Klebanoff Tsipa Aronovna
Daughter of Aaron.
We pull out this stone from the river using bulldozer, We were guided to the place by Mr. Bao. Hebrew and Russian inscription .Star of David on the top .Died in Shanghai Adar 23rd ,1944 in the age of 76
Information by Lily Klebanoff Blake(2005-10-26):
I was four when my grandmother, Tsipa Klebanoff, died. I’m sure I knew her and spent time with her. However, the only vivid memory I have is of her funeral. Her death must have been a very traumatic event for my father, since I clearly remember being left at home when everyone else went to her funeral. For some reason, I remember that I was ironing and watching everyone go out. Clearly, since I was only four at the time, I must have been using a toy iron. I felt excluded from something the rest of my family shared. I don’t know what she died of and whether she was sick before she died. I don’t recall anyone ever saying that she had any special illness or surgery, so I imagine that her death was sudden and not from a prolonged illness. She was buried in one of the Jewish cemeteries in Shanghai, but I don’t know which one.
Tsipa Aronovna Heller was born in Ukraine in about 1870. Her father, Aaron Heller, was a rabbi in xxxxx and came from a long line of rabbis descended from Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller, who had been the chief rabbi of Prague and then Krakow in the 17th century and is buried in the cemetery in Krakow. Rabbi Yom Tov Lipman Heller wrote some famous commentaries for the Mishnah. After the death of Tsipa’s mother, her father, Rabbi Aaron Heller, remarried and moved to London. I think this happened after Tsipa moved to China. He had planned to move to Texas to head a congregation there and stopped in London on his way to the US. While in London, people from his home town asked him to remain in London as their rabbi. After several years, he went into business selling nuts and candy and was very successful.
Tsipa married Michael (Mihail) Klebanoff in the 1890’s and they lived near Mogilev in Belarus. Michael Klebanoff was either in the coal or timber business and was sent to Harbin, China in 1908 to help develop the market for either coal or timber for his company. Tsipa accompanied her husband with their seven children to Harbin. One of their children, a daughter whose name I don’t know, died of the flu in Harbin. I don’t know very much about Michael Klebanoff; I don’t know when and where he was born or whether he had any siblings, although my father always said that if someone was named Klebanoff and came from Mogilev they had to be a relative.
Tsipa’s husband, Michael Klebanoff, died in Harbin in 1913. I remember being told that he died of stomach cancer, although I’m not sure. He is buried in the cemetery in Harbin and I’ve visited his grave. I would like to find information about his cause of death of more information about what he did and about his family. After her husband died, my aunt told me that Tsipa went to her husband’s business partner to ask for help to support her and the six children. According to my aunt, the man said that she should pray to her husband for assistance. So, at the age of about 43, Tsipa was left with six children and no means of support. To support her family, Tsipa took one of the rooms in their house and converted it to a public dining room and served meals to people. It was known as the Klebanovskaya Stolovaya (Klebanoff Dining Room). She also arranged to cook and deliver meals to home-bound individuals; the meals were delivered by one of my father’s brothers, Moseyka (Moses, later called Michael). One of my father’s sisters, Manya, would help by getting water from the well. Since Harbin was often very cold, the water in the well was frequently frozen.
During this period, Tsipa and my father and his siblings were very poor. My father said that they didn’t have enough beds to sleep on and that he and his brother Moseyka slept on two chairs which were pulled together. My father paid for his school tuition by tutoring other children. He also put his younger brother Moseyka through school and college and helped pay for the tuition of his sister Rema. The next few years were difficult ones for the family. My father, Nahum Klebanoff, went to university in Vladivostok and was there during the Russian Civil War and the war between the reds and the whites. Both armies were trying to draft him and he didn’t want to join them, so he escaped back to Harbin and never finished his college education. I’m not sure what he did when he returned to Harbin, but in the 1920’s he became the manager of The Hotel Moderne, the major hotel in Harbin. Once he was able to work, he helped provide for his mother and siblings and she closed their ‘dining room.’ In about 1918, my father’s oldest brother, Grisha Klebanoff, married Gita Ashkenazi, the sister of Rabbi Meier Ashkenazi, later the chief rabbi of Shanghai. When they were first married, Grisha and Gita lived with Tsipa and the rest of the Klebanoff family. They continued to live with her for a few years and their son, Michael Klebanoff, spent the first few years of his life living with the rest of the Klebanoff family.
Once the Japanese occupied Harbin, the business climate worsened and my father moved to Shanghai in about 1931. His brother Grisha had moved to Shanghai a few years earlier to start The Siberian Fur Company; his mother, Tsipa, sister Manya and brother Moseyka moved to Shanghai some time around 1933. I know that they were in Harbin during the floods of 1932, since I have photos of them there. His brother Joe had moved to the US to work in the early 1930’s and his sister Rema moved to California to attend college in the late 1920’s. I think that Tsipa lived with Gita and Grisha when she moved to Shanghai. (They lived in Grosvenor House.) Once Gita and Grisha moved to the US after the war, Tsipa lived with Manya and her husband in Shanghai, and my father supported them.
I was always told that my grandmother Tsipa was a very good, kind woman, who loved her family. I know that my father always spoke about her with great reverence and love.