Category Archives: Genealogy

Finding the Farbers: Best Genealogical Gift, Ever

Finding the Farbers: Best Genealogical Gift, Ever

I left you in New York so long ago, virtually speaking, that springtime finally arrived in the city. As I mentioned, at the end of that trip I at long last I met Jill Leibman Kornmehl, who has contributed to this blog in more ways that I can detail. At that meeting (the proof isContinue Reading »

Passover Ponderings: The Jews, the Pyramids & the Importance of Questioning

Passover Ponderings: The Jews, the Pyramids & the Importance of Questioning

I consider myself a Jewish rationalist, someone who identifies culturally with Judaism without buying the biblical myths. The Exodus story of the plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, told every Passover? Just one of the many overwrought episodes in the Old Testament, akin to the stories of Noah’s ark and Jonah’s stint inside aContinue Reading »

New York Report, Pt. 2: Family & Film, Pastry & Punctuation

New York Report, Pt. 2: Family & Film, Pastry & Punctuation

I admit it: It sometimes takes me a while to unpack from a trip. On my recent return to Tucson from New York, I didn’t need the winter clothes I’d brought with me (nyah nyah); only an underwear shortage inspired me to retrieve the contents of my suitcase. It sometimes takes me even longer toContinue Reading »

New York Report, Part 1: Vienna-on-the-Hudson

New York Report, Part 1: Vienna-on-the-Hudson

Ah, New York. I don’t miss winter since I moved to Tucson from Manhattan more than two decades ago — before I could be mistaken for a snow bird — but I miss New Yorkers’ unabashed grumpiness about the season. If you’re going to experience frigid weather, as I did  last week, you can’t beatContinue Reading »

Family Trek, The Next Generation: Herbert Bratspies

Family Trek, The Next Generation: Herbert Bratspies

I’ve been tracing the family of the third of the Kornmehl butcher brothers, Martin, a journey that starts in Vienna (see The Return of Martin Kornmehl) and takes us to Melbourne (see Detention of Jews in World War II: Et Tu, Australia?). Today I finish the story of the newly found Australian branch of myContinue Reading »

Survival in Paradise: Curaçao

Survival in Paradise: Curaçao

Last July, when I posted an excerpt from Manfred Wolf’s memoir, Survival in Paradise, I was pleased — though not at all surprised — by the positive response it got. It’s a very moving piece about a young boy’s coming of age during World War II. So I am doubly pleased to have gotten permissionContinue Reading »

Detention of Jews in World War II: Et Tu, Australia?

Detention of Jews in World War II: Et Tu, Australia?

I ended my last post about Martin Kornmehl’s family with the promise that the continuation of their story will be happier. I’m afraid that I can’t entirely keep it. The narrative led me to a chapter in World War II history that surprised me — and not in a good way. Come to think ofContinue Reading »

The Return of Martin Kornmehl

The Return of Martin Kornmehl

It’s hard to believe a year has passed since last February,  when I took the Family History Writing Challenge. It was a terrific focusing tool and I highly recommended it — though I’m going to have to pass this go round. That said, I have stories of two close family members, a great uncle andContinue Reading »

Of Violins, Heroism and the Holocaust

Of Violins, Heroism and the Holocaust

I was going to return to blogging with a post on rolled meat — and, don’t worry, I’ll get to that — but then Manfred Wolf, whose moving memoir I excerpted here, sent me a link to a wonderful film called the Return of the Violin. Directed by Haim Hecht, it’s a documentary that tellsContinue Reading »

Nathan Kornmehl (1916 – 2013)

Nathan Kornmehl (1916 – 2013)

I was saddened by the recent news that Nathan Kornmehl had died, initially in the way you are saddened by the passing of a historical figure —  almost a fictional one. As Linda Chalmers Zemel, who interviewed him for the Buffalo Jewish Review in 2004 — see Nathan Kornmehl’s Story — said of Nathan, whoContinue Reading »