Fannie Rosenfeld Tanzer (1899-1987)

Fannie Rosenfeld Tanzer was born on April 3, 1899 in Podlachia, Poland to Hirsh Zvi Rosenfeld and Braindel Rosenfeld. She had six brothers and sisters: Pessie, Anya, Moshe, Yeshia, Abraham, and Ben.

Fannie’s three older brothers immigrated to the United States immediately after the First World War, with Fannie, her mother, and her younger brother following in 1921, settling in Portland, Oregon. She attended classes at the Neighborhood House to learn English and she worked at Jacobs and Weiss cap factory earning money for room and board, as well as to send back home to Russia to her sisters.

She worked in the cap factory for seven years before meeting and marrying her first husband, Morris Dorfman. They had a son together, Hershal, who was only 23 months old when Morris died. Fannie went back to work in the cap factory briefly before meeting and marrying her second husband, Joe Tanzer.

She and her new husband lived in Chehalis and Longview, Washington where they owned a men’s clothing store during the Depression as they could not find work in Portland. She remembers the very small Jewish community in Longview, and her husband’s involvement in building a synagogue in Centralia. The couple had another son, Jack, while still in Longview. They returned to Portland in 1945 where her husband ran a small tailor shop.

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