A Daughter of Holocaust Survivors Travels to Their Ancestral Villages

April 1st, 2017 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

Beyond the Borders, T220, Three Guides, Four Countries: A Daughter of Holocaust Survivors Travels to Their Ancestral Villages, 9:30 am, Thursday, 11 May 2017 with Deborah Long

Sponsored by Triangle Jewish Genealogical Society

Both of my parents were Holocaust survivors, and with the exception of my father’s mother, none of my aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents survived.

I have been looking for relatives for more than 50 years, but before the advent of internet research tools, such as Google Translate, I made little progress. This was partly due to my inability to read the Hebrew, Polish, Hungarian, Yiddish, or German languages necessary to make any steps forward in my family’s history.  Until the day my mother died, she kept trying to find the remaining fragments of her Polish family. My father never spoke of his losses, perhaps considering himself fortunate that his Hungarian mother had survived Auschwitz and other unspeakable places. So my quest for information about my family’s past was largely an effort to understand what had happened to my parents’ families and their lives before and during the war.

After my mother’s death in 2008, I picked up the pieces of information that I had about my mother and father’s family. I began to experience how utterly addicting genealogy can be when a researcher begins to make major discoveries. I discovered JewishGen, JRI-Poland, Google Translate, and other internet resources. Much to my amazement and utter joy, within six months, I had acquired precious photographs of three of my mother’s siblings. A few months later during a remarkable trip to Poland, Hungary, and Germany, I discovered many documents which helped me to assemble the family tree. Within a year, thanks to the staff of the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the wisdom gleaned at an International Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conference, I found descendants of my mother’s uncle now living in Sweden, of my maternal grandmother’s sister living in Canada, and of my father’s granduncle in a small town in Hungary.

Come to my program and I will tell you about my search.