Benjamin Gertner (1915-2013) wrote this letter to Alven Ghertner (1914-2012) on 28 August 1972 from Jerusalem and it unravels the mystery of the two spellings. (here is a scan of the letter which I’ve transcribed below).
28 Aug 1972
Your letter of the 25th was most interesting. The Ghertner’s that came to the U.S.A. did very well. One of my N.Y. optical suppliers gave me the address of a Ghertner on 42nd St. .. has a clothing store. I also saw a sign in Lincoln Center, N.Y. [unreadable] Gertner MD.I spoke to both parties and it seems as tho their parents came from Roumania but were deceased and they knew nothing – didn’t know the city or cud remember aunts, uncles,etc.
I was very active in Bonds for Israel, U.J.F and Jewish War Vets. I was Commander of the local post, State commander and held Regional & Natl office in J.W.V. About a year ago I noticed in a nat’l magazine a Ghertner from Texas (Houston) in the insurance business who was a Post commander. I dropped him a similar to yours to California but I received no response. There is also a Ghertner, MD in Miami Beach but I haven’t looked him up. There is one conclusion – Ghertner’s were as numerous in Roumania as cohens are in this country.
My son, the professor Michael is the real historian not me, in fact the Linguistic Society of America communicated with him while he was in Israel. they had called me & I gave them Bob’s address on [unreadable] Blvd & they wired him an offer of a job in Bucharest doing research & teaching but it was only for 9 months & the offer from Un. of Cincinnati was for 2 years with better future prospects.We wanted him to take the offer from Roumania but he chose the other for many reasons.Michael had the privilege of turning down 3 jobs; while many PhD’s in his field are still looking for jobs more than a year. A word to the wise – touring and seeing Israel is much more interesting than looking for relatives particularly to the women & when your time is so limited. All the Gertner’s originally spelled it Ghertner .. without the “h” in Roumanian, Michael says it’s pronounced “j”.
PS Our letters crossed. You should get one at home.