In Memoriam

We remember those members of Gesher Galicia known to have passed away since the group was founded in 1993. Their efforts and contributions to their personal family research, to their fellow researchers, and to Jewish Galician research have been invaluable and very much appreciated by all of us.

Each member is listed by name, residence, date of death, and if held a leadership role in Gesher Galicia. Please inform us of any additions or corrections to the list.

  • Nathan Abramowitz, Westmont, New Jersey – 23 Aug 2002
  • Sylvia Axelrod, Ossining, New York – 31 Dec 2006
  • Jacques Berlowitz, Zurich, Switzerland – Jan 2008
  • Bea Leiter Cohen, Easton, Pennsylvania – 5 Apr 2008 –1st GGFF Editor
  • David Cohen, Delray Beach, Florida – 29 Jul 1999
  • Lillian R. Cohen, Tzfat, Israel – 2000
  • David Einsiedler, Reseda, California – 2 Apr 2009
  • Samuel N. Elpern, Thornton, Colorado – 8 Jul 1998
  • Linda Stoop Fine, Pleasant Hill, California – 11 Jan 2011
  • Muriel Singer Friedman, Miami, Florida – 1 Dec 2003
  • Melvin Friedman, Tatamy, Pennsylvania – 28 Nov 2008
  • Rose S. Friedman, Silver Spring, Maryland – 26 Sep 2008
  • Jules I. Glanzberg, Boynton Beach, Florida – 2 Sep 2011
  • Phyllis Goldberg, Rockville, Maryland – 15 Feb 2002 – Mielec Town Leader
  • Howard Grindlinger, Sr., Boca Raton, Florida – 8 Nov 2004
  • Lucille Gudis, New York, New York – 23 Dec 2005
  • Nancy Guggenheim, Babylon, New York – 10 May 2002
  • Sumner J. Haber, Anchorage, Alaska – 1 Dec 1999
  • Bernard M. Halpern, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 23 Jan 2006
  • Marvin Hamburg, D.D.S., Boynton Beach, Florida – 3 Feb 2013
  • Pauline Horwitz, Lake Mary, Florida – 28 Feb 1996
  • Herbert Huebscher, Wellesley, Massachusetts – 8 Jul 2013
  • Aaron Jortner, Plano, Texas – 30 Jan 2002
  • Leon Joseph, Oro Valley, Arizona – 9 Dec 2004
  • Melody Katz, Santa Clarita, California – 16 Apr 2004 – Ulanow Town Leader
  • Howard Kaufman, Clifton Park, New York – 31 Jan 1999
  • Harold D. Kellerman, Staten Island, New York – 2 Feb 2013
  • Sara Edell Schafler Kelman, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – 5 May 2014
  • Norton J. Kotcher, Lawrence, New York – 15 Nov 2003
  • Julian Kratter, Delray Beach, Florida – 24 Jul 1998
  • Mordechai E. Lando, Baltimore, Maryland – 19 Jan 2009
  • Jonathan Lowe, New York, New York – 8 Dec 2008
  • Alvin S. Luftman, Westborough, Massachusetts – 20 Mar 2011
  • Walter Madura, Derby, Connecticut – 14 Feb 2009
  • Rita Krakower Margolis, Rockville, Maryland – 11 Sep 2013
  • S. Carl Mark, Tulsa, Oklahoma – 4 Jul 2000
  • Ely Maurer, Silver Spring, Maryland – 25 Jun 1997
  • S. Harry Meiselman, Rockville, Maryland – 26 Dec 2001
  • Sheiala Moskow, Severna Park, Maryland – 12 Nov 1998 – Treasurer
  • Bob “Bernie” Neuman, Delray Beach, Florida – 14 Feb 2006
  • Stephanie Newman, Farmington, Michigan – 13 Sep 2013
  • Leslie Oberman, Carnegie, Victoria, Australia – Jan 2009
  • Myra Rothenberg, Redmond, Washington – 3 Jul 2013
  • Evelyn Goldberg Rotz, Coconut Creek, Florida – 6 Sep 2010
  • Sidney Rotz, Pompano Beach, Florida – 6 Jul 2000
  • Joan Sanders, New Rochelle, New York – 5 Aug 1997
  • Rubin Schmer-Gartenberg, Ocean, New Jersey – 15 Jul 2007
  • Karl Seligman, Woodland Hills, California – 13 Dec 2013
  • Irene Katz Silfin, Sands Point, New York – 2 Nov 2014
  • Fred H. Steiger, East Brunswick, New Jersey – 26 Dec 2002
  • Howard Steinmetz, Boulder, Colorado – 27 Nov 2010
  • Julius Susser, Pueblo, Colorado – 23 Aug 2004
  • Charlotte Weisstein Title, Beverly Hills, California – 8 Nov 2001
  • Herbert C. Unger, Coconut Creek, Florida – 13 Jun 1994
  • George Vladar, Kingston, Ontario, Canada – 2005
  • Paul Wallach, Flushing, New York – 25 Apr 2014

We Remember

Melody Aroner Katz lost her battle with ovarian cancer on April 14, 2004. Melody was our first GG Research Coordinator and then Member-at-Large of the GG Steering Committee, until her passing. She created the Ulanow ShtetLinks webpage, the Ulanow Cemetery Project for JewishGen’s Online Worldwide Burial Registry, and entered data for many JewishGen projects. Her husband wrote that these projects were “a very meaningful part of her life” and hoped that someone would take on the task. [Shelley K. Pollero]

David Einsiedler, #122, of Reseda, CA, was a member from 1992 – 2002. His research interests were: GELARD from Drogobych and Stryy; DEUTSCH from Kodorov, Stryy, and Drogobych; STEINGRUB from Lviv and Drogobych; SELINGER, BARTISZAN from Drogobych. The video, I Remember Jewish Drohobycz, David’s story of life in his shtetl between the World Wars, was screened at the IAJGS Conference in Las Vegas in 2005.

Linda Stoop Fine, #1572, of Pleasant Hill, CA, was a member from late 2006 until her passing in 2011. Her research interests included 42 surname/place-name entries in the GGFF. Linda’s sister is Bette Stoop Mas, member #1571, of Miami, FL. Linda served as Copy Editor and/or Assistant Editor of The Galitzianer from June 2008 – February 2010. “She did a fine job on TheG, going far beyond the usual duties of a proofreader, beginning with her offer to help me. She made a real difference in the quality of the finished product.” [Edward Goldstein, Immediate Past Editor, The Galitzianer]

Lucille Gudis The world of Jewish genealogy has lost one of its gems with the untimely passing of Lucille Gudis on December 23, 2005. Lucille was a former Vice President of JGS, Inc. (New York), longtime Executive Council member and Co-chair of the 19th IAJGS Conference (1999) and the 26th annual IAJGS Conference (2006). Lucille was also a terrific lady, a good friend, an inspiration, a teacher and mentor, a leader, an artist, a world traveler and a professional genealogist. It is this last item that brought her to Gesher Galicia. She became a member in order to assist her clients with family ties to Galicia. Her long-term membership in Gesher Galicia allowed many of us to get to know her, work alongside her and learn from her. [Eden Joachim]

Dr. Marvin Hamburg, #747, was born in Brooklyn and practiced dentistry in Queens, N.Y., before moving to Florida. He served as president of the JGS of Palm Beach County from 2003-2005. His Galician families included ROTHBAUM from Stryj and HAMBURG from Lviv.

Herbert Huebscher, #1475 of Wellesley, Mass., was very involved in the genealogy community and a member of Gesher Galicia and the JGS of Greater Boston. He presented lectures at genealogy conferences, wrote articles, and appeared on the show Tracing Your Family Roots. He was the founder of the WIRTH DNA Project, the focus of his research. An original member of the Rohatyn Shtetl Research Group, he provided knowledge in areas of Austrian records, German language, and DNA research. [Alex Feller] Herb was born in Vienna, Austria in 1926 although his parents were born in Galicia in the 1880s. They lived in Vienna and fled to the U.S. after the March 1938 Anschlluss, Herb and his brother in Oct. 1938 and his parents in Oct. 1939. Herb served in the U.S. Navy, graduated from college with two degrees and worked in the electronics industry. He lived in New Hyde Park, N.Y. before moving to Wellesley, Mass. Herb passed away from pancreatic cancer in July 2013. [Herb Huebscher and from a eulogy written by his son, Robert Huebscher]

Harold Kellerman, #217, of Brooklyn, NY and Staten Island, NY, was a GG member from 1993 through 2008. His Galicia research interests were KELLERMAN and related families from Brzozow and Sanok, Poland. Harold and his cousin, Shelley Kellerman Polliero, collaborated for many years until his illness. [Shelley K. Pollero]

Sara Edell Schafler Kelman, a founding member (#44) of Gesher Galicia died in New York on May 5, 2014, at age 85. Sara was born in Toronto, where her maternal grandfather — Rabbi Yosef Weinreb, “the Galitzianer Rav” — settled in 1901. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the Jewish Theological Seminary, Sara was a Jewish educator, a rebbetzin, and a veteran genealogist. Author of the chapter on Jewish genealogy for a 1980s update of the Encyclopedia Judaica, she was an early member of the JGS of Illinois, and she later served as president of the JGS of Greater Boston. In 2000, following the death of her first husband, Rabbi Samuel Schafler, Sara returned to Canada to marry Rabbi Joseph Kelman. Her family’s path from Eastern Galicia to Toronto was the focus of a paper she delivered at the 2002 conference on Jewish genealogy in Toronto. Sara is survived by five of her six children, 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. [Renée Stern Steinig]

Jonathan Lowe, #510, of New York City (Central Park West), was a member from late 1996 until 2009. His research interests were APRIL, STIEFEL, NUSSBAUM, and LINDENBAUM in Rzeszow, Poland and GRAF in Rava-Ruska, Ukraine.

Walter Madura, #731, of Derby, CT, was a GG member from 1997 to 2009. He was researching MADURA from Kolbuszowa, Poland, and was an active member of the Polish Falcons of America, Nest 208, of Derby, CT.

Rita Krakower Margolis, #36, was an original member of GG from 1994 to 2013. A longtime member of the JGS of Greater Washington, Rita was a maven and model, having served as JGSGW President from 1989-1991. For ten years, she led its Cemetery Project; she also chaired the genealogy education program at the Charles E. Smith Day School. Rita lost a 12-year battle with cancer, but strived to have her genealogical research be a legacy for her family. She was a bright light who will be missed. [Marlene Bishow, President, JGSGW]

Ely Maurer was one of the earliest members of the pre-SIG group. He was a very early traveler to Galicia and assisted me in many ways to get the SIG going. [Suzan Wynne]

Leslie Oberman, #1282, of Carnegie, Victoria, Australia, was a member from the end of 2001 until his passing in Jan 2009. His research interests were OBERMAN, GOLDNER and KALISKER from Galicia.

Sheiala Ratner Moskow made a major contribution to Gesher Galicia as an original member of the GG Steering Committee (1995). She served three years as GG treasurer before her untimely passing in 1998. She offered wise and helpful advice to all her many friends and contacts in the worldwide Jewish genealogy community as she researched her GELERNTER and RATNER family. A subscriber to the JewishGen Discussion Group, she regularly responded to its readers. A longtime member of the JGS of Greater Washington, Sheiala attended many Summer Seminars and Conferences, including Washington, NYC, Israel, Paris, and L.A. [Shelley K. Pollero]

Myra Rothenberg, #1185, of Redmond, Washington, was a GG member from 2003 through 2013. Myra Rothenberg was a longtime member of Gesher Galicia with a particular research interest in Bobrka (Ukraine). An enthusiastic and spirited presence at many past IAJGS conferences, her passion for Jewish genealogy was contagious and inspiring. Her memory will surely be for a blessing. [Penny Herbst] She was an enthusiastic genealogist, a strong supporter of Gesher Galicia’s research and a cheerful presence at past IAJGS Conferences. [Pamela Weisberger] Myra was one of the ‘Bobrkettes’, a dedicated group of Bobrka/Bibrka researchers. [Shelley Pollero]

Rubin Schmer-Gartenberg was born in Drohobycz and was his family’s sole survivor. To keep the memory of his relatives alive, he raised funds to restore the Jewish cemetery in Drohobycz as well as the memorial to the Shoah victims in Bronica Forest. Rubin also raised funds to begin restoring the beautiful Choral Synagogue of Drohobycz which had fallen into serious disrepair. One of Rubin’s sons placed a video on Google showing the cemetery prior to its restoration. [Carole Glick Feinberg]

Karl Seligman, M.D. #1766, died suddenly in December 2013. He participated actively in many Galician indexing projects, especially Zbaraz and Tarnopol Holocaust-era records. He said that he had benefited from the genealogical research conducted by others, and he wanted to pay things back. Karl was also a member of the JGS of Los Angeles. [Pamela Weisberger]

Irene Katz Silfin, #312, a retired schoolteacher, was born in Brooklyn and lived for many years in Plainview, N.Y. She traced her late husband’s SILFIN family to Majdan Sieniawski, a small agricultural village in southeast Poland. After visiting Majdan in the summer of 1995, Irene documented its Jewish cemetery for the IAJGS Cemetery project.

Howard Steinmetz, #667, of Boulder, CO, was a member from 1997 – 2010. His research interests were primarily in Burshtyn and Rogatin, although he also listed a few names in Ivano-Frankivsk, Galich, Bukachevtsy, and Berezhany – all in modern Ukraine. “He was an active and beloved member of the JGS of Colorado and recipient of the 2010 Spirit of JGS Colorado Award. Howard attended IAJGS conferences and was one of the coordinators of the Rohatyn, Ukraine SIG”. [Ellen Shindelman Kowitt]

Julius Susser, 81, died Aug. 23, 2004, at home. Born in Krakow, Poland, on Feb. 13, 1923, Julius was a survivor of the Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen death camps and was liberated in April of 1945. Julius proudly displayed his tattooed inmate number, B4516, as a sign of what he had overcome. To a great extent, his survival was due to his unique talent in soccer. The Nazis felt he was needed on the opposing team in their quest for recreation. He often said he was beaten when he lost and he was beaten when he won. Following liberation, he played professionally for both Jewish and German teams. Recently, a German documentary reported “even to this day, die-hard fans of the old soccer team get starry-eyed at the skillful play of the goal-striker, center forward, Julius, equally skilled with both feet.” Julius and family arrived in the United States aboard the USS General Taylor on Dec. 10, 1949. He became a naturalized citizen in 1955 and retired from the CF&I Steel Corp. after 34 years of service. [From the obituary sent to us by Julius’ widow, Lili Cukier Susser].

Herb Unger died a year after the SIG was founded, but he was the one who found the little volume of the 1877 Austrian regulations for collecting and maintaining Jewish vital records in Galicia. He loved to wander through the stacks at the Library of Congress, including the law library and he came up with the most incredible stuff. He was a founding member of JGSGW, moved to Florida about 1985, and helped to found the JGS of Miami. [Suzan Wynne]

Paul Wallach, #1260, was born in Vienna in 1936 and came to America with his parents at age 3. Supportive of his wife Kathy’s genealogical research, Paul accompanied her to conferences and to ancestral shtetlach, including Belz, Skalat, and Ternopil, Ukraine. Paul considered their personal additions to the WALLACH-DONNER-ORNSTEIN tree — two sons and 14 grandchildren — a victory over the Nazi oppression that his family fled.

Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people research their Jewish family roots in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire province of Galicia, which is today southeastern Poland and southwestern Ukraine. Our organization's primary focus is researching Jewish roots in Galicia, but the diverse community records in our databases contain names that span all the ethnic and religious groups who once lived in this region.

Search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and Archival Inventory today, and learn about our terrific member benefits for genealogists, researchers, and families, starting at just $36/year. You can join online!