Saturday, March 17, 2018
Benjamin Kaufman, Congressional Medal of Honor Awardee and Chair of Jewish War Veterans
Mrs. Hadassah - Sadie Entin with Daughter, Bonnie, her Husband, Richard and Granddaughter
Sam Abrams, Jewish Benefactor
Hon Sidney Goldmann, Superior Court Judge (State Librarian and contributor to Jewish Community)
Finkle's Hardware, 1920'a
When Manus Met Minnie
A Short (partially linear) History of the Kunis-Ettmgers From Interviews with Edith Krimstock
(edited and written by Roger Krinastock)
(edited and written by Roger Krinastock)
The "Climate" in Russia (Ukraine) for Jewish Families
In the late 18th century and early 1900s, conditions in Russia
(Ukraine) became increasingly difficult for Jews (and probably
others). Too often it was life threatening. Jewish people were
limited in property ownership and how many children each
family could send to school. Many Jews left Russia (Ukraine) in
a hurry, and were eager to salvage what they could from their
possessions, including their businesses.
Many of the Kunis and Ettinger family members left Russia
(Ukraine) in the early 1900s, mostly for the United States. The
others stayed in Russia for various reasons; we don't know
much about the ones that stayed after World War I, because of
the isolation imposed by Soviet rule, and the fact that their
female relatives acquired different last names (unknown to
family in the United States) when they married. Immigration to
the United States could be tricky, e.g., if you had a US sponsor
with the same last name then you could directly immigrate to the
United States. Not so easy otherwise (especially if the country
of emigration met US immigration quotas).
Generally, when people emigrated from Russia, they went to
cities where they had relatives.
Manus Kunis: Background
Manus Kunis was born in Polona around 1886 to Israel and
Miriam Kunis. He had five older sisters (can name only 3),
including Bertha (aka Bosse), Elizabeth (aka Laka), and Furme
(not much is lcnown about her since she stayed in Russia), and
four brothers, including Samuel. Manus was the oldest of the
boys. He worked in the seasonal family business (??). It was a
hard life, since staples, including food, were hard to come by
"out of season". Manus contracted rheumatic fever as a young
child, so he was "treated a little more gently" than his siblings.
Later on, he proved quite capable of doing all the "normal"
activities (he spoke to me of a job that required carrying "100
pound sacks" on his back!).
As a teenager, —1903, Manus left Polona for Odessa, to find
work (delivered bread for a bakery). Around the same time,
Laka and Bosse left Russia to join their boyfriends in England,
planning to eventually go to the United States. Sometime
afterwards, Samuel (Shochna) left to join his sisters in the
United States. Samuel never became a US citizen. He married a
Trenton born woman (US citizen?), but during the war she was
considered an alien.
Manus was drafted into the Russian army around 1906, when he
was —21, for about 3 years. When he returned, he went to
Polona (where his parents were), a shiddich (marriage match)
was made for him and an "older" woman with a dowry (Mom
says she was in her late 20s).
Manus found out about someone in Romanov with a leather
tanning business (leather treatment, glue making, etc., with
"special chemicals") who was leaving the country. He managed
to get enough money to buy the business at a "cheap price",
sometime in 1913. He moved the family to Romanov. Manus
became very successful in the leather tanning business. He
provided jobs to a number of family members, jobs that included
delivery of leather goods. To drum up business outside the local
community, he developed mail order advertising, sending
postcards, and if the recipient was interested they would place
an order. He also personally traveled from Romanov to other
communities, going into various types of stores (e.g., furniture
stores would buy glue) and pushing his wares. On a side note,
Manus stayed in Russia, while many others had fled, because of
the success of the business.
Abraham Mendel (Uncle Abe) was born in 1914. Then, during
childbirth (a second pregnancy), Manus lost both his wife and
Minnie Ettinger: Background
her hands in the water (she developed a skin condition). And,
just like that, the fish market became a vegetable and fruit
Manus and Minnie rented a house on Lamberton Street, and
purchased a property on Market Street for the vegetable and fruit
market. They leased out the smaller part of the building to
people from Philadelphia who ran a "cheese, egg and butter
store". When the lease expired, Manus integrated the cheese,
egg and butter business into his vegetable and fruit market to
become a "full store in the Jewish shopping area". That's when
Kohn's Bakery refused to sell bread to Samuel Kunis, who was
retailing the bread to his own customers. So, Manus decided to
build -a bakery (in the-smaller part) to "help Samuel make a
living". When that didn't work out, Manus rented out the
bakery to the Lubitz family. Eventually, after about 10 years, the
Lubitz family sold the bakery business and signed over the lease
to the Mars family (Jack). When Jack went into the army, his
mother and father couldn't keep it going. So, Manus paid them
for the bakery business, thereby owning the property and the
business as well. It wasn't long before Manus closed the
grocery store (competition from "supermarkets"), and turned the
larger part of the property into Kunis Bakery (on Market Street).
When Uncle Mannie returned from the service, he ran the
bakery. However, after Bob was born, Mannie, Irene and Bob
moved back to Portland.
Edie went to Temple University, and was able to live in a
dormitory while Uncle Mannie was running the bakery. Edie
married Sam Krimstock just after graduating from college
("within a couple of days"). After their honeymoon, Edie and
Sam planned to go to Portland, where Sam had a job offer from
a "display" company to set up a West Coast branch. Manus
wanted Edie to remain in Trenton, so he offered Sam the bakery
after Manus retired if he stayed in Trenton to run the bakery.
They had actually sent some of their belongings to Uncle
Mannie's apartment in Portland, but plans had now changed.
Edie and Sam were in the bakery business for 7 years, but by
.41 nrvrti--; nn- Vint-Frac ors1.4
bakery, and the Krimstocks (Sam, Edie, Roger and Steve) went
to Portland to explore business opportunities, and, as it turned
out, carried the measles virus to new opportunities on the west
In the 1950s and 1960s, Manus and Minnie lived in an
apartment in the Edie and Sam Krimstock Levittown house (10
miles from Trenton), spending winters in Miami Beach. Edie's
children especially benefited from and enjoyed the opportunity
to live with their grandparents. Manus would sit in his "great
easy chair", with grandchildren sitting at his feet, and tell stories
and answer questions about the "old days". Minnie tried to
teach them-Yiddush, Russian, aTid aTitlimetic-tricks. ‑
Family and friends from Trenton would come to Levittown to
visit Manus and Minnie. Meyer Rednor, an old friend from
Trenton, came to visit many times over the years. He always
came bearing gifts, which for me was fresh halvah.
On one of the Napoleonic campaigns of the French army into
Russia, a soldier (last name was Manzon), who either lost heart
or "got smart", deserted somewhere in the Ukraine. There, after
a fashion, he met and married a Jewish girl. He had been French
Catholic but converted to Judaism. He was the ancestor of
Joseph Ettinger was a young, orphaned boy when the (Label)
Manzons took him into their family. He had been with other
families, but the Manzons gave him a more permanent home
(when he was 16 or 17), "seeing in him a suitor for their eldest
daughter", Etta Lochel, who was 15. Eventually, Joseph and
Etta married and had at least 12 children, including Minnie.
The Ettingers lived in the town of Berdijef, a "Jewish town", in
the state of Kiev. Berdijef was a relative hub for business, larger
than either Polona (Kunis family) or Romanov (Manus Kunis
family), with more business and purchasing opportunities.
Minnie Ettinger was born around 1896 to Joseph and Etta
Lochel Ettinger. Minnie had at least 11 siblings: Hoschel, Israel,
Feige, Sam, Srulick, Anna, Sarah, Rachel, Nathan, Moishe, and
Although the area was "very, very poor", Minnie's grandparents,
Label and Miriam Manzon were very wealthy, very charitable to
Only one child from a (Jewish) family could go to "public"
school. "Traveling tutors" could be employed to teach the other
children. Minnie was the child in her family who went to
gymnasium (the public high school).
Minnie worked in the family store. Since she was "good at
sales", she was the one who met the customers.
Manus Meets Minnie
Manus met Minnie during a trip to Berdijef (it may have been
for business, to buy things not available in Romanov, or both).
In one of the stores he visited, he saw Minnie. He
"immediately admired her", came back a number of times,
spoke to her parents, and a shiddich was made. Manus married
Minnie around 1916. Manus (and Minnie) continued the leather
tanning business in Romanov, and in 1918 Manuel (Uncle
Mannie!) was born.
When Uncle Mannie was just about to be born, or shortly
afterwards, Minnie's grandmother, Miriam Manzon, died.
Minnie was not able to go to the funeral, so Manus traveled to
Berdijef, to sit shivah in Label Manzon's house. Miriam
Manzon was in a casket in the living room.. Suddenly,
Bolsheviks stormed into the house. Label pushed Manus into a
closet, to hide him, a move that saved his life. Label was killed.
The situation in the area became extremely dangerous for Jews (
Russian Revolution). Sometime in 1919, Manus went into a
nearby city to get some things, including the infamous "Persian
coat" for Minnie. In the city, Bolsheviks on horseback forced
Jews (and others) into a courtyard in a random purge. Manus
got caught up in this, finding himself in the courtyard. He
decided, "If they're going to kill me, let them shoot me in the
back!" So, he ran from the courtyard, into an alley, where a
caring woman took him into her house, and he was saved. That
was enough. When he got home, he said to Minnie, "we're
leaving!" He must have tried to convince his parents and
brothers and sister to leave with him, but they "didn't want to
leave their Jewish town".
Manus gathered what he could for the journey, including a
"feather bed and blankets", but couldn't find the gold he hid in
the back yard (there wasn't time He told me many years later
that there were 900,000 rubles buried there. Interestingly, a
number evenly divisible by the number of his grandchildren!).
He gave all of his furniture to a "gentile", who took them across
the border to Poland. Manus and the family went to Warsaw,
where many Jews were waiting to go the United States. This
included most of the Ettinger family. Manus and the family
stayed in Poland for 11 months, waiting for the opportunity to
go the United States. At that time, if you had relatives who were
US citizens with your last name, then you could quickly
immigrate. Two of the Ettinger brothers were US citizens, so
the Ettingers could immigrate, but not the Kunises. A Jewish
organization told Manus his best bet was to go to Argentina,
since the Argentinian quota to immigrate to the US was never
filled - it would be easier to immigrate to the US from there.
Manus and the family stopped in Paris to see relatives (all the
Manzon children, except Etta and Joseph, had immigrated to
Paris). Then, they took a ship to Buenos Aires. In Argentina,
Manus tried to build a leather tanning business, as he had in
Russia. He struggled to find the right chemicals to tan and
process the leather. Apparently, the climate in Argentina
required different leather processing chemicals. After they were
in Argentina for about 2 years, Sam Kaplan and Bosse sent
money and sponsored them to come to the US on the Argentina
Little about Manus and Minnie's Relatives in the US
Samuel and Bosse Kaplan went to New York to be with
Tool and Laka Lisook went to Boston to be with Tool's relatives.
Tool Lisook was interested in the pottery trade, but found that it
"wasn't happening in Boston". He contacted people from the
Russian home town who told him that. Trenton had a stronger
pottery industry. He and Laka went to Trenton, looked for work
in the pottery factories, but found they weren't hiring Jews. So,
Tool Lisook went into business on his own, including a gas
station and a delicatessen.
Samuel Kunis was located in Trenton and had two businesses,
including a fish market.
Manus and Minnie in the US
Manus and Minnie went to New York sometime in 1923, where
they stayed with Minnie's parents, Joseph and Etta. Manus was
"very unhappy" in New York. When his brother Samuel came
to see him, Samuel told him he had two businesses in Trenton
and would give one to Manus if he decided to move to Trenton.
Manus immediately moved his family to Trenton, taking over
the fish market. They got an apartment with furniture
purchased from an "old lady".
The fish market offered live fish on Thursday and Friday,
usually carp and mullet. Minnie helped in the store. Manus
said, "If fish, then might as well have vegetables". So, they now
had a fish and vegetable market. Minnie said she couldn't put