Just over three years ago I added a record for Raymond Taub on the Holocaust Global Registry website. Since then there have been several false leads, most of which were from people who could have been cousins, but unfortunately on further tracking of family trees and stories these were not direct family members.
About 10 weeks ago, before the horrors of September 11th, I received an email from Mabel R. from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She asked whether it was possible that Raymond could be a distant cousin, because of several links between him and her father Eliau Rosenvald, from Lukov, and from what Mabel knew about her father's background. Eliau had passed away aged 51 in 1969, after leaving Lukov and coming to Buenos Aires via La Paz, Bolivia -- just like Raymond's brother Jacob Taub. So there were apparent similarities -- but the name was completely wrong.
I replied with further details, and emphasized certain key points in the history where they coincided or differed with the background of my father-in law Raymond. The most amazing thing then happened. Mabel spoke with her mother, Sarah, who told her that her father's real name was not Eliau Rosenvald, but Jacob Taub. Sarah said he had changed his name to escape the army and Poland when the war started. He married Sarah a few years after the war ended. This was astonishing for Mabel, for her sister Gloria, for Sarah, and for Jacob's grandchildren, who never realized their history, as their father (and grandfather) died before he told them any of his story. Sarah said it was too painful to discuss. Also, as for many survivors, the pain was too great to want to talk about the holocaust, and Sarah and her children did not want to give Jacob (Eliau) any further pain, by rekindling the memories.
Additionally, Sarah, Jacob's widow, did not want to tell her children, as the memories were too painful for her, after losing Jacob when he was so young.
On further exchanges of information we discovered that the age of Jacob fitted, the number of brothers and sisters fitted, the grandparents' names were the same (Menacham and Golda), the type of business they were in Poland was the same, they were from a religious home, and Jacob was excellent at math, the same as Raymond. [Also] that the family was loving, [and that] the mother, Golda, was tall and beautiful -- all fitted the picture. There were other similarities, and as the emails were exchanged a sense that we may really have found one of Raymond's siblings was starting to take hold with all of us back in the UK and with the family in Argentina.
The next step was that Mabel and Gloria started to send photos which they had scanned in over the web. I remember it was at about midnight when I logged on and downloaded the photos. As they came through, my jaw dropped, and I shouted for my wife Gillian (one of Raymond's four children) to come quickly. It was incredible, but the pictures that were coming through of Jacob appeared to be identical to the photos of Gillian's father Raymond, taken soon after the war.
Jacob Taub (Eliau Rosenvald)
and Sarah wedding 1949
Raymond Taub and Iris wedding 1950
We phoned Gillian's brother Michael, who came over that night -- it was very emotional. Soon after, Gillian and Michael spoke with Mabel via her son acting as an interpreter from Spanish to English -- a further emotional experience.
On further probing it became clear that Jacob used to talk about "Rachmiel" to Sarah. Sarah did not know that this was his brother who was called Rachmiel at home, but that was Raymond's Yiddish name, used in the home.
Jacob had been married in Poland and had a baby. However, the last Raymond knew about Jacob was a letter he received from his brother, Isaac, after Raymond was captured by the Germans and imprisoned in Hungary. Isaac was a neurosurgeon and was in a camp nearby. He was able to send a letter to Raymond saying that Jacob was thought to be in La Paz, Bolivia, but without his wife and baby, who were in Poland. It was believed that he was trying to get them out, but by then all communications between Raymond and his family ceased, and Raymond escaped to join the Polish Division of the British army.
This was after being wounded at Dunkirk in 1940, after having been passed through the hands of resistance movements.
It was assumed that Jacob never rescued his wife and child, and that the memory of all this was so bad that he did not tell his family. They only found out about the previous wife and child -- who were murdered -- [when] we started to communicate.
After several more exchanges of photos -- and nearly 90 emails to date -- it became very clear that Raymond had found two nieces, that Mabel and Gloria had found an uncle and four cousins, and that Raymond had found a sister-in-law.
The resemblance between Raymond and Jacob is amazing, and there are also resemblances between his daughter Gloria and Raymond's daughter Melinda!
Jacob Taub (Eliau Rosenvald)
and his daughter Gloria
Both families spoke for well over an hour with the children interpreting -- and it was very emotional when Raymond said to Mabel and Gloria "you are my nieces, my brother's children." Everybody was crying through the whole call.
We plan to meet up in London as a family early next year, initially with Mabel's family, and then we plan to go to Buenos Aires. Raymond would like to say Kaddish for his brother at his grave in Argentina, if he is well enough to make the flight.
Another coincidence is that Raymond's son, Michael, and one of his daughters, Gillian, share the same Hebrew name as the two daughters of Jacob -- Mabel (Menacham) and Gloria (Golda). These are the names of the parents of Raymond and Jacob.
The sadness is that Jacob lived for 25 years after the war without Raymond ever knowing him or his family. Both had looked for their brothers and sister after the war through the Red Cross, and Jacob probably for his wife and child, but they were told there were no survivors.
Raymond stayed on after the war for three years to help refugees and also to search for his family. The wonderful thing is that a needle in a haystack has been found after 62 years of searching!
Wayne P. & Gillian P. (nee Taub) - London, United Kingdom
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