Thursday, August 20, 2015

Book Report: Bridging Three Worlds

Bridging Three Worlds; 
Hungarian-Jewish Americans, 
1848 – 1914
By Robert Pearlman
The University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, 1991

In Hungary
          A Very Short History of Hungary
          Jews and Magyars
          The Quid pro Quo Arrangement
          Religion, Languages, and Folklore
          Two Jewries

Migrating and Settling
          The ‘48ers
          Three Families
          The Big Migration
          Urban Colonies
          Small Town Diaspora

Three Worlds
          The Magyar Connection
          The Jewish Bond
          The American Door
          Flickers and Reflections

When I began researching my Jewish roots I knew there was a lot I did not know. My Jewish grandfather died before I was born so I had no exposure the culture or religion. When Robert Friedman started doing the research for me traced my Gartner family back to Hungary I knew nothing about that country either.

I sent off an email to Robert, asking him to recommend something I could read so I could learn what life was like for the Gartners. One of the books he suggested was Bridging Three Worlds.

First the book gave me a short history of Hungary, where my great grandfather, Leopold Gartner and his family lived beginning about 1864. Then it painted a picture of the immigration process as it would have been about 1874 when Leopold came to New York City. The book taught me about Jewish settlements in Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the major occupations of those Hungarian-Jewish neighborhoods. Not having any family stories about this part of my family this book helped flesh out the details. I’m very glad to have this book.


  1. Background knowledge makes you appreciate what our ancestors experienced and accomplished in thier quest for a better tomorrow..

  2. I'm always on the lookout for books that will help me understand ancestral movements and lives. This sounds like an excellent source for background on my Hungarian/Jewish ancestors. Thanks for recommending it! Also, have you read the "The Bread Givers" by Anzia Yezierska? It's a fictionalized version of the life and times, melodramatic but engrossing because the everyday details are so vivid.

    1. Marion, 'The Bread Givers' sounds like a book I'd like to read. Thanks for sharing that and thanks for stopping by & leaving a comment.


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