Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Gettin Started

After pulling together as much data on her names as I could, I composed an reply email, copying Lukasz Biedka, a friend of this blog and a Warsaw-based psychologist specializing in holocaust family issues.

Roma's reply:

Hi David, What an amazing amount of information and leads! I'll to put something together for you that has as much information on both sides of the family as I've been able to glean in the past weeks for you to post. Your website was an inspiration for the last few days of historical/geographic research, as well as detective work!

I wrote you about my father, since the revelation started with his side of the family. By the way, his uncle was David Guzik, the director of the JDC in Poland, who, having survived the war, died in a plane crash in 1946.

In fact, my mother's family had even more connection with Przemysl. Her name as I knew it -- Maria Baran nee Karas -- is entirely invented. She is actually Ruza Kluger, daughter of Bernard and Dora Kluger, sister of Zygmunt Kluger. The Kluger family lived in Przemysl, my mother and uncle were born and grew up there. Bernard was a machinist, and Dora a seamstress and cook. Dora was from Skole (maiden name Halpern), and Bernard from Bucovina. My mother went to school in Lwow. My uncle Zygmunt who is 85 now just told me that we may be related to Shlomo Kluger, Magid of Brody. Whew! And me a gentile just 3 weeks ago!

I'm attaching an interesting document for you, my father's (forged? based on forged other document?) German Police Registration. I still have no reason to believe that the name Baran was anything but invented.

Then more from Roma:
Hi David and Lukasz,

I spoke to my maternal uncle Zygmunt today, and he had recalled quite a few more details.

My mother's family, Bernard and Dora Kluger, lived at first on Francuskiego (forgive all spellings). A man named Dinstag owned the house. It was opposite a Jewish "high school" built by the Jewish community. Then they moved to Leszynskiego (something about a house built for Jewish students?). My mother Ruza (so strange to think of her with this name!) attended a school in Warsaw to study languages, them Lwow to start medical school, probably from '38-39. My uncle attended mechanical gymnasium korkis after 7th grade. Bernard sent him away before the war to protect him, first to Hungary. He eventually found his way to Northern France and joined Canadian troops there, spent the whole war out of Poland. My grandfather Bernard Kluger had a machinist shop across the way on Leszynskiego. He did some work for "cyclop fabrika maszyn odlevna zelaza." When the Russians arrived, they seized the tools and parts from the shop and moved them elsewhere, and ordered Bernard to work there.

My mother was 19 when the war started, attractive, outgoing, spoke German, Russian, Polish and entertained with the accordion. Apparently an SS man who had taken a liking to her warned the family of an upcoming Aktion, and helped them escape. They went to Mogila, lived somewhere with a dirt floor. My mother worked in a tobacco factory. There they survived the war. (Did their change of identities happened around the move?)

Of note are two relatives:
It appears that Rabbi Shlomo Kluger of Brody was Bernard's grandfather, ie my great-great-grandfather (wiki entry). Bernard's brother was Carl Kluger, who was a friend of Romanian Zionist Meyer Ebner, and was elected to the Bucovina Senate. Interesting story here mentions him a few times.

No idea yet how my father ended up interred in the Przemysl ghetto in '42. Perhaps he had been courting my mother?

Thanks so much for helping me with the puzzle.
Best, Roma
Lukasz responds with info:
Hello Roma,
yes, the house at 2 and 4 Frankowskiego St. belonged to Samuel Dienstag. The
Hebrew school at Tarnawskiego St., now empty, was unsuccessfully claimed two years ago. The school for young craftsmen Yad Charuzim at Leszczynskiego St now houses the orphanage. The Cyklop - Fabryka maszyn i odlewnia zelaza was very close to Frankowskiego St., at Moniuszki and Tarnawskiego St.

There are two Mogila villages - one north of Przemysl, second East of Krakow
(now Krakow suburbs). T'was more likely the latter place.

More intriguing is how he ended up in Uzhorod labour camp (it couldn't be
the ghetto in '44) ...

Best regards, Lukasz

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