Family Story — Pamela Turner


Am pleased to introduce myself, Pamela Turner, of N.E. Ohio.  I have been researching both sides of my ancestral lines for about twenty years.  Growing up I paid attention to the verbal stories I was given by both my grandmothers.  My maternal grandmother, Eva Shiff, who had a twin sister who lived down the street in Toledo, told me that most of the families had two boys and that twins were common in each family.


 My paternal grandmother Bess Cornsweet (Kornszwiet) Turner was born in Cleveland in 1895, the last of 13 children and the only girl.  Her father Israel was the President of the Cleveland Kosher Butcher’s association.  She grew up speaking Yiddish at home and loving the touring Yiddish theatrical companies performing Shakespeare as well as modern Yiddish plays and musicals.


She married in 1917, Peter (Peretz) Turner a young immigrant from Mielec, Galicia who died in his mid-30s in December 1929.  He had sold cigars, insurance and took the family to Hollywood in 1924 so that he could work in the film industry.  As a widow she gave birth to her last child two weeks after his death and navigated the depression selling life insurance to support her family.  My father, Earl, the eldest at 12 years old, worked after school at the Keith’s Palace Theatre.  He loved assisting vaudeville performers in the fabled dressing rooms and lounge area. Peter Turner’s siblings each settled in Cleveland as children and they lived with each other or relatives of their mother, Feige Zahler Turner.


My maternal grandparents, Leib/Louis Schiffnagel and Preva/Eva Schiffnagel were first cousins from the Lipcan, Bessarabia area near the Northern border of Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.  Their fathers were Meyer and Yaacov Kopel Schiffnagel.   Leib was athletic and swam during warm weather in the Prut River. They married in 1919 and accompanied Leib’s mother, Pearl Gudelman Schiffnagel, a widow, to Toledo, OH where she had Gudelman cousins.  The family name was changed to Shiff.


Preva’s father, Meyer, had been the overseer of a successful farming operation in the Lipcan area and when the farm lost ownership, he and his wife, Frima Scheinfeld Schiffnagel moved to Czernovitz. Meyer and Frima operated a tavern, over which they lived. 


Their oldest daughter, Zisl Schiffnagel Gluzman, died in 1920 during the flu epidemic.  Her husband committed suicide, leaving my great grandparents to raise their two young grandsons, one named Njunia.  The two Gluzman brothers, their own sons and grandchildren continued to live in Czernovitz for the next 60-70 years.  I don’t know how they survived WWII.  From our Yiddish correspondence with them over the generations, I believe that the family emigrated to Israel in the 1990s.  There were relatives (Zippora and Yossi Wein) in Haifa who may have aided the Gluzmans, but I have been unable to track down the descendants.   Most of the other Schiffnagel relatives emigrated to South American countries (Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay).


I joined this group to have a better understanding of the city and its culture.  I would like a better understanding of why and how it became the final home of refuge for my great grandparents and the boys they raised.  I lived in Israel during the 1970s while the Gluzman family still lived in Czernovitz. I’d be thrilled to track down the Gluzman family members whom I believe now live in Israel.  


Pamela Turner with Zippora & Yossi Wein in Haifa in 1974

Lieb Louis Shiff -- 1920

Peter Turner circa 1908

Eva and Louis Shiff (Schiffnagel) in 1939

Schiffnagel relative above on  back of Yiddish card below

Gluzman grandsons and nanny with Meyer and Frimmer Schiffnagel in Czernowitz -- 1920

KORNSZWIET:  Kamenetz-Poldozky, Bessarabia, Ukraine

SKOZINYETSKY: Kamenetz-Poldozky, and Minkovitz, Bessarabia, Ukraine

TURNER: Mielec, Galicia, Poland

ZAHLER: Mielec, Galicia, Poland

SCHIFFNAGEL: Lipcan, Bessarabia/Czernivitsi, Bukovina, Ukraine

GUDELMAN: Lipcan, Bessarabia/Czernivitsi, Bukovina, Ukraine

WEIN: Moldova, Transnistra, Haifa, Israel