One of Ari’s 3x great-grandfathers was Maurice Katz, originally Moses and known as Morrie.

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He was born in 1883 in Ekaterinoslav in the Russian Empire, which is now called Dnipropetrovs’k or Dnipro, Ukraine. (Jews had first settled there in 1773 and it was part of the Pale of Jewish Settlement. Pogroms took place there in the 1880s, and 50,000 Jews in the Dnipropetrovs’k region were killed by the Nazis.)

Maurice left in 1898. The earliest record we have for him is this passenger record showing that he travelled from Hamburg to London on the Ophelia with his mother Hinde and sister Rosalie. (This is how I learned his original name.)

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(Source: Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850–1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008.)

More details about the emigration of European Jews via Hamburg can be read on this page.

In the 1901 census he is living at 14 Old Montague St in Whitechapel with his older brother Nathan.

His naturalization document from 1909 can be seen in the National Archives at Kew (Ref. HO 144/907/176855).

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Maurice married Rachel Cohen on 28 Dec 1909 in London’s Great Synagogue. His occupation is given as ‘manager of shirt manufacturer’. (Apparently he made up his date of birth of 1 Feb to match hers, but her birth certificate states 5 Feb anyway!)

In the 1911 census they are living at 6 Gore Rd, Victoria Park, Hackney with their six-month-old daughter Judith, and Ellen Cooper, a fourteen-year-old general servant. Maurice is listed as a shirt cutter in an underclothing factory. In 1914 a second daughter, Rosalind, was born.

I don’t remember him as he died the year before I was born, but his grandson David Loshak sent me his memories:

“He settled in London, and did well in the shirt manufacturing business, even though he could hardly write English. He made enough money to finance what were known as Grand Tours of Europe for my mother and grandmother when my mother was about 18: they stayed in all the grandest hotels in Paris, Nice, Florence, Rome and so on, and even (I don’t know why or how) attended an audience with the Pope (my mother recalled that his shoes squeaked).

When war broke out in 1939, my grandfather sold his factory to the government so that the machinery could be used to make parachutes. He was a rotund, genial fellow, who loved to amuse his grandchildren with funny little tricks. He smoked Woodbines – horribly strong gasper cigarettes, which he would balance across his shoe and kick up to his mouth. He was, I think, the only member of my family who liked to go to boxing matches. On Sundays, my grandfather read the News of the World, a paper then devoted to salacious accounts of dirty court cases: otherwise, he read nothing, and spent his days riding around London on buses. He was a jolly man, full of fun, as his photograph indicates.”

In 1915 Maurice was advertising for shirt-cutters in the Manchester Evening News:

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Maurice appears in Kelly’s Post Office Directory for 1916:

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and this address enabled me to find him in the Middlesex Poplar Military Tribunals 1916–1918 Collection on Findmypast, where he is being granted temporary exemptions throughout these years “on the ground that serious hardship would ensue if the man were called up for Army service, owing to his exceptional financial or business obligations or domestic position” and “on the ground that it is expedient in the national interests that the man should, instead of being employed in military service, be engaged in other work in which he is habitually engaged”.

Passenger records show that he travelled to Cape Town in 1926 and 1929.

The 1939 Register shows Maurice staying at Regent Palace Hotel.

Maurice died at the General Hospital in Brighton on 3 Mar 1959, and was buried at Bushey Cemetery.

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maurice katz death jc
Jewish Chronicle announcement

 

 

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