani died in the 1930s, after teaching her granddaughter Viola the basics of sewing and cooking and baking.

Tragically, the Ungvar-based Schwartz siblings and their spouses and children were all victims of the Holocaust. The only survivor was Viola (my Grandpa Teddy's niece), who returned to her hometown after the war and built a new life in Ukraine and, later, in Israel. This final post in the "52 Ancestors" series is dedicated with love to Viola and her family.

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