Alternate Routes: The Corman Family
Sonia and Abraham Corman in Dorchester, 1940.

Sonia and Abraham Corman in Dorchester, 1940.

“My father, Abraham Corman, was born in Romanov, Russia, and my mother Sonia Roitfarb, was born in Polona, Russia. After their engagement, the pogroms were so bad they had to run away. Aided by a friend, they got underneath hay in a wagon and escaped to Poland where they were married. They had a baby girl, Reisel (now Rosita) and moved to France. My father worked in a glass factory in order to get enough money to leave for the United States. They got sufficient money to leave in 1923, however, the quota limit would not permit them entry. Therefore they went to Havana, Cuba. That to them was the closest country to the United States. They arrived in Cuba not knowing anyone.

My father met another immigrant with whom he became friendly. Together they opened a dry goods store and remained in Cuba a number of years. They had three other children, Elias, Iguiel, and Reuven (Albert, Eli, and Robert). While they had a good Cuban life, the other part of their family who were in Boston wanted them to leave Cuba and join them. In 1933, they sold their store in Cuba and with all their belongings, came through Key West to Florida, and then on to Boston. To support the family, my father went to work for his brother-in-law in the furniture business. In 1936, the year I was born, now they had more children to feed, and mother began to sell milk, bread, newspapers, etc. out of a small store near our house. It got so busy my father had to leave his job, and they opened a new store at the corner of Erie and Seaver Street [in Dorchester], next to Eagerman’s Bagel Bakery.”

–Lorraine Corman Minsky