Zimkin family

Meet Arthur Zimkin (and Rebe Eisenstein)


Readers of this blog know that we've been trying to track down all the lines of the Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz family to find any living relatives and learn what became of our various cousins. A big step ahead came when Harriett Berkowitz, the daughter of Seymour Rabinowitz, came forward. She provided fantastic new information, including her memories of her cousin Arthur Zimkin, who was the only child of Sadie Rabinowitz Zimkin, the oldest daughter of Joseph and Lena.

I was able to follow up on that with some Internet research and learned that Arthur had a son Mark, who lived in Toronto, where his mother Frieda Zimkin passed away in the late '70s. I covered that information in the blog.

Then early this year, I received an email from an Isolde Goldman of Hornell NY, who had read the blog and wanted me to know that she was a member of the Zimkin family and that her older cousin, a Rebe Colman Eisenstein of Hackensack NJ, knew Arthur well and would be willing to share information with me.

I contacted Rebe by mail and within days she reached me by telephone. I could immediately tell that, though elderly at age 90, she was sharp as a tack and full of memories about Arthur and other Rabinowitz family members. I said that I would be in New York in July and she invited me and Walter to come for a visit.

We did visit Rebe at her home in July (she the photo at left). She served us a lovely lunch and shared stories and photographs about Arthur Zimkin and his family, as well as of her own interesting history.

Arthur himself was a photographer, and the image topping this post is a self portrait.
I've delayed reporting on our fascinating meeting with Rebe because I have not yet fully reviewed the three-hour recording. I was not otherwise taking notes and I want to make sure that I get all of her revelations down accurately.
Now that I've posted this preliminary item, I will make it a point to listen to the tape and post the highlights as soon as possible.

The Zimkin saga continues

Mark Zimkin has turned up alive and reasonably well in Las Vegas. Readers will recall that I had been looking for our second cousin since learning of him from another cousin Harriet Berkowitz five years ago. Like Harriet, Mark was a previously unknown to us descendant of Joseph and Lena Rabinowitz. Harriet told us that he was the son of Arthur Zimkin, who was the son of Sadie Rabinowitz and David Zimkin. (For review, Harriet is the daughter of Seymour Rabinowitz, brother of Sadie. We are grandchildren of Walter Ruby Rabinowitz, brother of Seymour and Sadie.)

My search for him had turned up Mark's 1965 marriage in Montreal to Phyllis Schwartz and a 1977 death record for his mother Frieda Zimkin noting her last known residence in Canada. After that the trail went cold until I was contacted in 2010 by a Zimkin family relation Isolde Goldman, who put me in contact with her elderly aunt Rebe Eisenstein, a niece of David Zimkin.

As I recounted in a 2010 posting, my brother and I visited Ms. Eisenstein, then aged 90, at her apartment in Hackensack NJ. She provided much useful information about the Zimkin family, including many details I did not post to the blog, but she did not know what had happened to Mark since she had last seen him on a visit to New York in the 1980s.

She said she believed Mark was probably "no longer in this world," based on something she had been told by her cousin Elliot Wineburg, Isolde's brother, a New York psychiatrist who had also seen Mark on that visit to New York and may have had subsequent contacts with him. Rebe suggested that I contact Elliot to learn what he might know.

I am very sorry to say I did not contact Elliot at that time. Truth is, I dragged my feet on the whole matter, posting an initial report on the Rebe meeting but not following up with the many rich details she provided about the Rabinowitz family, about which she had numerous first-hand recollections.

Much of Rebe's Rabinowtiz information was troubling, raising questions about a history of mental illness in the family that I hesitated to explore candidly in the blog. The most important disclosure was Rebe's explanation for what we already knew, that Sadie had been hospitalized during the last years of her life and died in a sanitarium in New Jersey in 1929. She told us that Sadie had been physically abusive to her son Arthur, and that this was the reason she was sent away.

For whatever reasons, I did not follow up on Rebe's disclosures and as a result never reached out to Elliot Wineburg for more information about Mark. That's where things stood until a few months ago when I got another contact about Mark on the blog. More on that in the next post.

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