Philip Korn arrived in the United States 100 years ago this month, on Aug. 4, 1914.
Philip was born Raphael Korn on March 3, 1898 in Borowa, Mielec County, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Poland). His father, Jakob Korn of Borowa, a cattle driver, was born in 1862. His mother, Feiga (née Butterman), was born in 1864 in Szczepanowice, Tarnów County, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Poland), and had previously been married to Salamon Fleiszer of Dabrowa, who died young.
Philip’s grandparents were Gerszon (Gershon Halevi) Korn and Ruchel of Borowa, and Kopel Butterman and Chaja of Szczepanowice. Philip’s great-grandparents included Abraham Leib Butterman and Cypra (Tziporah) (née Butter) of Szczepanowice, and Philip’s great-great-grandparents included Abraham Butterman and Fradle (née Drilichow), and Lipe Butter and Feiga (née Drillich).
Philip had five older half-siblings: Yakob Kopel, Perl, Aaron, Isidor and Bezatel Fleiszer (or Fleischer); two older full sisters: Rosa Korn (who died circa 1936) and Dora Korn (later Blitz); and three younger full brothers: Chaim (Hymie), Leibisch (Ari) and Fiszel (Fred) Korn. As “Rafael Korn,” he left Europe on July 25, 1914, and immigrated to America aboard the USS George Washington. It was one of the last ships to leave Europe before the outbreak of World War I.
Philip settled in New York City and became a waiter. There, he met Sophie Blum. Sophie was born in Manhattan, New York City, on May 9, 1902 (she later “changed” the year to 1905), the fourth of five children of Abraham (Abe) Blum, a tailor who made children’s coats and who had died in 1903, and Minnie (née Toborisky or Tobor). Philip and Sophie became engaged and were married in New York City on March 20, 1932. Philip became a naturalized U.S. citizen on Oct. 14, 1938.
Philip’s parents remained in Borowa. In 1918, they helped successfully resist an attempted pogrom against the Jews of Borowa. Philip’s mother, Feiga, died in 1936, and his father, Jakob, died in the Holocaust around 1942.
Sophie and Philip moved to Washington, D.C., a year after their wedding and set up a grocery store. They had two children: Allen Gilbert Korn and Phoebe Rose Korn. Allen married Goldie Idella (“Idie”) Wood. They had two children, Gary and Greg, and later moved to San Antonio, Texas.
Phoebe was born on Sept. 22, 1937, and her picture appeared in many newspapers and in the Oct. 11, 1937 issue of Life magazine because she was born with two teeth. She was named in memory of Philip’s mother, Feiga, and sister Rosa. Phoebe married Samuel R. Silver, a San Francisco native, on Valentine’s Day 1966, on a sunny day between two blizzards. Phoebe and Sam had two children, Stephen and Sharon (who died shortly after her birth). They moved to California in 1984.
Philip was bold and had dashing good looks. He was also very sensitive and cried easily. His marriage to Sophie ended tragically when Sophie was murdered on Jan. 22, 1965, in what would today be called a hate crime. Philip later moved to Miami, Fla., then returned to the Washington, D.C., area in 1983. He died on June 22, 1991 in Arlington, Va.
Philip is lovingly remembered by his grandson, Stephen Aaron Silver, his wife, Shoshana, and their children, Samuel Jared “Sammy” Silver and Sophie Jerusha Rose Silver.