Our grandparents were courageous and brave, setting out alone for America from the Old Country (Russian-ruled Poland) when they were teenagers.
Our Grandfather was "Papa" to us, but he was born Yudel Karafiol, July 23, 1893, in Bialystok, a Polish textile manufacturing center with a large Jewish population He had one brother and two sisters. His father’s name was Scholom. His mother was a midwife, and she left her family at some point. Our Papa was trained as a plumber.
A traumatic event of his young life was the death of his brother in the Bialystok Pogrom, in which Russian soldiers attacked and murdered Jews during the three days of June 1-3, 1906. After the pogrom, Jews were pessimistic about their future in Bialystok, and emigration grew. When he was 18, our Papa left Poland and sailed to New York from Glasgow, Scotland, on the Furnessia. When he arrived at Ellis Island, April 4, 1911, he Americanized his name to Julius Garfield, using the name already taken by his immigrant cousins. He was told, “In America our name is Garfield.” The ship manifest said that he was 5 feet 4 inches tall with black hair and brown eyes
Our Grandmother was born Rivke Friedman in 1894 in the village or Shtetl of Krynki (also spelled Krinik, Krinek and Krinki.) She called it Krinik. It was near Bialystok, but not industrial. Leather tanning was the principal trade. Rivke’s family included two older sisters, and four or five brothers. The youngest died at an early age. The family had a business manufacturing wooden roof shingles, although Grandma also told us that her father made sewing machine cabinets. Her father was a community leader. They had a garden, and her grandmother, who lived with them and looked after the children, knew how to use medicinal herbs. Her brother Sam (Schmuele) immigrated to American first. She paid for a smuggler to get her to the New World. She traveled to Hamburg, and then to England. Although we thought she sailed from England in 1910, at age 16, it is possible that she was the Riwke Friedman born in Krinik who sailed from Rotterdam on the Rijndam, and arrived in New York on June 29,1909. There are several compelling clues because Riwke of the Rijndam, like our grandmother, was a seamstress with a brother S Friedman in Chicago who paid her passage. The ship manifest said that she was 4 feet 11 inches, with brown hair and brown eyes. It also noted that she was not a polygamist and not an anarchist.
When our Grandma married Julius Garfield in Brooklyn on December 5, 1916 her name was listed as Rebecca Friedman.
Left to right, Sam Friedman (?), Rebecca Friedman, Julius Garfield, ca 1916. This photograph was taken in New York City, perhaps at the time of Rebecca and Julius' wedding.