No 132 - Winter 2017


Bernard Lyon-Caen
The Leven family; from leather to mineral waters

The name of Leven first evokes several characters who played a leading role in the creation of the Alliance Israélite Universelle. We also know that several descendants identified themselves with this institution during their whole life while others carry on the same task now. Other members of the family yesterday and today invested in other fields. We first transcribe a family history note written in 1929 by the lawyer Maurice Leven, then we try to locate this family who lived in the 18th century and early 19th in Uerdingen, on the edge of the Lower Rhine, then came to Paris and Saint-Denis. In all these places the name has for a long time been attached - besides to the IUA - to leather production and then to mineral waters. Starting from the first Levens arrived in Paris in 1838 the paper attempts to list their descendants until today, gathering as much information on each of them as possible, resulting in a great diversity.

Georges Graner
The hard life of the Hungarian patriot Jew Antal Weiner (1878-1955)

Antal Weiner left a diary that allows us to follow the life of a Hungarian Jew from a modest family in the Austro-Hungarian Empire before World War I and his career in the railways which was interrupted by the anti-Semitic laws of the twenties. Then came the 1944 Nazi persecutions, the deportation of his daughter and the siege of Budapest.

Pierre-André Meyer
About the Coblentz family of Haguenau in the 18th century; some genealogical questions

From the legal problems encountered in 1733 by Emanuel Coblentz, a young Jew of Haguenau accused of having falsely shown his intention of becoming a Catholic, and, before him, by Lowel Coblentz, his father, in conflict for a long time with the merchants and the magistrates of Haguenau, the article asks several questions relating to the genealogy of this family. Disputing different statements by Elie Scheid, the historian of the Jewish community of Haguenau, he offers a relationship between Lowel Coblentz and the great Zay (or Coblenz) family of Metz. He also wonders about the family connections between Coblentz and Feistel Moch, parnass of the Jewish community of Los Angeles, whose date of death (largely erased on his grave in the Jewish cemetery in the city) has been restored

Andonis Godis
The Swiss clock of Nymfaio and the unknown story of Samuel Bourla

In 1928, a 'rags-to-riches' Greek Vlach emigrant to Sweden built and then donated a school, adorned with a beautiful Swiss tower clock, to his native mountain village of Nymfaion in Macedonia, Greece. Until recent chance discoveries no one knew the real story behind it. The clock's four faces are marked (in Greek) with the words "Omega" and "Bourla", so everyone assumed that the Swiss clock was built by Omega, Switzerland.No one could recall what the word "Bourla" meant or why it was there. This article reveals the real identity of the complex Swiss "Omega" clock and the fascinating family story of the Bourlas, one of the Balkans most famous diamond and watch merchants, who escaped Salonica and Greece during WWII and were thought to have perished in the Shoah without leaving a trace. The author was fortunate to trace their improbable escape and locate the unsuspecting Sephardic family's descendants in France.


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