Tuesday, September 20, 2011


One day when I was photographing graves at Jewish Waldheim Cemetery in the Western suburbs of Chicago I came across the tombstone of the Finkelstein family.  I noticed that all four people died on the same day and a trip to the Chicago Tribune Archives found the following story:

Escaping gas causes death of H. Finkelstein and Family at 122 Liberty Street

Escaping gas caused the asphyxiation of four persons during Monday night at 122 Liberty street. Their bodies were discovered yesterday morning by neighbors who forced their way into the rooms. The victims were:

FINKELSTEIN, H. 60 years old
FINKELSTEIN, MRS. ETTA, his wife, 50 years old
FINKELSTEIN, ANNIE, a daughter, 18 years old
FINKELSTEIN, ALFRED, a grandson, 7 years old

The Finkelsteins lived on the second floor in the rear of a three story brick dwelling house. When the rooms were entered shortly before noon life was still present in the body of the girl Annie, but the efforts of physicians to revive her were useless. The gas that caused the death of the four escaped from an open jet in the kitchen.

Finkelstein was considered wealthy by residents of the Ghetto, in which he had lived many years. He owned the property on which he lived and several pieces of land on the west side. Attorney Joseph Epstein, who attended to Finkelstein's legal affairs, declared that he had no reason for desiring to commit suicide. He was a country peddler, but spent most of his time at home. He left a son Louis in Milwaukee, a son Abraham in St. Louis, and a daughter, Mrs. E. Rice.

The Finkelstein graves can be found at Gate 25, Anshe Knesses Israel #2.  May they rest in peace.

The bottom of the tombstone says:

Of Our Loss
Four Souls in One Tomb
May They Rest in Peace

Hillel Finkelstein

Etta Finkelstein

Annie Finkelstein

Alfred Finkelstein

No comments:

Post a Comment