Mark Pizer 1932

Mark Pizer 1932

Mark Pizer immigrated to the United States in 1932. He lived and prospered in Massachusetts
until his death in 1982.

Predecki Family History as Recounted
by Mark Pizer [Menashe Przedecki] -grandfather of Judy Muratore, site author.

Born Menashe Przedecki
Klodawa, Poland, 1906

Perhaps, if not for some historical events that took place in Eastern Europe toward the end of the 19th century, there would not have been a mass migration of Jews to the United States. This immigration was due to the fact that the Jews of this particular part of the Russian empire had experienced pogroms, discrimination, and worst of all, uprooting from the homes where they had lived for centuries.

At the same time, however, in the western part of the Russian empire where our family lived, which was called Crown Poland, the Jewish population had a high standard of living. They were not exposed to the same persecutions as their brethren in Eastern Poland and Russia.

Towards the end of the 18th century, Poland was reduced to a small province, Crown Poland, under the rule of the Russian Czar. From the beginning of the 19th century to about 1863, the Polish population staged several uprisings against the oppression of the Czar. They were always suppressed with plenty of bloodshed.

In the last uprising, in 1863, only the gentry participated; the peasants were not involved. Czar Alexander II showed his gratitude to the peasants by giving them the land that he had taken away from the wealthy landowners. This benevolent act created a state of prosperity among the peasants, which in the long run also affected the city dwellers (merchants, artisans, and mostly Jews).

There were, however, cases where Jews left for the United States. Some emigrants were young men who wanted to escape five years in the Czar’s army. Others were people who had committed crimes and wanted to escape punishment or people who couldn’t make a living. That was the reason my Uncle Mike left Poland. An adventurous man, he sought new horizons in the New World. My younger Uncle Aaron emigrated to escape army service. If not for these two uncles, I doubt whether there would have been any survivors to write the family tree.


Many, many years ago, when I was very young--nine or ten years old--on many a long winter evening, sitting comfortably with my back to the tile oven, sipping tea and munching on hard biscuits and perserves, facsinated and intrigued, I listened to the stories my granparents told me.

They told me stories about their lives, their trials and tribulations, hardships and tragedies. Stories about their parents, their grandparents, and many others dating back to the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries. Grandmother Rivka relished telling me these stories. (She was particularly proud of her grandparents, who were affluent according to 19th century standards). Grandfather Mordchai, on the other hand, was reluctant to talk about his childhood or any part of his life since it was an unhappy one. Most of the time he sat silently, sometimes humming beautiful melodies, which I later discovered, to my surprise, were arias from La Triviate and Rigoletto. Only on rare occasions, especially when he was alone with me, would he tell me about himself.


Mordchai Przedecki Klodawa, c. 1920


Rivka (Buks) Przedecki, Klodawa, c. 1920.

In the town of Przedecz, Poland, there was a man named Michael Przedecki (Pizer) and his wife Gitel. They had four children, two sons and two daughters. Grandfather Mordchai’s parents, Michael and Gitel were rather poor. Michael spent most of his time in the prayer house or taking his son Mordchai from yeshiva to hashiva (house of Talmudic learning) although he was a tailor, and a poor one at that. Michael was born approximately 1810. Gitel was born around the same time.

To supplement Michael’s tailoring income, Gitel had to sell milk, which was hard work in itself. According to the dietary laws, in order for the milk to be kosher, and thus saleable to Jewish housewives, Gitel had to get up at four o’clock each morning, go to the farm, and be present while the farmer’s wife milked the cow. Then she carried the milk pail to town and sold the milk before seven o’clock in the morning.

As was the custom, the oldest son, grandfather Mordchai, was given the finest Talmudic education. Mordchai was married at the young age of eighteen. The day after the wedding, the first of many tragedies occurred when Mordchai’s wife Rivka had a nervous breakdown, which lasted two years.

Although he had Smicha (the right to be a rabbi), Mordchai never practiced it. He was a man of principle and believed, as the old rabbis did, that one is not to make any money from learning the Torah. But, at times, he substituted for the community rabbi whose duties included marriages, sermons, eulogies, determining if food was kosher, and running a communal court of law. He received some money for these duties. Mordchai didn’t work because he was trained to study the Bible, but he took on a few pupils.

During World War I, Mordchai and Rivka came from the next township (Przedecz), seven kilometers away, to live with us in Klodawa. This gave me the oppourtunity to get to know them. Grandfather Mordchai was in his seventies, a frail sickly man, half his vision gone, his white beard and moustache stained with snuff. Yet, he was a most fascinating man. He was not a religious fanatic, or Hassid. Quite to the contrary, he was understanding and liberal-minded. A Talmudic scholar and enlightened philosopher, he believed in moderation and kindness toward his fellow man. He was a true follower of Rabbi Hillel. In fact, his philosophy influences my thinking even today. The community greatly respected Grandfather Mordchai. When he died at the age of 85, the rabbi said the community lost a pillar of learning.

Toward the end of the 18th century (approximately after the American Revolution), two brothers Sender Buks and his brother Simon Aaron came with their families from Germany to settle in the western province of Poland, in the township of Babiak. According to what Grandma told me about them, they were rather prosperous merchants in grain and cattle. One of the brothers, Sender, was childless and, as was the custom of prosperous Jews in those days, they hired a scribe to write a holy scroll, thus perpetuating their name for generations to come.

In his will, Great-Great Uncle Sender left the scroll to the first boy in the family to be named after him. My father was that boy and our family inherited the holy scroll. Of course, we donated it to the prayer house, and I still remember what a lovely thing that scroll was. It was of medium size, clad in a red velvet mantle with a monogram with the two tablets of the Ten Commandments in silver threads and a lion on each side in golden thread. The fate of this scroll must have been the same as hundreds of thousands of others in Poland in the Holocaust.

Simon Aaron was blessed with four sons and one daughter. The oldest son’s name was Abraham-Rubin, the one our family are descendents of. He married Yochavet-Rachel. They had two daughters. One of them was Grandmother Rivka.

Mordchai and Rivka had five children. Since Mordchai did not work, at times Rivka was the sole provider for the family. She sold household goods such as food and firewood. She also was busy in communal affairs, helping poor girls to collect dowries. She was also very charitable, helping Christians as well as Jews. She said that since Christians didn’t help each other, it was just as important to help Christians as it was to help Jews.

Mordchai and Rivka suffered three great tragedies. Their oldest daughter Yochavet-Rachel died in a fire, leaving a husband and eight children. A son died of pneumonia at age thirty-six and left a wife and three children. (David Pizer-husband of Dvorah Gotsynksi—children: Maury, Ruby, Izzy) Ten days after the son’s death, Mordchai’s youngest sister, Mindel, also died of pneumonia. (Mindel married to David Hershberg—children Esther [Judy Muratore's grandmother and Menashe’s future wife], Mary, Gitel, Hyman, Baruch, and Michuel ["Max" who remarried Dvorah Gotsynski, widow of David Pizer]. This all happened around the year 1912.


Mordchai and Rivka's five children were:Yochavet-Rachel, Michael, David, Sender, and Aaron.

The oldest was the daughter Yochavet-Rachel (named after Rivka’s mother). She married Rivka’s cousin Lieser Buks, had eight children and died tragically in a fire. Only 2 of her eight children survived the Holocaust: Michael Aba, and Ruven.[NO PHOTO FOUND OF YOCHAVET-RACHEL PRZEDECKI]

Michael-Aba Buks-Palestine c. 1930.  Son of Yochavet-Rachel Moishe Weirushewski-Israel 1984. Grandson of Yocavet-Rachel. [Moshe's mother was Hannah]. Mordchai Buks-  son of Ruven Buks-surviving son of Yochavet_Rachel.  Israel c. 1960. Elizer Buks-His father Ruven was the other only survivng child of Yochavet Rachel. Israel c. 1960.

A son Michael, known as Uncle Mike, an extraordinary character whose eccentricities were well known. He married Chaya Brana from the house of Ceiplinski. They had three children: Hinda, Gitel, and Samuel. The family emigrated to America at the beginning of the 20th century.

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Michuel Przedecki-"Max Pizer" ['Uncle Mike'] Chaya Brana Ceiplinski Schmael Przedecki Hinda Przedecki (Stone) left Gitel Przedecki (Kolsky) right

A son David married Dvorah from the house of Gostynski. They had three sons: Maury, Ruby and Izzy. David died of pneumonia at the age of thirty-six. (his widow married Max Hershberg—Esther’s brother and cousin to the Pizers—they had two children: Eva and Jenny Hershberg) [NO PHOTO FOUND OF DAVID].

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Dvorah Gotsynski Moishe Przedecki Rubin Przedecki Israel Przedecki

A son Sender who married Bajle from the house of Francuz. They had five children. Three died in the Holocaust: David, Avrum-Ruven, and Rachel. Two survived: Mark and Michael.

Sender Przedecki & Family Klodawa c. 1920
Sitting: Bajle (Francuz) & Sender Przedecki. Left-Right Standing:Rachel, Menesha, David, Avrum-Ruven, Michael (in front of Sender)

A son Aaron, whom I consider the head of the clan. He was interested in family affairs. He married Sarah from the house of Golomb and had five children: Pearlie, Minnie, Eva, Ruby, Maurie.

Aaron & Sarah (Golomb) Przedecki Pearl (Nisenson/Bernier)

Left to Right: Minnie (Rosen) Ruby
[standing], Maury, Eve-Rachel (Reinhurst).

It would be appropriate to pay tribute to the women of valor who made possible to perpetuate the Pizer name for generations to come: Sara Lee Cooper Pizer, Miriam Pizer, Katie, Laura Cohen Pizer, and last but not least, Betty Basha Leyka Pizer and her two daughters-in-law.



Morchai and Rivka Przedecki c. 1920

Mordchai and Rivka Przedecki c. 1920

Above: The map of Central Europe in 1772. The Kingdom of Poland is marked in white. (Present names of cities are shown.) Red rectangle indicates approximate area of modern map (below) showing the towns of Babiak, Przedecz, and Klodawa.


Replica of scroll handed down
to Sender Przedecki from his
Great-Uncle Sender Buks.