Ernst Borinski

Poland, Schlesien, Kattowitz
? FatherMax Borinski (25/07/1870 – ca 1943) 
? MotherGertrud Hieronymus (1871-1872 – 30/12/1910) 


"Born in 1901 to a relatively prosperous secular Jewish family in Upper Silesia along the German-Polish border, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Halle Muenchen in 1924 and studied law in Halle, Saale, Hamburg, and Berlin, Germany from 1925 to 1928. He received the Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Berlin in 1928 and an International Law degree from the Academy of International Law at the Hague, Netherlands, in 1930. He then taught legal rights to workers at the Zeiss Optical Works, served as a judge in the General Court of Kelbra, and practiced law in Erfurt, Germany, with a Jewish fraternity brother from 1929 to 1932. Forecasting the development of Nazi Germany, he escaped to America in 1938 and served overseas in the United States Army during World War II as a translator.

Starting a new life in America after the war, Borinski received a Master of Arts degree in education in 1946 from the University of Chicago... [H]e accepted a position as a sociology professor at Tougaloo in 1947... During his tenure at Tougaloo, he received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in sociology from the University of Pittsburgh in 1954. Despite the demands of his teaching responsibilities, he found time to publish articles, including articles on civil rights law and segregation derived from his dissertation research."

Mississippi Department of Archives and History, in its notes on their Ernst Borinski collection, name his parents as Max and Martha Borinski, in Kattowitz.

According to US intelligence reports, Ernst was born in Kattowitz on 26/11/1901; his father, Max Borinski, lived at Virshowstrasse 1, Beuthen; his mother was dead, and he had a sister Ilse Wolf in Prague. He attended high (secondary) school in Kattowitz from 1912 to 1920.

The 1937 Beuthen address book shows a retired Max Borinski lived at Virshowstrasse 1.

In the 1894 Kattowitz address book the only Borinskis were Louis and a retired Marie, both on Grundmannstrasse. The 1902 and 1914 Upper Silesia business directories and the 1910 and 1914 Kattowitz address books chart the arrival and establishment of a Max Borinski, businessman, living at Johannesstrasse 8, owner of Josef Wohl's haberdashery at Johannesstrasse 4 and, by 1914, a gentleman's outfitter at Johannesstrasse 2; all three addresses share the same telephone number (1479).

An announcement on page 10 of Gazeta Urzędowa Województwa Śląskiego, 1927, R. 6, nr 10 reports the transfer of the "Maks Borinski" firm in Katowice to one Martha Borinski, businessman's wife. These are almost certainly Ernst's parents. An advertisement on page 30 of Powstaniec, 1939, R. 13, nr 5 shows that the Johannesstrasse business formerly known as "Maks Borinski" is now trading as Konrad Sidełko.

A Polish news website says that Ernst's father Max ran a delicatessen in Katowice in the inter-war period, although in the readers' comments the author corrects this, saying first that "the delicatessen was founded by Louis Borinski. Louis Borisnski was the grandfather of Ernst, Max was his father with a shop in [ul. sv.] Jana" and subsequently that "Louis was the father of Samuel, Samuel was the father of Max, Max was the father of Ernst". The author does not identify his source, and as these comments were posted on 24/05/2013, long after I had placed Ernst tentatively in the same relationship, it could be that his source was this website.

Circumstantial evidence equating Ernst Borinski's father to the Max Borinski born 25/07/1870 to Samuel Borinski and Rosalie Apt, husband of Gertrud Hieronymus:

1. His age is right
Ernst was born 26/11/1901 when Max would have been 31 years old and Gertrud 27-29 years old, and five years after the birth of their son Herbert.

2. He arrived in Kattowitz in at the right time
The 1894 Kattowitz address book doesn't mention a Max Borinski and in 1902 the only Max Borinski in Kattowitz is Josef Wohl's successor. Max and Gertrud's son Herbert was born in Breslau in 1896, but Max is not listed in the 1915 Breslau address book. His disappearance from Breslau between 1896 and 1915 fits with the appearance of Ernst's father in Kattowitz between 1894 and 1901.

3. Max's wife was Martha
Mississippi Department of Archives and History names his mother as Martha. Although Kaethe Danziger (geb. Halberstaedter) and JRI-Poland only mention one wife, Gertrud, Kaethe Danziger (geb. Halberstaedter) says that she died young (her death certificate gives her date of death as 1910), and in 1927 Max's business in Kattowitz transfered to "Martha Borinski, businessman's wife". I conclude that at this time Max was married to Martha.

4. Ernst's mother was dead by the end of 1938
Official US papers state that when Ernst emigrated to the US in 1938, his mother was dead. Gertud's death certificate says she died in 1910, when Ernst was aged 9 years. Thus his biological mother was dead, while his mother-figure in his later childhood was Martha.

5. Ernst's father's shop
In a 1979 interview, Ernst said that his parents "had at this time [his early childhood] what you might call a kind of department store of high quality". Max had a large store in Kattowitz spanning two shop fronts and selling a range of haberdashery and gentlemen's attire.

Sources; - memo to the State Sovereignty Commission recommending surveillance of Dr Ernst Boriski, "Race Agitator", giving biographical details; - report by the State Sovereignty Commission into various subjects at Tougaloo College including, on the third page, Dr Ernst Boriski;
1937 telephone book for Kattowitz area;
1894 address book for Kattowitz;
1910 address book for Kattowitz;
1914 address book for Kattowitz;
1902 business address book for Upper Silesia;
1914 business address book for Upper Silesia;
Mississippi Department of Archives and History - notes on Borinski collection;; - 1979 interview with Ernst Borinski.

This record was last updated on 05/07/2017 at 14:23