​​The Jewish Families of Ostropol
 Researching  Jewish Families in the territories of the Russian Empire and in the small Ukrainian town of Ostropol

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Honors and Tributes   Sharing Stories in Honor of Those Who Inspired Us to Trace Our Families

A. Harold Solomon (1928 -1986)
by Deborah Glassman,
copyright 2019




















   




 The guy standing next to  my beautiful mother (Irene Kleiman Solomon Nudelman) is my father, Harold Solomon. He was born in Philadelphia in 1928. The day he came home from the hospital, his mother, Rose Tucker Solomon  told her mother Lena Chait Tucker, that the baby was named for Lena’s father, Avrum Hersh Chait. So Rose had named the baby, Alfred Harold Solomon. “What will you call him?” asked Rose’s mother. “Alfred," said Rose who had expected her mother to be pleased. “But,” said Lena to her American born daughter who had not grown up with the naming customs of the Russian Empire, “the second name is the important name, everyone called my father Hersh.” Seven days after Rose had filled in his baby book with the name Alfred Harold Solomon, she changed it in that same baby book, to Harold Alfred Solomon. From then on, everyone called the baby Harold, and as my father laughingly explained it to me many times, thus began an entire school career of fighting with substitute teachers. They would call the roll, and he would never answer when they called him Alfred.



















 




My Dad always had a multi-generation family story, so it is fitting that I had to cite four generations to tell about the day he was born. In my childhood household, where my dad drew maps and houseplans on hundreds of nearby napkins, I had seen many lists of the  twenty plus siblings of his father’s parents, on similar surfaces. I found even the close relatives confusing when I was a kid, which confounded him, everyone was such a separate story. But to give me some credit, my dad had  five uncle Benjamins just at his parents’ generation. His father and his mother each had  a brother named Ben, and three of their sisters had married men named Benjamin, as well. Though some of these men had died when I was small and it was easier for me to keep the living ones straight, my father had the gift of talking about dead people, like they might walk in the door any minute. When he drew on napkins and listed all of the siblings of my great-grandmother Ratzi Friedman Solomon, I heard every time, that her next younger sibling, her brother Gedaliah, had not gotten out of Russia with all of the rest of the family.  Gedaliah was wealthy and successful and married with kids, and  had moved from Ostropol to the larger busier community of Miropol. There was also some back story with the family sending escape money to Gedaliah’s daughter Toobey, who was supposed to get it to her parents and siblings, but long story made short, come the 1960s and 1970s, Gedaliah’s grandchildren were still living in Kiev. I heard about Ratzi’s sister "the Mima" Ruchel who smoked Turkish cigarettes, and had the smartest dog on the planet (we named the dog of my teenage years, Mendel in the honor of this wonder dog of the 1930s.) I learned that Ratzi’s sister Ida, who I had met many times, was not stuck-up as some thought, just, my father assured me, terribly near-sighted and wouldn’t wear her glasses when she wasn’t teaching, so she would walk right by people on the street. I learned that though Ratzi was called Biggie by her great-grandchildren, that her mother was not called Little Baba because she had in fact not reached 4'10", but because this great-great-grandmother of mine, along with her brother, Uncle Zeidel Neifeld,  had been called Baba and Zeidel from their infancy.
 
Back story was my Dad’s stock in trade. He never introduced me to someone without telling me what that person’s connection was to him and our family.It usually included a history of that person’s family that  went  backwards for multiple generations  in time. A successful hypnotist with skills in regression (a fantasy of mine for years) could pull up all those times I was only half listening while my dad told me where they and their parents and grandparents had lived, and what type of stores that their parents ran, and what kind of routes (bread, milk, newspaper, whatever) their fathers and older brothers had driven sixty years earlier. My dad did not live until his own sixtieth birthday (we lost him at fifty-eight) but his memories faithfully recorded stories he had heard from his parents and grandparents, without having a firm cut off date, for information he could not himself have personally witnessed.

The most important thing to him was family - his parents, his brother, his wife's family. He said he didn't have children and children-in-law, he just had children. He didn't have his cousins and his wife's cousins, he just had cousins. He was an amazing  person and this website, this research into the home town of his grandmother, is part of what I do happily in his memory. I have a lot of stories that I would love to share about him. Maybe the story of how a group of  American Nazis tried to recruit the blond haired- blue eyed 18 year old who was traveling away from home, not realizing that he and Paul Newman could be blue-eyed and Jewish at the same time. Maybe ones that just had my family in stitches when other people told them about him or the ones that have us wiping our eyes, missing him. I am thinking of a page for his favorite jokes (his were clean, my mother’s were not). He is one of my favorite people of all time. What story would you like to tell about the people who are the reason behind your genealogy passion?
  

You don't have to write a story about your person, but I would love to include those whom  you also honor with a gift of support for our research. You can send gifts for any reason, but if it is because of the difference a particular person made, let me know when you make the gift.Just go to any of the contact forms on these pages, and let me know that you would like to accompany a donation with a story,  or that you would like to give me enough info, to help you write the piece. I do reserve the right to refuse material for conflicts with my editorial policy.  Donations in memory, in thanks, in tribute, or just because, can be made by clicking  A Donation for Ostropol Genealogy Research or other similarly named links on every page of this website.  

  


Harold Solomon as the bane of Substitute Teachers, as he entered the Philadelphia School System. You could call him by the nickname he shared with his equally blond haired blue-eyed father, Morris,  of Whitey Solomon. Some people never knew him as anything else. You could call him Harold. But don't start that Alfred stuff.
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Write to Deborah  Glassman with any questions about Ostropol  research or your family in Ostropol  or Volhynia.  I have added dozens of  new articles and new lists about the Jews of Ostropol and nearby communities. Please come back frequently to see the new additions, the new quarterly columns, and materials never before made available! You can use this form, like all of the forms on this website, to tell me what information you would like to order, or what questions or feedback you have.  
     
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