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 probably for the remainder of their lives, they lived in a place called Ribnicsek, just outside the town of Kirchdorf (Szepeshely) where they registered in the 1869 census. David died in 1882 at the age of 57, and Sali died in 1888 at the age of 60. Both are buried in the Jewish cemetery just north of Kirchdorf (today Spišské Podhradie), where their gravestones were still in good condition as of 2014.
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.
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). Records suggest that they settled there sometime between 1852-62, and probably lived there the remainder of their lives. While no documents locating this place have been found, local inquiries indicate that it is a farm just south of what was then the town limit of Szepesváralja. It is not known why they lived outside the town limit, when since 1848 Jews were allowed to live inside the town, and many Jews did live in this town at that time. This would explain why they were the only Jewish family registered at the adjacent ecclesiastical town of Szepeshely in the 1869 census, when many Jewish families were registered in Szepesváralja. The synagogue and most of the Jewish homes were on the south side of town, and Ribnicsek was about 1.3 km south along what today is Route 547. It was about a 15 minute walk from Ribnicsek to the synagogue. Two daughters' births (1864, 1868) were registered in Hunsdorf (Huncovce), which which had a synagogue at the time. The synagogue in Szepesváralja was not completed until 1872. In the 1869 census, there were 219 Jews living in this town of 3,363 total inhabitants. The Jewish community there was an Orthodox community. (More information about the Jewish history of this town is found on JewishGen.org.)
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.