Joseph and Malvina Fried Blumenfeld each emigrated from Austria-Hungary in the early 1900s. They married in 1908 and had four children, Bernhardt, Milton, Phyllis and Beatrice. The family owned a butcher shop in Braddock, Pa., and lived above it.
In 1927, Malvina Blumenfeld’s 83-year-old father, Ignatz Fried, traveled from Czechoslovakia to visit the eight of his twelve children living in western Pennsylvania. When it was time for Fried to return home, after more than six months in Braddock, Joseph and Malvina Blumenfeld hosted a farewell party at their home on Holland Avenue. They served a formal lunch to 150 guests, played cards, and lounged on the lawn as the sun set. It was called the largest farewell party Braddock had ever seen.
The Blumenfelds were early members of the Orthodox congregation Agudath Achim and the Jewish Community Center of Braddock. Later, the Blumenfeld family helped found a second Orthodox congregation, Ahavath Achim, also known as the Hungarian Shul.
Bernhardt Blumenfeld (1909-2000) married Marion Caplain in 1938. Upon returning from World War II, he opened a grocery store on Braddock Avenue, opposite the St. Thomas High School. On March 4, 1977, the Friday before he retired, Blumenfeld looked up to see a message written across the second floor windows of the school. It read, “Good-bye Bernie, Shalom, thank you for everything.” Inside the school, the entire student body and faculty were gathered in the auditorium. They gave him a standing ovation and presented him with a Bulova alarm clock. “I felt a sense of great humility to know that these children with whom I bantered everyday could be so kind and thoughtful,” he later wrote.
After Marion Blumenfeld died, Bernhardt married Freda Jubelirer Lewis in 1959. They lived in the University Square Apartments in Oakland before moving into Squirrel Hill.