Danya Feltzin’s story started well before he was born. The tragic history of our world put him where he is today. With hebrew blood pumping through his veins, his Jewish great grandfather choose to give up everything and leave his home and his relatives to find a better future for his children.
It was 1940, a year after World War II (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II) was in full swing, and prominent business owner of Odessa’s Jewish community Joseph Feltzin saw the writing on the wall of impending doom. To escape the incoming Nazi regime, Joseph gave up everything he had to smuggle himself, his wife and children in the cargo hold of an ocean freighter bound for America. Just a few months later came the 1941 Odessa Massacre which resulted in the deaths of over 100,000 Ukrainian Jews (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1941_Odessa_massacre). The Feltzin family has carried out extensive genealogical research and has found that all of the remaining family members were killed during this period.
If it wasn’t for the sacrifice that Joseph made his family would have surely perished in the following months. The trip over was a brutal journey in its self. Kept hidden in the cargo hold, Joseph’s family was without food, supplies, or facilities for weeks on end. Sickness was rampant, resulting in 5 of the 9 children’s deaths along this voyage across the ocean.
The harsh realities of a country that just survived its worst economic moment in history were in their face as soon as they reached Ellis island. Immigrants, with nothing to their name, trying to provide for a family and young children in New York city right after the Great Depression (http://www.history.com/topics/great-depression). The whole family went to work. Joseph was a skilled builder with knowledge of engineering. There are still several brownstones standing that Joseph built in lower Manhattan.
Joseph’s drive and tenacity wore off on his children, and his two eldest boys Saul and Morris took no time to start chasing the American dream. Morris Feltzin, Danya’s Grandfather, was only 5 years old when they arrived in New York city. He immediately got working helping his older brother Saul sell newspapers on the street corner. By the age of nine Saul and Morris had saved up enough money to purchase a Model “A” panel van. Barely able to see over the steering wheel Morris was driving deliveries all over Manhattan.
In the coming years Saul and Morris ended up in Real Estate like their father. They formed Feltzin Ventures and started development projects as far west at Cincinnati, the eventually ended up in Miami successfully capitalizing in the growing condo market. Their biggest success came from being heavily insured and taking a big hit after Hurricane Andrew. All of their assets were damaged, and they were able to bring them all to “New” condition with the insurance money.
During this time Danya was born and spend the lions share of each year living in one of his families Condo complexes. Danya was very close to his Grandfather, and would accompany him on his daily duties.