Bessie Audio

Home Up Info Treasure Chest Bessie Audio Horwitz Party 1948-1 Horwitz Party 1948-2 Horwitz Party 1948-3 Latvia: Where What Horwitz Family Club
  • On April 17, 1979, just a few weeks before her passing I (Dave Howard) had a chance to visit with Bessie Horwitz Laibovitz, the youngest and last survivor of her generation. She answered questions about the Horwitz Family and her memories of the family in Latvia.

I recorded the session but the tape was lost for years. I have now found the tape and I have edited the interview into segments. Click on the link below to Listen.

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Story of Florence falling in the River 0:49
This story is well known in the Horwitz family of the time the twins, Bessie and Florence, had gone down to the river to watch the women do the laundry. There was a crowd around and Florence was knocked into the river. Bessie called for help and Florence was saved. But they made Bessie take her dry clothing off for Florence. Bessie was cold and naked. They were both about 10 years old. The year would have been about 1906, one year before they came to America.

Photo of Rezekne River at the foot of the street where the Horwitz family lived at the time Aunt Bessie had this experience.

This is a photo of Bessie  on the left and her non-identical twin sister Florence on the right.

Notte Returns Home Unexpectedly 1:37
This is a great story about Bessie encountering her brother Nottie (Nathan) in the back of their home. He was an identical twin to Abe. When Florence refused to go out back to lock the barn door Bessie obeyed and went out back. Nottie was just arriving on a sleigh. She thought he was Abe. She asked if it was Abe and he said he was Nottie. She was so excited she passed out in the snow. The whole town was so excited about Nottie's safe return that they stayed up all night to celebrate.

Nathan Gurevich (Horwitz) taken when he first went into the army in 1902Nathan Horwitz in uniform about 1900 age 20. Nathan stayed in Latvia. He was a pharmacist in Riga where he married and had a son. He and his family were murdered in the Shoa (Holocaust). Click Here for More Information.

Memories of her Father 0:23
Her father came from Moscow and was in the timber business with his father and brothers. He died at age 71 when Bessie was about 10.

Henoch Hirsh Gurevich (Horwitz). Photo taken in Rezekne- Latvia.
Memories of her Father's Sister 0:20
Her father had one sister who lived in a nearby town. She remembers visits.
Horwitz Family Move to Chicago 0:53
Simon, Reuben and Abe were in Chicago already. They had worked in their jobs and saved up their money for the trip. When her father died they sold the house and paid of his third wife. Bessie, Florence, Ida and Morris were then off to Chicago. Life was not so good in Europe 0:59
Morris- Florence- Ida- with Nathan Gurevich (Horwitz) sitting. This photo was taken in Europe.Last group left in Europe. Morris, Florence, and Ida in the back and Nathan (Nottie) who stayed in Riga and later perished with his family in the Holocaust and little Bessie on the end.

Bessie Married Fagelson for his last 5 years 2:34
Irving Fagelson wanted to marry her from the time he was 15. His younger sister, Molly, had married Abe but she died when Milton was born. Simon and Minnie adopted Milton after their baby died.

Memories of older sister Sara 0:47
The area where the Horwitz family lived the homes had Saunas (Spitz Bath) in the back by the "barn" and outhouse. Sara stayed in Europe and had five children. As far as we know they all perished in the Holocaust.

 

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