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The Zinkin, Toubes and Sinaisky families of Mir

By Julius Shapiro of Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa,
great grandson of Bluma and Yossel Zinkin

The first known members of our family are Yossel Zinkin (also spelled Cynkin), who married Bluma (maiden name unknown). Yossel was born 1840-50, and Bluma about the same time, both in Mir.

The families of both Yossel and Bluma were well established long before the founding of the famous Yeshiva in 1845.

Yossel's occupation was merchant miller. In addition, he was a Hebrew teacher. He was also known as Yossel Paramel.

Yossel and Bluma’s children were Yankel, Chiena, Michle and Menashe. Nothing is known of Yankel.

Chiena married Kalmen Toubes (also spelled Taubes), who was a baker. They emigrated to the USA in 1906.

Chiena Zinkin Toubes and Kalmen Toubes in US

A known child of theirs is Shachne, whose marriage photograph we have.
Shachne Toubes, the daughter of Kalman and Chiena of Mir.
The photo was taken in the United States.

Menashe Zinkin also emigrated to the USA. He worked in sweatshops in New York and was a founding member of the Garment Workers’ Union. He wrote a book about these experiences in Yiddish which was translated into English, the title of which is “Through the Eye of a Needle”.

Menashe Zinkin in US

Yossel Zinkin died about 1906 with no male heir in Mir to take over the mill. Consequently, the business was seized by the Russian government. Also, for lack of a male head of household, the family was not included in the 1905 census.

Michle Zinkin married Shlomo Sinaisky (also spelled Sinaiski, and often shortened to Sinai). He was born in Mir. His parents were Sholem and Frieda. Shlomo had one sister, first name unknown, but her married name was Rakovsky. She emigrated to the USA.

Shlomo was a sofer (a scribe). Mir was also a world-famous centre of sofrim, and its products were sold in Europe and America. Michle made torah vestments for sale.

Michle and Shlomo had seven children: Shulames, Yossel, Frieda, Jankel, Chaim, Avram and Sheina. Sheina died of diphtheria before the age of two.

The Great War of 1914-19, and the Bolshevik uprising that followed, played havoc with the Sinaisky family. Shlomo went to Rostov to avoid conscription and Michle was left to support the family. They suffered severe deprivation until Michle’s sister Chiena was able to send financial and material assistance from the USA.

After the cessation of hostilities, Mir became part of eastern Poland. Jewish life deteriorated because they faced virulent anti-Semitism from the government and the Roman Catholic Church. Consequently, Shlomo decided to emigrate. A cousin of Michle’s, Chana Bluma Mirsky (maiden name unknown) emigrated to South Africa.
Having been sponsored by Chana Bluma Mirsky, Shlomo arrived in South Africa in 1926. Frieda and the four brothers arrived in 1928, followed by Shulames and Michle in 1930.

Shlomo Sinai
Shlomo Sinaisky 1930

Michle Zinkin Sinaisky and Shlomo Sinaisky,
in Cape Town South, Africa

Today descendents of Michle and Shlomo live in Israel, England, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, the USA, and South Africa.

Shlomo corresponded with the Toubes family and Menashe Zinkin, but unfortunately contact was lost after Shlomo passed away in 1962. We are anxious to contact descendants of Kalmen and Chiena Toubes. We know Chiena died about 1937. Michle died in 1963.

Julius Shapiro
108 Bretton Woods
3rd Street
Tel: Work: +27 16 423 3008
Home: +27 16 486 1836

Zinkin, Toubes and Sinaisky Family Tree

Yosef Zinkin (1845 - 1906) & Blume (1845 - 1913)
  Yankel Leib Zinkin (1870 - ?)
  Chiena Zinkin (1872 - ?) & Kalmen Toubes (1869 - ?)
  Michle Zinkin (1878 - 1963) & Shlomo Sinaisky (1878 - 1962)
    Shulames Sinaisky (1907 - 1990) & Tsemach Shapiro (? - 1984)
      Harold Shapiro
Julius Shapiro
    Yossel Sinaisky (1908 - ?) & Gertie (1916 - 1988)
      Belinda Sinai
Cynthia Sinai (1940 - 1960)
Stanley Sinai
    Frieda Sinaisky (1910 - 1986) & Hymie Sachs (1909-1991)
      Benzion Sachs
Joshua Sachs
    Yankel Sinaisky (1911 - 1978) & Gita Green (1914 - 1981)
      Shirley Sinai (1947 - 1997) & Michael Heyman (1944 - 1987)
Leslie Sinai
    Chaim Sinaisky (1913 - 1990) & Anne Katz (1925 - 1992)
      Julian Sinai
    Avram Sinaisky (1914 - 1989) & Rose Lowenstein
      Mervyn Sinai
Leon Sinai
    Sheine Sinaisky (1920 - 1922)
  Menashe Zinkin (? - ?)

Julian Sinai, a cousin of Julius Shapiro, sent all the photos and the family tree above.

updated February 2007


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