In memoriam

Aaron and Regina Silver

Aaron and Regina Silver were married in Tacoma, Washington, 101 years ago, on August 25, 1912.

Regina and Aaron Silver with children Ruth (left) and baby Samuel in 1919

Aaron, the son of Ruchel (née Rojza Gdanska) and Naphtali Zilberberg (or Silberberg), was born on May 31, 1890, in Wasosze, Poland, and grew up in nearby Slesin. Aaron’s mother died in 1896, and the family moved to Chodecz, where Naphtali became a timber forest manager. Aaron had two older brothers, Szlama and Fabisz (who died young), a younger brother, David, and later a stepmother, Sura (née Kowalska), and a half-brother, Noech. As “Aron Silberberg,” he immigrated to the United States in 1909, arriving at the port of Galveston, Texas, aboard the S.S. Koln. Aaron worked as a cattle driver until 1912, when he had finally saved enough to bring his fiancée, Regina Stetiner, to America. His brothers and their families remained in Poland and died in the Holocaust.

Regina, born Ryfka Szczeciner in Warsaw, Poland, around 1891, was the daughter of Pearl (née Perla Kantof) and Hersz Izaak (Tzvi Yitzhak) Szczeciner. She grew up with five sisters and a brother, all but one younger. Her parents, sisters Gitel, Chippa and Szajndel, and brother Chaim (Hymie) eventually immigrated to the United States, and another sister, Fajga Beckofsky, moved to London with her husband. Her sister Golda Kaminer, Golda’s husband and their three children died in the Holocaust. Regina arrived at Ellis Island with her cousin Chaim Gerberbaum on April 9, 1912, aboard the ship Vaderland, after passing on the opportunity to sail aboard the Titanic because it would have delayed her reunion with Aaron by a few days. Regina and Aaron were married a few months later at the home of Regina’s aunt and uncle, Regina and Harry Kantoff.

Aaron’s grandparents were Szmul Leyb Zilberberg (or Silberberg) and Malka (née Glucksteyn) of Kalisz, Poland, and Fajbisz Gdansky and Blima (née Anker) of Lubraniec and Slesin, Poland. Aaron’s great-grandparents were Eliasz Silberberg and Gitel (née Berkow), Moshe Gliksztein and Ruchel (née Poznanski), Nayl Nachman Gdansky (or Danzyger) and Ryfka (née Jakobow or Markow), and Mojzesz Anker and Ester (daughter of Szlama and Dwora Jelenkiewicz).

Regina’s grandparents were Szlama and Fajga Szczeciner (or Szczuciner) and Szmul Ari Kantof and Chana (née Openhajm), all of Warsaw, and her great-grandparents were Rabbi Chaim Szczuczyner and Ruchel (daughter of Ze’ev Wolf), Izak Kantof and Ester Chaja (née Nusbaum), and Berek (Issachar Dov) Openhajm (or Hopenhajm) and Ides (née Yehudit Rubinlicht). Her great-great-grandparents included Tzvi Szczuczyner, Hylel and Chawe Kantof, Moszek (bar Szmul) and Gitla Nussbaum, Aharon Hopenheim (son of Isak and Ruchla Oppenheim) and Chana (bat Gavriel), and Israel Szmul Rubinlicht and Sura (whose brother, Aron bar Moshe David Serdyner, founded the Aron Serdyner Synagogue in Warsaw). Family legend holds that Regina’s Oppenheim ancestors included a count.

Regina and Aaron moved to San Francisco in 1916 and created a warm and loving family with their daughter, Ruth, and son, Samuel Robert Silver. They were active in their synagogue and community, and deeply devoted to their children. Aaron rose from being a mattress maker to managing a furniture store, and his son became a champion debater who graduated with highest honors from Lowell High School and the University of California, Berkeley. Ruth later married Joseph Starr, and Samuel married Phoebe Rose Korn of Washington, D.C.; both had long and happy marriages.

Aaron died in 1948, and Regina in 1969. They are lovingly remembered by Sam and Phoebe’s son, Stephen Aaron Silver; his wife, Shoshana; and their children, Samuel Jared “Sammy” Silver and Sophie Jerusha Rose Silver.