Helen Hammerschlag (Danziger) (c.1912 - 2000)

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Nicknames: "Chudes"
Birthplace: Warsaw, Poland
Death: Died in New York, New York, United States
Occupation: housewife
Managed by: Saul Abraham Rodd Jacobowitz
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Helen Hammerschlag (Danziger)

The SS Rhein manifest shows her as 5 months old named "Chudes"

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Helen Hammerschlag's Timeline

1908
December 12, 1908
Warsaw, Warszawa, Mazowieckie, Poland

The SS Rhein manifest lists the fourth child as Chaim age 2 3/4 years on 18 December, 1913, so he would have been born in March of 1911.

1910
1910
- 1911
Warsaw, Warszawa, Mazowieckie, Poland

Ethel's Memoirs: " When we left Warsaw, we had never heard the word “ghetto” in relation to our city. The area in which we lived was not a ghetto. When the horrendous stories started coming out of Europe about the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust, I, for one, was very naive and disbelieving about much of what I heard, especially about the Poles. In retrospect, however, I do remember two incidents that were brought on by the soldiers, who were under Russian administration at the time.

We were always friendly with our neighbors and the local police. Through the good and friendly auspices of the Gendarme on our beat, when I was five, my parents were notified of an impending raid/uprising that was about to take place. He told us to lock and chain our premises. Needless to say, it was very frightening for my mom and dad who feared for their children I remember vividly that Frances and I were dressed and overdressed with dark clothes and taken all the way up to the third floor attic,

There we had to stay in the farthest corner, If the raiders should, heaven forbid, find their way up there, this was the least conspicuous place to hide. we were admonished to keep absolutely quiet and then Mom kissed and hugged us and hurried back downstairs. We remained there, completely mute, throughout the night. In the morning Mom and Dad finally came to retrieve us when the area was clear of the soldiers.

After that, my dad, who feared for the lives of his precious children, revealed that he had a gun and that he would not hesitate to shoot to kill if it became apparent that our lives were in danger. Fortunately, we were all spared that gruesome experience, The soldiers did break down all the barriers and ransacked the store, but did not break into our home, nor entered the second floor or attic. The store was left totally devastated, with very little to be salvaged Every keg and pain was turned upside down, a horrible sight, and so much loss.

The ordeal was especially gruesome for my mom and dad. Years later, Mother recounted about the time when pogroms were rampant all over Europe. At the time these two incidents happened to our family (years 1910 - 1911), the Russians were aware of the fact that the soldiers were getting restless and had given the okay for them to act as they had. Because of the kindness of the beautiful Polish people we knew, who had heart and soul, we were spared any loss of life.

A year later, we were again forewarned by the same Gendarme. This second occurrence must have been the turning point for my father, for that is when he decided to leave for the United States, though I was unaware of Dad’s decision to leave Warsaw."

1912
May 10, 1912
Warsaw, Poland
November, 1912
- December, 1912
Poland

There are three places named Miłosna.
Miłosna may refer to the following places in Poland:
Miłosna, Lower Silesian Voivodeship (south-west Poland)
Miłosna, Łódź Voivodeship (central Poland)
Miłosna, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship (north Poland)

Ethel's Memoirs: "I do not remember much of the first stage of our trip, except that we were all dressed in dark clothes and traveled incognito. We must have traveled at night and were probably so all tired that we slept during the train ride. The first stop on our journey was the small town of Miellosna, Poland, where we had relatives, an aunt, uncle, and cousins, who were our age. The apartment must have been rented for us by a cousin who had lived there a long time.

The time passed quickly because we were with cousins our own age, who were good company. One favorite thing was reading the stories out of that beautiful green leather book which I had won at school. Mom had permitted me to carry that one treasure on the trip. It was the last time I saw it, however. Either my book got lost during the flight from Miellosna, or my cousins kept it in their home, where I had permitted them to read it.

Even though it was early winter, the weather was exceptionally mild. My cousins, Frances, and I could play games outdoors and this kept us from feeling cooped up and fearful. I recall that I shared my expertise with needlecraft and taught my cousins how to sew and crochet during our sojourn when we were inside."

December, 1912
- January 4, 1913
Baltimore, USA, Poland

Ethel's memoirs on the journey from Miłosna to the railroad to Bremen. "I have a vivid picture of our clan -- dressed in dark clothes and trudging on uncultivated land, outside a country town -- to reach the railroad station. Because the roads were so rugged, we walked in constant fear of missing our step and falling. I remember Gramps holding two-year-old Howard in his arms, mom holding baby Helen (8 months) and Frances and I holding onto three-and-a-half year old Moey. We blindly groped our way after Mom and Gramps, who were in constant fear of, God forbid, being followed or discovered before we got to the railroad station and the train that would take us to Bremen. God was truly with us that moonless night, protecting us from discovery, yet guiding our footsteps safely."

We finally reached the train and were guided to our seats, which, unfortunately, did not include sleeping accommodations That really didn’t matter, though, since we were all so tired that we immediately fell asleep in our seats. My sleep was disturbed several times, as we signaled our approach to towns with the eerie “Too-oot Too-oot” of the train whistle. As I recall, I was the onlyt one of mty siblings that awakened each time that sonorous whistle sounded. I fell easily back into a sweet, deep sleep each time. To this day, every time I hear a train whistle blow, I am transported into that seat on the train with two siblings huddled around me.

"We arrived at Bremen, Holland [sic], safely. Certain things then elude me, such as the trip from the station to our hotel. In my eyes it was a beautiful, impressive building, constructed mostly of stone and so very clean looking, with cobblestoned grounds around it. The next morning I wsaw Mom peeking out the window by slightly opening the curtain. It wasn’t until later that I realized that she was constantly on the alert to see if we had been followed. What agony that must have been. She didn’t take an easy breath until we were safely on the boat from the port of Bremen and steaming toward the United States. Every moment that we, and the other families, had to wait for the time to depart must have been a torture, for if we were caught escaping, we would have been imprisoned. My heart skips a beat when I think of the heroism that she exhibited."

They sailed from Bremen Dec 14 on board the North-German-Lloyd ship Rhein and arrived in Baltimore in 1913. Although Maer's naturalization papers indicate the same details except arriving on Jan 2 1914. If they left in late December 1912 they would have arrived in January 1913. Could have been a memory glitch.

(Ethel's memoir says that they sailed second class on the huge and beautiful "liner" the Rotterdam, from Bremen, Holland (sic). p.27)

1913
April, 1913
- October, 1915
Russellton, PA, USA

Ethel's Memoirs: "Our bus ride was not particularly earth shaking, however when we arrived at our destination we were immediately delighted to find ourselves in the midst of a town filled with orchards of fruit trees galore. The cooperating early spring weather had brought out all the beautiful various colored buds. It was as though we had landed in Fairy-Land."

"They left Poland just in time to escape World War I. They arrived in Russelton, PA, a little mining town outside Pittsburgh, PA, where Grandpa Abe got work mining coal deep in the earth. Along with lots of other Polish-speaking immigrants. At least they could understand the language.

Grandma Ella began a buying service. That sounds fancy, but her's wasn't. What she did was take the orders and measurements of the coal miners' illiterate wives., trudge into Pittsburgh, buy what they had ordered, and trudge back under heavy load. Occasionally she'd get a ride from a passing horse and wagon. For this service she added a surcharge / each of her customers, and in this way she helped support her large - and growing - family. For in the Summer of 1915, along came their sixth child, Grandma Laura."
Norman B Jacobowitz, Letter to My Grandsons, 1984, Page 27

Renae's Story: When the family lived in Russelton, PA, where Abe worked in the mines, Ella would get clothing on consignment for the local ladies. Ella had very good taste in clothing.
One time when Ella was 8 months pregnant with Laura, she missed the 5 pm bus. Abe figured she had gone to the hospital, so he went home. Ella caught the next bus, but Abe wasn't there when she arrived with two huge bundles of consignment clothing. It was a hilly town, and Ella carried the bundles by walking 20 paces with one bundle, going back for the other, and leap frog carrying them until she got home. Renae's story has an edge of resentment toward her father. Related to David Jacobowitz, 2009.

April, 1913
- January 4, 1914
Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Frances Cohn to Ethel: November 8, 1934.
Dear Ethel:

I have finally procured the information you wanted,
1. - Arrived in 1913
2. Line - North-German-Lloyd - Ship Rhein
(Before the war she operated as SS Rhein, an ocean liner for North German Lloyd.)
3. From Bremen, Germany
4. Docked in Baltimore
5. Came on second class - from Warsaw

I hope this will enable you to get the papers quickly - by the way have you your first papers - I took my first out 6 years ago when I left Cleveland - I heard that it now costs quite a bit for your second papers - what did Leo have to pay?
As soon as you fill out your questionnaire for your second papers - make a copy for me - and I will take mine out also.
=====================

Ethel Zuckerman's Memoirs:
"The very last hurdle before we were safely in the United States was for all of us to pass the Immigration Authority’s physical examinations. Frances and I were checked first and passed easily. Gramps and Mom checked out, too. When it was Howard’s turn, the authorities found a rash on his face and said he could not enter the country. Mom insisted that he had not had the rash on the ship and that it had just appeared after we had docked. The inspectors persisted, contending that he had had the rash in Europe and could not be admitted.

Even though Mom was exhausted from the long journey, her will was not weakened. She was determined that no one was going to turn her and her family back when she was so close to her goal. She drew herself up, took a deep breath, turned to the inspectors and said, “All you have to do is look at my whole family to see how healthy we are.” The authorities carefully looked at the other four of her bright-eyed, pink-cheeked children and relented and let us through, including Howard, who was a little pinker than the rest of us.

Dad had found a job in Pittsburgh, so that was our destination as we boarded a bus. Of course, Frances and I sat together. As children, we didn’t even begin to think of the dramatic change that had just occurred in our lives, nor of what might lie ahead. Instead, we were fascinated watching some of the other passengers chewing on something that never seemed to be consumed. We could not imagine what food needed chewing for such a long time. It was remarkable that my first memory of something new in the United States would be about chewing gum!

When we arrived in Pittsburgh, Grandpa Danziger stayed aboard the bus, for he was traveling on to Cleveland where his two married daughters lived. Just like Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, so Mom and Gramps had led us out of Europe, and we, too, had reached our own Promised Land."

Abraham meets Maer/Meyer, Elka, and the children in Baltimore and they take the bus to Pittsburgh. Meyer goes on to Cleveland, where he has two married daughters.

Maer's Naturalization Petition says he arrived at Baltimore on 4 January 1914 and lived in Ohio since 6 January, 1914. Abe must have met the family in Baltimore and went with them to Pittsburgh and then to Russelton, PA, where he had a job as a carpenter fixing coal carriages in a mine.

1916
1916
Age 3
Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio, United States

Two and a half years in Russellton, the family moves to Cleveland.

Ethel Danziger Zuckerman's Memoirs: "Though things were going nicely and Mom’s business was a success and life at home was most enjoyable because Mom and Dad were always with us, a truly wonderful relaxed atmosphere.

Frances by now just about 12 years old, as beautiful as ever, when Mom discovers that some of the young Poles were making eyes toward Frances. Well, Mom lost no time in making her decision to get out of Russellton as quickly as possible, before any complications regarding intermarriage might arise

So without a moment’s hesitation dear Mom gives up her developed entrepreneurship, and plans to leave for Cleveland were made immediately. This is just another instance where the thought of money to be made could not take precedence over the comfort and fidelity to her Jewishness and the solidity of her beloved family.

Yes the Danziger name could have and might have become a very famous one with possibilities of establishing a store in Russellton to reach many many more clients who were ready for this type of venture, that could have or might have led to branch stores, with a capable family to help eventually.

So On To Cleveland"

1941
September, 1941
Age 29
Washington, DC, USA

Washington, D.C. September 1941