Hebrew name: Naftali
Secular name: Herz Wolf
Alternate spelling: Hersz

Family of Herz Wolf and Sara Katz

Herz Wolf (Naftali) Katz was born to Isaac Katz and Zlate (Slate) Schnee in October or November 1855* in Sokal.

* Estimated date calculated based on his death notice; he was 48 years 3 months old when he died on February 7, 1904.

Herz is a calque for Naftali (=deer, Hirsh in Yiddish). Naftali's name is confirmed by Michel Katz's Yad Vashem testimony page for his father Aron (Herz Wolf's brother).

Herz Wolf was a grain merchant, and, according to my mother, "led a comfortable life". His occupation was listed as "Getreidehändler" ("grain dealer") on his son Leiser's birth record in 1886. Herz Wolf and Sara Cheine's civil marriage (1891) used the more generic term "merchant" ("Kaufmann"). It's not clear whether this means he later expanded his business beyond just grain trading, or this was simply a clerical shortcut.

Herz Wolf married Sara Cheine Gruber (Grüber ?), born in Rożdżałów (or Rozdziałów, or Radziechow ?) in 1856 (+ or - 1 year).

Alternate names/spellings: Chanje, Cheijny, Hannah.

DMarriage record, Herz Wolf and Sara Cheine, 1891 (excerpt)

Marriage record, Herz Wolf Katz and Sara Cheine Gruber, 1891 (fragment).

The civil marriage of Herz Wolf and Sara Cheine was recorded in 1891. They were both 35 years old by then and had already several children. No records of their actual (religious) wedding exists, but it can be assumed it occured more than 16 years earlier, before 1875, when their first son was born.

Sokal PSA AGAD, Lwow Wojewodztwa / Ukraine

Surname Given Name Year Type Akta Age Sex Father Mother Town
KATZ Herz Wolf 1891 M 8 35 M Izaak KATZ Zlate KATZ
GRUBER Sara Cheine 1891 M 8 35 F Mates GRUBER Chane Breine GRUBER Rozdziałów

Note: the town for Sara Cheine Gruber is not clear. All documents look something like "Rozdzialów".

Note also that this document has Herz Wolf being 35 years old in 1891, meaning he would have been born in 1856, provided that the age he provided was indeed correct.

Eve Katz recalled that:

"[Herz Wolf and Sara Cheine] ran a restaurant."

It is not known whether they actually ran a restaurant (or inn), or whether this only became Sara Cheine's profession after the early death of Herz Wolf. The marriage record for their son Nachman from 1919 show that Sara Gruber was by then an innkeeper.


Until newly discovered birth records, Herz Wolf and Sara Cheine Katz were only known to have had three sons - Leo, Aron and Mates - with the possible controversial addition of a fourth son.

Sokal birth records digitized in 2007 revealed the existence of three more sons. The explanation for these previously unknown children was simple: two of these had died as infants, while the third one had died at the age of twenty-two.

Additional records digitized in 2012 surfaced no less than six previously unknown siblings. Three girls: Perel, Zlate and Chaje Zeldy, and three boys: Osias Maier, Nachman and Leibisch.

The addition of these six newly-discovered siblings radically changes the narrative of the Katz family: instead of being the story of three brothers who left Sokal for Germany around WW1, we now have twelve children, ten of which reached adulthood.

These new additions raise two questions: why was no one aware of the existence of these siblings, and what happened to them?

One of these "forgotten" siblings, Osias Meyer, is none other than Max, the "mystery" Katz brother who came to America. His name may have been erased from the family history because he didn't help his brothers when they were desperately trying to be sponsored for exit visas for the USA on the eve of the war.

As for the five remaining siblings - Perel, Zlate Nachman, Leibisch, and Chaje - if they remained in Sokal as I assume, they were most likely unknown to the younger generation who had left Sokal as infants. They would have been at most just a vague, distant presence in the lives of the children raised in Germany (Toni, Yitzhack, Bill, Max). Their parents, Leo, Aron and Mates, probably remained in contact with occasional letters. Toni remembered receiving letters from Sokal, and Max visited relatives in Sokal in 1938, so it is likely that these vaguely remembered relatives were their uncles and aunts.

They most likely disappeared in the Shoah, probably in Belzec in 1942 with the rest of the Sokal community. Their names don't appear on the Yad Vashem list of victims, nor in the community Yizkor book Sefer Sokal.

See all twelve children.

Death of Herz Wolf

Herz Wolf Katz died in 1904 of pneumonia. He was 48 years old.

Sokal PSA AGAD, Lwow Wojewodztwa / Ukraine

Surname Given Name Year Type Akta Sygnatura Sex Age Father Mother
KATZ Herz Wolf 1904 D 13 2475 M 48 y., 3 m. Isak KATZ Slate KATZ

Based on the age of Herz Wolf at the time of his death, his date of birth would be 1904 - 48 = 1856, which matches the other entry for HW, son of Isak and Zlate/Slate. So this gives us: Herz Wolf Katz: DOB: 1856, (Civil) marriage: 1898, Death: 1904.

Death of Sara Cheine

During WW1 [most likely in 1915], Sara fled the advancing Russian army and came to Czechoslovakia with her daughter-in-law Frida. Nothing more is known about her life in the 1920's and 1930's.

Her death certificate contains two addresses: one, Rynek Stary (the old market place), is crossed out. The other, 52 Ulica (street) Kościuszki, was a large street outside of the Jewish quarter. It is not clear then if she lived on Kościuszki street, or if this was instead the address of a hospital or hospice (the Austrian army had a military hospital on the street during WW1), in which case the old market place would have been where she had lived. It is not known if this corresponds to house #34.

Sokal map.

1918 German military map of Sokal.

Kościuszki street highilighted in yellow, the Jewish quarter in green and the old market place in orange.

Source: uma.lvivcenter.org

Sara Cheine Katz died April 5th, 1937, in Sokal. She was 81.

Sokal PSA AGAD Births 1858-1911,14,15,17 Marriages 1863-64,66,68-99,1902-09,11,13-37 Deaths 1831-1935,37-39

Lwów Wojewodztwo
(records in Fond 300 AGAD Archive)
Located at 50°28' 24°16'
Surname Given Name Year Type Akta Page
House # Age Cause of Death Father
KATZ Sara Chajna 1937 D 24 6
Kościuszki 52 81 Old age Mates

This family history project started September 2009.
All photos and documents belong to the author and are © Daniel Abraham, except for maps and where indicated.
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This is a work in progress. Please contact me if you have any more information to contribute.

Last Modified: Friday, May 13, 2022