Helen Kotzin (née Frydland)

U.S. Census records from 1940 say that Helen Kotzin was born around 1877 in Lithuania. They also record her address as W. Dickens Avenue, no doubt the same “3605 Dickens Avenue” that Leo received in a telegram from his family in Warsaw when he was in Switzerland in September, 1939, signaling that there was a lifeline for him in the United States – an address still clear in his memory when telling the story some 68 years later, at the age of 90. [7]

Census records for 1940 also say that there were three members of the household other than Helen: Helen’s 36-year-old son Theodore, her 39-year-old niece Bernice Halpern *, and a 35-year-old lodger, Pauline Vernatter.

Leo was welcomed into this household, sleeping on the couch and presumably depending on the Kotzins for everything, since he had no employment from the time he arrived (August, 1940) until January, 1941, when Paul Samuelson at MIT hired him as a research assistant.

Rhoda Kotzin is Helen’s granddaughter. Leo gave seven-year-old Rhoda piano lessons when he first arrived in the U.S.

Helen’s maiden name was Frydland. She married Moritz Kotzin, who passed away in 1927, probably in Canada. The couple had emigrated to Canada from Poland around the time of World War I. Helen’s sister, Sara Lea Frydland, married Moritz’s brother, Max Hurwicz, whose last name was changed (at birth?) in order to avoid being drafted into the Czar’s army. See “First Hurwicz Family” for a picture of Max and Sara Lea with their four daughters.)

It was because these two sisters secretly stayed in touch, in spite of a feud between their husbands, that Adek, Leo’s father, either had or was able to obtain Helen’s address in Chicago. (Max and Moritz both passed away in 1927, and Sara Lea in 1935. Quite possibly, the sisters had open contact once both husbands were no longer alive. In any case, Sara Lea must have shared the address before she died.)

The Kotzin’s still felt a strong enough family bond with Leo that they encouraged him to change his name back to Kotzin. However, he had been a Hurwicz all his life and ended up keeping the name of the family who had so generously loaned Max their surname.

* The census actually lists “Bernice Halper”, but this is a mistake.

Bernice was the oldest daughter of Gitla (or Gitel) Solowiejczyk (née Frydland), Helen’s sister. So Maniek Solow was Bernice’s younger brother. Guela, Maniek’s daughter, shared this in an email:

My grandmother had a first husband with the last name Halpern – I don’t know if he died or they divorced, but Bernice didn’t have any contact with her natural father’s family (to my knowledge) but was extremely close to the Kotzin family, living with them her whole life – in Chicago for decades at 6504 Fairfield Avenue (not sure how I remember their address !) … I remember they had a beautiful samovar which they brought from Poland or Russia – I think Judy or one of Michael Kotzin’s children still has it.

(Guela’s memories of the address on Fairfield date from her childhood in the 1960’s.)

Helen (Chaya Feigel) Friedland
b: 1874
d: 1953
  • 1874 - Birth - ; Lithuania/Poland
  • 1953 - Death - Y

Family Group Sheet - Child
PARENT (M) Cheskel Frydland
Marriageto Miriam Batszeva Kocyn
FatherAbbiszke ("ragoler") Frydland
PARENT (F) Miriam Batszeva Kocyn
Marriageto Cheskel Frydland
FatherKocyn Kotzin
FGitla Friedland
Death1942Warsaw, Poland
Marriageto Michael Solowiejczyk
FHelen (Chaya Feigel) Friedland
Marriageto Moses (Moshe, Moritz) Kocyn Kotzin
FSalcia Friedland
MBorris Friedland
Marriageto Sophia Fabianova Kagan-Szabszay
FSara Lea Frydland
DeathMay 6, 1934Moscow, Russia
Marriageto Maks Mojzesz Hurwicz
Family Group Sheet - Spouse
PARENT (M) Moses (Moshe, Moritz) Kocyn Kotzin
Death1927 Chicago
Marriageto Helen (Chaya Feigel) Friedland
FatherTobiasz Tuvya Kocyn Kotzin
MotherElka Razajczyk
PARENT (F) Helen (Chaya Feigel) Friedland
Marriageto Moses (Moshe, Moritz) Kocyn Kotzin
FatherCheskel Frydland
MotherMiriam Batszeva Kocyn
MShlomo Solomon Kocyn Kotzin
Marriageto Chana Ann Kotzin (Née Brickman)
MAdek Abraham Kocyn Kotzin
Marriageto Leah Lewartowicz
MBernard Kocyn Kotzin
Marriageto Kocyn Kotzin
MTheodore Todros Kocyn Kotzin
Descendancy Chart
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