Isaac Korn, Chapter 3

Since publishing the last chapter that included finding the location of great, great grandfather and great, great grandmother Isaac and Esther Korn, Cynthia and I traveled to San Antonio for her Aunt Gert’s 95th birthday party. What fun! 40 of Gert’s family were there. Gert is sharp as a tack and a blessing to us all.

Anyway, Sandy Adirondack, Gert’s daughter, was in from London, and she and I talked about finding great great grandfather Isaac in 1890’s Whitechapel, East London. Sandy was very knowledgeable about the area and offered to send two books about its history. THANK YOU SANDY!! These books offered much more about the lives of Isaac and Esther. I hope you wonderful cousins enjoy this second chapter.

– Hank

So…As we now know, Isaac and Esther, my great great grandfather, (add a “great” if you are a generation younger than me) according to Rose’s history, dictated to Ann, “Moved to London to escape the purge.”

Here’s some of the history of how Issac and Esther immigrated to London.

Excerpt from The East End Nobody Knows by Andrew Davies

Chapter entitled  “The Jewish Community in the East End”

Map showing Monthope Street
Isaac lived at #4 Hope St. which was renamed Monthope, See yellow circle

Isaac lived in the overpopulated Jewish area of East London. A major influx of Jewish people into London took place during the last decades of the nineteenth century in the wake of the pogroms launched by the authorities in Poland and Tsarist Russia.  In 1881-2 alone, for example, 225,000 Jewish families fled Russia.  Between 1870 and 1914 about 120,000 Jewish people came to London, though some remained here only briefly before setting off for the United States.

In 1900, C. Russell and H. S. Lewis published a book called The Jew in London which included a map showing the proportion of Jewish people in the East End.  A black band along a street included a proportion of 95-100 per cent, and the map reveals just how quickly parts of Spitalfields and Whitechapel were indeed turned into new Polands. There, virtually everyone was Jewish.  The close groupings in neighborhoods were born of these newcomers necessity to be near to a synagogue, a kosher butcher, and communal baths.  In any case, the East End was already so crowded that no available room existed for the Jewish immigrants to spread out.

The then Lord Rothschild summed up the anxieties of native-born Londoners at a meeting of the Jewish Board of Guardians when he warned: “We have now a new Poland on our hands in East London.  Our first business is to humanize our Jewish immigrants and then to Anglicize them.”

Hope St was renamed Monthope St
Hope St was renamed Monthope St

Another map of Whitecastle shows the exact location of Isaac’s home on Hope Street. The street name had been changed to Monthope. (see the circle and yellow arrow pointing to Monthope, previously Hope Street)  I have not yet found any records about Esther, and do not know if sons Abraham and Benjamin were born in Poland or London. Jacob was born in Poland and immigrated to London with his parents, only to later immigrate himself from Germany with his own wife, Anna Bernstein Korn, and the three of our grandparents’ generation who were born in Germany, Rosa, Montague, and Hyman. (Helene, possibly Hyman’s twin apparently died in infancy.)



The Streets of East London
Book Cover: The Streets of East Londo

Excerpt from The Streets of East London, Chapter 4, Immigrants

After the sixteenth century, the expansion of the Port of London, provided an entry point for successive waves of foreign immigrants.  Between 1870 and 1914 East London experienced a very large influx of immigrants.

During the eastern European immigration over 120,000 mainly Russian and Polish Jews constituting the most dispossessed and impoverished of the Europe came to seek asylum in London, fleeing from the worst persecution of their people until the Nazi holocaust. The 1901 Census registers 95,425 Russians and Poles – which means the Russian and Polish Jews settled in Britain.

After 1881 the alien invasion rapidly increased as a result of government sponsored pogroms against the Jews in Western Russia.  Henceforth the ghetto of Jews expanded so that by 1889 Charles Booth could report.

“The newcomers have gradually replaced the English population in whole districts which were formally outside the Jewish quarter.  Formerly in Whitechapel, Commercial Street roughly divided the Jewish haunts of Petticoat Lane and Goulston Street from the rougher English quarter lying in the East.  Now the Jews have flowed across the line; Hanbury Street, Fashion Street, Pelham Street, Booth Street, Old Montague Street, and many streets and lanes and alleys have fallen before them; they fill whole blocks of model dwellings; they have introduced new trades as well as new habits and they live and crowd together and work and meet their fate independent of the great stream of London life surging around them.”

East London Jewish Storefron
Isaac’s sore would have looked like this typical storefront

As the Jews pressed eastward so did their lifestyle begin to project a bizarre quality onto the immediate environment.  Slowly the narrow streets and courtyards of Whitechapel, Mile End and St. George’s filled up with Landsleit (families emanating from the same town or village in Russo-Poland). They formed their own self-contained street communities with work-shops, steibels (small house-based synagogues), and all-purpose stores where the men would gather on Sundays to discuss the rabbi’s sermon, politics, and local scandal, or indulge surreptitiously in the immigrant’s vice…gambling. On Fridays, the eve of Sabbath, the cloistered alleys and thoroughfares came to life as candles blazed from the front parlours of shabby one-storeyed cottages or tenements. In their weekend finery, the reluctant youth of both sexes were led to shul (synagogue).  On high holy days the young men garbed in dress coats and flaunting their manhood along the main streets and high roads of the ghetto, were epitomes of one aspect of Jewish history, replacing the primitive manners and foreign piety of the foreign Jew by a veneer of cheap culture and a laxity of ceremonial observance.



Note: has revealed the birthplace of Isaac as “Isaac Korn, Birth: about 1815 – Kepno, Poznam, Wielkopolska, Poland”.

That’s all for now, wonderful cousins. Much, much, much more to come. Hope you are enjoying our Korn Family History.

Thank you  Bruce for Jacob’s hand-written sermons and University of Iowa lectures. There was lots of new Korn history discovered.

And, a big, special thanks to Sylvia for putting me in touch with Marlene Trestman who will soon publish a book about The Jewish Children’s Home. Marlene  will be interviewing me next week.

Love to you all,


10 comments on “Isaac Korn, Chapter 3

  1. Catherine Miller

    December 26, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Cool! I look forward to more!

  2. Hi Hankie, I have read your blog and it is very interesting and well written. I am impressed with all of the research you have done. Great job!

    • Thanks Em! Glad you enjoyed it. It is so much fun, especially when I discover another little piece of the story. For instance, last night, using Google Map, I found a view of the cemetery in Jackson, MS where great grandmother Anna Bernstein Korn is buried.

  3. Lotta work! The design looks really clean too, just what you want in a blog.

  4. Looks good!

  5. Hank!
    This is all incredible! Thank you for such dedication! I very much enjoyed reading the text of the Esther and Ann conversation with my Grandfather, Max’s comments at the end. And, especially THANK YOU for the Graff family information – WOW! All I knew about his side was that he came from Romania when he was a teenager.
    Looking forward to the next installment.

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