Dr. Alfred Amkraut was born in Saarbrüecken, Germany, where he lived for the first twelve years of his life. In 1939, his immediate family was able to procure visas to Bolivia, where they traveled by boat. Particularly proficient at languages (by age 10 he spoke German, French, Yiddish, Hebrew), Alfred studied Spanish and became the family translator. In La Paz, the family set up a store where they sold clothing and other merchandise.
Shortly thereafter, Alfred’s father passed away, so Alfred worked the store during the day and attended school at night. Recognizing his intellectual prowess, Alfred’s mother insisted he get a good education. At 22 years old, Alfred began his studies in the U.S. He received his B.S. in biochemistry from U.C. Berkeley, a Master’s in microbiology from NYU, and a Ph.D. from Stanford in immunology.
Working at a hospital in New York, Alfred met Hilde, the love of his life. They married in 1955 and drove from New York to California for their honeymoon. After living in San Francisco, Pasadena and Oregon, in 1967 they settled down in Palo Alto, Hilde’s dream location. Alfred taught at Stanford medical school and then became a principal scientist at ALZA, where he worked for many years.
Alfred and Hilde had two children, Claire and Susan, to whom they were devoted. Family always came first. Every birthday and holiday was heartily celebrated, always including delicious meals ala Hilde, as well as special family traditions. For over twenty years, Alfred and Hilde hosted joyous weekly Shabbat dinners for their daughters and their families. Alfred loved to travel and explore. He always had the urge to drive down an untraveled road and discover something new. He particularly enjoyed trips to Europe and Israel, where he took his children and their husbands, as well as family friends.
Alfred came from a long line of learned Jews. He was devoted to Jewish learning and serving the Jewish community; he was the shofar blower and Megillah reader at Kol Emeth for many years, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. At a young age, he became fascinated with talmudic study and avidly returned to those studies late in life.
Alfred was extremely generous. He helped his children in their pursuits, helped members of his sister’s family in New York and gave to many charities. He volunteered his time and knowledge of language and medicine if he saw a situation in which he could be helpful. Alfred was a man with a soaring spirit who was intensely interested in almost every area of knowledge. He was truly a lifelong learner whose curiosity never ebbed, whose genuine interest in others and their journeys never ceased, a man who knew how to encourage and support others in the directions they had chosen.
Alfred is survived by his two daughters, Claire and Susan Amkraut, their husbands, Daniel Epstein and Michael Girard, grandchildren Alex Girard and Naomi Epstein, his sister, Hansi Waizer, as well as her large family in New York. He will be greatly missed.
Beatrice Coralnik Papo
On May 26, surrounded by family in her San Jose home, passed away from complications of heart disease. She was 98.
Born in Berlin on Nov. 28, 1913, Beatrice spent her early years as the itinerant child of revolutionaries friendly with Russian leaders like Leon Trotsky, on whose knee she sat as Trotsky argued political theory with her mother, economist Judith Grunfeld. After graduating from the Sorbonne in 1937, Beatrice came to the U.S. where she married Joseph M. Papo, who ran several Jewish federations and social service agencies in New York, Maine and Minnesota.
In Sacramento in the 1950s, Beatrice became the first Jewish caseworker at the Sacramento Children’s Home, and as assistant director she changed the culture of the state’s oldest such institution to reflect the more informal tone of a “home” instead of an institution. Bea’s children followed in her footsteps in social service. Ruth, born in 1941, became a social worker; Michael, born in 1943, became director of the Jewish Federation of Silicon Valley, and then of the S.F.-based Koret Foundation.
After both Beatrice and Joseph retired, Beatrice helped Joseph organize and edit his book “Sephardim in Twentieth Century America” (1987), published in collaboration with the Judah L. Magnes Museum. She then spent 15 years translating the essays of her father, Abraham Coralnik, a columnist for New York’s Der Tog, and the former editor of Theodor Herzl’s journal The World. In her 90s, two volumes of her translations, “Across the Great Divide,” were published.
Beatrice is survived by her children Ruth Schifrin (Ari Schifrin) and Michael Papo (Dorothy Papo); grandchildren Daniel and Debra Schifrin, and Dara Papo, Joel Papo and Sharon Papo; and great-grandchildren Aviv and Lior Schifrin, and Skyler Papo-Weiss. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Beatrice C. Papo Children’s Support Fund through Berkeley’s Congregation Netivot Shalom.
In San Francisco on June 14, 2012 at age 77. Beloved son of the late Abraham and Yona Winogron; loving brother of Chaya Torem.
Shaptai was a Holocaust survivor who immigrated to Israel after WWII. In 1960, he immigrated to San Francisco where he received his law degree. He became an administrator in the import-export business. Shaptai was a devoted member of Congregation Anshey Sfard. He was also a member of the Teamsters Union. Shaptai was very humble and never said a harsh word to anyone. He will be greatly missed by his family and friends.
Funeral services were held on Friday, June 15, 2012 at Eternal Home Cemetery. Donations to Congregation Anshey Sfard, 1500 Clement St., SF, CA 94118, preferred.
Sinai Memorial Chapel