Great news to share - thanks to technology!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Great news to share - thanks to technology!
4
Mon, 03-25-2013 - 12:47am

Visited my Mom this afternoon & looked at photos, emails & documents from my parent's side of the family.  I knew my sister had been working on this for awhile.  Background - my parents were both born & raised in France.  They're both Jewish & were married after WWII.  My father served in the French Resistance during the war (U.S. equivalent would be the U.S. Army).  Also my Mom's brother serverd in the French Resistance.  Anyway, they immigrated to the U.S. in 1950 & I'm the 1st child born here.  My father died in 1957 months after my sister was born, leaving my Mom to raise 2 babies in a new country.  My Mom remarried in 1961 & my stepfather died in 1986.  As you can imagine, all I knew growing up was my stepfather & I didn't like him at all.  After my Dad died in 1957, my Mom had some contact afterwards with his family, but eventually lost all contact.  So my sister has been doing ancestry research & getting in touch with the Holocaust Museum & guess what?  We FINALLY after all these decades, found our long lost relatives - on both my Mom's side & my Dad's side of the family.  Like a lot of other Jewish families in Europe, the reason for losing contact is 1/2 our family was taken to various camps by the Nazis and seperated.  On my Mom's side, she kept in touch with most of her family but lost some contact with others.  But to discover my father's side is amazing.  What struck me most is looking at a picture of my grandmother (my father's mother) & the resemblance to my sister & me is unbelievable - we look just like her!  Unfortunately, she was killed in Auschwitz.  However, I do have some living relatives - mainly an uncle I never knew who is 94 & lives south of Los Angeles.  He's been in touch with my Mom & sister.  So this afternoon, I told my sister if it's possible for me to visit him this summer.  My Mom is 89 and doesn't want to fly to Calif.  My sister has no money to fly, so I'm going.  Obviously, this uncle is my father's brother, so he knew about my Mom & knew about my sister & me & wondered what happened.  I want to visit him 1st, because of his age.  Most of the other relatives are my age or older & children of the WWII victims. 

So at this point, I'll be working on my taxes tomorrow, hoping for a nice refund to pay for my vacation to Calif.  What strikes me is the family resemblance & growing up, kids & adults always told me I look like my stepfather or my Mom which is false.  I never told anybody the truth except for a few very close friends because in those days, very few kids had a parent that died young & for me to explain it to everybody that said I looked like my parents was a waste of time & too much information.  So I pretty much brushed it off & said, yeah, thank you & moved on.  But finally, the truth is in the picture of my grandmother.   And ironically, my 24 yr. old son definitely took after my Dad's side of the family.  My Mom was right - after he was born, she said he looks like my father.

Kathy

Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Mon, 03-25-2013 - 12:09pm

How wonderful to have found out about these distant relatives and an uncle - a direct link to the father you hardly knew!  When do you think you'll be going on that trip?  I can understand how with his age being as it is, you will want to go quite soon.  Where are all these other newly found relatives?  In the U.S. or Europe?  Will you be making contact with any of them, via email, for example? 

Isn't it so interesting too to find resemblances in families with those from a generation before that you wouldn't expect?  I have only one photo of my mother's mother (she died way before I was born) and it's not a great photo but I can definitely see the resemblance of her facial features to my mother.  One of my sons more resembles my father than any other sons of mine (I have three boys) but that was more evident when I found a photo of my father when he was perhaps the same age as my son now!  But I can't say I look that much like my father - my eyes, mostly. 

Let us know, Kathy, when you will embark on this journey to L.A. - and we'll look forward to hearing how it turned out afterward.

Shirley

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-24-1997
Mon, 03-25-2013 - 1:40pm

Since I'm on vacation this week, my next vacation will be in July.  So Calif. trip will be in July.  My Mom has been in touch with the relatives via email after 55 yrs!!  What happened is once my Mom fell in love & remarried, she cut off contact with her late husband's relatives.  Obviously I'm a bit pissed at her, but I get it & it's not worth having a mother-daughter fight over it.  Trust me, I've had enough fights with my Mom over many things during my lifetime, so at 58 yrs., it's not worth fighting with an 89 yr. old stubborn woman.  Trust me, my Mom as much as I love her is rigid in her ways.  As for the other relatives, they live in France, and I'm hoping to visit them as soon as I can come up with the money.  Airfare, hotels & food add up - so I'm hoping for a nice BIG refund from the IRS. 

Kathy

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-22-2009

  It is wonderful that you are getting connected with your family.  Terrible that your family had to got throuth so much tragedy. 

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 03-26-2013 - 10:50am

Kathy, that's great that your family is finally able to reconnect after so many years, and that you will be able to meet these long lost relatives. 

Does your mom have a computer with a webcam? If so, would she be interesting in Skype-ing with any of the relatives?

Crossing my fingers that you get a big tax refund!