Family:David Littman and Sali Schoen (1)

Facts and Events
Marriage[3] abt 1850 Sáros, Hungary(probable loc)
abt 1857 Hungary
19 Sep 1932 Manhattan, NY

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.

Their Descendants

David and Sali had eight known children:

  • Hani - Born 1852 in Berzevicz. In 1869 (age 18), married Simon Schagrin of nearby Krompach. Between 1872-1892, they had at least two sons and four daughters, and lived in villages in the same area.
  • Moricz - Not much is known. There is a Moritz Littman who had at least three children in 1880-1887 in nearby villages, but there were a few other Littman families in the area, and it is not certain if that Moritz Littman is David and Sali's son, or a different Moritz.
  • Fany - In 1894, she married Simon Roth and they lived in the larger town of Kassa. It was his second marriage, and he had a son from his first wife. Simon and Fany had twin girls in 1895 but both died in infancy. No other children are known. Simon died in 1908.
  • Josef - It is not known if Josef married. There is a photograph of him taken in Miskolcz, probably in the 1890s, and he appears to be in some kind of military uniform.
  • Lena - Born 1862 in Ribnicsek. In 1887, at age 25, she and her younger sister Betty sailed out of Bremen to New York. While Betty stayed in New York, Lena moved on to Chicago, probably about 1890, where she had two sons and a daughter in the 1890s with Herman Tannenbaum. Sadly, she died at a young age (about 32) in 1900, leaving her husband and three young children.
  • Betty - Born in 1864 in Ribnicsek. In 1887, at age 23, she (with her sister Lena) emigrated to New York. In 1892, she married Louis Brautman, and between 1893-1904 they had five daughters. They lived in New York City. She died in 1932, at age 68, survived by her husband, three daughters, and several granddaughters.
  • Esti - Born in 1866 in Ribnicsek. Nothing else is known of her. Betty Littman had a photograph of an "Aunt Ethel", shown with her husband "Rabbi Grosz" and three sons. The photo was taken in Siofok, Hungary. Perhaps this is Esti?
  • Rose - Born in 1868 in Ribniscek. Nothing else is known of her.

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

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.

Larger map

Image Gallery
  1.   Magyar Statisztikai Hivatal. Népszámlálás, 1869 : Szepes (megye). (Salt Lake City, Utah: Filmre vette a Genealogical Society of Utah, 2000), 1869, Primary quality.

    From a index of the 1869 Hungarian Census:
    Szepeshely (town), Locse (jaras), Szepes (county) (FHL 2149913#2, family 26):
    LITMAN, David (b. 1825)
    LITMAN, Sali (nee SCHON, b. 1828)
    LITMAN, Hani (b. 1852)
    LITMAN, Moricz
    LITMAN, Fani
    LITMAN, Josi
    LITMAN, Leny (b. 1862)
    LITMAN, Bethy (b. 1864)
    LITMAN, Esti (b. 1866)
    LITMAN, Resi (b. 1868)

    David Litmann family in 1869 census in Szepes
  2.   Židovská obec Huncovce (Kežmarok). Matrika, 1833-1942. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Mikrofilmy boli zhotoven? Genealogickou spolocnostou ?t?tu Utah, 1991), Primary quality.
    Betty Littman 1864 birth registry in Hunfalu Rose Littman 1868 birth registry in Hunfalu
  3. The est date and probable location of their marriage are extrapolated from the 1869 census information. They were both born in Saros megye, and their first daughter was born in 1852 in Saros megye.