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Main Characters

(major characters ALL CAPS)


JACOB (“Yakov”) BURSTEIN  (b. 1867, Kishinev, Bessarabia, Imperial Russia,  d..1943, Tel Aviv, Mandate Palestine)    Marries 1890, Kishinev.

First Russian-born bassoonist. Teacher/Orchestra Performer, largely Self-taught. Maternal grandfather of  co-author Nora Jean (Bieler) Levin.


EUGENIA (“Genia”) NEIMAN (b. 1869, Kishinev, d. 1967, Tel Aviv), his wife

            Self-taught piano teacher from musical family.  Maternal grandmother of Nora Jean Levin.


1.   BERTHA ("Betya") BURSTEIN (b.1891 Kishinev, d. 1983 Leningrad, USSR)   Marries Daniel Alexandrovich Libman (c. 1888–1950) 1916, Ekaterinodar, Russia 
         Pianist/Teacher, degrees Leipzig and St. Petersburg Conservatories.  Sister of Anna Burstein Bieler; aunt of Nora Jean Levin. 


  1.    girl (c. 1918 - c. 1921); d. Ekaterinidad, Soviet Russia (streetcar accident)
  2.   OSCAR (b. 1922, Petrograd, Soviet Russia, d. 2016, Rockville MD)  Cellist, degree Leningrad Conservatory  Marries Valia Mizina Leningrad (1922-2015) Opera Singer/Coach
  3.    IRENE (b. 1923, Petrograd,  d. 2013, Rockville MD),  Pianist /Educator, degree Leningrad Conservatory    Marries Michael Drachman c.1950, divorced c. 1965

2. REBECCA (“Rivka”) BURSTEIN (b, 1894, Odessa, Imperial Russia, d. 1983, Tel Aviv, Israel)     Marries Ephraim Arber (1886-1952) 1926, Tel Aviv, Mandate Palestine.  Sister of Anna Burstein Bieler; aunt of Nora Jean Levin.

          Pianist / Teacher, performance degrees Leipzig and Petrograd Conservatories; Chopin Prize Leipzig (1912), Rubinstein Prize Petrograd (1918)


  1.     Dahlia (b. 1928, Tel Aviv, MP,  d. 2007 Tel Aviv, Israel), Israeli Golden Gloves boxing manager
  2.     Maya (b. 1930, Tel Aviv, MP., d. 2022 Tel Aviv)   Pianist, Music School Director, degree London (Royal Academy) School of Music

3. MONIA (“Mark”) BURSTEIN (b. 1899, Odessa, d. 1942 Siege of Leningrad, USSR)   Cellist/music teacher, degree Leningrad Conservatory. Never married.  Brother of Anna Burstein Bieler, maternal uncle of Nora Jean Levin.

4. ANNA BURSTEIN (b. 1908, Kishinev, d. 2003 Lantana FL)   Marries Hirsch Suwalski Bieler (1900-1985) 1931, Leipzig, Germany

            Pianist/Music Teacher, performance degree Leipzig Conservatory.


  1.      Tania  (b. 1933, Leipzig, Germany, d. 2017, Delray Beach FL) Executive secretary, Jewish & civil rights organizations; Vice-President, Convoy Oil Corp.; bracelet designer, non-profit manager.
  2.      Nora Jean (b. 1943, Philadelphia PA --) Entrepreneur, Author, Non-Profit Director, Family Historian.


RUBEN SUWALSKI (b. 1867, Grajewo, Russian Poland (East Prussia border) - d. 1941, Grajewo, Poland)  Marries 1888, Grajewo

              Pre-WWI Horse buyer.  Paternal grandfather of co-author Nora Jean Levin.

CIVIA (“Civie”) ANTMAN (b.1868, Grajewo, - d. 1942 SHOAH ) his wife

              Homemaker.  Paternal grandmother of Nora Jean Bieler Levin.

Children:(siblings of Hirsch Suwalski Bieler, paternal uncles and aunts of Nora Jean Levin):

1.   BERYL (b. 1890, Grajewo - d. c. 1942 Berlin)

2.   PESHE (Paula) (b. 1893, Grajewo - d. 1944, Mexico City, Mexico ). Marries Eli Briman, Grajewo 1921, follows him to Mexico 1922.

3.   ESTER (b.1894, Grajewo - d. 1944, New York, NY) goes to America 1912. Marries Morris Nelson 1913, New York

4.   Lilli (b. 1896, Grajewo - d. c. 1942 SHOAH) Married,  husband and children unknown

5.   HIRSCH (“Hirsch-Leybl,"Grisha") SUWALSKI BIELER (b. 1900, Grajewo, Russian Poland - d. 1985, Philadelphia PA).

               *Adopted (1921) by German Lutherans Paul and Marie Bieler, Papitz (suburb of Leipzig), Weimar Republic (“Second Reich”).

          Entrepreneur, Oil and Lubricants.  Marries ANNA BURSTEIN (Leipzig, 1931). Father of Nora Jean Levin.

           Children: Tania (b. 1933, Leipzig, Germany -- d. 2017, Delray Beach FL); Nora Jean (b. Philadelphia PA, 1943--).

6.   NOAH ("Noach") (b. 1904, Grajewo, - d. c. 1942, Kalwaria, Lithuania SHOAH) Fur Business

7.   DINA (b. 1906, Grajewo, - d. c. 1942 SHOAH) Nurse

SUWALSKI FAMILY BRANCHES - Cousins of Nora Jean Bieler Levin 

Before World War I, one branch of Hirsch's relatives from nearby KOLNO settled LONDON, BERLIN, HAMBURG and LEIPZIG . One branch  made its way to the U.S., settling Nebraska and New York. Another branch went to COPENHAGEN Denmark.  Between the wars, others made their way to Mexico, Chile and British Mandate Palestine.

FRIENDS of Hirsch and Anna Burstein Bieler (see Secondary Characters for details)

LEYBL (“Leo”) GOLDSCHTEYN [later ARI IBN-ZAHAV] (1899-1971). b. Grajewo. d. Jerusalem, Israel. Novelist, playwright, essayist; academic administrator (Hebrew University, 1926 --). M. Rachel, Jerusalem, c. 1925.

FIRA KAHAN JACOBY (1910-1987) b. Grajewo, - d. Washington D.C.  Pianist / Educator.

HERMANN (“Herman,” “Manny,” Manno”) BERLINSKI (1910-2001). b. Leipzig - d. Washington D.C.

Organist, Composer, Choral conductor. M. SINA GOLDFEIN, Pianist / Educator (B. Leipzig, 1911, - d. c.2004, Washington D. C) , Paris, 1934. Son Michael born in Paris.

ELIAHU (“Lonia”) RUDIAKOV (1910-1967). b. Kiev, Russia. d. Tel Aviv.   Pianist / Educator. First marries LOTTE HEINE (b. Lübeck Germany c. 1912. d. Tel Aviv Palestine, c. 1939) Paris 1934, Son Michael (1934-2000) born in Paris. Marries Greta (1913-2014) 1950.  Son Yair (1951-)  born Israel.

FRITZ (Friedrich) HIRSCHWEH (1902-1938). b. Berlin Germany. d. New York NY.   Company executive. Marries REGINA (later KLAPPER) (b. 1906, Czeczanow Poland, - d. 1977 New York NY), Berlin, c. 1930. Son Michael (1932- ) born Berlin.

HALINA NEUMAN SCHULSINGER (1909-1999). b. Lodz Poland; d. New York NY. Pianist / Educator. M. JAKOB (“Kuba”) SCHULSINGER, (b. Leipzig c.1904 - d. Poland, unknown, c. 1944 SHOAH), fur buyer & entrepreneur, Leipzig, c. 1928.

Daughter, JOLA SCHULSINGER HOFFMAN (1931-c. 1987). b. Leipzig. d. New Brunswick NJ. 

SALO (“Solomon”) RAUCHMAN (c. 1896-c. 1943 SHOAH). b. Grajewo. d. Ukraine, unknown . Oil products entrepreneur. M. IRENE (c. 1900-c. 1943 SHOAH), Dresden, c. 1928.

TANYA ZUNSER URY (1908-1988). b. Dresden Germany. d. San Francisco CA. Pianist/Educator. Marries WALTHER (“Walter”) URY (1907-1975), department store magnate, Leipzig, c. 1930.  Children: Michael and Renee, born Germany.

IKE KOPPER (Icce Kacprowski) (1904-1987). b. Grajewo, Poland. d. Philadelphia PA.   Commission salesman, oil products. Marries LEAH KATZ (b. Dresden, 1907. d. Philadelphia PA, 1987), Dresden, 1934. Daughter Miriam b. Montevideo Uruguay

ERICH MEYER (1910 - c. 1994). b. Leipzig, d. Rosario Argentina. Lawyer, later partner of Hirsch in H. Bieler-Kommandit (Leipzig), factory manager (Argentina). Marries MARIANNA, Leipzig, c. 1930. Son Peter, born in Leipzig.  Later divorced and remarried in Argentina.