Lisker History: Part One

Udel Lisenker, also known as Adele or Buby Oodya to her grandchildren, from a photo probably taken in Proskurov around 1920.

Buster the dog, Ike and Dora Lisker in Chicago, 1926.

Sonia Bleichman, Hyman's fiance, around 1910 in Russia.

Jechiel Ichel Lisker, known as Ike, was born in 1873 in Zinkov, a town in the Podolia Gubernia in Ukraine, the son of Harry Lisker.

The town was situated on a hillside above a long, narrow valley and was famous for its rabbis. Zinkov's synagogue is at left. For an extensive history of the region you may enjoy reading The Road from Letichev by David Chapin and Ben Weinstock. The name Lisker is indexed in their research, apparently derived from a place name (the town of Liski).

Ike was a shoemaker in Zinkov and around 1890 he married Dora (Dobrys) Lisenker, left, daughter of Mandel Lisenker and Udel Rubenstein from the nearby town of Proskurov. The surname has also been variously spelled Lissinger and Lisengker by various family members.

Dora and Ike had six children, all born in Proskurov: Joseph, Hyman (pictured below right in 1907 at age sixteen), Minnie (Manzig), Harry (Herschel), Newman, and Louis (also Leo or Leon). Joseph and Hyman were the first to emigrate to the Chicago in 1911, bound for the home of cousin Jacob Brenner and his family. The Lisker brothers became picture frame salesmen, Joseph relocating to New Jersey and Hyman establishing a home base in Chicago. In 1915 Hyman married Sonia Bleichman, daughter of Nachum Bleichman, a rabbi, and his wife Frieda Frankel.

Both Hyman and Sonia worked hard to bringing family members to Chicago from Ukraine. By 1921 the Lisker parents and siblings had arrived, and in 1922 their grandmother Buby Oodya (shown at left on a Chicago rooftop) arrived. In 1927 Sonia's parents and siblings came to the USA.

Oodya died in 1926 at age 75 or so and is buried at Forest Hills. Dora and Ike saw the Lisker clan flourish in Chicago. All their children (except Joseph and his family) stayed in their Chicago neighborhood. When Dora died in 1938 Ike was quite lost, roaming from room to room of the house they'd shared. He died in 1940 and both were buried in Proskurov Cemetery, now a part of Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago.

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