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Keila (my 2nd great grndmother), and her brother Issak were born in Chechanovitz, today in Poland. Their father Abel, also known as Aber the Amserdamer was born in Amsterdam.

Abel was a customs collector in Chechanovitz. Keila moved to Bialystok upon her marriage to Pesach Fajn, and Issak remained in Checkanovitz until he immigrated to Philadelphia. Issak and his wife, Miriam Zamm, had Five daughters and one son. Below is an excerpt from memoirs written by Eva Schnitzler Cohen, the daughter of Issak and Miriam.

These memoirs, written by his mother, were shared with us by the late Stanley Cohen, the son of Eva and Samuel Cohen and the grandson of Issak.
Things I Can Remember...by Eva Cohen
I was born in Russia, that is now Poland since the World War. What I know about Europe is what my mother told me. She was not happy about being in America because none of her family was here. My grandfather (Abel Schnitzler) on my father's side died when he was 36 years old and he left my father an inheritance which my father lived on until he was a father of four children. My aunt (Keila Schnitzler Fajn) who was my father's sister was the one who told my parents to go to America because he had used up the money which was to be the dowries for his daughters.

We landed in Philadelphia because my aunt's son, Leon Fine, was here. He had left to escape being a soldier don't know the name of the ship, it was in 1891. I was a baby in my mother's arms. We were the only Jewish people by the name of Schnitzler. My great grandfather was from Amsterdam.

I remember my great grandfather who was Abraham was called Aber the Amsterdaber.

My father had come about a year before with my brother Abe, and sent for my mother with five girls: Ester, Becky, Jenny & Rachel and myself. (Abe lived in Wildwood and had a grocery store.) My Jewish name is Chava Shayna. They called me Javka, but translated my name to Celia in English, which I hated because my mother would call me when I was outside and it sounded like silly, and the kids would tease me.

When we landed there was a place here called Tours Hall founded by the Baron De Hirsh which took care of the new immigrants. Times were bad, so they sent my parents and children to Bordentown, NJ. where there was work for the grown children, a wool mill and a shirt factory. I was a baby and Rachel was about 9 years older than me, as I was a menopause baby, and really embarrassed my parents. When I was born my mother was about 45 years old. My brother and the girls worked in the wool mill and when I was five I went to school. My sister Esther was married to Morris Harrison when I was five. (Teddy Harrison was Esther and Morris Harrison's son.)
Later on my family moved to Brooklyn when Leon Fine advised my parents to move as there wasn't an evening school in Bordentown and my sister Becky just became attached to a gentile boy. I don't know much about her as she disappeared from our house. No one was allowed to mention her name on orders from my father.

I moved to Brooklyn when I was about six or seven years old. First they opened a delicatessen store and didn't do to well and then a store that had a stand outside which sold dried groceries like peas and beans, prunes and so forth. I went to school and the girls got different jobs, but they didn't go to night school, so they never learned to read or write English. The second store was also a failure and as the children were working they brought money home and we moved to a tenement building, four rooms, no bathroom and the two toilets were in the hallway which were for four families, we all had keys. When we lived there, my sister was married to Louie Senekoff who also had a store in Wildwood. (my mother's sister Jenny married Louie Senekoff) We knew him from Bordentown but his home was in Philadelphia. They had a daughter Clara Senekoff and a son Morris Senekoff who eventually became the fire chief of Wildwood.

Jenny and Louie opened a grocery store in New York at 101st street and Park Ave. and next door was a small store which my father opened as a candy store and also sold ice cream. I forgot to mention that shortly before we moved to New York, my sister Rachel who had become Rose also married in Brooklyn, so it was only my mother, my father and me. By that time I was about 11 years old and went to school at 102nd street and Lexington Avenue. The trains ran on elevated tracks on Park Avenue but we only saw a stone wall and were only a block away from Central Park. We lived in an apartment house on Park Avenue and I already was a bookkeeper for Jenny and Louie. People bought on trust and I had to enter the daily slips into a record book. People paid weekly. Louis used to deliver milk in milk cans and rolls to his customers and when he couldn't do it or get a little boy to do it, I would have to do it or tend the store. For this they used to buy me most of my clothes.

When my sister Esther married (Esther Harrison) she remained in Bordentown and in the summer I went to her for vacation. Her husband was a peddler and often would take me along in his horse and wagon. My sister taught me how to sew. I lived in NY till I finished the eighth grade. I was then about 13 years old and by then my sister Esther left Bordentown and moved to Philadelphia. and opened a grocery store. My father gave up his little store and Esther wrote for us to come to Philadelphia as Pop would get something to do and she had room for us.

When we came to Philadelphia I got working papers and went to work at Gimbel Brothers as a cash girl for two dollars a week. My father also got a job with Benny Lipschitz who owned the 44 Cigar Co. He was a tobacco??? He worked in the basement and wore rubber boots and gloves and worked with the tobacco leaves. At the same time I went to evening high school for a year. We also rented a small house on Pearce street in South Philadelphia and a girl from Bordentown came to us as a boarder. She worked in a shirt factory and talked me into working there as I could go to business college. I earned about six dollars a week and the foreman let us off a little earlier so I could go to evening college. It was called Strayers Business School. I would go right from work, have a cup of coffee and a bun for 10 cents and would eat my dinner when I got home about 9 o'clock.

When I was about 16 years old, I answered an ad for an assistant bookkeeper and worked for Largeman Brothers. In the meantime my father got sick with an ulcerated leg and had stomach problems and our doctor said he could get cured if he went to Hot Springs in Arkansas. He drew out whatever money he had and went. My mother had a niece living in New York and she lived in a private house and had two rooms on the third floor. She kept on writing me to come and I could live there and get a job in New York which I did, and got twelve dollars a week which was enough for the two of us. My father was away for about three months and he didn't want to live in New York. So, my mother went back to Philadelphia and I remained with my cousins. My father went to Mr. Lipschitz and he let him open a small stand on one of the floors of the factory. He sold sandwiches and candy and my mother made homemade soup and sent it up in small buckets.

In the meantime, they rented a house across the street from the factory and kept insisting I come back as I could get a job in the office of the cigar factory. I hated to leave NY but I felt sorry for the two old folks my parents and finally came back and we were living at 1232 South 11th Street in a three story house. I was sort of an accountant in the office, I had to check everyone's work and work one payroll. Also interview anyone who came to the front door. Mr. Sol Lipschitz was a superintendent in the factory and one Saturday afternoon I remained to ask him about a young man who had a stand in a hotel and at one time had been a cigar maker. When I spoke to Sol he told me he wanted me to meet his wife's (Bessie) brother, who was your (Stanley's) father.

I had a girlfriend who had a drugstore at the corner where we lived and when it was arranged for Sol to come in with Sam I got cold feet and didn't want to go in the store, but Mrs. Bellets insisted I go and I met him. Sol insisted I come and meet Bessie and then Sam took me home. Sam took me out a few weeks and in the meantime his nephew Henry was to be Bar Mitzvahed in New York. They were to have a big affair and he wanted me to go with him and he proposed to me at this time.

About my parents family background, my grandfather (Abraham) on my fathers side, he had been a customs collector in Chechanozva where I was born. My maternal grandfather was a wool merchant. He would buy up the wool from the peasants before the sheep were shorn and then go to a fair in Lipsig in Germany. When he came back he would bring some new things from there. The first Kerosene lamp in the town. My folks looked down on a shoemaker or a tailor. They considered themselves above them. My father was a very proud man and being an only son was spoiled by his mother and also my mother.

When we lived in Brooklyn I was an errand girl for my sisters and brother. I had to be in the house when they came home from work to get down, get a pitcher of soda for the. My growing up in Bordentown I can remember our house on Miles Alley. We had a two story house. . We lived mostly in the big kitchen which was wiped every year before the holidays. There was a large coal stove which was the only heat in the house. We also had a parlor which was seldom used and a large grand piano. It was so cold in there that my mother would keep food in there like an icebox. Saturday night a big brown wooden washtub would be brought in the kitchen. I remember sitting around the table and playing Casino with my mother. When I was about six years old I had Diptheria, and my sister Esther and even Leon Fine slept on a mattress on the kitchen floor as I had to have my head swathed with medicine every fifteen minutes all through the night.

The children I played with all went to Sunday school and I begged to be allowed to go. My mother was very liberal and I was given permission to go to Baptist Church. I wanted this because they would go on picnics and also boat rides on the Delaware River. When we had chicken I had to go on the train to Trenton which was about twelve mile away to have the chicken killed by a Shakitt. I hated that trip and if the chickens made a noise on the train I was very embarrassed. I would also bring back rye bread and a herring and would come home with a heavy loaded basket. At this stage I was a real gopher. I had to run all the errands. There was a grocery in town who would let us buy on credit as times were bad Mr. Koenig was very good to the few Jewish families in town. On the main street there was a family who had a store and were very well off by the name of Ellis. I loved to play with their two girls when I was given permission to go.

My sister Esther was very proud of me because I would read so well. I remember her asking me to read the newspaper for Mr. Koenig about the Spanish American war. I was about six years old. At about this time we moved to Brooklyn and a few places before we moved to Manhattan. There I had a playmate next door who went to dancing school and had a dress like an accordian..pleated. She was very pretty and her grandfather made me one like it. I didn't like my looks as I was very freckled and looked like a country kid. When we moved to New York I made friends with my next door neighbor Barbara Dofer who was Catholic. I went to her church a few times. When I finished grammar school we moved to Philadelphia and lived with my sister Esther till my father got a job in the cigar factory.

There was also a group of Jewish boys and girls who formed a literary club to which many of the boys later became well known prominent people. Nathan Slinipsky, Rabbi Matt and many more. I read anything that I could get from the library which was good for me as I regretted the fact that I didn't go to high school.

End of Eva's Story

#1..Eva Schnitzler Cohen as a young girl

#2..Eva Schnitzler Cohen

#3..Ester Schnitzler Harrison and her husband Morris

#4..Ester Schnitzler Harrison and her son Teddy

#5..Miriam Cohen Singer with her husband and children.Miriam is the daughter of Eva Schnitzler Cohen

#6..Checkanovitz n he old days.

#7..SS Indiana, the ship Issak Schnitzler traveled on to America
Click here to see the the family tree of Pesach Fajn's wife Keila Schnitzler from Amsterdam.