m. abt 1850 Sáros, Hungary
Facts and Events
About David Littman and Sali Schön
David and Sali were German-speaking Jews who lived in the mid-1800s in the northernmost counties of the Kingdom of Hungary. He was born in 1825 and she in 1828, in two tiny villages about 2 miles apart on either side of the upper Torysa River. We can guess they married about 1850, and their first daughter, Hani, was born in 1852 in another village between their two. Between 1852 and 1868, they had two sons and six daughters. As early as 1862 and at least through 1869, they lived in a place called Ribnicsek, presumably near Szepeshely where they registered in the 1869 census. It is not known how long David and Sali lived.
David and Sali had eight known children:
Where They Lived
David and Sali lived their lives in and around the Levoča Mountains, in the western Carpathian range. In the 19th century, this area was in Szepes and Sáros, northern counties of the Kingdom of Hungary, bordering the Kingdom of Galicia. In the present day, this area is called Spiš, in northeastern Slovakia, bordering Poland. Though part of Hungary until WWI, this area was largely settled by German immigrants, and German was a prevalent language into the early 20th century. The 1869 census in which the Littmans appear is written in Hungarian, but the birth records of Betty and Rose are written in German. Most of the towns had German and Hungarian names, which could be rather different, as well as later Slovak names. For example, Hunsdorf / Hunfalu / Huncovce, or Kirchdorf / Szepeshely / Spišska-Kapitula. Part of the German immigration into this area included Ashkenaz Jews, who initially settled in villages outside the walled towns, though later lived in the towns too. By 1900, there were over 7,000 Jews in Szepes (4.2% of the population) and over 12,000 Jews in Sáros (7% of the population). There was a significant Jewish community in Hunsdorf with a yeshiva and synagogue, where the births of Betty and Rose were registered. And there was also a significant Jewish community in Szepes-váralja, where the no-longer-used synagogue is preserved. There are Jewish cemeteries in several of the towns in the area, including Hunsdorf, Szepesváralja, Lőcse, and Kesmark. This vicinity has a rich cultural history, and several historical landmarks comprise a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Here is a map of places where the Littmans lived. The purple pins show the birthplaces of David and Sali. The dark blue pins show where they lived and their children were born. The light blue pins show where the Littman children lived as adults. Click on the "larger map" link (under the map) to open in Google Maps with annotations for each pin.
Where is Ribnicsek?
A place called Ribnicsek is mentioned consistently as where the Littmans lived, in the 1869 census, and as the birthplace of most of their children (on the census record, on the two known birth registrations for Betty and Rose, and on Hani and Fany's marriage records). So far, I can find no information about this specific place. In the census, they registered in Szepeshely, so presumably it is in the vicinity. Most likely, it is the name of a farm or other specific place, rather than a village. The census does not list anyone else at Ribnicsek (nor anyone else registering at Szepeshely, though many others at Szepesváralja which is practically the same place). Two daughters' births were registered in Hunsdorf, which is the other known synagogue in their area.