Select Katz Miscellany
accounts over the years:
- Katz Castle
- Early Katz Jewish References
- Katz in America by Country of Origin
- Katz’s Delicatessen
- David Katz, Holocaust Survivor
in Rhineland-Palatinate. The. castle
stands on a ledge looking downstream from the riverside at St. Goar. It was first built around 1371 by Count
Wilhelm II of Katzelnbogen.
translates into English as “Cat’s Elbow Castle”
and so is
popularly linked with that of the nearby Burg Maus or “Mouse Castle.”
Early Katz Jewish References
to the Jewish Encyclopedia,
the Katz abbreviation occurred on a tombstone,
in the cemetery in Prague. It was found
also on a tombstone of the year 1618 in Frankfurt, in the books of the
of Prague of the 17th century, and in one of the prefaces to Shabbethai
ha-Kohen’s notes on the Choshen Mishpat in 1663.
Katz in America by
Country of Origin
Unfortunately, the exact history of New York’s kosher-style
hazy and may be lost to time. Everyone
agrees that Katz’s was founded in 1888 at the corner of Houston and
streets in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, but by whom?
Some accounts point toward a Russian-Jewish
immigrant family, while others say the founders were German. Most references seem to indicate that the
restaurant was started by the Eisland brothers who may have been German
Russian, depending on your source.
There is some agreement that the eatery was
sold in 1910 to Benny or Willy and Harry Katz, who were either German
Belorussian. They changed the named to
Katz’s and moved the restaurant across Ludlow street to its current
the early 1920’s the Tarowsky family, ostensibly from Minsk, bought in
partnership and the two families would own Katz’s for nearly seven
decades. Over this period the restaurant
firmly established itself as a beacon for preserving the flavors of the
World and became the go-to place for millions of immigrants in New York.
fame spread not only through word-of-mouth, but also via the movies. It was here that Meg Ryan performed her fake
orgasm scene in the 1989 romantic comedy,
When Harry Met Sally. An arrow points to the table where Ryan
co-star Billy Crystal. At least once a
week a group of kids come in to act out the scene.
The deli also served as the venue for Johnny
Depp’s meeting with his FBI contact in the mob movie Donny
David Katz, Holocaust Survivor
was the only member of his
immediate family from Grodno in present-day Belarus to survive the
Holocaust. He was in the fourth transport
of the ghetto there when it was liquidated in 1943.
He was interred at Birkenau. After the camp
was liberated, he tried to make his way back to Grodno and was
the cavalry of the Russian army. He deserted after only a few
David had members of his family in New York and
he went there in 1946 and stayed with them in the Bronx. He
recalled that a relative came to bless
him on his arrival. He met his
wife-to-be, Hilda Berman, on the boat on the way to the US. When they met again two years later, they
David ended up owning a
business with several other Holocaust survivors. They
manufactured fireproof doors.
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