Somer /Sommer/ Flame
My grandfather was Yohanan Sommer.He operated
a small lumber yard untill the war.
was Sarah (Shuldenfrei) Sommer. She was killed
by the Germans in Dembitsa itself.Probably
around the Ghetto.
They had five kids:
Rooja the oldest,was married to Aaron Adler,
he survived the war she did not.
Simcha,the second son worked at his brother's
Shmuel,the third son,studied Dentistry in Berlin
and returned to Dembitz as a Dentist.He and his
wife did not survive the war.
The fourth child,Chaya,emigrated to Palestine
in 1934 and my father,the youngest,folowed her
in 1936. Chaya lives in Kefar Pines,Israel.
This is the story.
I went to Dembitz and
found the family house it is still standing!
Thanks again for your help.
Mon, 14 Jul 1997
My father was born In Debica about 1892, since he never in his life had a
birthday my mom took it to be he was 12 years older than her and she was born
1904 in Dallas Texas of Romanian Parents.
My dad came to Usa in 1909 via
and uncle already in New York and then over the years brought over other
brothers and sisters who settled in New York area and he then came to Dallas
He never talked of his life except that his parents died young.
The brothers and sisters are all dead now and the is a huge family in New York of
them the some were left in Debica and one brother died in Mexico in early
1930s as he could not get in Usa and no one knows where he was buried.
wanted to go to Debica on our second trip to Poland- my husband was born in
Lodz and lost his family and spent almost 5 years in camps. but our taxi
driver had his tires slashed in 1987 and it took a whole day to replace
them. we never got there.
I am sure the parents of my dad are buried in a
cemetery there which I believe is destroyed. We will not go back to Poland
tho each time we took one of our 4 married daughters on the two trips we
I just typed in the story of my dad from Debica. I forgot to write
his name. His name was Marcus Somer.
Some went by the name of Sommer which
was the moms maiden name, others went by the name of Flamm or Flam which was
the dads name. For example the brothers in New York were Isadaor or Izzy
Flam, and Jake or Jack Flam while one brother who came over from Debica later
was Mendel Somer while a cousin from the mothers side settled in Haifa in 34
and is Jacoob Sommer. My dad went by the name of Marcus Somer while a sister
Esther before she married went by the name of Esther Somer. One brother who
could not get into Usa and settled in Mexico City and died there young about
1930 went by the name of Feivel Somer or Flam, no one knows where he is
A Rabbi from Brooklyn had visited Debica and I write
him in Brooklyn and he called us but we were in Israel from Fe. to May and he
called us at home again and told us the graves were all gone or not in good
shape in Debica to locate any names there.
My dads parents died in 1909 in
My own dad when in Nyc before he came to dallas said he went to
the big Library in Manhattan and wanted to study to be a dentist. He came in
1917 to Dallas after 8 years or so in N:y. He at first became a peddler
selling blankets, sheets radios in his little truck and later with his
He was one of the last of the old timer Zionests If you talked to him sooner or later he got money from you for Israel.
He in his old age was active in Zoa and made all the dinners from
UJA to Israel Bonds and missed nothing and after a stroke and was in the
Hosptial he had mom still read the stock market for him. He loved Israel but
was never a traveller.
Now my name is Shirley Laufer and Husband is Leo. Of course my maiden name was Somer, but as I said in the letter,some of the brothers went by the name of Somer and some Flam and Flamm andSommer. In Haifa lives Jacob Sommer. He is from my dads moms side, to which
you can see some of dads brothers and sisters went by Somer and some Flam.
This cousin in Haifa is a first cousin which made his dad and my dads mom
brother and sister. He came to Israel from Debica in 1934 and went back in
38 to get his family out and no luck. He is near 90 now. We used to go
there but they live on Mt. Carmel and too many steps to come back up. They
have two married sons who have kids and one unmarried dau.
The 6 brothers and sisters of dad who settled in Usa
settled around Bayside, Little Neck, GreatNeck Middle Village, and Brooklyn
and the Bronx, Only my dad who came before all left - to Dallas in 19l7 from
NYC after coming there 1909.
Dad had one brother who left to Vienna in maybe in the 20s, either he went back to Debica and lost in Holocaust. The legend
is one brother also came to Usa, on the photo taken in NYc with my dad in a
studio photo and he went back to Debica and was killed. Another brother we
are still puzzled as I mentioned
Evidently he was the last to leave there doors of Usa closed and litke
Other Jews settled in Mexico city and died in early 30s.
Altho all the
cousins and their parents all stayed in NYc except dad who came here 19l7 no
one of them knows where the brother in Mexico city is buried. As I said he went by name of Feival Somer or Flam.
Another first cousin on the moms side lives in Hollisdayberg or spelled as
that in Pa. He is in his 80s and also by the name of Somer. He came to
Bayside in New YOrk in 1980s. Then only in the 60s did we find another Somer,
supossedly a son of my dads another brother. We met him and he is on the
moms side and came to Montreal maybe in the 50s. His wife still alive and
two married daughters with kids live there. Of my dad who died in 1978
age maybe 87, Marcus Somer. His brother Izzie or Israel Flamm died in Middle
Village Long Island he was about 95 and died maybe early 90s or late 80s. One
sisteEsther Glick died in 1962 maybe 60 in Bronx but married late in i94l
and went by name of Esther Somer, One brother Jacob or Jack Flam also died in 1980s and was in his 90s and one sister Augusta Tanenbaum or Gussie died at
age 90 or 91 in 1991. And my favorite Uncle Mendel Somer, the one who kept up
with all the family and who would have known where Feivel isburied in Mexico
as he went there in the 30s, his wife still alive. then; there was Minnie
Kraus also ded in her 90s in A home but lived in BaYSIDE FOR YEARS and the
story was she was married in Lodz, had a child, came to Usa as a widow and
married AL Kraus and had children, the child from first marriage, his family
in L>A> This is a huge family. Why some went under Sommer, Somer, Flam or
Flamm I guess is typical of Jews at that time. I thought there had been
originally i4 of children, but Bertha Fiedler of Great Neck whose mam was
Aunt Gussiemade the family tree and accounted for only io children of the
Somer and Flam - my dads mom and dad.
The story is that in Debica the dad
drowned, and mom died young and thats when dad left about 1909. He came to
Nyc as an Uncle Israel Flam had a store in Brooklyn. there is more family of
dad in Israel also.
Dad like those from Europe never talked much of his life in Debica, he
must left when he was 16 all alone to Nyc. Why he came to Dallas I dont
know. MOm said he ;used to sell newspapers on a train, etc. He started
peddling towels, sheets radios, etc. blankets in a truck here. When the baby
brother Mendel came to Usa late in 1920s caME to Dallas and his name Mendel
Somer, or Mannie Somer, he and dad were partners in the peddling in late
1920s and thirties.
My dad said that Aunt Esther went back to Debica in the 30s and that
they owned a house ther. Who knows, I mentioned we had a reunion in
Catskills in 1993. Not all came. My Brother a dr. here is named Joseph, and
many of the first cousins have that name, my sis is EvelynBertha and the
first cousins are named that. I am Shirley have no Idea my name.
Leo is a holocaust survivor and is from LOdza and was taken to the camps in
late 1940s and lost all his family of 6 brothers and sisters, parents
including one sister in law of the lmarried brother who had 3 kids, and one
brother who died age l7 of burst apendix in 1938. LEO was almost 5 years in
camps, from buchenwald, Auschwitz, sacenhausen, 6 camps and farms in Poznan
Poland, and last camp Ohrudrf. We have been as I mentioned all over POland
in 1983 and 1987, never before that. we went with youngest dau. in 83 and
oldest in 87.
We have four married girls, one lives in Jerusalem with 3 kids. The
other lives there also but is in U:sa now with his job andhas 3 kids, the
other two live in Manhattan each with 2 kids. We spend most of our time in
I have family in beersheva from my moms mom side. Also Leo has
cousins there in Ramat gan. they came from the camps to israel in 47 and 48
and he didnt even knowthat tho oneofthe cousins saw him over fence in
Auschwitz and Leo had no memory of anyone on his dads side, thoweve been
coming to Israel since 1969. What brought us ther in 69 his first cousin on
his moms side left Lodz to Palestine in 1937, so Leo knew of him and found
himfrom germany where Leo was lookinglike others in 45 he had settled in
Ramat gan and alived for years 65 Bialik in ramat gan. the cousins from the
fathers side in 8l we found via ad live in Ramat gan, and herzylia, etc.
Shirley and Leo Laufer