The photos from left to right are: 1. Rachel Yarmovsky, 2.
Mordechai Sapiro, 3. Rachel Yarmovsky in Bialystok, 4. William Sapiro
(self-portrait), and 5. Ida and William Sapiro (1938).
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Rachel Yarmovsky was born in 1880. Before Rachel married, she worked in a textile factory in Bialystok. She married Mordechai Sapiro (sometimes known as Shapiro) about 1907 and they lived in Bialystok, Poland. Rachel and Mordechai had two children who emigrated to Canada and the U.S. Rachel stayed in Bialystok with her mother Hene Yarmovsky. Rachel and Hene died during World War II. They had lived at One Zytnia Street, Bialystok. (For a map showing Zytnia St. and Rozanska St., click here Also, see the 1927 Bialystok map on this site's Bialystok page).
Mordechai Sapiro was born about 1880. He was a teacher who had to quit teaching (which involved much standing) because of a heart condition. He then started a bread shop which became a grocery store. He got into the bread business when he was forced to sell some bread that he had purchased. The bread was purchased for a committee that was in charge of acquiring it for distribution to the needy. There was a dispute as to the bread, so Mordechai was stuck with it and had to sell it. A 1929 Polish business directory shows Mordko Szapiro with a grocery store at 4 Rozanska. After Mordechai died in 3/20/1934 in Bialystok, Rachel continued to run the family's grocery store. Mordechai was also a Zionist and biblical scholar who wrote articles for the local Jewish newspaper.
According to a family story, Sapiro was not the original family name and the name was changed to Sapiro to avoid a 25 year draft into the Tsar's army in Russia. Mordechai's father is believed to have been a second son who was eligible to be drafted. The story is that the family arranged to register his birth as a first son in another town under a different family name, i.e., Sapiro.
Rachel and Mordechai's son Velvel was born 6/12/1908 in Bialystok. He emigrated to Canada in 1926 at age 18 by way of Ellis Island in NYC and became known as William Sapiro. He lived with his uncle Hyman Yarmovsky's family in London, Ontario, Canada for awhile. William worked as an engineer in Toronto and later took a similar job in Vancouver in 1942. He later worked as a tool and die maker in Vancouver. William married Ida Czaikowsky (her family members also spell the surname as Cjakowski and Tchaikovsky) on 9/22/1932 in Toronto, Canada. Ida was born on 3/6/1909 and emigrated to Canada (through Halifax) about 1925. William Sapiro died on 7/1/1978 in Vancouver. Ida Sapiro died on 4/9/1986 in Vancouver, Canada.
Rachel's husband Mordechai Sapiro is believed to have been one of approximately eight children. He had one known brother and several sisters. Mordechai's brother Alter lived in the Bialystok area and had several children. One sister lived in Warsaw and had a daughter named Feige who survived World War II. At least one Sapiro family lived in Zdzieciol in the 1930's. One sister was named Rose Shapiro who married Joseph Perman. Rose's daughter Bella was born in the town of Mordy, Poland, which is near the city of Siedlce (which is southeast of Bialystok) and is in the Siedlce Gubernia (district). Another sister was named Yahette Shapiro. Yahette's daughter Dora was born in Siemiatycze (which is located between Siedlce and Bialystok).
The photos from left to right are: 1. Rose, Bella, Ida & Lillie Camel about 1914; 2. Rose, Ida & Lillie Camel about 1916; 3. Bella Camel at age 100 in Philadelphia, 1983; and 4. Sarah Perman (Bella Camel's paternal grandmother).
Bella Perman was born on 3/7/1883 in Mordy, Poland in the Siedlce district. Her parents were Joseph David Perman and Rose Shapiro (Rose was Joseph's first wife and they had about 5 children; there were another six children with the second wife). Bella's paternal grandmother was named Sarah. Bella married Jacob Camel (originally Kamel) about 1906. Jack Kamel, a 22 year old embroiderer born in Warsaw and his wife Balcie, 21, arrived in NYC with their infant daughter Rose on 9/28/1907 on the S.S. New York sailing from Southampton. (Two of Jack's siblings, Elsig and Sarah Kamel, were also on the same ship.) The 1920 Federal Census showed Jacob and Bella Camel living at 95th St. Manor Ave. #824 in Queens, NY, with their three daughters, Rose, Ida and Lillie and two cousins Tillie Diner and Sylvia Diner. At the time of the 1930 Census, the family (including Rose's husband David Brodsky) lived at 1296 College Ave. in the Bronx. Bella's Social Security Application dated 10/24/63 showed her still living at 1296 College Ave., Bronx, NY and born in Sedlitz, Poland. Bella Camel died on 12/15/1986 in Philadelphia at the age of 103. According to his 1937 Social Security Application, Jacob Camel was born on 7/4/1886 in Warsaw with his parents shown as Chaim Kamel and Raisel Finkelkraut. In 1937, he was employed at the Senate Embroidery Co. at 315 W. 36 St., NYC. Jacob was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1911. Jacob Camel died in November 1972.
Dora Huber was born on 3/11/1894 in Siemiatycze. According to her 1937 Social Security Application, her parents were Osher Labeke Guber and Yahette Shapiro. The Ellis Island records show Doby Pszennej sailing from Rotterdam on the S.S. Ryndam which arrived in NYC on 10/19/1920. She was shown as 29 years old with her daughter Sara, 8, leaving Leib Huber in Semiatice enroute to Philadelphia to her husband Jacob Pszenny at 1629 S. Lawrence St. Doby and Sara were shown as born in Simiatice, Poland and living in Siedlec, Poland. Dora married Jacob J. Pseny about 1912. The 1930 Census showed the Pseny family living at 5342 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA, with Jacob employed as a teamster in his own business. Dora's 1937 Social Security Application showed her still living at 5342 Locust St. and her employer as Jacob Pseny, Inc. at the same address. Dora Pseny died on 12/13/1975 in Philadelphia, PA. Dora and Jacob had three children including Sylvia (originally Sara) who died on 12/1/1994 in Gladwyne, PA. Sylvia's 1936 Social Security Application showed her born in Siedlice, Poland on 9/14/1913 with her parents being Jacob Pseny and Dora Huber. Sylvia's married name was Sylvia Mink.
The author of this site would love to hear from any descendants of the Sapiro/Shapiro family including those related to the Bergman, Brodsky, Camel, Mink, Perman, Pseny and Weitz families and from others familiar with the family. To contact the author of this web site, see the link at the bottom of the home page.
Copyright 2003, 2009, Gregory Kolojeski. All Rights Reserved.
This page was last updated 03/01/09