Saturday, June 8, 2019

Remembering Great Uncle Albert's Life of Service

Sadie Klein and Albert Farkas on their wedding day in 1921
My great uncle Albert (Bertalan) Farkas (1888-1956) believed in giving back.

Born in Nagy Bereg, Hungary, as the second-oldest son of Moritz Farkas and Leni Kunstler Farkas, Albert arrived at Ellis Island on April 4, 1903, just a month shy of his 15th birthday. Albert was the oldest of four siblings traveling without adults from Bremen to join their parents, who had gone ahead to establish the family in New York City.

Not only a devoted family man, Uncle Albert built a successful business and volunteered his time to help others--locally, nationally, and internationally.

Giving Back in New York City

Among the founders and early leaders of the Ferencz Kossuth Hungarian Literary, Sick and Benevolent Society, a landsmanshaftn aiding Hungarian immigrants in New York City, Albert met his wife Sadie (later Sari) Klein (1901-1982) there. Decades later, when Albert died, the group honored his long years of service with a special meeting dedicated to his memory.

Albert spent his working years in the clothing business. He was a designer and then an entrepreneur, owning a booming coat manufacturing firm. He would regularly give coats and clothing to his nieces, a much-appreciated gesture especially during the Depression years. Often, he and his wife would graciously volunteer to host the Farkas family's Thanksgiving dinner or Passover Seder--a very big undertaking, given the dozens of people (of all ages) who attended!

Giving Back, Nationally and Internationally

In addition, Albert was quite active in U.S. and worldwide Jewish advocacy and aid groups. He served as a delegate to the American Jewish Congress convention in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1937. There, he learned that the plight of European Jews was far worse than generally known at the time. Thanks to the family tree minutes of December, 1937, I know he talked with passion about the worsening world situation to keep his sisters and brothers fully informed.

During 1938, Albert served as Vice-President of the American Jewish Congress and was on the ballot to become a National Delegate of that group (according to family tree minutes of June, 1938).

Giving Back to His Industry

Albert was also a long-time leader of the American Cloak & Suit Manufacturers Association. He was President and, later, an executive board member, helping others in the industry with advice and guidance based on his years of experience.

When my great uncle Albert Farkas died on June 28, 1956, the trade association paid for a memorial notice in the newspaper of record (see above). Albert is buried in the Kossuth Society's plot at Mount Hebron Cemetery in New York.
So many family members have spoken with great affection and great respect for great uncle Albert Farkas. This is my tribute to his life of dedication and service.

1 comment:

  1. How easy it would have been to say, “I made it out” and just move on. But what Albert did was truly a sign of gratitude. Lovely tribute.