Furst Brothers BRATIA FÜRST
Childhood and Family
The Fürst Family
There was a great deal of solidarity and love within the Fürst family. The brothers and sisters were closely attached to each other.
Our dad was the dominant figure among them. They all used to consult with him, and he took care of each one of them. He was considered the head of the family. This is the appropriate place to mention that after mom and dad got married, the Blum and Fürst families maintained between them an excellent relationship.
Our grandpa, Hugo Fürst, is buried in Bratislava. He died before we were born, therefore we cannot remember neither him nor grandma, who died when Shmuel was about eighteen months of age. She, too, is buried in Bratislava. We both visited the cemetery three or four years ago, and had both graveyards renovated. On the tombstones, we carved the names of all their children and grandchildren who perished in the Holocaust.
The Fürst family lived in Bratislava since the beginning of the 18-th century, perhaps even before. No document tells the story of their livelihood. Grandpa was born in Boldogasszony, but we have on information on his parents.
The origin of grandma’s family, Frank, was in Nové Zámky. Her family was very ramified. Most of its sons and daughters received academic education, and became physicians, lawyers, teachers, and principals, while others were merchants and craftsmen involved in common Jewish trades.
Six children were born to grandma and grandpa. Firstborn was Elvira, in 1996. She married an army officer, but their marriage did not last long. Her second marriage was to Lapeš Rosenzweig, with whom she moved to Predmier, his family’s village. She remained childless. Our parents and we were in close relationship with their family. The entire Rosenzweig family, except one of the brother’s two daughters, perished in the Holocaust. As years went by, both women had died, and we know nothing about their descendants.
Our dad, Artur, was born in 1898. He studied until the age of seventeen. In World War1 he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army’s artillery. Upon his release from the army at the end of the war, he was employed by a famous tradesman of lumber, and learned the skill of buying and selling timber. In those days, lumber was an essential element in construction, as well as in various other fields.
The third child in the family was Ladislav, or Laci, born in 1903. Dad and Laci founded the “Fürst Brothers“ (“Bratia Fürst”) company, which engaged in timber trading. The plant, a huge warehouse for timber, was set on 7-9 Drevená Street in Petržalka, a suburb of Bratislava. Dad was in charge of the professional aspects and was actually the plant’s general director, while uncle Laci was the man of finances and administration. Later, our family’s house was built on that ground. There were we born.
In 1936, uncle Laci married Stela Sonnenmark. Three years later, their daughter, Marika, was born. In 1942 they were all caught by the Slovak Hlinka Guard and deported to Poland. The whole family perished.
Laci’s younger brother was Gyula. It was commonly known that he was the most gifted boy in the family. He got ill and died at the age of twenty-two.
Andor was the next child in the family. When he came of age, he married Fritzi Lichtenberg. They had two sons: Štefan-Pišta and Tomáš-Tomy. During the war, they hid in the nearby mountains, at a peasant’s house. For a brief period they stayed in a labor camp. Luckily, they were not deported to concentration camps. The whole family survived the war and immigrated to Israel.
After the war, Andor divorced his first wife. His second marriage was with Berta Klein, born in Prešov. In 1949, they came to Israel, and settled in Sarona. Uncle Andor was the storekeeper of the moshav. He passed away in 1996, and aunt Berta died in 1982.
Their son, Itamar – whose name was mentioned above, in the introductory remarks – married Tama Ziv-Ron from Haifa. They have two children – Dror, eleven years old, whose name is reminiscent of Andor’s name, and Lilach, nine years of age. They live in Even Yehuda.
The youngest one in our dad’s generation was aunt Lidia-Lido, who married Šandor Löwinger. In partnership with uncle Andor, he founded near Nové Mesto a timber warehouse, quite similar to the one owned by dad and uncle Laci. They also produced slates. Uncle Šandor died in 1938 of a malignant disease, leaving behind Lido and a son, Hanzi. In 1942, when Hanzi was eleven years old, he and his mother were deported to Poland. They never returned.
We also wish to mention aunt Bela, dad’s aunt. She was the only person we knew of our grandparents’ generation. She never married, and other members of the family took care of her. Our dad took the lion’s share of supporting her. For her, we children were the most wonderful things on earth. Whenever we came to her, she had all kinds of sweets ready for us. Her home was almost empty, and she lived in ascetic humbleness. Nevertheless, we very much loved visiting her, just to make her happy.
During the war, attempts were made in order to save her. One of these attempts was made by the Rabbi of Nové Mesto, who placed her in a home for aged people.
There were rumors that some elderly men and women were deported to death camps in exchange for others who took their place. There is no proof to these rumors.
To our great sorrow, aunt Bela perished in the Holocaust.