Thursday, February 5, 2015

More information on Bubbie Lena Handler

At about 44 minutes into the "Mishpacha Tape Helen and Esther" at YouTube, these cousins of my father-in-law tell the story about their Uncle Joe Handler and his wife Lena (Hollander) Handler (my father-in-law's parents). The statements from the cousins are in italics below, and my comments follow.

Joe was four years older than his brother Sam. That's relatively accurate. I show Joe's birth date as 24 August 1884, and Sam's birth date as 27 December 1887, based on their draft cards, naturalization records, and in Joe's case, his marriage record from Hungary.
Arthur and Lena

Joe married in Europe to Lena Heller. This is partially correct: Joe did marry in Europe (they married in her hometown of Bonyhád, Hungary), but partially incorrect: Lena's maiden name is Hollander; It was Joe's older sister Rose who was married to Philip Heller.

Joe's and Lena's oldest two children, Arthur and Margaret were born in Europe. Their eldest child, Arthur Handler, was born in Europe. However, all records point to Margaret having been born in Cleveland, Ohio.

Joe arrived first in America and sent for his family. Helen and Esther's mother, Regina, and Regina's mother, Sarah, came over with Lena and Art. This is very clearly shown in the passenger list records, which can be found at one of my favorite blog posts here.

Their Uncle Joe (my husband's grandfather), was in the junk business and they don't know why he went from Cleveland to Akron. I believe Joe felt that there was opportunity for him and his family in Akron. Something I need to ask my in-laws (though the information may be in my interview notes).

Family believed to be related to Lena (Hollander) Handler
Lena was very homesick and returned with Margaret, who contracted polio on the return trip to America. They remained in Hungary for a year and a half. To clarify, Lena returned home with both Arthur and Margaret. The details of their return are about two-thirds of the way through the blog post entitled: Passenger Lists... I have known about this story for quite awhile (though I've never found a record of when Margaret contracted polio). However, a new part of this story is that while in Bonyhád, Hungary, Lena's mother told her that she needed to be with her husband and encouraged her to return to America to be with her husband.

And the fact that she returned to America saved her life; the Hollander family who remained in Hungary died in the Holocaust.

These photographs were taken in Bonyhád, Hungary, and must have been treasured by Lena. Note that I have shared these photographs before. See Mother and SonHollanders, and The Photo Genealogist Looks at Hollanders in Hungary.


  1. I love those videos you shared, Elizabeth-- what an absolute treasure! And this goes to show that family stories, while they may be quite accurate, can have wrong information. BTW, did you know that Anne Frank's mother's maiden name was Hollander?

  2. Karen, it's one, long (over two hours) video and I figured out how to share from a particular time in the video. As I always say, there's usually a kernel of truth in these family stories and it's neat to hear them from different family members.

    No, I didn't know Anne Frank's mother's maiden name was Hollander, but, as you know, it doesn't mean they were related ;-) unless her mother was from near Bonyhad, Hungary.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.