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The tale of an American Jewish family


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INTRODUCTION: a word from the webkeeper

In 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 Clevelanders.

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.

above: the story that started this project
From Violet Spevack's "Cavalcade" column in the September 19, 2008 Cleveland Jewish News


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 Lisa Klausner, of the fourth generation, who had returned home.

I can't imagine finding a more interesting family or one better to work with.  

Arnold Berger, webkeeper 
originally written in January 2009


click for  a larger image

1926 the family in Sam and Minnie's home in Glenville
(see a larger captioned image)

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