Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SERIES Sephard in Ashkenaz and Ashkenaz in Sephard. The Secunda Family of Ukraine

Ukrainian-born Sholom Secunda (b. 1894), star of the Yiddish entertainment world and renowned for such hits as Bei Mir Bist du Shein was-like celebrated Yiddish writer Y.L. Peretz- a Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazic Jew of Sephardic descent. Victoria Secunda in her biography of the man; Bei Mir Bist Du Schon; The life of Sholom Secunda, writes:
The Secundas believe that they are descended of Italian Jews who were expelled from Italy in the 16th century and settled in Russia. [1]
The Secundas apparently considered themselves Sephardic Jews (rather than “Italian”). Another member of this family, Arthur Secunda, is described “as the son of a Sephardic Jew who immigrated to the United States from Russia”. [2]

In the book White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness Maurice Berger makes mention of his mother whose maiden name was Secunda. He describes her as follows:

More than anything, my mother's life was shaped by her otherness: the darkness of her skin, eyes and hair; her Sephardic heritage; her Hispanic sounding maiden name. More than once she had been called a spic. More than once she had been called a kike, a hebe, a Jew bastard. More than once she had lost a job because a producer or casting director thought she was 'too dark' or 'too Jewish'.. She was born in Germany in 1920. Her father Norbert Secunda, a research assistant in the mathematics department of the University of Hamburg. [3]

[1] Secunda, Victoria. Bei Mir Bist Du Schon; The life of Sholom Secunda. p.1
see also here
[3] Berger, Maurice. White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whitenes

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At Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:15:00 PM, Blogger ADDeRabbi said...

My wife is a Secunda. As far as anyone can tell, the family is from Minsk, with no evidence of any Sephardic heritage.

At Wednesday, February 23, 2011 12:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Victoria Secunda is as far as I know the only family member (she is married to Sholom Secunda's son, Shel Secunda) who has this information regarding the "Sephardic" Secundas. I do not know if she researched actual documents to make this claim, but suffice it so say, these Secundas do not eat rice on Pesach.

At Thursday, February 24, 2011 1:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is a inquiry for the webmaster/admin here at

May I use some of the information from your post above if I give a backlink back to your site?


At Thursday, February 24, 2011 2:28:00 AM, Blogger Joels W. said...

yes you may.

At Friday, April 08, 2011 3:45:00 PM, Blogger Nahor said...

My mother's side are Secundas. She says our family came from Spain and ended up migrating to Russia. A lot of Saphardic Jews expunged from Spain ended up traveling through Northern Africa or Mediteranean Europe before settling in Saphed and a lot did end up in Russia.

Is Secunda a common Jewish name? Was it originally Secundar (spanish), it's very latin and means second--the increment of time.

At Friday, April 08, 2011 4:03:00 PM, Blogger Nahor said...

I'm related to Arthur Secunda, the artist, and Sholom on my mom's side. Sholom was a 2nd or 3rd cousin and I think Arthur is a 1st. Both being cousins to my grandfather.

At Saturday, April 16, 2011 6:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a secunda , my great grandfather left russia
At the age of 11yr with his two sister
For England his name was Louie
He parents were to believe that his father brother
Would be meeting them but he never did he went to America instead. Louie was left to fend for his two sister and himself
Can anyone tell me if the know the truth were the originally
From Spain or Russia
My brother and I are always mistaken for being Spanish
As our a children. I would appreciate any help As my father Has passed away and we are the last remaining secunda In our family and I would so like to be able to tell my grandchildren the story of the secunda

At Monday, April 29, 2013 7:57:00 PM, Anonymous schelly talalay dardashti said...

Hi Joel
I encourage everyone to do a test with family tree.DNA and join the IberianAshkenaz DNA project at having several of the different seconds lines test and see whom they match might well confirm Sephardic origins.

At Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:36:00 AM, Anonymous Yusuf said...

I've heard that my suename which is "Abramczyk" is Polish of some undefined non-Ashkenazic origin. It is either Mizrahi or Sephardi. Comes from the Ottoman Jews as far as I remember. And it's related to "Abrameto" and "Abravanel".

At Friday, July 19, 2013 7:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, there is definitely family lore that suggests the Secunda family has Sephardic roots. However, there is not much more than the name and the dark looks (some of us) to connect us with Spain. No Ladino, no special Sephardic foods handed down.... These people lived long enough in Eastern Europe that the only Jewish language they spoke was Yiddish. It is very interesting, and I, too, would love to know more. Both my mom and my uncle are Secundas, and my grandpa, Lou Secunda, was one of nine orphaned Secundas, so I have had to fight hard to find whatever it is that I "know." Most family history was lost with the death of the two Secunda parents, one from TB and the other from unknown causes....

At Monday, September 23, 2013 4:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joel, I am also trying to find out if my family has Iberian origins. I was always taught that we were Ashkenazi jews but I am trying to see if we had Iberian roots. My father's family was from the area around Kielce in Poland; my mother's family was from Russia, around Brionsk; another part of my father's family was from Lodz. Names are: Haister, Haidt, Kaplan, Davidson. Do you have an email address you can give me, or can you contact me? When I try to contact you through the email form for blogger, it does not work. Rebecca

At Thursday, March 02, 2017 1:55:00 PM, Blogger Joels W. said...

Rebecca, you may email me anytime at


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