Only half of New York Holocaust survivor $40m fortune remains after he died unmarried and childless

They $40 million estate of Holocaust survivor and Staten Island developer Roman Blum, who died in 2012, is still being disputed among potential heirs ten years on from his death

They $40 million property of Holocaust survivor and Staten Island developer Roman Blum, who died in 2012, continues to be being disputed amongst potential heirs ten years on from his loss of life

A decade-long seek for the kinfolk of Holocaust survivor Roman Blum – who handed away in January 2012 continues to be persevering with, however his $40 million property, which was the biggest unclaimed property in New York historical past, is slowly dwindling with the case but to be resolved.

With no obvious surviving relations – his spouse died 31-years in the past and the couple was childless – the 97-year-old property mogul’s property was taken on by the state after he handed and not using a will.

Nevertheless a descendent of certainly one of his lengthy misplaced loves has since come ahead to say Blum wrote a ‘secret will’ regardless of it by no means being formally filed. The validity of such a doc is at present being  performed out in court docket.

Both method, the $40 million greenback fortune is slowly being whittled down by taxes and lawyer charges whereas would-be heirs are nonetheless trying to say for his or her share. 

‘I can say there’s about half of it left, most likely. Proper now there are two events who’re claiming a proper to Mr. Blum’s property and it is enjoying out in court docket,’ stated Richmond County Public Administrator Edwina Frances Martin to the New York Submit.

On the time of his loss of life in 2013, Blum’s property additionally included about $4 million in money in his checking account.

His dwelling in Staten Island was value $729,000 – undeveloped land in Forest Avenue value $4.5 million and a secure deposit field containing 7,000 in $100 payments.

Associates have informed New York Instances that they have no idea why he failed to write down a will.

Roman Blum's home in Staten Island was modest for a man who amassed a fortune of almost $40 million over the course of his 97-years

Roman Blum’s dwelling in Staten Island was modest for a person who amassed a fortune of just about $40 million over the course of his 97-years

Some declare that it was a refusal to confess his mortality whereas others feared it was merely a refusal to share the total particulars of his property with a lawyer. 

Any kinfolk nonetheless residing would have obtained the cash by now – regardless of the absence of a will.

One potential inheritor is 44-year-old Moscow resident, Maxim Shimnyuk, who claims to be Blum’s great-grandson.

Court docket paperwork try to make the hyperlink between Shimnyuk and Blum however it date again to wartime.

Earlier than he immigrated to America, Blum married Ester Lajzerevna in Poland. The couple had a daughter, Hannah, in 1937.

Hannah’s daughter, Tatyana, born in 1954 and gave delivery to Shimnyuk in October 1977, the authorized papers declare.

However Hannah died in 2001 on the age of 64 whereas Tatyana handed away in 2011 at 57.

Shimnyuk claims he ‘is the one lineal descendant … of Roman Blum, and would due to this fact be the one individual entitled to inherit from the property,’ in response to a family tree report filed in Staten Island Surrogate Court docket.

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However a second hyperlink additionally exists and includes a ‘secret will’ through which a long-lost love of Blum’s was bequeathed every part.

Blum was stated to have met 20-year-old Helen Pietrucha in 1938, in Poland, when he was 26. 

Little is known about Blum's life before the Holocaust and the end of the Second World War. Pictured, young Jewish men being carted off in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941

Little is thought about Blum’s life earlier than the Holocaust and the top of the Second World Battle. Pictured, younger Jewish males being carted off within the Warsaw Ghetto in 1941

It was one 12 months earlier than the Nazis invaded with the couple’s plan to marry halted by the beginning of World Battle II.

They hid on her household’s farm however in the end the Russian’s deported Pietrucha and her household to Siberia in February 1940.

Pietrucha hid Roman in a dugout earlier than the couple had been pulled aside. 

‘In my eyes, I’ve an image of that horrible night time once you had been taken to Siberia. In my eyes I’ve an image of that final loaf of bread you managed to provide me,’ Blum wrote to her a few years later.

Roman later spent 5 years in focus camps in Poland and Germany earlier than he was freed in 1945. 

He was by no means in a position to decide till a few years later, by which era she had married one other man.

Blum additionally married one other lady in New York however they by no means had youngsters, 

The Varrazano Narrows Bridge, from Brooklyn to Staten Island - opened up new business opportunities for Roman Blum

The Varrazano Narrows Bridge, from Brooklyn to Staten Island – opened up new enterprise alternatives for Roman Blum

In his closing letter to Pietrucha, Blum allegedly included a will, which said, ‘I give all my property after my loss of life to my beloved Helen ­Pietrucha.’

However the secret will Blum was by no means filed in Staten Island, and the one two witnesses who signed the doc in 1987 have handed away. 

Pietrucha too, died in 1999 on the age of 79.

The love story is informed by Pietrucha’s longtime good friend and caregiver Teresa Musial inherited her property following her loss of life. She additionally believes she has a proper to say Blum’s riches. 

Blum’s spouse, who died in 1992 would additionally not have been eligible – so the hope had been to discover a blood relative again in Poland – as all makes an attempt within the U.S. have failed. 

Associates who knew him described Blum as a gregarious girls man, who appreciated to drink and get together and who constructed up one of the crucial outstanding actual property empires within the New York borough of Staten Island by many years of arduous work. 

Nevertheless, regardless of his enterprise acumen and the lease of life surviving the Holocaust gave him, Blum has been described in no unsure phrases by one good friend who additionally made it by the focus camps of the Forties.

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‘He was a really good man however he died like an fool,’ stated Paul Skurka, who turned pals with Blum within the Nineteen Seventies after working for him at certainly one of his properties.

The millionaire’s 2013 funeral was attended by solely a small variety of aged pals who knew one another from their days as a neighborhood of Holocaust survivors in Forest Hills, Queens.

When requested by the New York Instances, these pals might solely paint an image of the person they knew from when he managed to realize a visa and enter the USA in 1949.

Little is thought about his life earlier than even the Holocaust and the top of the Second World Battle.

Born in Chelm, within the south of Poland, some speculate that Blum had a spouse and baby who died within the focus camps, however even his delivery date is questionable.

An identification card from a displaced individuals camp on the finish of the warfare has his birthday as September 15, 1914 – whereas his U.S. birth-date is registered as September 16, 1914,

No matter what appears an inconsequential date error, the true thriller is why Blum, an clever man, offered no will for his huge fortune.

‘I spoke to Roman many occasions earlier than he handed away, and he knew what to do, how you can title beneficiaries,’ stated Mason D. Corn, his accountant and good friend for 30 years to the New York Instances.

Evidently solely two weeks earlier than his loss of life, Blum supposed to supply a will, however died earlier than he might – as Corn went on trip and his shopper handed away.

Leaving the focus camps behind after the warfare in 1945, Blum encountered a household of fellow survivors who had two daughters.

One, named Eva, had been within the infamous Auschwitz focus camp.

Roman married the woman, however pals stated that sadly it was not a marriage based mostly on love.

‘It was instantly after the warfare — he thought she was the final Jewish lady alive, and she or he thought there have been no extra males,’ stated a good friend to the New York Instances.

Intriguingly, this good friend spoke to the newspaper on the situation of anonymity in case it appeared that they had been attempting to stake a declare to the Blum property.

This identical good friend revealed that in 1946, Blum and his spouse traveled to a camp on the outskirts of Frankfurt the place he turned a cigarette smuggler – displaying off the beginnings of his aptitude for enterprise.

His uncommon marriage turned obvious when Blum decamped to west Berlin to reside the excessive life – whereas Eva remained outdoors Frankfurt.

Granted their visas in 1949, the pair moved to Forest Hills, the place they turned a part of a tightknit group of fellow survivors – many who had identified the Blums from Germany.

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‘All of them lived the identical sort of way of life, going to the bungalow colonies collectively, the Catskills, every part was achieved as a gaggle,’ stated Jack Shnay, a baby of survivors to the Instances.

Charles Goldgrub, whose dad and mom grew up with the Blums described the joyous way of life led by the Jews who had escaped Hitler’s focus camp.

‘Each weekend was a celebration,’ stated Goldgrub. ‘That they had survived Hitler so that they thought they’d reside perpetually.’

Growing his home-building enterprise, Blum turned profitable, residing a lifetime of exuberance likened to that of the Italian organized crime households.

‘There have been numerous girls on the facet,’ defined Goldgrub. ‘It was a lifestyle, everybody knew — the wives simply closed their eyes to it.’

As a backdrop to this, the Blum’s failed to start out their very own household – spending tens of 1000’s of {dollars} on medical payments.

A hurtful rumor even circulated that Eva had been rendered infertile bu the inhuman experiments of Josef Mengele whereas at Auschwitz.

Certainly, on a five-week cruise to Israel within the Sixties aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner, Blum discovered a boy he wished to undertake.

His spouse declined, hoping that she would be capable of conceive naturally.

Upon the opening of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which hyperlinks Brooklyn and Staten Island – Blum’s property enterprise exploded as he purchased up low cost property in neighborhoods like Eltingville, Huguenot and Manor Heights.

His marriage once more fell right into a state of flux when he moved to his massive however modest brick home in Staten Island, leaving his spouse of over forty years behind in Queens.

‘He wished her to go reside with him in his large home with a swimming pool, however she beloved town,’ stated the good friend who wished to be unidentified. 

‘All her pals had been there, and along with his way of life, if she went with him, she knew she could be alone rather a lot.’ Eva Blum stayed in Queens whereas Blum moved into the brand new home.

Divorcing some time later, Blum once more returned to the lifetime of a bachelor with Sunday barbecues changing into the most popular ticket amongst his circle of pals.

Nevertheless, the best way through which he handled his spouse triggered a riff within the Jewish neighborhood and other people took sides.

Changing into more and more suspicious that folks had been attempting to steal his cash, Blum as soon as hid $40,000 in his ceiling.

When it went lacking, he falsely accused a neighbor of stealing it.

An unidentified good friend continues to be stuffed with hope although that finally an inheritor shall be discovered.

‘I imagine a will is written,’ the good friend stated.

‘Someplace there’s a plan: he made preparations to make use of the cash to construct a house for kids and to dedicate it to his baby from earlier than the warfare. I’m positive of it.’

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