Katz

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Katz Surname Genealogy

The surname Katz has both German and Jewish (Ashkenazi) origins.

German. Germans
with the last name Katz may come from the Rhineland-Palatinate
region of Germany where Katz castle is located.
Katz here is a shorter version of Katzenelnbogen,
going back to the Latin Cattimelibocus
which described the old German tribal names of Chatti and Melibokus in the region.

Jewish. The
Jewish derivation is different. Katz here is an abbreviation
formed from the Hebrew initials of the term Kohen Tzedek, meaning “priest of
justice” or “authentic priest.” It has been in use since the 17th century
and perhaps earlier as an epithet for the descendants of Aaron.
Katz took hold in the early 19th century when German authorities began
to impose surnames. In Russia the spelling was Kac.

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Katz Resources on
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Katz Ancestry

The Katz numbers in Germany today are modest, around 4-5,000. The
main numbers are not in the proximity of Katz castle. but further south
in Baden-Wurttemberg. Katz emigrants were mainly Jewish and
came from
German-speaking lands and from the old Russian Empire.

The principal destination was America. Others made their way to Canada
and Argentina.

There was a surge of emigration in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries. Later emigrants like David Katz from Grodno were
Holocaust survivors who came in the late 1940’s. Friedrich Katz
ended up then in Mexico and earned recognition there for his book The Life and Times of Pancho Villa.
Louis Katz, a youngster at the time of the Warsaw uprising, came to New
York in 1962. Since that time he has worked for the Yiddish Daily Forward.

America.
Martin Katz and his family from Hochdorf in Wurttemberg arrived in
Philadelphia on the Ranier in
1749. They settled in Chester county. Some of the Katz
descendants became Kitts. Other 18th century Katz in New Jersey
became Kays.

Later Katz arrivals were mainly Jewish and many headed for New
York. Among those who made their name there were:

  • Katz’s
    Delicatessen
    , an institution on New York’s Lower East
    Side. Founded in 1888, the store took its name from Willy Katz
    who ran the place with his cousin Benny from 1910. It remained
    family-owned until the 1970’s.
  • Abraham Katz who started a machine
    shop in Brooklyn in 1926 that became Kason Industries, a food equipment
    manufacturer.
  • and Louis Katz who was big in Manhattan real estate from the
    1940’s to the 1960’s.

Mickey Katz grew up in Cleveland and made his mark in the 1940’s as a
Jewish comedian. His two sons pursued completely different
professions. Ronald Katz was an inventor in the field of
automated call center technology; while Joel Grey, his stage name, was
the actor who became famous for his performance in Cabaret. Joel’s daughter
Jennifer starred in the movie Dirty
Dancing
.

Canada. Barry Katz opened
up his first drugstore in Edmonton in 1955. He soon prospered and
developed his Value Drug Mart chain. But it was his son Daryl who
expanded the Katz chain throughout North America and became in the
process one of the wealthiest men in Canada. He owns the Edmonton Oilers hockey team.

Chaim and Zena Katz were Holocaust survivors
who came to Winnipeg in 1951. Their son
Sam was elected the first Jewish mayor of Winnipeg in 2004. He also owns a professional sports team, the
Winnipeg Goldeyes in baseball.

Argentina. Some Katz made
it to Argentina. A number were buried in the Jewish cemetery at
La Tablada in Buenos Aires. Argentina was thought to provide a
safe haven for Jews. But
anti-Semitism persisted there, as this account from the 1980’s showed:

“Silvio
Katz was 19 years old at the time of the Falklands conflict. He was killed by Ardoino Eduardo Flores. He
wasn’t a British soldier, he was his company officer. And
he “killed” him because he was
Jewish.


In later more tolerant times Daniel Katz became a leader of the
Consenso Federal party block in the Argentine Chamber of Deputies.

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Katz Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:


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Katz Names

Friedrich Katz was
a
distinguished historian in Mexico.
Harold
Katz
was the American entrepreneur who founded the Nutrisystem weight loss program.
Daryl Katz heads the Katz
Group, Canada’s leading drugstore company.

Select Katz Today

  • 16,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

 

 

 

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