|Birth: ||Aug. 3, 1888|
|Death: ||Dec. 21, 1981|
According to her death certificate and green card, Emma Marianne Juchnitzka (spelled in the Polish language as "Jucknicka") was born on August 03, 1889*. But according to her birth/baptism record, she was born August 15, 1888 in Czerwinsk nad Wisla (near Warsaw), Poland. Like all records from Russian Poland at the time, the baptism record is dual-dated - showing the Russian Orthodox (old Julian calendar) date of August 3, as well as the modern Gregorian calendar date of August 15. It's not hard to understand why Emma would have stated she was a year younger than she actually was (especially since she went on to marry a younger man), but the day difference (August 3 vs August 15) is more complicated. There is no logical reason why she would have used the Orthodox date. Perhaps the church baptism record was in error about her birth date (Emma was baptized 6 weeks after she was born, instead of the usual 2-3 days).
Emma's parents were Karl & Justine (Karo) Juchnitzki. Although they lived in Poland, they were part of the large German diaspora living there. The Juchnitzki family was typically large - we know that Emma was the youngest of at least 9 children. She had at least 6 older sisters and 2 older brothers; one brother died in infancy. Father Karl Juchnitzki died a few months after her birth, and her mother subsequently remarried. Her step-father's name was Christian Springmann.
Emma's early life in Poland is also a mystery. However, at the age of 23 on August 9, 1911 Emma arrived at Ellis Island in New York harbor. She traveled alone, and cried for much of the trip. Upon arrival in America, she was afraid her swollen and puffy eyes would be mistaken for an infectious disease, and she would be sent back to Poland. But with the help and encouragement of an nice elderly man who looked after her, she managed to pull herself together and made it through the customs and inspections process.
Emma's passenger ship record states that she was destined for the town of Bristol, Connecticut where her oldest sister and brother-in-law Susanne and Michael Karo were living. Emma made it to Connecticut, where she eventually met her future husband Adolf Bensel, another German emigree from Poland. They married on January 04, 1913 in the town of Bristol. Together they had 2 children:
Arthur - born 1913
Dorothy - born 1917
At some point after Dorothy was born, the Bensel family moved to Cleveland, Ohio. The move may have corresponded with the death of sister Susanne Karo - who died at the age of 53 in 1919. In Cleveland, life was good at first - the Bensels were eventually able to purchase a home and a car. Things took a turn for the worst during the Depression when Adolph lost his job. Emma took a job as a cleaning lady in an apartment complex, and the Bensel family was able to live in a modest apartment there.
In the late 1930's the Bensels moved to Detroit to look for work. Daughter Dorothy got married and stayed in Detroit, but son Arthur returned to Cleveland. On February 3, 1941 Adolph Bensel received his naturalization certificate. In years past, this naturalization would have applied to Emma as well, but that was not the case in 1941. Emma remained a resident alien for the rest of her life, and had to carry a "green card".
Adolph and Emma ended up staying in Detroit until 1970, when racial unrest in the city, and their daughter Dorothy's retirement to northern Michigan spurred them to sell their Detroit home and return to Cleveland, where son Arthur was still living.
Adolph and Emma celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on January 4, 1978. Adolf died the next year on April 03, 1979 in Westlake, Ohio. Emma lived another 2.5 years - she died on December 21, 1981, also in Westlake. They are buried together in Western Reserve Memorial Gardens in Chesterland, Ohio.
*NOTE - for some reason, Emma's headstone incorrectly shows her birth year as 1890.
Adolph Bensel (1893 - 1979)*
Arthur Alfred Bensel (1913 - 1982)*
Dorothy Ruth Bensel Heft (1917 - 2011)*
Western Reserve Memorial Gardens
Plot: Temple Garden, Lot 438-C
Created by: Jon H.
Record added: Jan 13, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 103532438