THIS Sol was one of the few Goldsztern family members to survive the Shoah. My grandfather Sol told me that his brother Yudel Moshe’s son Sol had immigrated to Palestine in about 1936 and that he later came to the US. My cousins Sharon Suckman Kimelstein, Lorraine Eisner Fitelson and Maxine Eisner Pollack remembered hearing of him and even meeting him once. In the early 2020’s I had this email conversation with Sharon and Lorraine:
Sharon Kimelstein: Louise, Grandpa Sol had a nephew, a survivor who lived in Brooklyn. He had a wife whose first husband and children died in the Holocaust. Do you know their names? Millions and millions of senseless acts of violence.
Lorraine Eisner Fitelson: Grandpa’s nephew emigrated from Israel. His name was Sol Goldstern. He went to the Workman’s Circle and asked if anyone knew his uncle and it just so happened that Grandpa’s neighbor was there and took him to Grandpa. He was an antique dealer or something like that and changed his name to Goldstein to be the same as Grandpa. Until he came to Brooklyn, Grandpa didn’t know he had escaped from Russia or that he was alive. At least that’s the story as I remember it. Or maybe that was another nephew, but I never met any other.
From the work done for me in Belarus in 2019 by researcher Yuri Dorn, we know that Yudel Moshe’s wife was Sore Elka Voiskovsky; further research through JewishGen.org turned up a birth registration for Shloima Goldshtern, son of Yudel Movsha (“Movsha” is a Russian variant of “Moshe”) and Sora Elka, daughter of Shloima.
I am more than reasonably certain that this is the right family, since we know from Yuri Dorn’s research that Sora Elka’s father was Shloima; perhaps our Shloima was even named for him. Further, the father Yudel Movsha was registered in Terespol, the home of the Goldsztern family. In the Russian Empire, people were required to register where they were born; they may or may not have continued living there.
On the Israel Genealogy Research Association (IGRA) site, I located the public record of a name change announced in the Palestine Post on October 12, 1944: “Szloma Goldshtern” changed his name to “Shelomo Goldshtein.”
His nationality was listed as “Palestinian,” and his address was in Tel Aviv (though not recorded specifically). I can’t prove that this is our guy, but “Goldshtern” was an uncommon name.
Also on the IGRA site I found a divorce record for Malka Kaplan Goldshtern, daughter of Haim Aharon and a housewife, and Shloima, son of Moshe Goldshtern and a carpenter, dated April 20, 1944, six months before Shlomo’s name change. Their address was Moshav Rishpin near Hertzliya and the divorce was granted in Kfar Sava. For both, their community was listed as “Ashkenazi;” apparently the Jewish Agency kept track of Jewish ethnicity. Both were 31 years old.
I should note that many people from Terespol and Brest in our family were in the building trades like Shloima, as carpenters or painters. For example, Grandpa Sol’s brother Meier was also a carpenter, and his brother Shimon was a painter. While living in Brest before immigrating, Grandpa Sol himself worked as a painter, according to his ship manifest. But he told me he didn’t like being on a ladder and spent his working career as a milliner, instead.
Using all this information, in February 2021 I filled out a search request on the Central Zionist Archives website. After a few months I received documentation of Shloima and Malka’s immigration to Palestine; they arrived in Haifa on January 20, 1935, on the SS Polonia and both were 21 years old.
I also found an article in the Jewish Telegraph Agency Archives, from July 11, 1933, entitled “SS Polonia, Trans-Atlantic Boat, to Start Fortnightly Constanza-to-Haifa Journey.” The article provides detailed information about the route that Shloima and Malka likely took to get to Palestine a year and a half later:
The S.S. Polonia, now on the trans-Atlantic run, will be put on a new route between Constanza, Roumania, and Haifa, Palestine, starting in September, Roman Kutylovski, head of the New York office of the Gdynia-American line told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency yesterday. The Polonia will be by far the biggest ship on this run and will add greatly to the comfort of persons going to Palestine either from Europe or America. A fortnightly service on the Polonia is planned by the Gdynia-American Line, according to Mr. Kutylovski.
At the present time most persons who go to Palestine from Europe or America start at Gdynia, near Danzig in the Polish Corridor, and proceed by rail to Constanza, whence they embark on one of the ships making irregular trips to the Near East.
According to the new arrangement, passengers buying through tickets will be allowed a long stay in Europe before going to Constanza to board the Polonia. There will be a kosher kitchen aboard the Polonia, Mr. Kutylovski stated. The ship will fly the Polish flag.
We now have more of a picture of these important transitions in Shloima/Shelomo’s life, and so we know a bit more about one of the few survivors of the Goldshtern family. I have not yet succeeded in finding him in the US. No one seems to know when he arrived in the United States, though most likely it was after the war. However, by then immigrants were also arriving by airplane and there is considerably less identifying information on the passenger manifests than there had been earlier in the 20th century. We also don’t know the name of his second wife or whether they were married in Israel or here. One of my cousins, I don’t remember if it was Lorraine or Sharon, related that she thought that the antiques business – possibly it was import/export? – was operated out of their apartment. She didn’t think his wife was very happy working at home on the phone all day. However, these are the impressions of somehow who only knew what she heard in adult conversations, and can’t be taken as confirmed fact.
As was the case with other family members like my father’s Uncle Shimon and Uncle Meier, we never met or got together with his cousin Shloima Goldshtern, who became known in the US as Sol Goldstein.