May 13th, 2016

storyteller doll

A Few Links Relating to My Grandfather and His Cousins

I mentioned a little while ago funding the translation of a couple of pieces my grandfather wrote for the Lite (i.e. Lithuania) memorial book. This piece is the first of the two. To the best of my knowledge, Elkhanan Markus wasn't a relative, but it's still interesting. I'm still waiting for the Jewish Opera Studio chapter to be translated.

The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum offered up a description of an artifact that belonged to a cousin twice removed. I've already mentioned the artist, Rafael Chwoles (also spelled Khvoles in some records). Rivka was one of his sisters and the museum has a vest of hers. After the war, she became a chess champion in Lithuania and later competed and taught chess in Israel, as well as becoming an artist herself. Another sister, Sonja, survived, but I don't know what became of her. Anyway, the museum record has an interesting story.

Speaking of Rafael Chwoles, it appears that there is a fair amount of his work available. I rather like this painting of the ruins of the Vilna Gaon Synagogue.

Finally, I found a Hungarian site re: the Shoah which has an excel spreadsheet having to do with survivors, presumably at a transit camp somewhere in Hungary. I remember my father telling me he passed through Hungary after the war and I have a photo that he said was from Budapest. The spreadsheet refers to interviews with the survivors, but I've been unable to find the interviews on the site. (I have a couple of people who speak Hungarian looking.) But the spreadsheet has a few interesting things. Both Dad and Grandpa are listed in it. Grandpa's profession is listed as a "shoe upper-maker." Now, that may be a peculiarity of Hungarian, but it struck me as an interesting distinction. The other thing is that Dad's birthday is given as 1 March 1930. As I've mentioned before, most of the later records (including all his American ones) give his birthday as 15 September 1929, but he always said his actual birthday was 1 September 1930. This provides yet another date. I don't suppose we will know the truth unless records from Koenigsberg (then East Prussia / Germany, now Kaliningrad, Russia) become available. It also gives Grandpa's date of birth as 20 July 1906, which we know is wrong, as his actual birth record is available and says he was born 18 September 1906. And both have place of birth shown as Kowno, while we know Dad was born in Koenigsberg and Grandpa in Vilna. So it seems fairly clear that this file is not especially accurate. But I'd still like to see the interview.