Sunday, July 10, 2011

A father without a face - family Pritsch

To find the missing is hard; to find a photo is next to impossible. Nevertheless, I fully understand why the emailer, below, must try. Anyone have any leads that might help this family?
Dear Mr Semmel,

My name is Richard Sherman. For the past several years, my sister and I have been attempting to locate any information, but ESPECIALLY a picture, of our Polish grandfather, Josef Pritsch.


Our mother, Irene Sherman (originally born Ruth Pritsch), has never seen a picture of her father; she only has descriptions from her mother and uncle. We believe Josef Pritsch was executed by the Nazis in Poland in approximately 1943, possibly in Auschwitz, and possibly by hanging instead of the gas chambers.

The reason I am writing to you (I got your e-mail from the Jewish Przemysl Blog site) is that we are desperate and all of our family's efforts to date have not been successful. Based on family stories, we have strong reason to believe that, at some point prior to the German invasion of Poland, our grandfather temporarily went to Palestine, but returned to Poland when our grandmother refused to leave. So he came back.

Our presumption is that, if the story is true, he must have received some kind of travel documents, possibly a passport. I have been unsuccessful in attempting to confirm this however. Another website had a list of surnames, but his was not listed. The instructions stated that it wasn't an exhaustive list, and several other factors may account for missing names. Attempted contact with the person who I thought ran the website, a "JR Baston" did not get a reply.

Information I can provide about my grandfather in addition to his name is: He was born and lived in the town of Przemysl for most of his life. I believe he was born in 1910. His parents' first names may have been Mordechai and Tauba. He was married to Klara Kurzweil, who was also his cousin. Klara's family may have operated some kind of import/export business before the war. He was a college student (possibly in Austria?) before the war.

We believe he went to Palestine at some point, possibly in the 1930's. His daughter, Ruth Pritsch (my Mom), was born on June 6, 1938. We believe he was executed by hanging by the Nazis, likely in 1943, possibly in Auschwitz.

I have filed records requests with other organizations through the US Holocaust Museum and received some responses, but no information more than what we already have. My sister and I have also attempted contact and sought help from both the Polish Embassy (which was no help), and some more distant relatives that settled in France and in Israel. (who also didn't have any information or pictures we could positively identify as him. This was hampered more because the relative in France we found was blind, didn't speak English [we had to use an interpreter], and was still angry at my grandmother's side of the family for her not going with grandfather to Palestine when they had the chance.)

Since the website listed your contact info regarding your book, I thought you might have some help or advice for us as to how we might find any photographic evidence of our grandfather.

It would be the greatest gift I could give my mother if I could allow her to see the face of the father she is too young to remember. If you can, please help us. I eagerly await your reply.
Richard can be reached at: rsherman1 (the "@" sign) yahoo.com

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