The Wernick Family Record of Remembrance: From Shtetl to Tucson


Numerous stories have been written and information has been well-documented about the diverse populations responsible for the growth of Tucson, AZ . Included are the contributions and influences of native American cultures, Spanish Conquistadors, Catholic missionaries, and early Anglo settlers - among whom were Jewish pioneers. Descendants of conversos, those Jews who were forced to convert to Catholicism during the century of the Spanish Inquisition, now live throughout the Southwest, including Tucson. They are questioning their families' practice of Jewish customs and rituals.

During the twentieth century, thousands of Jewish families, who trace their heritage back to Germany and the ghettos and shtetls of Eastern Europe, have chosen to call Tucson their home.

Their parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents arrived in the industrial port cities of the East and Gulf coasts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many continued across the continent to establish new lives in all areas of the United States. Within two or three generations, some of their children and grandchildren found their way to the American Southwest. The migration of Jewish populations accelerated after World War II. In spite of the harsh environmental conditions and lack of air conditioning, thousands of people, including many Jews, with bronchial and rheumatic diseases chose Tucson as their home. To earn their livings, they opened businesses and provided services for the growing population. In more recent years, descendants of Eastern European Jewry have continued to arrive in the Arizona "Sunbelt" to enjoy their retirement years. The most recent group of new Tucsonans trace their Jewish heritage back to the U.S.S.R.

This is the story of one such family. In less than one century, the descendants of Schmerko and Rochla Wiernik can trace the migration of their family from Russian shtetls to many geographical areas in the United States - including Tucson, AZ.

Welcome to the Wernick Family Record of Remembrance, contributed by Barbara Rosenblum and Irwin Wernick, July 2004. In addition the family history, Barbara provided photo galleries for both sides of the family - the Wernicks and the Rosenblums. Visit the Wernick Family Gallery and the Rosenblum Family Gallery.

continue with Schmerko Wiernik