My Mother’s Family — Part 19

I was born on August 16, 1926 in Doctor Stein’s Sanatorium, “Ein-Gedi” in Mazeh Street, Tel-Aviv. Doctor Stein was the obstetrician. Dr. Stein had a modern disinfection room in his Sanatorium where he disinfected all his medical instruments and my grandfather Moritz Schönberg would not hear of any other hospital or Doctor. He was 66 years old and a year earlier decided to retire from all his activities and leave the management of the department store on Bustos Street to be managed solely by his son Boris. The birth of one more grandchild, and one who would live with his parents next door gave my grandmother and grandfather a lot of joy. Now that he had so much free time he decided to take a load off my mother and go out for a stroll pushing the big baby-pram which was imported from England up Bialik Street, all the way to the Municipality building at the end of the street and back. Up the street, on the even-numbered side was the house of H.N.Bialik. Bialik loved children but did not have any. He too used to go out for a morning stroll and was happy to meet my grandfather whom he knew since he arrived in Israel. The two spoke Yiddish between them and when they reached the stairs of the Municipal building my grandfather took me in his arms and they both climbed up all the way to Meir Dizengof’s office. Dizengoff was Mayor of Tel-Aviv and asked them to sit down. They all spoke Yiddish and discussed the daily news and grandfather was rocking me in his arms.

At the time of my birth my father was still managing Casino “Galei-Aviv” but one year later, in 1927 Abarbanel-Weisser sold it. In 1926 Moritz Schönberg bought the plot of land which was at the south-western corner where Herzl Street and Yafo-Tel-Aviv Street (today called Eilath Street) intersected and built a two-storied building on it. He decided to open a department-store on both sides of the corner Establishing a second department-store in Tel-Aviv was the realization of a family decision which was made after the 1921 riots. It was then decided to move the entire family business gradually from Jaffa to Tel-Aviv. The department -store on Bustros Street in Jaffa was still open to business with my uncle Boris managing it since my grandfather retired in 1925. Now a Manager was required for the new department-store in Tel-Aviv and the timing was just right for my father ended managing the Casino and took-over managing the new store in Tel-Aviv.

On the first day of Passover, April 18, 1935 my brother Eran was born. My grandfather was 75 years old and started suffering from a bladder infection which in those days and with the existing drugs was very difficult to cure. Yet, he was elated to get another grandchild and used to take him for his morning strolls in Bialik Street. Although my father was getting a very good salary managing the Tel-Aviv department-store of Schönberg & Son, my grandfather insisted that he pay the tuition for the kindergarten and school of both my brother and I.

My grandfather died on December 8, 1939. He was almost 80 years old. The day he died aunt Rachel came to visit him. She and my mother were attending to him while he was dying in his bed. Grandmother was sitting in one of the two armchairs which were in the enclosed sunroom and I was sitting in the other armchair opposite her. My aunt Rachel came out of the bedroom and summoned me. She took me to the left side of my grandfather’s bed. His face was drawn. It was plain that he suffered. I stood touching the bed when he stretched his left arm and lay his hand on my bent head. His lips moved but one could not hear anything. He took his arm back and closed his eyes. My mother was weeping quietly. Aunt Rachel stood still for several minutes and then said in French: “He is gone.” I started crying and ran out of the room to grandma and said to her in Yiddish, choking with tears: “Zeida is geshtorben!” She remained calm. Two big tears rolled out of her eyes. She stretched out both arms to me and I threw myself into her lap.

My grand father died intestate. One month after his burial at the family grave-site the family convened. The store on Bustros Street, Jaffa had been closed in 1936 when the riots started once more. My uncle Boris moved to manage the shop in Tel-Aviv and my father was his deputy. During the family meeting held in January 1940 my aunt Minna claimed that the department-store belonged to my uncle Boris alone for so my grandfather promised her when she married. She also insisted that my grandfather’s house on 1 Bialik street be sold and the revenue be divided between the three children. My aunt Rachel and her husband Henry agreed so that my mother and father had no choice but to agree as well. The money which my mother received after the sale of the house was a pittance. Once the house was sold we had to move and my father rented a five and a half room apartment on 57 Balfour Street. It was decided that grandma will stay with us and the largest room of the apartment as well as the half room adjacent to it were allocated to her. My parents, brother and I were very happy that grandma lived with us. One day in February 1953, when my parents and brother were out and I remained at home, I went to her room (as I did often) to see how she was and ask her if she wanted anything. She was sitting in that same armchair in which she was in 1939. Her eyes were closed. She was dead. She must have been 83 years old. I loved her so.



One thought on “My Mother’s Family — Part 19

  1. בוקר טוב וגמר חתימה טובה,

    קראתי בעיון רב ונהניתי מכל משפט . בעיקר אני מתרשם מהזיכרון המופלג שאתה מגלה בכתיבת כל הפרקים כולם כולל זכרונותיך וקורות משפחת אברבנאל.

    קצת הופתעתי שלא שמעתי את קולך בערב ראש השנה. שוחחתי עם אינס ימים אחדים לפני ראש השנה והזמנתי אתכם להתארח אצל נורית לארוחת החג בערב ראש השנה. אינס אמרה לי שאתם מוזמנים לחגוג את ערב ראש השנה אצל איריס. ברכתי אותה בשנה טובה והמתנתי לשיחתך!

    אינס אמרה לי שאתה תיצור קשר לפני החג כדי להודות לי על ההזמנה !!

    שא ברכה, רני.

    From: Oded Abarbanell To: Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 12:25 AM Subject: [New post] My Mother’s Family — Part 19

    No Doubt posted: “I was born on August 16, 1926 in Doctor Stein’s Sanatorium, “Ein-Gedi” in Maziah Street, Tel-Aviv. Doctor Stein was the obstetrician. Dr. Stein had a modern disinfection room in his Sanatorium where he disinfected all his medical instruments and my grandf”

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