If the Romans had been obliged to learn Latin, they would never have found time to conquer the world.

Heinrich Heine

Last changes

New members

Found error in text? Please select it and press CTRL-ENTER

Система Orphus

Family Crest

Origin of Gitlin name

According to our data all Gitlins living today are members of one big family once residing in Belorussia. The family name itself originates for the Yiddish female name Gitl which Russian version is Gitah. It is according to the Russian rules of names creation that the family name Gitlin appeared, meaning "son of Gitl".

There is another conjecture about the name origin. One of the ways to write this name in the English-speaking countries is Hitlin, that is in the beginning one uses the sound "h". Hitl in Yiddish means a hat. It is not excluded that the name could be formed in accord with either the profession of the first person having the name or with just his nickname. Today in the world there are three main ways of writing the name. First and most wide spread is Gitlin (it sounds the same also in Russian and Hebrew). The second and the third ways of writing are much less spread and they are Hitlin and Getlin. Today, using the Internet one can find about 400 people round the world having this name. Here is the history of some of them.

One of the people having this name, Baruch Gitlin, left the Pale of Settlement already before the Russian revolution and, as a craftsman, he received the right to live in the capital of the Russian empire, Peterburg. He found a place right in the capital's center, near the Nevsky avenue and quite soon became a very popular cutter. The family was well-to-do and occupied a very large apartment. His elder sons - Zalman and Alexander graduated from the famous Peterburg gymnasia - Petershule. Here is how the family life went on.

Samuil, who was the youngest of brothers, in 1936, celebrating his 17 birthday invited to his place classmates and friends. By chance a neighbor came to the birthday. One of the invited boys told a political, though absolutely harmless, joke. On the next day, Samuil was arrested. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and all his family was deported from the city. The neighbor who delated him immediately entered the emptied apartment. By the way, as we are told, the neighbor's descendants still live there. Samuil Gitlin in the very beginning of the war was sent from the work camp to the penalty division "to atone his guilt in relation to the Motherland by blood". He was in the penalty division during all the war, was heavily wounded, lost an eye, was given the Red Flag medal and nevertheless after the war was sent back to the camps. He got free only in 1953 after being in prison for 17 years. As a boy he got to the camp and went out free only at 34. Today his son and also children of his brothers live in Peterburg.

It is not accidental that we told this story. The notion of family or clan is inseparable from the destinies of those who enter the family. And the history of all our people consists of the histories of its families. Unfortunately, the frame of our responses does not allow to stop in such detail on the destinies of every member of this or a different family that we had luck to find. But we will try to publish at least some of the stories on Jewish destinies that are known to us. And so, we stopped in more detail on Peterburg Gitlins.

Another part of this once united family left Minsk in 1923 and moved to Mexico. One of its descendants made aliyah from Mexico to Israel 20 years ago and now he manages a well-known in Israel company. About 250 Gitlins live in the USA at the moment. According to our data they all are descendants of one family that once went out of Belorussia. Their majority live in California and in the state of New York. In particular, they live in Los-Angeles and Beverly Hills. Among them a well-known cinema producer M. Paul Gitlin and a cinema critic Todd Gitlin. About 70 members of this family lived in Belorussia itself not so long ago. Among them Gitlin Isaac son of Abraham, director of criminal expertise department of Vitebsk area and Vadim Gitlin, a professional car racer. There are about 10 members of this family in Minsk. Another Gitlin - V.R. Gitlin - lives in Voronezh, he lectures in the Voronezh State University. Another University lecturer - M. S. Gitlin - lives in Nizhniy Novgorod where he works at the radio-technical faculty. Another Gitlin family lived in Yaroslavl. Mathematician V. B. Gitlin lives in Izhevsk. There is another car racer in the family - Eugene Gitlin who lives in Smolensk. And at last in Moscow there are 6 Gitlins. One of them, Gitlin Artom son of Valery worked in the Moscow exchange market.

As far as other countries are concerned, 17 Gitlins live in Canada, 7 in Great Britain and one in France. In Latin America, particularly in Argentina and Mexico there are about 50 Gitlins. So if you decide to contact your relatives it won't be hard to do so. There is even a special site in the Internet created by Paul Gitlin and dedicated to this currently scattered over the world family. It has a proud name - "Gitlins all over the world!" With the help of these electronic pages many members of the family can get in touch with each other and restore the lost family connections.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that many Americans having this family name try to find their roots. They are ready to share stories on those branches of this family to which they belong themselves. Let us name some of them. Sheila, granddaughter of Sam Gitlin from New York; Larry Gitlin from Los-Angeles, a descendant of Jacob Gitlin who arrived in the US in the end of the 19-th century from Kiev; Taja Persoff from California, great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Zeev Gitlin who lived in the beginning of the 19-th century in the shtetl of Dubrovno under Mogilev; Roger Allan Gitlin, resident of Los-Angeles, a descendant of Max Gitlin from the shtetl of Kopikavich and others, others, others.

Full article page

Family History

Clan representatives

Clan geography

Categories of peoples with name Gitlin


*Major part of the data on etymology and geography of the family names for the beginning of the 20th century is taken from the works of Dr. Alexander Beider (see bibliography)