26.05.2020 | Redaktor

Schiff family

Noach Schiff (1844 – 1925) was born in Tarnów as the 8th (out of 10) child of Joseph and Cipre Schiff. His father was the deputy rabbi and merchant of iron goods in Tarnów.  Noach moved to Brzesko and got married to the daughter of rabbi Tobias Lipschitz, Cyrel Lipschitz (1846-1935).

Noach was the merchant of iron goods, but was also very much involved in the life of Jewish religious community of Brzesko. And in 1880ies he was the member of the city council of Brzesko. (Usually Jews constituted about half of the city council, and all the decisions crucial for the city were made by Poles and Jews together.) And wife of Noach, Cyrel was known for her generosity, readiness to help the poor. Unfortunately, we don’t have any pictures of this couple, but their matzevot survived at the Brzesko cemetery.

Matzeva of Noach Schiff at the Brzesko Jewish cemetery.

And Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord

The crown of the Torah and the crown of a good name

Here lies an honest man, who reached a ripe old age, the Chasid Noah

Son of the Rav Chasid  Yossef Schiff and son-in-law of the righteous holy our teacher the Rabbi Tuvi’

May the memory of a tzadik be blessed

The head of the court of this place, his soul departed 22 Iyar 5685 [May 16, 1925]

May his soul be bound up in the bond of life

Noah may his soul rest in the shadow of the Shchina [Devine protection]

Will receive his share from the great goodness of the hidden one

With a good name his soul rose to proper rest

Day after day he was busy with the Torah and made it beloved to his sons                                                                      

Stuck with faith to the tzadiks and gaons of his generation

Supported faithfully with his money religious thinkers

His praises and his righteousness will stand by him.

(Inscription translated into English by Naam Hochstein)                                                                                            

Noach and Cirel Schiff had at least 5 children: Naftali (1865), Dwora (1873), Menachem (1875), Chaim (1876) and Isucher Beer (1882). I don’t know anything about the first son and the daughter, but there is some information available about Menachem, Chaim and Isucher Beer and their families.

Menachem Schiff left Brzesko for Skała (Tarnopol area, current Ukraine), where he married Pesie Dwojra Drimer, daughter of a rabbi, in 1910. He got engaged in the same business as Brzesko Schiffs: “Menachem Schiff also had a large hardware and tin business. He would order iron and tin by the wagon load and sell it wholesale and retail throughout the entire region. He was a son-in-law of Rabbi Avraham Drimmer of blessed memory.” (Quote from the Skała Yitzkor book.)  Pesia Schiff was murdered in September 1942; I have no information on Menachem’s fate.

Chaim Schiff married Ester Klagsbald from Chrzanów.

Chaim Schiff, 1916, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar
Ester Schiff nee Klagsbald, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

They had 11 children:
– Solomon (born around 1896) – murdered during the war together with his wife Hinda nee Wietschner and 9 children

Solomon Schiff, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

– Moses (born in 1898) – murdered during the war together with his wife Rywa nee Templer and daughter Beila Batia (1923); only their son Tobias (1925) survived

Moses Schiff, before 1920, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar
Moses Schiff, Antwerp, 1930ies, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

– Arie (Aryeh) Leib (born in 1900) – left Brzesko to live with relatives in Chrzanow, where he met Dwojra Cizner. They married and came to Palestine in 1924. They resided in Magdiel for a while and then they moved to Ramat Gan, where they lived till the end of their lives. Aryeh passed away on February 6, 1973, at the age of 73, Dwora died on May 21, 1984, at the age of 83. They had two children (who lived and died in Israel) and many grandchildren.

Arie Leib and Dwojra Schiff in Palestine, 1925, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

– Mindla (Mina, born in1902) – married Aharon Rossler from Lancut and the couple moved to Antwerp, Belgium. Aharon managed a business of cole. They had two children, a boy and a girl; both live in Israel today. Aharon was murdered in Auschwitz. Mina and the children hid in a village called Arbre, in the Arden Mountains. Mina lived in Belgium after the war, her daughter Betty in the Netherlands and later on immigrated together with her son to Israel. Mina came to Israel at a fairly old age and died there. She is buried in Haifa. Her daughter Betty still lives in Haifa and has 3 grandchildren.

Tauba and Mindla Schiff, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

– Chana (1903-1904)
– Naftali (born in 1905) – murdered during the war together with his wife Cyla nee Mannheimer and children

Naftali Schiff, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

– Leser (born in 1907) – murdered during the war together with wife Sussla Laja nee Rossbach and daughter Estera (born in1939)

Leser Schiff, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

– Jeruchim (1908-1909)
– Menachem Mendel (born in 1910) – murdered during the war together with his wife, nee Wiener (her first name is unknown)
– Jakob (1912-1913)
– Tauba (Toni, born in 1913) – left Brzesko in 1935. She emigrated to Antwerp, where she met Moses Mendel Fuhrer/Reinhold, originally from Cienkowice. The couple married in 1938. Moses worked in the diamond business. Their daughter Estelle was born in October 1939. They lived in Antwerp until 1942 and then hid in a village called Roullion in the Ardens. All three survived the war, and two more daughters were born. Estelle came to Israel in 1957, her two sisters followed later on. Moses died in 1968, and Toni lived in Antwerp until 1979 and then came to Israel and built her home in Jerusalem. She was a very active and optimistic woman. Until the end of her days, she was very proud to be the great-grandaughter of rabbi Tuvia Lipshitz from Brzesko. Toni passed away in April 2011 at the age of (almost) 98. She had many great-grandchildren and even a great-great-grandson

Tauba Schiff, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

Only 3 children from this family, Arie Leib, Mindla and Tauba survived the Holocaust. Their mother, Ester Schiff died in 1937, and father, Chaim Schiff, was murdered in Brzesko on September 12, 1942 

Isucher Beer Schiff got married to Hinda Reich, they had 6 children, all born in Brzesko:
– Scheindla Feige (1908)
– Naftali Hirsch (1909)
– Freida (1911)
– Syma Ruchla (1913)
– Saul (1918)
– Tobias (1919)

A group of young girls from Brzesko, 1920ies. The girl standing in the middle of the top row is Freida Schiff, daughter of Isucher Beer and Hinda Schiff. Second from the left in the front row is Brzesko-born Anda Fischler nee Hershkowitz who left Poland for Palestine before the war, picture from the family archive, courtesy of Noa Shashar

Following the family tradition, Isucher Beer was iron goods’ merchant and also actively participated in the life of the city: he was the member of the city council in years 1920-1934. Isucher Beer Schiff, his children Syma Ruchla and Tobias were murdered in the Holocaust 

Shop of iron good which belonged to the Schiffs. Brzesko, 1929, picture made by Schaje Weiss, courtesy of Charles Weiss Jr

Descendants of those few surviving members of the Schiff family live now in Israel and Europe. Son and daughter of Naftali Hirsch Schiff, Abraham Schiff and Lea Brown nee Schiff, came to Brzesko in 2016 to join our March of Remembrance. And granddaughter of Taube Schiff, Noa Shashar, and grandson of Mindla Schiff, Willy Siegel, were in Brzesko in January 2019. We could find the house at Głowackiego street where Mindla and Taube Schiff had been born, and at the new Jewish cemetery – the graves of great-grandmother Ester Schiff and great-great-grandfather Noach Schiff. I’m humbled and honored to be able to accompany the families which are gaining back part of their history and identity. (And I’m very grateful to Noa Shashar for providing the pictures and information about the post-war life of the Schiffs)

Abraham and Diane Schiff in Brzesko, 2016 (Abraham is the grandson of Isucher Beer and Hinda Schiff; Diane is his wife)
Dov Landau, Lea Brown nee Schiff, Diane Schiff and Abraham Schiff in Brzesko, 2016
House at Głowackiego street in Brzesko, where the family of Chaim and Ester Schiff used to live before the war.
Noa Shashar and Willy Siegel in front of the house where their grandmothers, Tauba and Mindla Schiff were born.
Noa Shashar and Willy Siegel By the grave of their great-grandmother Ester Schiff nee Klagsbald at the Jewish cemetery in Brzesko
Noa Shashar and Willy Siegel by the grave of their great-great-grandfather Noach Schiff at the Jewish cemetery in Brzesko

© Anna Brzyska, 2020