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Searching for Julek Sczcupak:

Photos Reunited With Family

By Suzanne Reisman

Julek Szczupak, DP Camp Steyr, Austria, 1946 image

Julek Szczupak, DP Camp Steyr, Austria, 1946


After my bubbe passed away in October 2015, I found two photos of a baby in a shoe box. The writing on the back was faint, but I could read the unfamiliar name, Julek Szczupak, and the date of 2 Nov 1946. I was curious about the photos. Who was Julek Szczupak and how was he connected to my family? Was he still alive? I began to search for answers. But first, some background.

reisman 2
Julek Szczupak,
DP Camp Steyr,
Austria, 1946

My grandfather, Motl Rajsman (Michael Reisman in the United States), was born in Warsaw in 1911. He fled Warsaw in 1939 to Bialystok and in 1940 he was deported to a gulag near Leningrad, USSR. In 1942, he was released from the gulag, and he made his way to Magnitogorsk in the Ural Mountains. There he met my bubbe, Marusha Droznik (Mary Reisman in the United States), who had been born in Orsha, Belarus in 1923. She was evacuated to the Ural Mountains in 1941 when the Nazis invaded Orsha. Motl and Marusha married in September 1945. My father, Hersh (Herman in the US), was born in May 1946 in Magnitogorsk. My grandfather was repatriated to Poland at the end of May 1946, so the family left the USSR.

They never made it to Warsaw, which had been destroyed in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising (the Jewish section was destroyed during the 1943 Ghetto Uprising), and instead went to Legnica. They were there a very short time before crossing the borders illegally into Austria.

reisman 3
DP Camp Steyr Police, Grandfather Motl Rajsman far right, c1947. Click here to see full photo.

In September 1946 the Rajsman family lived in Displaced Persons (DP) Camp Haid, located in Ansfeld, Austria. They were moved to DP Camp Steyr in January 1947. Motl was a police officer in the camp. In 1950, they moved to DP Camp Ebelsberg. They were sponsored to come to Chicago, and departed for the USA in October 1950.

My grandfather Motl/Michael Reisman passed away in October 1995 on his 84th birthday. My grandmother Marusha/Mary passed away in October 2015 at the age of 92. It was when I was sorting through some of her belongings that I discovered the baby photos of Julek Szczupak.

I wanted to return the photos to Mr. Szczupak and/or his family, so I emailed several people who were listed in JewishGen’s Family Finder, asking if they knew such a person. I received a few responses from people who did not know, but wished me luck.

Grandfather Motl Rajsman with his son Hersch, the author's father, at DP Camp Steyr, c1948

Finally, I received a positive, but sad, response from Yaffa Degani in Israel. Julek Szczupak was her brother-in-law, but he had passed away about a year before. I sent her the photos, and she passed them on to his daughters.

I still am not sure if our two families knew each other before the war (both are from Warsaw), during the war (both fled to Russia), or after the war (both were in DP Camp Steyr in Austria, where the photo was taken), but I am so happy to have been able to reunite the photos with his family.

I have a number of photos from DP Camps Steyr and Ebelsburg and am eager to reunite the pictures with their families if I can. [See additional photos here.] My grandfather lost everyone except a brother-in-law—and he didn't know that his brother-in-law had survived as I only found out years after my grandfather passed away. He never spoke about his life before the war. I've always been eager to learn what I can from anyone who might have known him, and also I hope that sharing these photos might bring some good memories to other families, as well.

July 2016
New York City, New York, USA

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Research Notes and Hints

Suzanne located the family of the baby in the photographs through JewishGen’s Family Finder. This is a powerful tool for connecting with family. If you haven’t already listed your family surnames and towns, we encourage you to do so.

A Google search of the internet yields a number of websites with resources regarding World War II Displaced Persons Camps, including:

Displaced Persons Camps

U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

Yad Vashem

And many more.

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Updated on July 10, 2016 .

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