Paul (Nebenzahl) Nevins

Paul Nebenzahl was my Grand-uncle, having married my maternal grandfather’s sister, Valerie Lichtenthal
Tante Vally and Unlce Paul – as I remember them – 1960s
Paul Nebenzahl was born on October 31, 1894 in Kraków, Poland. His parents were Solomon Nebenzahl and Cacilie Jakobsohn. 

 All I really know about him is what I have learned from photos I found and and the one “family secret” told to me by my mom. See my post about his wife, Vally for that! I learned more about Paul’s family while researching my last post  “Whose Ashes Are On My Shoe?”.


As a young man he served in the military. I am not sure for what country – perhaps the Austrian Army during WWI? 
This is a pretty amazing photo. It is mounted on cardboard. I’m not sure which soldier is Paul, 

 but I am thinking he may be in the second row – 6th in from the left. The pale-looking one! 
Paul on the left – Date unknown
Paul Nebenzahl – Date unknown



















At some point, Paul left Poland for Austria. On August 23, 1928, he married Valerie Lichtenthal in Vienna. Reportedly, Vally married Paul because he threatened to commit suicide otherwise. It was not a happy marriage. 

Previous to leaving for the United States, they lived at Operngasse 32/7 which was the same address as his in-laws, Sigmund and Rosa Lichtenthal. 

Paul and his wife arrived in the United States in 1938 traveling by ship by way of France.. According to the passenger manifest for the Normandie, they were planning to become permanent residents, listing Emil Speeger (brother-in-law) as their contact in the U.S.
According to the 1940 census, Paul was seeking work as a neckwear salesman – living at 485 Central Park West in New York City. Several years later, his in-laws would be living there as well. 

By 1943, Paul and Vally had changed their last name to Nevins as evidenced by their petitions for naturalization. as evidenced by their petitions for naturalization.


Paul, standing in front of one of his stores.  

Within a few years, Paul not only found work, he was the very successful owner of three stores in the New York City area. One shop, Nevins Cravat, was located at Times Square in Manhattan (3 West 42nd Street).

By 1957 they had moved to a fancy apartment at 11 Riverside Drive, NYC.

Image found on Internet

I remember thinking my Aunt and Uncle must be very rich. Tante Vally was always dressed impeccably, often wearing a fur coat. They always had a huge car and went on “fancy” trips. My parents had divorced in the early 1960s and money was always an issue. I know Paul and Vally had a part in assisting my mom financially. At one point, they gave her a car. After my aunt passed away, my mother received a monthly income from her estate for several years.

Perhaps because we didn’t see them often (They lived in New York and we lived in Connecticut) or maybe just because I was still pretty young (18) when he died, I never really got to know my uncle. I never saw him smile. He actually scared me a little. The combination of his accent and his stern countenance didn’t exactly draw me closer to him. What was he really like? What could make a man threaten suicide in order to marry?  He was unable to have children (according to my mother) so I imagine my aunt had some feelings around that, especially since she reportedly had an affair, got pregnant and aborted the child. What kind of marriage could they possibly have had? As the saying goes, “money isn’t everything.”


Paul died of natural causes on March 21, 1973 in New York City, NY. He was 78 years old.

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