Fischer & Levin ~ family history

A compilation of genealogical, anecdotal and historical information on the families of Martin E. and Judith L. Fischer

Copyright © 2004-2012 Martin Fischer unless otherwise specified.

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A video view of the past

Rita and Ben Cohen of St. Louis, who were long-time close friends of the Fischer family, were far ahead of their time in 1948 when they began to compile a collection of home movies. This very brief excerpt from hours of film they took shows Morris and Chana Fischer dancing and eating and their children, Martin and David, playing at parties hosted by the Cohens. We are very grateful that the Cohens managed to save these treasured memories for us.



Geography lessons: Lands of our ancestors

The Fischer and Levin families and their ancestors of various surnames trace their origins to a wide area of Eastern and Central Europe. In the 19th Century, their homelands extended from today's Latvia on the north to Romania on the south, and from Ukraine on the east to Germany on the west.  



Letters from Pinsk

In 1925, Dweira Mindla Kagan Levik writes from Pinsk, Poland, to her husband, Abraham Levik in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine), whom she has not seen in several years, about their unsuccessful attempts to arrange immigration to Palestine. In an undated note, an elderly, ailing Eliezar Kagan sends his love and blessings to his children in America. After Eliezar Kagan's death, an official from a yeshiva in Pinsk asks his son Samuel Cohen for a donation for a needed renovation project. In 1928, Samuel Cohen's brother-in-law Moshe Kolodny sends the text of the elaborate eulogy carved on the tombstone of Samuel's father, Eliezar Kagan, in a Pinsk cemetery.


Letters from Romania

Herman Landman's niece Tauba Abramovici writes to him in 1921 about her family's inability to secure a sufficient dowry for her. In 1923, college student Misu Landmann writes to his aunt Rebecca Gordon Landman in Kansas City, Mo., to ask for $4 a month to help with his expenses at Bucharest University. Three years later, Misu writes to his cousin Libbie Landman of Kansas City about Bucharest University student strikes and anti-Semitism and wonders whether the Jews of Kansas City might take up a collection to help the Jewish Students Association of Romania. Also included are letters from Romanian cousins who immigrated to Israel after creation of the Jewish state.


Martha Daust.

Family photo gallery: A selection of ancestral images

 Old photos offer moments from the past frozen in time. Here are some memorable faces of our ancestors.



Joseph Landman.
Eliezar Kagan.


Morris and Chana Levik Fischer.
Joe and Libbie Levin.

    Never forget: Our relatives who perished in the Holocaust

The Shoah's evils took the lives of several first cousins and other relatives of Libbie Landman Levin and Marie Landman Bernstein, and of Chana Anita Levik Fischer.

Firing squads amid the marshes of Pripyet

    Within four months after Chana Anita Levik emigrated from the uncertainty and poverty of Havana, Cuba, to the freedom and opportunities of St. Louis, Mo., at least seven of her relatives were massacred by the Nazis in Pinsk, Poland (now Belarus), as part of the Germans' "Final Solution" to the "Jewish Problem."


Treachery on the Black Sea

More than 700 Jews, including six relatives of Libbie Landman Levin and Marie Landman Bernstein, fled the anti-Semitic racial laws and pogroms of Romania aboard an unseaworthy ship supposedly destined for British-mandate Palestine. But the obstructionist diplomatic policies of Britain and Turkey resulted in nearly all aboard the immigrant ship Struma drowning when it was sunk in the Black Sea by a torpedo launched from a Soviet navy submarine operating under orders from Josef Stalin.


An age-old question: When was Ernestine Kober Fischer born?

 Her tombstone and obituaries say she was 100 when she died in 1924, but earlier documents raise less-inflated possibilities.


Making a living: A look at our families' occupations

 Tailors and teachers, rabbis and merchants, caterers and carpenters have all been represented on our family trees.


Inventors among us

 Herbert Daust of St. Louis and Herman Landman of Kansas City, Mo., were both granted U.S. patents for their inventions.



Joyful events

Fischer family members graduate, and cousins get married in Australia and Israel.


Chana Fischer
My life: A memoir by Chana Fischer

A mother, wife and daughter reminisces

Chana Anita Levik Fischer was conceived in Russia, born in Poland, grew up in Cuba, and got married, raised a family and had a career in the United States. Here is the short essay she completed in the 1990s about her personal experiences and recollections.


Invitation to a funeral

An e-mail from the social networking site Facebook announces a memorial service

 Hundreds of Facebook friends of Fischer/Kober/Slupsky descendant Melissa Duke Mooney of Nashville, Tenn., received an e-mail message in February 2009 titled “Melissa invited you to ‘Melissa Duke-Mooney Memorial Service’”


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Note: Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader 6.0 or higher. After clicking on link, pdf file will open. Use "Zoom In" tool to magnify image and "Hand" tool or scroll bars to manipulate.























Dubson (1)

Dubson (2)

















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Roadblocks, dead ends and wrong turns

Genealogy is a never-ending search for information that, despite our best efforts, is never completely successful.

How were the Zernes related to the Landmans? Where in Prussia did Morris L. Fischer come from? What became of Abraham Levik's brother and sister? These are some of the questions we are still trying to answer.



Breakthroughs, discoveries and surprises

Genealogy involves gradual accumulation of facts about ancestors and other relatives. Sometimes the process leads in unexpected directions.

How we learned the names of Abraham Levik's mother, Golda Leah Gordon's father, and Henry and Caroline Fischer's third sibling; and how we found cousins living in Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Vermont, Israel and Australia.


From the Franco-Prussian War to the Cold War

From time to time throughout history, men in our families have been called on to serve in their country's military. Here are some accounts of them.



19th Century news & notes

Early St. Louis newspapers occasionally mentioned some of our ancestors' activities, such as their leadership positions in synagogues and fraternal groups, social events attended, confirmations and weddings.



 Contemplating Sephardic family origins

A speculative scenario about an Ashkenazic family



An unsolved murder mystery

In 1938, Caroline Fischer Slupsky died of peritonitis as a result of being shot in her abdomen. To this day, the killer is not known.




'The most highly cultured young Jewish man in our city'

A potential leader is unexpectedly struck down by disease

When Isidore Victor Weisskopf died in 1903 of typhoid fever in St. Louis at the young age of 32, he left not only a vacuum in his family, but also in his community.



Announcement of a 1908 wedding

The Jewish Voice, a weekly newspaper in St. Louis, Mo., published a brief notice on the marriage of Martha Daust Fischer and Henry Fischer


The man in our lives: Remembering Uncle Herman Landman

In 1973, Marie Landman Bernstein jotted down her fond recollections of her Uncle Herman Landman, who for many years had served as Marie and Libbie Landman's father figure.



The story of Rabbi Gershon Joseph Lifshitz

To avoid being forced into the czar's army, Eliezar Kagan's brother, Gershon, took his wife's last name, Lifshitz, as his own and fled Russia for the relative safety of the Holy Land. 

Gershon Lifshitz was a skilled blacksmith and scholarly rabbi who settled in Jerusalem late in the 19th Century. His many descendants became the Israeli and Australian branches of the Kagan/Cohen/Lifshitz family.


Transformation of a St. Louis dry goods store

How Henry Fischer, responding to increasing competition, converted his family's stodgy 19th Century Victorian Main Street-style building in the Carondelet neighborhood of South St. Louis into a modern 20th Century Art Deco structure.


Links to kin: Relatives' and other genealogy Web sites

Rachel Fischer's artworks site:

Rick Stein's handbuilt custom furniture:

John Stein, jazz guitarist:

Dorf family site:

Zohar Jolles' fine art Judaica:

Sam Nachum's Jerusalem Stone:

Lubansky's men's suits:

Harry Lubansky's medical services:

Deidre Scherer's fabric and thread artistry:

Rich and Okner family photos:

Vic Weisskopf's building security service:

Michael Dorf's business site:

Michael Dorf's City Winery:


Tips on creating a Web site

This site was designed by someone who had no previous experience with Web site creation. Read step-by-step how he did.


Abe Slupsky: an unforgettable St. Louis character

When Col. Abraham Slupsky married Caroline Fischer in 1896, her family must have been less than pleased: Abe was considerably older than "Carrie," he had been married previously and he had a less-than-savory reputation as a brawler,  gambler and politician.  



Where our ancestors lived in Missouri

Explore interactive maps that offer geographic snapshots of where some of our ancestors lived at various times in the past between the 1860s and 1930 in St. Louis, Mo. ...


... and from 1897 to 1929 in Kansas City, Mo.


Genetic genealogy leads in unexpected directions

Scraping some cheek cells into a test tube can uncover previously unknown apparent distant relatives, but the results can raise more questions than they answer.


Jewish Genealogical Society of IllinoisJGS of IllinoisJGSI logo


Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet Cyndi's List: huge genealogy site contains searchable list of more than 220,000 family history sites     Change and challenge

Jewish SIG of St. Louis Genealogical SocietyJGS of St. Louis: includes searchable databases of Jewish cemetery burials and funeral home records.

Family Tree DNA

To comment on this site or its contents, please e-mail Martin Fischer at [email protected]
Let the Children Play for Peace


ShoahConnect: Reconnecting families separated by the Holocaust



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Experienced amateur genealogist Martin Fischer is available to conduct freelance family history projects including searching online databases, building family trees, editing memoirs and creating genealogical Web sites. For more information, go to, click on find a freelancer, and type Martin Fischer in the search box, or go to, click on search by name, and type Fischer and Martin in the search boxes. He also has a professional expert genealogist's profile at

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