Berman’s Branches
Barbara Hacker Berman
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Interviews - Gilda Steiger and Ruth Abrams

Interview Gilda Steiger and
Ruth Abrams
Miami, 1/12/99

Ruth Rohr Abrams grandmother was way ahead of her time. Rebecca Rohr played round-robin poker. They played for years in various family members homes. One day Ella asked Rebecca how she was. She replied that she felt terrible. Ella Hammerling replied that that was to bad as she was going to get up a game of poker to which Rebecca replied, “So, who will pick me up?” A miracle cure. Her mother, Clara Stadler Rohr was also a lady before her time. She is pictured reading a book in her portrait. She was intelligent. She put on phallacis, “tvellin”, each day. A woman of her era did not do that!.

Ruth fondly remembers the smell of the snuff tobacco her grandfather used. That smell brings back many good memories.

Ruth Hammerling Abrams was the daughter of Rose Rohr Hammerling. Ruth and Martha are first cousins. Morris Hammerling, Ruth’s father, was a very religious man. He did not like them to associate with the Rohr family. He was bigoted and narrow minded and thought they were not observant enough for him.

Rose worked at the infamous Triangle Shirt Factory. It burned down on Shabbos in 1910 killing most of the workers. Rose was not there, as it was Shabbos and she was observant. That fire fueled the push for unions, child labor laws, etc.

In 1927 Aunt ? had two daughters. One married an Arab in Palestine. They met over a border fence. There are Rohrs in Israel. They are jewelers. Melvin went to speak to them once.

Leon Schlam came to the USA between 1906-1910. Rose came to the USA in 1910. Rose told them of the fear and stench of steerage and Ellis Island. Rose was a beloved, kind woman. She had phlebitis, making it very difficult for her to walk. Nevertheless, she always did for others. At her unveiling, everyone gave eulogies about what Rose had done for them.

Rose’s wayward brother Israel was a true hobo. He rode the rails. He took off from NY leaving a wife and children. He was an extra ˆin movies in Hollywood. He stole from everyone including Ruth. He died in California and is buried in a Potters Field in the 1960’s.

Aunt Clara was quite the lady! Martha remembers Clara buying black underwear, which was really racy! Clara could also be cruel. She always picked on Ruth. When Ruth was young, Clara called her fat and ugly. She always had something mean to say to Ruth. Clara would write to Ruth and Ruth would not open the letters as they would upset her so.

Bernard Rohr was a banker and brilliant. Martha remembers as a child he was swinging a cat around by the tail! He was also a transvestite. After his death, Aunt Fanny went through Bernard’s closets with Ruth, reveling his alternate wardrobe. Aunt Fanny was afraid of Uncle Sam. He was mean and abusive.

Uncle Dave had a motorcycle with a sidecar. As little girls, he took Martha and Ruth for rides.

Harriet Rohr never married. She is a retired TV producer, age 71, living in Riverdale, NY. Her brother, Melvin Rohr, lives in Scarsdale. Their mother, Adele, is 95 and still alive in Brooklyn.

The Versace House in Miami Beach used to be the Palace Hotel. Before Leon Schlam lived in Miami Beach full time, he visited in the winter and stayed there. Minnie would visit him there. A Nussdorf owned the Leslie hotel.

Ruth remembers visiting Leon and Helen before they divorced. The front room was strictly off limits. Helen would not let anyone in there. On one visit, Leon set up the kids (Martha, Melvin and Seymour) to run in there and jump on the furniture! Helen was not amused. Ruth’s brother desperately needed to borrow $500.00 for a short time. He asked Helen. She said, “No.” He asked her why not. She told she may need the money for something like buying a $1000.00 ring for $500.00. They played for years in various family members homes. One day Ella asked Rebecca how she was. She replied that she felt terrible. Ella Hammerling replied that that was to bad as she was going to get up a game of poker to which Rebecca replied, “So, who will pick me up?” A miracle cure. Her mother, Clara Stadler Rohr was also a lady before her time. She is pictured reading a book in her portrait. She was intelligent. She put on phallacis, “tvellin”, each day. A woman of her era did not do that!.

Ruth fondly remembers the smell of the snuff tobacco her grandfather used. That smell brings back many good memories.

Ruth Hammerling Abrams was the daughter of Rose Rohr Hammerling. Ruth and Martha are first cousins. Morris Hammerling, Ruth’s father, was a very religious man. He did not like them to associate with th e Rohr family. He was bigoted and narrow minded and thought they were not observant enough for him.

Rose worked at the infamous Triangle Shirt Factory. It burned down on Shabbos in 1910 killing most of the workers. Rose was not there, as it was Shabbos and she was observant. That fire fueled the push for unions, child labor laws, etc.

In 1927 Aunt ? had two daughters. One married an Arab in Palestine. They met over a border fence. There are Rohrs in Israel. They are jewelers. Melvin went to speak to them once.

Leon Schlam came to the USA between 1906-1910. Rose came to the USA in 1910. Rose told them of the fear and stench of steerage and Ellis Island. Rose was a beloved, kind woman. She had phlebitis, making it very difficult for her to walk. Nevertheless, she always did for others. At her unveiling, everyone gave eulogies about what Rose had done for them.

Rose’s wayward brother Israel was a true hobo. He rode the rails. He took off from NY leaving a wife and children. He was an extra ˆin movies in Hollywood. He stole from everyone including Ruth. He died in California and is buried in a Potters Field in the 1960’s.

Aunt Clara was quite the lady! Martha remembers Clara buying black underwear, which was really racy! Clara could also be cruel. She always picked on Ruth. When Ruth was young, Clara called her fat and ugly. She always had something mean to say to Ruth. Clara would write to Ruth and Ruth would not open the letters as they would upset her so.

Bernard Rohr was a bank and brilliant. Martha remembers as a child he was swinging a cat around by the tail! He was also a transvestite. After his death, Aunt Fanny went through Bernard’s closets with Ruth, reveling his alternate wardrobe. Aunt Fanny was afraid of Uncle Sam. He was mean and abusive.

Uncle Dave had a motorcycle with a sidecar. As little girls, he took Martha and Ruth for rides.

Harriet Rohr never married. She is a retired TV producer, age 71, living in Riverdale, NY. Her brother, Melvin Rohr, lives in Scarsdale. Their mother, Adele, is 95 and still alive in Brooklyn.

The Versace House in Miami Beach used to be the Palace Hotel. Before Leon Schlam lived in Miami Beach full time, he visited in the winter and stayed there. Minnie would visit him there. A Nussdorf owned the Leslie hotel.

Ruth remembers visiting Leon and Helen before they divorced. The front room was strictly off limits. Helen would not let anyone in there. On one visit, Leon set up the kids (Martha, Melvin and Seymour) to run in there and jump on the furniture! Helen was not amused. Ruth’s brother desperately needed to borrow $500.00 for a short time. He asked Helen. She said, “No.” He asked her why not. She told she may need the money for something like buying a $1000.00 ring for $500.00.
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