There was an enclave of new immigrants in New York City in the early 1900’s where relatives congregated as they emigrated from their birthplaces for a variety of reasons. My father; to escape the inevitable draft in the army, my mother; to escape an arranged marriage. The emigres supported one another during the process of adjusting to their new way of life in the United States. Eventually, they moved on to other parts of the country when opportunities arose.
My mother, Ida Boshan, did not know my father, Charles Politzer, before arriving in New York. However, each had gravitated to that area where their relatives had already settled and they found that they had relatives in common. I have learned that Boschans and Politzers had married before.
A cousin of mine, Lilian Politzer Rubin, told me that our fathers (who were brothers) came from Siefer, Hungary. My father had done his apprenticeship as a butcher in Vienna, Austria, and, rather than face mandatory conscription into the Austro-Hungarian army, he immigrated to New York around 1906.
My mother also arrived in New York in 1906. She left home rather than become party to an arranged marriage to a local farmer, perpetrated by her parents. She grew up in Trnova, Hungary, the eldest of ten children; two brothers and seven other sisters.
It was the custom then that the oldest girl in the family must marry before the younger daughters could marry, and her younger sisters were already engaged and applying pressure. Their father had been in Kaiser Franz Joseph’s army in Herzegovina and, later, became an overseer of the Kaiser’s fields, so the family resided on a large plot of land and were farmers.
Though I have been resentful of my father’s attitude that girls were less valued than boys, it also provided me with the impetus to prove him wrong, and to strive to do my best whenever possible.
Between the two of them, I feel that I have inherited healthy and quality genes, a respect and admiration for family, and regard for citizenship. Hopefully, I have passed some of these qualities on to my own children.