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Anschluss Launches Bartons Passover Favorites 77 Years Ago

Bartons Chocolate Pops. Bartons Almond Kisses. Do you long for these and other iconic Passover favorites made by Bartons Chocolate? They exist because of the March 12, 1938 Nazi accession of Austria (Anschluss) when Stephen Klein fled Vienna for his life. A Nazi competitor had seized Klein’s chocolate company. He hurriedly left his two children and pregnant wife behind, spent five months in Belgium, ultimately able to reach the US. Within months he brought his young family to New York, later to be joined by his five brothers and two sisters. From the small New York apartment that he shared with ten family members, he concocted chocolates catering to the varied tastes of the local ethnic neighborhoods. Relatives sold the sweets from pushcarts. Commenting on his product, Klein knew which chocolates to blend and how to control taste. As he put it, “All the pieces should look good—no chazerei  [junk]….”

Barton's kisses, Passover

As he molded his successful American company, Bartons Bonbonniere, it in turn aided other World War II refugees. Bartons Brooklyn’s headquarters housed an office of immigration for assisting with the technical details of bringing over displaced Jews. His company hired many of those approximately fifteen hundred individuals.. While the payroll included Orthodox Jews, it was a very pluralistic, multi-ethnic work line. No strikes disrupted the flow of chocolate and there were no complaints about closing on Saturdays. Employees were allowed to eat as much chocolate as they wanted. Klein furthered the work of the American Orthodox relief agency, Vaad Hatzala, originally established to rescue rabbis and yeshivah students. It eventually expanded to assist all Jews during World War II. The Vaad sent packages of religious articles, food, clothing, household goods, and Bartons chocolate through Tangier to Nazi-occupied countries.

Barton inside front cover

Klein educated his chocolate adoring public by packing games and Jewish holiday stories into his chocolate boxes. Bartons also initiated kosher-for-Passover lines which included items like Matzah Balls, chocolate covered coconut or marzipan. Even the seasonal Santa Clauses and Easter eggs were kosher. Though the Klein family sold this charitable immigrant start-up in 1978, Passover Kisses and other Kosher for Passover Bartons products can adorn your menu again this year.

6 thoughts on “Anschluss Launches Bartons Passover Favorites 77 Years Ago”

  1. Ben says:

    Can you tell me if Barton’s chocolates are still being produced? Are they available in the NYC area?

    Thanks.

  2. D. Prinz says:

    Thank you for this question. Yes, while Bartons is no longer owned by the Klein family it is certainly still being produced. I believe that the Kisses are available at Economy Candy on Rivington. They are also at Amazon. Other Bartons for Passover products may be found on line at Oh Nuts.

  3. Frank says:

    I believe Bartons used to make nougat. Is it available anywhere? If it’s not made, and I know this is a long shot, is there someone to contact to get the process/recipe? How can I reach the Klein family?

  4. D. Prinz says:

    Thank you, Frank. Not that I know of.

  5. 12.12.17

    Barton’s

    A name from my past. My mother, father and I used to travel to a Barton’s in Newark NJ, in the early 50’s.

    Today, I was at a store in Oregon / saw a candy bar, “Million Dollar Bar” with the name BARTONS. I bought one / it brought back memories.

    My parents / I loved your chocolates: dark chocolate with nuts /especially a square truffle that was half dark/ half milk chocolate.

    I split time between California (So. Cal.) / Oregon.

    Can I order the 1/2 & 1/2 truffle (dark chocolate / milk chocolate)?

    Please let me know.

    Thanks

    Paul

  6. D. Prinz says:

    Hi Paul, Thanks for this comment and question. Unfortunately, I am not Barton’s. You could google Barton’s and see what you find. Since the Klein family sold the company, the product line has shrunk to fewer products, including bars and Almond Kisses. Good luck!

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