Skip To Content
Breaking News

Henry Bialowas, Fashion Maven and Gute Neshomeh, Dies at 98

Henry Bialowas died on Saturday, age 98. I’ll miss him. There’s no reason you should recognize his name, but you should miss him too.

Henry Bialowas was not a famous man. I would say, in the manner of the pre-war joke, that he was “world famous in certain districts of Poland.”

He was a “fakhman,” a master tailor and designer on Seventh Avenue, who created the inaugural ball gowns for Lady Bird Johnson and Pat Nixon, and one year, George Steinbrenner’s World Series blazer.

He was a devoted Labor Zionist, secretary of his Farband branch into the 1990’s. He was, and his wife Fay still is a mainstay of their Conservative synagogue in Hackensack, N.J., Temple Beth El. He was one of my parents’ closest and oldest friends, from 1935. Those are modest circles of fame in this world.

What earned him wider recognition, in my book, is that he belonged to the sheris hapleita, the saving remnant of European Jewry. Their task, in the late 1940’s and later, was to save their families after they had seen them killed.

Like thousands of others, Henry and Fay Bialowas found the courage and will to build new lives, to raise children and help them raise grandchildren, each of them with their own talents, their own way of adding something to their world. Henry and Fay’s families have survived, and that is an every-day miracle, remarkable in its way.

I will miss his Lodzer Yiddish. I’ll miss his recollections of his years as a partisan in the forests of Belarus, of his wedding to Fay in Bergen Belsen in 1949.

No one could size up a new suit the way he did, evaluating both the fabric and the cut. I’ll miss not just his tailoring but also his gardening. His and Fay’s tomatoes are sweet. I’ll miss his comments on what he read in the Forverts. He was a gute neshomeh. May his memory be a blessing.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.