According to my mother, my great-great-grandfather, Berel MAKOWER lived until the age of 100, when he was shot by Hitler himself, who was offended at the idea of a 100-year-old Jew. I’ve never actually believed this story, since there is pretty much no evidence that Hitler personally killed anyone. I got my great-grandparents’ marriage record (from Brok, Poland in 1896) translated and it lists my great-grandmother as Malka Ryfka MAKOWER, the daughter of the deceased Berel and still alive mother Bina Matlya MOSHKOVNA.
Obviously, if he was already dead in 1896, he wasn’t killed by Hitler.
The other suggestive thing about this has to do with Bina Matlya, who another family legend (also promulgated by my mother) says was a foundling, literally left in a basket on a doorstep. But the form of her name given here is a patronymic, indicating her father’s name was Moshe. As it happens, I’ve also gotten her death certificate (from Pultusk, Poland in 1909) and it identifies her as the widow of Berko MAKOWER (which is the same as Berel – just different diminutive endings for the name, Ber) and the daughter of Moszko (a form of Moshe) and Nikha MAGNUSHEWER. Of course, it is entirely possible that she was adopted and used the names of her adoptive parents. I’m not sure if there was any formal adoption process in Poland circa 1845, so who knows?
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