1880, America, with a population of 50 million,
was home to only 500,000 Jews. The great wave of
immigration from Eastern Europe that began in
1881 would bring here about 2.5 million Jews.
Cleveland's experience was similar. Our Jewish
population rose from around 3,500 in 1880 to
more than 80,000 in 1920.
When a Jewish American, like me, rises at a
family gathering to thank their ancestors who had the
courage and wisdom to come here (as I do above), chances are better than
80 percent that the persons being
praised had arrived during those years.
Thus, this site's Generations section,
which began with
Simpson Thorman should have an example of a family from that
great wave of Jewish immigration. My own grandparents had
come to the US then - my mother's parents in 1894 from
Lomz (today in Poland) and my father's parents in 1895 from
Chernowitz (today in Romania). But they weren't
Our "example" family must have come to Cleveland and
stayed here. Then I read a Violet Spevack
"Cavalcade" column in the
Cleveland Jewish News. It would start me on a
journey I will always remember.
Hoping that this might be
a good family to illustrate this wave of Jewish immigration, I called Judy and
Fred Klotzman, who were mentioned in the story.
Then I met Fred, whose mother Mary was the oldest
daughter of Sam and Minnie
Klausner. He readily agreed to share the
family's story and his own on these pages. Soon others began to help,
especially Carol Schonberg who had collected
information and photos for the reunion, Gene
Meieran for the family list, and then
Paula Klausner, of the fourth generation, who
had returned home.
I can't imagine finding
a more interesting family or one better to
originally written in January 2009