Hyman and Fannie Wallach

An American Journey

Fannie and Hyman Wallach, photographed by their son Sam ca. 1943(?)

                                               Fannie and Hyman


On January 30, 1919, the Chicago Daily News reported on the U.S. Secretary of State’s proclamation that the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) was officially part of the Constitution of the United States. In New York, Al Capone was hiding from an Irish street gang after almost beating their leader to death, and deciding to take a powder with his newlywed to a new life in Chicago.  The first free elections to ever take place in Germany had just been completed, and 24 locomotive engineers in Munich formed the German Workers Party. In Paris, a peace conference was underway to formalize the terms of the armistice ending WWI. The conference had just accepted the principle of a League of Nations to be formed in the hope that the world would never again face the horrors of a world war. By summer, the same peace conference produced and signed The Treaty of Versailles, setting in motion a chain of events that would inexorably lead to another world war.  By fall, an angry WWI German army veteran named Adolph Hitler would join the German Workers Party, soon to be renamed the National Socialists. 


But back in Chicago on January 30, 1919, it was a typical winter morning, icy cold, gray skies, with a razor sharp wind slicing in from the lake. In the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, a barrel-chested, middle-age man with gray eyes and black hair paused over the official looking paper in front of him. He wore a dark overcoat, with a folded Chicago Daily News jammed untidily in a pocket. He held the document to the desk with his left hand, and firmly gripped a pen in his calloused, nicotine-stained right. Smiling, he moved the pen to paper, and slowly and carefully wrote “Hyman Wallach” in an open flowing scrip. As he pulled the pen away from the Certificate of Naturalization, he looked at his signature and smiled broadly. He was now a citizen of the United States. Perhaps he even laughed a bit, shook his head and took a moment to reflect and wonder on the journey that brought him to that place and time, and to the new life he led in his adopted country. 


Hyman Wallachs signature on the Certificate of Naturalization



The Naturalization Certificate was a snapshot of his life in America.  He lived a few miles away, at 3254 W. 16th street with his young wife Fanny of 24 (1)and their infant children, two-year-old Yetta, and three month old Ben.   It was three years since he had married Fanny. They had grown up only a few hundred miles from each other in Eastern Europe - he in Khotin, Bessarabia - she just outside of Odessa, Russia - but they met and married a world away in Chicago.  Because they made that journey, they would escape the horror that would descend on the towns of their birth two decades later (Khotin, home to 15,000 Jews at the beginning of WWII, had less than 500 at the end of the war – Odessa, home to 70,000 Jews when occupied in 1941, had an estimated population of a few thousand Jews when liberated). Because they made that journey, their three-month-old son Ben (and other sons yet to be born) would ultimately travel overseas to fight the architects of that horror, not yet knowing what happened there. And because Hyman and Fannie made that journey, four generations of their progeny would have the opportunity to engage in “the pursuit of happiness” in America.  The family tree of  Hyman and Fannie includes 7 Children, 22 grandchildren, 49 great-grandchildren, and 7 great-great grandchildren.

CORRECTION: Now, plus one: … the very latest in their line being great-great grandchild  # 8 -Tyler Adam Paiewonsky, born in Miami, Florida.15-July-2004 (son of Jill, daughter of Bunny, daughter of Edith/Yetta, daughter of Fannie and Hyman). FURTHER CORRECTION: I meant plus two ... also joining the family is  Dhabih (pronounced ZA-BEE) Elijah Plaire, bon 9-Nov-04 (son of Lua and Rory, daughter of Rob and Paula, son of Gloria, married to Ben, son of Hyman and Fannie. AHEM: I mean ... plus three, including Elyssa Madtson Sillverstein, born 28-Sep-05 (daughter of  Marc and Stacey, son of Elaine, daugther of Lil, daughter of Hyman and Fannie) ... plus four, Emma Catalina Siegel, born 2-May-06 (daughter of Justina nd Francisca, son of Rob and Paula, son of Gloria, married to Ben, son of Hyman and Fannie) ...plus five, Avery Laila DiCocca, Born 16-December 16-2006 daughter of Jorie and Michael DiCocca, Granddaughter of Leslie and Jay Zabel, Great granddaughter of Lillian and Jack Sklar, Great Great granddaughter of Hyman and Fannie Wallach... plus six, Athena Olivia Siegel  born 01-Jan-07 daughter of Kamal and  Mariya Siegel (son of Rob and Paula, son of Gloria, married to Ben, son of Hyman and Fannie).


Tyler Adam Paiewonsky - photo courtesy of Jill Paiewonsky Dhabib Elijah Plaire at two days Elyssa Madson Silverstein 28-Sep-2005 Emma Catalina Day 5 Avery Laila DiCocca Athena Olivia Siegel

Tyler and Dhabib and Elyssa and Emma and Avery and Athena

Fannie and Hyman were our grandparents, and because they made that journey we are here and writing this now. They died when we were young, and our fragmented memories of them are few.  Their story is not unique, just two immigrants of the millions that came to America in search of a better life. But their story is the story of our family, and it is for our family that we created this site, to document for us who are their legacy, the history that we share. We hope you enjoy it, and hope you will contribute to it.

Mike Wallach

 Robyn (Wallach) Carlson


Editor's Notes: This family history is assembled through documents, family lore, conflicting stories, historical context, and inspired guesswork.  Most of the material here has been gathered through the efforts of my sister Robyn (primary researcher and partner in this creation), cousin Barry, Uncle Sam, and, of course,  continuous grilling of my dad (Sid).  My contribution is to pull some of these pieces together into a (hopefully) coherent and plausible narrative. This is a "Work In Progress", and intended as a continually changing, living, breathing record. Undoubtedly, there are errors.  If you find them, please let us know. Even more certainly, there are large gaps in the story. My hope is that this site may serve as a catalyst for others in the family to contribute memories, stories, photos and images to fill in those gaps. For any in the family who have the desire and skills to add or own pages on this site, just let me know and I will be glad to give you a password and access - or - send me links to your site and I will incorporate -or-just write down your ideas and stories, and I’ll add them to this site (whenever I get around to it). - Mike

(1) Regarding the age controversy. Every time cousin Bunny reads this page she fires off a Letter to the Editor, saying we have the wrong age for Hyman and Fanny. She might be right. The fact is, there is a range of possible dates, even from the source documents prepared by Hyman's own hand. For example, some of the possible birth years for Hyman, along with  the source/evidence  for that date:

1883 -  Son Sid thinks his dad died at 74 yrs old on 9-22-1957
1885 -  7-15-1885 given on his declaration of intention to be a citizen -1911
1885 -  7-15-1885 given on his petition for naturalization)-1918
1885 -  claims to be 45 ,and 31 when he married on the 1930 census 4-11-1930
1886 -  claims to be 33 years old on certificate of naturalization 1-30-1919 
1888 -  claims to be 28 years old on his marriage certificate  4-15-1916
1889 -  claims to be 33 years old on Sidney's birth certificate  2-18-1922

That said, we will update this note with Bunny's (or anyone else's) assertions as to actual dates, along with the evidence/reason for supporting that date. I believe that Bunny's evidence is first hand knowledge from Edith, which Bunny will be providing via an interview with Edith documented on video or a transcript.

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