Louis Rosenbaum


Louis Rosenbaum, New York City, 1930
Louis Rosenbaum, New York City, 1930
THIS thoughtful gentleman with glasses sitting by the window  is my grandmother's brother Louis Rosenbaum. In the 1920s-1930s he saved my grandmother Praskovia Kushner and her family in Moscow from starvation by sending her money and food parcels from New York.  He was helping our family until the moment when it became dangerous to communicate with relatives living abroad. Though even the draconic Criminal Code didn't forbid Soviet citizens to correspond with people living in foreign countries, the risk of being arrested on charges of foreign espionage by the NKVD, Soviet secret police,  was very high at the peak of Stalin's purges in 1937. My grandparents broke off all relations with Louis Rosenbaum a few years before the outbreak of  WWII and have never resumed it since then. 

Such was the family story.

For many decades the fate of Louis Rosenbaum (who we had known as Leo) and his descendants was wrapped in mystery. With the invention of the Internet I started to make inquiries about him but searching a Rosenbaum in the world wide web was like searching a needle in the haystack. It was only after my trip to Poland in August of 2009 that my research took an unexpected turn.

All we knew about Louis Rosenbaum was that he had been born into a Jewish family in the Polish town of Lukow (Likev or Likever in Yiddish) in 1863. He was more than twenty years senior his sister Praskovia (b. 1884).  In late 19th century he emigrated from Poland  to the United States where he made his living as a painter or a portraitist . My mother told me that that he had been a graduate of the Paris Academy of Fine Arts.  In 1905 Louis  invited his sister to come over to the United States. Praskovia  went as far as London where she realized that she was pregnant. She came back to Russia. 

In Poland I learned that  Mr. Rosenbaum was the founder of Likever Independent Young Men's Association, a benevolent society that helped expatriots from his native town of Lukow to start a new life in the United States.  This important information was reported to me in early August 2009  by Mr. Yale J. Reisner from the Jewish Genealogy and Family Heritage Center of the Emanuel Ringelblum Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. It is published in a comprehensive study of the history of the Lukow Jewry Zydzi Lukowa i okolic (Warszawa, 2008)  by Krzysztof Czubaszek.  The photo of Louis Rosenbaum and information about Likever Independent Young Men's Association (pp. 216-222), were in their turn taken from the book Sefer Lukow that had been published in Yiddish in Tel-Aviv in 1968.
Upon return to Moscow I began making inquiries and addressed several Jewish organizations in the United States.  They were not very helpful, yet Ms. Tanya Elder from American Jewish Historical Society, informed me that  in 1912 Louis Rosenbaum resided at 218 West 112th Street. This address was found in the incorporation records of Likever Independent Young Men's Association.

The most valuable information I obtained from the office of United Hebrew Cemetery in Staten Island, where the Likever Society occupies two blocks of burial space.  According to their database,  Louis Rosenbaum,  president of the Likever Society,  died on June 13, 1938 at the age of 72 and   is buried in block 20, row 19, grave #4. along with his  his wife Dora (grave #5), who died on March 3, 1929. Behind  the tomb is a grave of their son William Rosenbaum, who died on November 15, 1928 and is buried in block 20, row 18, grave #6.  

A comprehensive search of U.S. census records for 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 on Ancestry.com has shown that I'm on the right track. Among hundreds of Louis Rosenbaums in the database, I found one Rosenbaum family that matched the facts that I'd already known. The most conclusive evidence that confirmed my assumptions that this is the right Rosenbaum family was a mention of their son William as well as the fact that Louis Rosenbaum referred to himself as a painter. The family indicated their native country as Poland and the year of immigration as 1890.
Louis (Le)  Rosenbaum, 36 y.o. head, painter  (1863)
Dora Rosenbaum, 36 y.o. wife  (1863)
Charles Rosenbaum, 13 y.o. son  (1887)
Abraham Rosenbaum, 10 y.o.  son  (1889)
Residence: 1472 Madison Ave,  New York City.
Louis Rosenbaum, 48 y.o. head, painter  (1862)
Dora Rosenbaum, 48 y.o. wife  (1862)
Charles Rosenbaum, 23 y.o. son, painter  (1887)
Abraham Rosenbaum, 21 y.o.  son  (1889)
Anna Rosen, 21 y.o. boarder  (1889)
Residence: 10 Columbus Ave. New York City
Louis Rosenbaum, 54 y.o. head, painter  (1866)
Dora Rosenbaum, 50 y.o. wife  (1870)
Charles Rosenbaum, 32 y.o. son, doctor  (1888)
William Rosenbaum, 28 y.o.  son, photographer  (1892)
Residence: 133 W. 113 St.  New York City

Louis Rosenbaum, 66 y.o.  father  (1866)
Charles Rosenbaum, 42 y.o. son, physician  (1888)
Florence Rosenbaum, 30 y.o. daughter-in-law,  (1900)
Morton Rosenbaum, 5 y.o.  grandson (1925) 
Laurel Rosenbaum, 2 y.o. granddaughter (1928)
Residence: 107 W 123 St. / Lenox Ave.  New York City

A further search of Louis Rosenbaum's descendants in American archives has revealed that his son Charles Rosenbaum joined the U.S. Army in 1917. In his WWI Draft Registration Card he stated his address as New York City,  133 W. 113 St. (the same as in the 1930 census record and Louis Rosenbaum’s death certificate!) and his birthdate as March 15, 1887. According to the birth records I received from the Polish archives in January-February 2010, Louis (Chaim-Leib) Rosenbaum had a son named Gdala, who was born in Lukow on October 10, 1887. Although there is no documentary proof that Gdala and Charles are the same people, one may suggest this is highly probable as many Jews who immigrated to America from Russia and Europe in the late 19th – early 20th centuries adopted American names (see a linguistic comment).  Although the birthdates in both documents don’t coincide either except for the year (1887),  it has to be borne in mind that age inaccuracies in Jewish vital statistics records in Russia and Poland were very common for that time since registrars recorded the age of the parents and/or their children from the parents' own words. Moreover, many Jews deliberately lied to civil registry officials about the real age of their male children so as to help them dodge the army in the future. One and the same person in different metrical records may have different age.

William Rosenbaum, a photographer, as stated in his WWI Draft Registration Card, also resided at 133 W. 113 St. He was born on April 30, 1893. 

In November 2009, I came across a message posted in 2007 at GenForum  by Laurel Rachel Shapiro (nee Rosenbaum) saying that her father Dr. Charles Rosenbaum died in Miami, Fl. in 1938. He had come to Miami from New York shortly before his death and was survived by his wife Florence

Louis Rosenbaum's Naturalization Certificate, 5th July of 1912 
(received from Lisa Diana Shapiro on Sep. 9, 2013)

Louis Rosenbaum's family (seated: Louis Rosenbaum,
Dora Rosenbaum; standing, left to right: Charles, Abraham (?)).
Ca. 1900 
(received from Lisa Diana Shapiro on Oct. 5, 2014)

Unknown couple

In my cousin's family photo album there is a photo of an unknown elderly American couple, who also aided my family before the war. The caption in Yiddish on the back says: "This is your sister with her darling husband." The photo was apparently sent to my grandmother in Moscow. If so, she must be one of Louis Rosenbaum's sisters in America.
Please contact me if you recognize this couple.



I am looking for any information about Mr. Rosenbaum and Likever Independent Young Men's Association  he founded in New York City in 1912.

If you know anything about Louis Rosenbaum or his descendants please contact me:

Mr. Dmitry Belanovsky
Moscow, Russia
I dedicate this web site to my darling mother Vera Belanovskaya, who died May 30, 2009 at the age of 82.