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Reuniting the Rapoports of Kholmich

“Have you seen the spectacular shots taken by the Hubble telescope of new worlds being created? This is what JewishGen did for me. The universe I live in has expanded and forever changed.”

Pages of Testimony Link Living Cousins

“Yad Vashem, memorializing those who perished, had made possible something more—reconnecting the living.... Sam had tried to find out if he still had relatives in the United States ..., but without success. 'In all these years,' Sam said, 'this is the first time somebody found me!'”

EDITORS' NOTE - July 2011

Our new issue of Success! Stories has just two articles, that complement each other in interesting ways. Unlike many of our past stories, in which connections were made using the JewishGen Family Finder or through queries and letters posted on the discussion lists, these two tales feature family reunions that came about through more varied research, but in each case also using resources found on JewishGen.

Bill Schechter rediscovers a trove of family letters written in Yiddish and Russian to his grandmother Bessie, who left Kholmich (in what is now Belarus) for the US before 1913. The letters, all written between 1913 and 1935, told vivid stories of the life and times of the nine Rapaport brothers and sisters that Bessie left behind. Bill used the letters, and commentary on the stories, to create the Kholmich ShtetLinks site. That site becomes the link to connect Bill back to his second cousins from Kholmich who are now living in Nuremburg where, in 2004, the families reconnect after just about one hundred years of separation.

Jerry Touger’s story also starts with a letter, written in 1938 to his mother, from the son of the only member of her large family to stay in Kishinev (now in Moldova) when the rest of the family left for America in 1903. Sure that the family in Kishinev had been murdered in the Holocaust, Jerry had little to go on to find them other than a vague memory of his mother’s aunt’s name, but that was enough to find the aunt’s marriage when the JewishGen Romania-Moldova SIG posted the Kishinev vital records online. With that information he was able to find them in the Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony—and a surviving grandson who submitted the testimony!

As always, we are amazed and delighted at the stories of families lost and families found that we bring you in these pages. The volunteers at JewishGen—and the readers of the discussion lists—hear of such reports nearly every day. We hope that you, too, will have success in your searching using the abundant resources of JewishGen.

Meredith Hoffman                                                Nancy Siegel
Plymouth, Massachusetts                                  San Francisco, California


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Updated by MH on July 31, 2011 .

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