21.11.2023 | Redaktor

Kohs-Bierenbaum family

Some time ago, I came across a card on one of the auction sites. It was written by Blume Rosa Kohs from Brzesko on January 16, 1893. This minimal information helped to recreate the history of another Jewish family from Brzesko. When writing this letter, Blume Rosa was 34 years old and was raising nine children. Apparently, apart from her native Yiddish, she could not only speak but also write in German.

The card sent by Blume rosa Kohs from BRzesko in 1893. Photo from ebay.pl

Dawid Kohs, born in Brzesko in 1856, son of Jozef and Sara Kohs, and Blume Rosa Bierenbaum, born in Jadowniki in 1859, daughter of Nachim Beer and Chana Ruchla Bierenbaum, had only so called “ritual marriage” – they got married only in the presence of a rabbi. Since their marriage was not officially registered by the state (which was often the case at the time), their children were considered “illegitimate” and were supposed to have their mother’s last name.

Dawid Kohs and Blume Rojze Bierenbaum had 10 children. The first son, Isaak Schaja, was born in Brzesko in 1877. Shortly after that, the family moved to Nowy Wiśnicz, where next four children were born: Nachum Beer (1878), Leib (1880), Taube (1882) and Samuel Aron (1884). The family moved again and another child, daughter Marjem, was born in Jaworzno in 1886. Finally, the family settled in Brzesko, where Sara (1888), Jozef (1891-1910), Eilijukim (1892) and Efroim (1898) were born. Birth certificate of the youngest son Efroim states that his father Dawid Kohs owned a house in Brzesko – most likely the one where Efroim was born, # 132, at Adama Mickiewicza Street.

Unfortunately, the fate of this family is as tragic as that of majority of Brzesko Jews. Only the parents died naturally at an old age: Dawid Kohs passed away on May 9, 1939 at the age of 83, and Blume Rosa – exactly six months later, on November 9. Most likely matzevot have never been put on their graves – usually the tombstones were erected on the first anniversary of one’s death. But matzevot of both of Dawid Kohs’s parents, Josef and Chaja Sara née Steger, who died in 1886, have survived at the Brzesko Jewish cemetery.

Matzeva of Josef Kohs, son of Jehuda Leib and Sara, who died in Brzesko on April 14, 1886 at the  age of 62. Photo from the database of the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish cemeteries.
Matzeva of Chaja Sara Kohs, daughter of Dawid and Tauba Steger, wife of Josef Kohs, who died on June 20, 1886 at the age of 47. Photo from the database of the Foundation for Documentation of Jewish cemeteries.

Thanks to the testimonies submitted to Yad WaSem and data from several archives, we’ve managed to collect some information on the fate of several children and grandchildren of Dawid Kohs and Blume Rojze Bierenbaum.

Their son Nachum Beer moved to the small town of Miskolc in Hungary, where he owned a fabric store. During the war he was deported to Ukraine and murdered together with his wife and five children near the town of Kamieniec Podolski.

Nachum Beer’s younger brother, Samuel Aron, lived in the same town and was also murdered in the Holocaust.

Eilijukim Kohs/Bierenbaum lived in Berlin, from where he was deported to Riga. He perished on August 18, 1942.

The list of Jews deported from Germany to Riga on August 15, 1942. Elias (Elijukim) Birnbaum, born in Brzesko on December 2, 1892, is under #533. Photo from the database of Arolsen Archives

I know that Marjem Vogelhut née Kohs/Bierenbaum survived the war. Marjem married Szymon Vogelhut from Poręba Spytkowska in 1908. Their first two daughters were born in Brzesko and later the family moved to Gdańsk. The daughters Regina, Hilda and Sara were murdered in the Warsaw ghetto.

Granddaughter of Blume Rojze Kohs/Bierenbaum, Sara Shliferstein with husband and son Robert. All of them perished in the Warsaw ghetto. Photo from Yad VaShem database.
Granddaughter of Blume Roize Kohs/Bierenbaum, Hilda Meir together with husband Heinz. She perished in Warsaw together with her husband and daughter Helga. Photo from Yad VaShem database.

The youngest son of Dawid Kohs and Blume Rojze Bierenbaum, Efroim Bierenbaum, born in Brzesko on January 20, 1898, survived the war. In 1911-1913 he attended Brzesko high school; later emigrated to Germany. He married Klara nee Knopf and in April 1939 he managed to emigrate to Palestine with his wife and two , Manfred (born in 1927) and Noemi (born in 1933).

Efroim Bierenbaum. Photo from the website https://www.archives.gov.il/en

So far, we couldn’t establish, what happened to remaining children of Dawid Kohs and Bluma Rojze Bierenbaum

May the memory of all Holocaust victims be an eternal blessing.

© Anna Brzyska, 2023