31 March 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Yetta Kurman, Montefiore Cemetery, Queens, NY

Here lies
Yasne daughter of Yisrael
Died 12 Sivan 5699
May her soul be bound in eternal life
DIED MAY 30, 1939
Yetta Kurman, wife of Harry Kurman, emigrated from Labun, Volhynia Gubernia, Russian Empire in 1909 accompanied by four of her children.[1] Her husband and two eldest sons left Russia for the United States more than three years earlier.[2]

Yetta and her family initially settled in Manhattan on the  Lower East Side. By 1925, they lived in Brooklyn.[3]

Yetta's death certificate, informed by her son Frank, indicated that her father was "Saul Waxenberg." Her tombstone shows her father's name as Yisrael. It may be that this is not as contradictory as it seems. Srul is a typical Yiddish nickname for Yisrael. It is possible that Frank Anglicized his grandfather's name as Saul, since this name also started with an S sound.

In addition to the Waxenberg connected on her death certificate, on her manifest, Jasne (Yetta) said her closest relative left behind was her uncle Mottel Wachenberg in Lubin. There are others with the surname Waxenberg buried in the First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot in Montefiore Cemetery: Dora Alperin (nee Waxenberg) and Louis Waxenberg. None of these had fathers with the same first names.

Yetta's mother's name on the death certificate is listed as Sarah Kalika. While there are no Kalikas in any of the FLPBA burial plots, the surname is known from Labun. Other known immigrants from Labun shared the Kalika surname. In addition, Anna Moiseyevna Kalika, a Holocaust survivor from Labun who lived in Israel after WWII, wrote some sections of the "Book of Memory; Suffering of Jews that Died Duringthe Nazi Occupation; History of Polonnoye Jews(Ukraine)," a yizkor book that includes remembrances about the town of Polonnoye and surrounding smaller communities, including Labun.

Unfortunately, I do not know how or if Yetta was related to these other Waxenbergs or Kalikas from Labun.

Yetta's grave is located in Block 89, Gate 156N, Line 4L, Grave 4, First Lubiner Progressive Benevolent Association plot.

1. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 December 2010 ), manifest, S.S. Volturno, Rotterdam to New York, arriving 12 November 1909, list 8, line 10, Jasne Kurman; citing NARA Microfilm Series T715; roll 1372.
2. "New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 December 2010 ), manifest, S.S. Lucania, Liverpool to New York, arriving 28 July 1906, list 14, line 5, Hersch Kurmann; citing NARA Microfilm Series T715; roll 746.
3. 1925 New York State Census, Kings County,New York, population schedule, Brooklyn, assembly district 18, page 18, entries 3-5, Harry,Yetta and Frank Kurman, and entries 41-43, Louis Kurman family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 March 2015); New York State Archives, Albany.


  1. I have been reading isolated posts of yours - they're a wealth of information for a non-jewish writer doing research on NYC jewish families from a computer in Halifax Canada.
    (I am researching a young man from the bronx named Charles Aronson, born 1912 in NYC, who was the first person ever to a life-saving injection of antibiotics, 75 years ago in NYC, October 16 1940.)
    I've now started reading all your posts from first to the latest.

    1. My goodness! Thank you, Michael. I hope I can keep your interest through all that (!). Charles Aronson's experience sounds like a fascinating story.


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