Compiled by Ted (Theodore Joseph) Kotzin: Born in Los Angeles on July 22, 1936
(Note: This is Ted Kotzin of L.A., not Chicago.)
Page 12 of this document is my source for the tradition that our ancestors originally came to Lithuania from Padua, Italy (Padowa in Polish).
"Per family tradition, quoted various places by Sonya Vizansky, Rabbi Singer, Bernie W. Kotzin, and others, ancestors came from Padowa, Italy, to Lithuania in the 16th or 17th century. Michael Kotzin says that an ancestor from Lithuania was said to have gone to the University of Padua."
The Jewish Virtual Library tells us:
“Of particular importance in the Padua community was academic activity. Jews studied medicine simultaneously with Torah. From 1519 to 1619 about 80 Jews obtained degrees in medicine in Padua, and from 1619 to 1721, 149 Jews graduated as physicians. Numbers of Jews from Germany, Poland, and the Levant also came to study in Padua.”
“Throughout the 16th century, Jews gradually moved from the south of Italy to the north, with conditions worsening for Jews in Rome after 1556 and Venice in the 1580s. Many Jews from Venice and the surrounding area migrated to Poland and Lithuania at this time.”
Padua is about 40 miles from Venice:
(from Google Maps)
“From the founding of the Kingdom of Poland in 1025 through to the early years of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth created in 1569, Poland was the most tolerant country in Europe. Historians have used the label paradisus iudaeorum (Latin for “Paradise of the Jews”). The country became a shelter for persecuted and expelled European Jewish communities and the home to the world’s largest Jewish community of the time. According to some sources, about three-quarters of the world’s Jews lived in Poland by the middle of the 16th century.”Ted_Kotzin_EXHIBIT4