Famous Jews from Mielec
Herschel Bernardi, 1923-1986, American actor. His grandmother was Fruma Herz and was born in Mielec. Herschel Bernardi was most well-known for playing Tevye in the first Broadway production of “Fiddler on the Roof”, and for his roles as Police Lt. Jacoby in “Peter Gunn” and Arnie on television in the 1960s-1970s.
Jeff Chandler (born Ira Grossel), 1918-1961, American actor. Jeff’s grandparents were Nathan Grossel and Fanny Band, both born in Mielec. Jeff was a famous movie actor of the 1950s, best known for his role as Cochise in Broken Arrow (1950), for which he received an Oscar nomination.
Joan Maxine Copeland (born Joan Maxine Miller), born 1922, American actress. Her father was Isidore Miller and was born in Radomyśl Wielki (a town east of Mielec in the Mielec powiat). Joan was most well-known for her performances in the 1977 Broadway revival of “Pal Joey” and the 1981 play “The American Clock”. She is the younger sister of American playwright Arthur Miller.
Dr. Irene Eber, 1930-2019, Israeli Orientalist. Born in Halle, Germany, Irene was the daughter of Didie Geminder (born in Mielec in 1891, killed in the Shoah in Berdechów in Oct 1942) and Helene Genser of Leipzig, Germany. Irene was a Holocaust survivor, escaping deportation and death by hiding in a chicken coop on a farm near Mielec during the Shoah. She immigrated to Israel in 1951. Irene’s autobiography, “The Choice”, was published in 2004.
Dr. Norman Geschwind, 1926-1984, American behavioral neurologist. His parents were Shlomo Moses (Morris) Geschwind and Anna Ruth Blau, both born in Mielec. Normal is most known for his study of behavioral neurology through disconnection models based on lesion analysis; Geschwind Syndrome is named after Norman. Two of Norman’s nephews, Dr. Daniel Geschwind and Dr. Michael Geschwind, have also become prominent in the field of neurology.
Nate Mack (born Nathan Mechlowicz), 1891-1965, American banker. Born in Łysaków (a small town in the Mielec powiat), Nate was the son of Samuel Moses Mechlowicz and Tauba Nussbaum. He immigrated to the United States in 1910 and became one of the most famous and influential residents of Las Vegas. Nate’s son, Jerry Mack (1920-1998) was also a famous banker and real estate investor in Las Vegas, and his granddaughter, Karen Mack (1950-) is an American television producer for CBS.
Dr. Felix Milgrom, 1919-2007, Polish-American immunologist. Born in Rohatyn, Ukraine, Felix’s family moved to Mielec when he was 1 year old. His father, Dr. Henryk Milgram, was a well-known dermatologist and venerial disease researcher. Dr. Felix Milgrom carried on his father’s work, becoming a professor at the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He is best known for the development of a simple test for syphilis.
Arthur Miller (born Asher Miller), 1915-2005, American playwright. His father was Isidore Miller and was born in Radomyśl Wielki. Arthur Miller was most well-known for his plays such as “Death of a Salesman”, “All My Sons, and “The Crucible”. He was once married to the American actress Marilyn Monroe.
Dr. Linda Preiss Rothschild, born 1945 in Philadelphia, PA, American mathematician. Linda’ mother was Rose Sussel Offen, born 1910 in Mielec. Linda is a professor emeritus of mathematics at the University of California, San Diego. Her mathematical research areas included Lie groups, polynomial factorization, partial differential equations, harmonic analysis, and the theory of several complex variables. Linda and her husband were jointly awarded the Stefan Bergman Prize of the American Mathematical Society in 2003.
Mark Verstandig, 1912-2002, Australian author. Born in Mielec, Mark was the son of Leizer Verstandig and Gele Verstandig. Mark was a Holocaust survivor, escaping deportation and death by hiding with several Polish families during the Shoah. He immigrated to Australia in 1951. Mark’s autobiography, “I rest my case”, was published in 2002.
Nathan Zucker (1900-1971). American author. Born in Mielec, Nathan was the son of Isaac Benjamin Zucker and Rickel Padawer. He immigrated to the United States in 1920. Nathan’s novel, “Blue”, was published in 2000.