Select Halpern Miscellany


Here are some Halpern stories
accounts over the years:


Jews in Heilbronn


Heilbronn is a German city in the province of Wurttemburg.   There
were apparently Jews living there in the second half of the 11th century.
They initially encountered discrimination and persecution.  In 1298 the followers of Rindfleisch massacred 143 Jews at Heilbronn.  Jewish learning evidently flourished at that time
as the names of scholars and teachers were recorded among the martyrs.Jews re-established themselves in Heilbronn in
1316.  They possessed a synagogue and a
cemetery, and lived on a Judengasse, where non-Jews also
resided.   During
the Black Death persecutions in 1349 the community was expelled and
property transferred to the city.  Some
returned in 1357 and in 1361 they obtained royal protection.
After 1411 King Sigismund granted the Jews of Heilbronn protection of life and
property, limited taxation, freedom of movement, and judicial autonomy in
Jewish lawsuits.  A Jewish oath was to
apply in cases tried before the city court.
However, the Jews were expelled from Heilbronn
three times during the 15th century, the last being in 1490 when the
and the cemetery were confiscated.After that time there was no organized Jewish community in the town until the 1830’s when Jews were seen there again.  However, after the Nazis, only 10 Jews were recorded  as living in Heilbronn in 1967.


Halpern Records in Lvov

Lvov, the historical capital of Galicia, is now part of
Ukraine.  The following were some Halpern r4eocrds there of the
early 1800’s.


Date Event
1801 Marriage of Naftali Heilperin
and Beridal Lax
1805 Death of Herz Heilpern
1806 Birth of Loeb, son of Israel
1808 Death of Samuel Heilpern
1808 Birth of Chaim Josef, son of
Aaron Alpern

Halpern to China, Halperin to Israel


Fanny Halpern had been born in Kracow in Poland
in 1899.  She was the daughter of Simon
Halpern who had been a Surgeon General in the Austrian army.  She studied medicine at the University of
Vienna and, after working at various clinics in the city, she was
invited to
China in 1933 to teach at the Medical College of China in

In 1935 she organized China’s first modern
psychiatric hospital, the Shanghai Mercy Hospital for Nervous Diseases.
She became the hospital’s medical director,
while at the same time serving as a consultant to several other medical
institutions.  She founded the Mental
Hygiene Association of Shanghai and the first committee on psychiatry
in China.

after her mother passed away in 1951, Fanny moved to Vancouver to be
near her
brother George who had gone to Canada with his wife Ida in 1939.  Fanny Halpern died there in 1952.  George lived onto 1989.

Jozef Halperin

Josef, born in 1922, was the son of Chaim Halperin,
active in the Zionist cause in the city of Lodz in Poland.  His elder
brother Mordechai emigrated to Palestine in 1938.  One
year later the Nazis occupied Lodz.  Josef
then fled to the Polish territory that
was occupied by the Soviets and began working as a director at a day
school in
the village of Dubrowna in present-day Belarus.  He was employed
in that
position for about a year.

Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union, Jozef obtained fake Polish
documents and joined
the partisans in the forests of the Kielcy region where he remained
the end of the war.

In May 1945 Jozef formed a group of young
Jewish survivors entitled Leherut
Freedom”).  The next year, after a six-month journey, they arrived
Palestine.  Jozef described his experiences in his book The Road to Freedom.

In 1948 he enrolled in the Rehovot branch of
the Hebrew University where he earned a Master’s degree.  In 1958
accepted a post in the Forest Research Institute as an entomologist.  Even after his retirement in 1987, he
continued publishing articles, wrote two books, and created an album
documenting his family history.


Origin of Halperns and Halperins in America

Country Halpern Halperin Total Percent
Russia   107    42   149    65
Poland    22     4    26    12
Austria    24     3    27    12
Elsewhere    23     1    24    11
Total   176    50   226

The numbers above are based on shipping records.



Nan Halperin, Vaudeville Star

rose to fame as a star of the vaudeville stage.  Her comedic
numbers and
her ability to change quickly into many elaborate costumes during a
single act
earned her the appellation of “the Wonder Girl.”

She started young.   Born in 1898, she
secured her first acting
part was at the age of six in Little Black Me.
Her big break came in early 1915 when she
headlined at New York’s Palace Theatre.  Halperin credited her
fame to her
talents as an actor and to her business acumen. “Many really talented
performers do not get ahead because they do not know how to push
ahead,” she explained in a 1915 magazine interview.

Coinciding with Halperin’s vaudeville success
in 1915 and 1916, newspapers publicized the story that her family was
persecuted than other Russian Jews.  Her
grandfather was a baron and member of the
czar’s court who gained his title because a relative had offered money
to aid
the Russian emperor during a war. The veracity of this story is
uncertain.  Its
circulation was possibly a publicity stunt to heighten the allure of
then a rising celebrity.

Among the most
famous of Halperin’s musical numbers were her two burlesque “song
cycles.” The
first of these, which she began to perform in 1916, depicted five
stages of
girlhood. Halperin would grow before her audience from the youngest
child in a
family to a mischievous high school valedictorian, a comical bridesmaid
at a
friend’s wedding, a bride and, finally, a “blasé divorcée.”  In her second song cycle, originally performed
in 1919, Halperin played an amusing young girl who becomes an indignant
debutante and complains that her parents force her to wear “too many
clothes all to catch just one lone man.”

By 1919, at age twenty-one, she was commanding a salary on a par with
vaudeville’s highest-paid female performers. This secured her place in
what was
then called vaudeville’s “Big Time.”   She
continued in vaudeville until she ended
her professional acting career in 1934.
She lived on in New York until her death in 1963.


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