Advent Calendar: Alex Hillinger

Alex Hillinger
(variously Elias and Alec for his first name and Seneft and Hilinger for his surname as well. I believe Alec to be an Anglicanization of his name. Seneft was his father's surname, but he was unable to use the name after the first world war, so he ended up using his mother's surname, which eventually Americanized to Hillinger with two ls)

Born around 1883, Died 1947 (or possibly 48), aged 65
Lived in: Sedziszow, Galicia; London, England; Camp Douglas, Isle of Man; Frankfurt, Germany; Paris, France; Memphis, Tennessee; Hot Springs, Arkansas; Chicago, Illinois
Married: Dora Kresch
Ben Hillinger
Sam Hillinger (Sammi)
Mina Hillinger
Helena Sarah Hillinger
Hilda Pesel Hillinger (Peppi)
Selma Betty Hillinger

Alex was born to Leon and Mindel Seneft in a small town in Eastern Europe in an area now located in Poland. It was an area with many small Jewish towns (called Shtetls) scattered through. When Alex was still young, his parents moved their family away from the poverty and worries of Eastern Europe and settled in England. They were there when the Great War started. Alex, at least, was sent to live in an enemy aliens camp on the Isle of Man, Camp Douglas. He stayed there through the war, then left and returned to Germany (he grew up in was in Galicia, which was a German state at the time), settling in Frankfurt, where many young men and women were gathering. He was told by the German officials that since his parents had only married in a religious and not a civil ceremony, that their marriage was considered invalid. From that moment on, he went by the surname Hillinger, and never used the name Seneft again. In Frankfurt, he met the woman who was to become his bride, Dora Kresch, and in 1919, the two married. Over the next ten years, they had six children, and Alex worked to grow his businesses, which included a movie house or two. When the Nazis came to power in the late twenties, and sentiment turned against Jews in Germany, Alex's businesses began to fail. By 1933, he decided they should leave. They moved temporarily to France while he worked to get permission to settle in the United States, where his family eventually settled in Chicago shortly before World War II. Alex suffered a stroke shortly after their arrival in the United States, and by the late forties, his health failed him. He died in Chicago, shortly before his second grandchild was born.


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About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.