Saturday, January 30, 2010
Who was Isidor Thornschein?
http://www.freepatentsonline.com/1879857.pdf). I suppose this meant that Mr. Thornschein put up the money for this invention and was due half of whatever profits it would generate. I was surprised to see a patent application for an airplane associated with a synagogue president, but this does suggest that Mr. Thornschein was a very special individual. The next bit of evidence that we have comes from a beautiful painting that hangs in the Kiddush Room in the synagogue. No one knows who the subject of painting is. He appears to be an Eastern European rabbi, wearing traditional rabbinic clothing, in the early nineteenth century. According to the small plaque on the bottom of the painting, the plaque was donated to the synagogue by Isidor Thornschein on September 30, 1940. While we may not know who the subject of the painting is, we can make a reasonable guess as to who painted it - Isidor Thornschein himself. In his obituary in the New York Times on April 15, 1947, it lists that Mr. Thornschein was a portrait painter and was the owner of the Thorncraft Studio on East 12th Street. Among the last bits of information that we have also come from the New York Times obituary. It states that Mr. Thornschein's relatives were caught in Europe during the war and that he was trying to trace them. Were these his (former?) wife, Honora, and his other daughter? The Times also noted that Mr. Thornschein was survived by one daughter, (Anna?). A couple of years ago, I was contacted by some of his distant relatives (including a great niece), originally from Rumania, and who now live in Australia. They didn't know much. I believe that the person who posted on Ancestry.com is Mr. Thornschein's granddaughter-in-law. I hope to find her, and if I do, I hope she will tell me more. For now, however, we are left with more questions than answers. Perhaps one of our readers knows something and can let us know?