Will the Real Janet Sobel Please Stand Up?


marriage certificate carefully, she would have seen that Janet’s mother-in-law’s name was recorded there as “Aide Leshinsky”—not Ida Lechovsky (see page 25). Although Janet Sobel’s first name was ambiguously handwritten as “Jannie” or “Jonnie” on the face of the certificate, the bride had clearly signed her first name as “Jennie” on the signature portion of the certificate. Evidently, Levin based her assumption that “Lechovsky” was Janet’s family name (and her father’s surname) on a section in Deborah A. Goldberg’s article on Janet Sobel, in which Goldberg had written that Janet “was born Jennie Lechovsky in Ekaterinoslav, a village outside of Kiev, Ukraine, the daughter of Bernard Lechovsky and Fanny Kahn.”92

            Goldberg was just a little off the mark in stating that Janet’s family name was Lechovsky. I can say that because, on the advice of the very helpful and well-informed librarians, including Jane Thoner and Jessica Myers, at the Plainfield [New Jersey] Public Library, I applied for and obtained a copy of Janet Sobel’s application for a Social Security account number (see page 28). Sobel had filed her application on December 7, 1953, approximately two weeks after Max, her husband, had died at the age of sixty-three on November 24, 1953.93 However, Levin mistakenly writes that Max Sobel died in 1956, not in 1953, and incorrectly claims that Janet only went to work at Sobel Brothers, Inc., in 1956, after Max’s death.94

                From Janet’s own entries on her Social Security application, I finally learned that Janet Sobel had stated that her birth name was Jennie Olechovsky, that her father’s full name was Baruch Olechovsky, that her mother’s full name before marriage was Fannie Kinchuk or Kimchuk [Janet’s handwriting was slightly unclear], and that Janet’s birth date was May 31, 1893. Leah and Sol Sobel wrote to me that May 30, 1893, not 1894, was Janet’s birth date, because 1893 had been written in Janet’s family Bible. Moreover, “May 30, 1893” was inscribed as Janet’s birth date on hers tombstone in Beth Israel Cemetery in Woodbridge, and her obituary, in New Jersey’s Courier-News, says that she was seventy-five years old at her death.95 In addition, Waylande Gregory also wrote in his interview of her in January 1962 that Janet Sobel was then sixty-nine years old, information that


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All texts copyright © Libby Seaberg, 2009