Prezlau=Przeclaw? #hungary

Alan Reische

The one pre-emigration factoid I've been able to pin down with reasonable certainty is that my paternal ggm came from Przeclaw (Yiddish=Pshetzlov) in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Presumably my paternal ggf - a tailor -  came from the same locale.

In searching the Hamburg departure records, I've come across a family with the surname 'Lische' that has demographics down to the father's occupation quite similar to my family. (This surname occasionally appears in my post-emigration records as well.) The Hamburg records list the family place of residence as 'Prezlau, Osterreich'.

At first, I wondered if there had been confusion with Breslau, but in 1879-1880 Breslau was clearly part of the Prussian-German Empire, and it is unlikely that a Hamburg ticket agent would have confused the two. I don't find anything to indicate that Prezlau was the Germanicized version of Przeclaw but the phonetic similarity and the family demographics seem to match up.

Does 'Prezlau' strike members as a likely match for Przeclaw or am I heading down a rabbit hole?

Thanks, Alan Reische

Manchester NH


Researching Reische, Lische, Przeclaw, Pshetzlov


Frank Szmulowicz

On Sat, Jan 22, 2022 at 10:29 AM, Alan Reische wrote:
Unless it is  Prenzlau is a town in Brandenburg, Germany, the administrative seat of Uckermark District. It is also the centre of the historic Uckermark region.
Frank Szmulowicz

Doug Cohen

Try the JewishGen Communities Database.  Searching Przeclaw gives the following:

-- Przecław, Poland
50°12' N 21°28' E
143 miles S of Warszawa

Doug Cohen
Sarasota, Florida
Lexington, MA

Alan Reische

Thanks to all who replied.

Let me clarify - the family emigrated in 1879-1880, when the town of residence was specifically identified as being Austro-Hungarian, not German or Prussian and it seems unlikely to me that the Hamburg agent, who presumably was familiar with the region,  would have mistakenly concluded they were coming from a German and not an Austrian-Galician town. QED, I didn't pursue Breslau or Prenzlau. 

Furthermore, I have identified a family in Debica also with the surname 'Lische'. Debica is quite close (11 miles) to Przeclaw, and the name 'Lische' (or the variant 'Lishe') rarely appear elsewhere, strengthening the inference that 'Prezlau' might in fact mean Przeclaw. 

Hence the question - was it likely that Przeclaw somehow came out as Prezlau when the passengers were booked?

Alan Reische
Manchester NH

Researching Reische, Lische, Lishe, Przeclaw,   

Alexander Sharon


There are actually six locations in Poland known as Przeclaw (“broken” Polish „l”), with four locations originally from Germany, renamed to Przeclaw in 1945. Those are ex:
Prinzenau (Szamotuly region)
Zolingen (Brzeziny, Łódź)
Ottendorf (Zagan)
Pritzlow (Police)
Przeclaw (Slupca)

None of the above locations had Jewish presence.

Przeclaw (Mielec district), the subject of this discussion

Circa year 1870: 718 Roman Catholics, 9 Greek Catholics and 299 Jewish residents.

Year 1900: 717 general population plus 212 Jewish folks

There are six entries for Przeclaw in JGFF database including yours and Dershowitz. Alan Dershowitz while visiting Poland some years ago, pointed out to Przemysl region as the source of his family.
BTW, Your family name is a Jewish name for Rzeszow.


Alexander Sharon


Odeda Zlotnick

On Sat, Jan 22, 2022 at 05:29 PM, Alan Reische wrote:
Does 'Prezlau' strike members as a likely match for Przeclaw or am I heading down a rabbit hole?
Did you see the handwritten manifest with your own eyes?
Are you sure the Hamburg agent was not sloppy or distracted and possibly dropped a letter when writing?
Did you take into account that the "ts" sound in German is written with a "z", whilst in Polish it's written with a "z"?
Do you know if the agent heard the name from a speaker, or copied it from a document? Accent may have affected his spelling, or noise his hearing.
Given the number of Jew in Przeclaw in 1880 (all of 299) it can't have been a very large, famous know place that the agent if Hamburg would necessarily identify and spell correctly.

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules to be followed here, but rather hypotheses, to be generated and left as "maybe" till you have further data. You can't really avoid dropping into rabbit holes every now and then - and eventually either come out saying "Wow, that was gold mine" or "Wow. that was some rabbit hole! I'll leave a sign there to remind me".

Odeda Zlotnick
Jerusalem, Israel.

Alan Reische

Thanks Alex and Odeda.

Rzeszow was the place I started many years ago. I was in touch with a genealogist there who could find no evidence of a family with my exact spelling, which is AFAIK unique amongst the Jewish community. (There are of course a multitude of variant spellings - Reich, Reisch etc. and the precise spelling is found amongst non-Jews.)

Oddly, my ggf's name on his death certificate is shown as 'Lishe'. The information for that likely came from a gg/uncle, with whom he lived when he died. While that might have been an overlooked clerical error at a difficult time, it's odd that it wasn't corrected if wrong. Using inference, which is all we have, and the recurrence of the name 'Lishe' or 'Lische' in other records, led me to search Hamburg under that identity. In turn, I found the 1880 passenger lists which were correct for dob's and - significantly - for his occupation as schneider/tailor, which is what he did once he arrived here.

My ggm's headstone identifies Przeclaw as the locus for her family, thanks to helpful translations I received here some years ago. That more or less corresponded to the place of residence on the manifest ('Prezlau, Osterreich'), once the German towns were screened out. The residence name on the manifest - which I've seen - is written in difficult handwriting but clearly enough seems to be Prezlau, Osterreich.

The Lische name with that spelling also occurs in the Debica/Dembitz records and is prominent (sadly) in Holocaust Museum records. I have found Lische family photos there, and while there are no immediate family resemblances. we're viewing them from 150+/- years later. Because the two communities are so close - 6 miles more or less - it strikes me as likely that the two groups were connected.

To Odeda's questions, I have seen the original manifest and while it's not easy, this particular data seemed clear enough. I really don't know how to answer the other questions at this date, as I have no family recollections to look to. I agree, Prezclaw was a tiny place, but it is specifically tagged as Austro-Hungarian, which filters out a lot of alternatives.

This rabbit hole is all I have at the moment, but the inferences seem strong enough to warrant pursuing them.

Alan Reische
Manchester NH

Researching Reische, Lische, Lishe, Przeclaw, Debica, Rzeszow.