Author Archives: Edie Jarolim

My Father’s Great Escape: A Few Answers, Far More Questions

My Father’s Great Escape: A Few Answers, Far More Questions

When I talk about my parents’ forced departure from Vienna, I generally focus on the tragic outcome: the death of almost all their immediate family members, except for my father’s brother, Fritz. On this Father’s Day, I’d like to focus on the bravery — combined with what must have been ingenuity and a bit ofContinue Reading

Paul & Fritz Jarolim: Post-War Rift & Reconciliation

Paul & Fritz Jarolim: Post-War Rift & Reconciliation

Death and destruction take their toll on families in every war.  Less common to major conflicts, World War II also scattered Jewish families to the winds, robbing them of the comfort of a homeland to return to — at least not without mixed feelings.  This was one factor in the rift between my father andContinue Reading

The Jarolim Family: My Uncle Fritz & Military Resistance

The Jarolim Family: My Uncle Fritz & Military Resistance

When it comes to my mother’s family, the topic of military service is fraught. I’ve written before about the fact that my grandfather Herman Rosenbaum served in World War I but was not rewarded for his service by such basic decency as not being deported from Austria and sent to his death. I’ve also writtenContinue Reading

This American Life (in Vienna): Parallel Playlists & Professions

This American Life (in Vienna): Parallel Playlists & Professions

Since I started  exploring my family stories on the pages of this blog, I’ve often wondered what my life would have been like had my parents not been forced to leave Vienna. Several Hypotheticals There are many variables I’m ignoring here, of course. My mother liked to say that my father fell in love withContinue Reading

Survival in Vienna: My Badass Cousin Bruno

Survival in Vienna: My Badass Cousin Bruno

Here’s another long-time-coming post from my blog archive, this one dating back to July when my cousin Andreas Oberndorfer first discovered this blog and contacted me. I wrote about Andreas’s fascinating past, the missing links in his family — and mine — in the post Redheads, Resisters, & Red Light Districts, 1: Valerie Oberndorfer-Kornmehl.  IContinue Reading

Rolled Beef, Wolf Blitzer & More Buffalo Kornmehls

Rolled Beef, Wolf Blitzer & More Buffalo Kornmehls

In my backlog of unfinished posts, this one — started in November 2019 — seemed the most timely for this pandemic Passover. It’s partly elegiac, which fits the current mood, but it’s also about finding new family. And about endurance. A deli-denying newscaster plays a part in the narrative too. Fake news!  Rolled Beef, ReduxContinue Reading

Redheads, Resistors & Red Light Districts, 1: Valerie Oberndorfer-Kornmehl

Redheads, Resistors & Red Light Districts, 1: Valerie Oberndorfer-Kornmehl

Freud’s Butcher is the gift that keeps on giving. Just when I think I’m about finished with the story of my maternal grandparents’ family, another member turns up. This time it is Andreas Oberndorfer, grandson of Valerie Oberndorfer-Kornmehl and nephew of my second cousin once removed, Bruno Oberndorfer-Kornmehl. My newfound Viennese relative appeared out ofContinue Reading

Dayenu: A Kornmehl Reunion in Vienna

Dayenu: A Kornmehl Reunion in Vienna

Dayenu: It would have been enough. That phrase, repeated as a refrain in a Passover song that offers a litany of thanks for blessings piled upon blessings, has been going through my head sporadically since last October, when I gave a talk at the Freud Museum in Vienna. It’s been an amazing journey, albeit oneContinue Reading

The Wedding Photo

The Wedding Photo

It all started on a Facebook group I belong to: A posted photo of a Holocaust victim who had committed suicide rather than be captured by the Nazis led to a larger discussion of the topic. Somehow, I hadn’t realized that many Jewish women and men took their lives, either to avoid being taken orContinue Reading

Mystery Adoptions & Cryptic Crypts: Finding Cousin Erika

Mystery Adoptions & Cryptic Crypts: Finding Cousin Erika

UPDATE: I was wrong. I hate that — especially since it means the mystery of Erika remains unresolved.  What happened? Sometimes I think that if I wait long enough, relatives will turn up to resolve all my genealogical issues — or at least clarify them.  The original post, below, posited that two childless members ofContinue Reading