Family History Writing Challenge, Day 11: The Plot Thickens

Family History Writing Challenge, Day 11: The Plot Thickens

Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.

David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens.

This quote came to mind as I try to approach the putative next subject of my family history challenge, Viktor Kornmehl. I thought I knew everything there was to know about him because I have many sources of information, including his son, Hillel Koren. But Viktor has been receding as the hero of his life — temporarily — as I learn more about his ancestry.

Yesterday I had only questions about the other five people who were interred in the same plot as Viktor’s mother, Kamilla. Today I have a pretty good idea who all of them might be, thanks to the help — as ever — of family (Jill Leibman Kornmehl) and friend (Lydia).

Although I put this up yesterday, not imagining it would come in so handy so soon, here’s the chart of the Zentralfriedhof burials again (I’ll be writing more on the cemetery itself).

Kornmehl cemetery grouping

Kamilla being the center of the mystery I will detail the family relations to her.

Buried in plot 49a are:
Kamilla Kornmehl (b. 1884), the wife of Ferdinand Kornmehl and mother of Viktor
Beile Scheindl Kornmehl (b. 1852), Ferdinand’s mother
Chane Mindl Kornmehl (b. ca. 1883), probably Ferdinand’s younger sister
Dwora/Deborah Kornmehl (b. ca. 1830), Ferdinand’s maternal grandmother
Josef Kornmehl (b. ca. 1893), Ferdinand’s younger brother
Simon Kornmehl (aka Juda Simon) (1852), Ferdinand’s father

Put another way: Kamilla is buried with her mother-in-law, Beile Scheindl Kornmehl;  grandmother-in-law, Dwora/Deborah Kornmehl; father-in-law, Simon; brother-in-law, Josef; and (probably) sister-in-law, Chane Mindl Kornmehl.

Part of the confusion lies in the fact that there are two Fischels and two Avigdors in three generations: The Fischel who is the grandfather of Ferdinand (formerly known as Fischel) and great-grandfather of Viktor (formerly known as Avigdor); and the Avidgor who is Ferdinand (formerly known as Fischel)’s great uncle.

Clear as mud now, right?

Another obstacle to figuring out this mystery was the fact that both Josef, Ferdinand’s younger brother, and Chane Mindl, who is probably Ferdinand’s younger sister, are not on the huge family tree that Leonard Schneider, another family member, put together.

There are a couple of clues to the identity of Josef (Viktor’s uncle). The primary one is this notice of condolence to Ferdinand Kornmehl for his brother Josef’s death, posted in the April 13, 1937 edition of Die Stimme, the weekly Austrian Zionist newsletter.

Ferdinand Kornmehl ad copy

Josef is also listed one year in the Vienna address book at the same address as Ferdinand (who changed the listing of his profession from grocer to delicatessen owner when he changed his name from Fischel to Ferdinand, but that’s an entirely different topic…).

The connection of Chane Mindl is not so clear but if she died at age 18 in 1901, that would put her birth date at 1883 and make her a plausible older sister of  Josef (born 1893) and younger sister of Ferdinand (born 1876).  A death at age 18 would explain why there is no record of her, and a presence in the group plot would suggest she is immediate family.

Does anyone know: Are group burials like this common — or at least not really unusual — among Jews? I’d never heard of this practice before.


3 Responses to Family History Writing Challenge, Day 11: The Plot Thickens

  1. […] I introduced Kamilla Bergmann Kornmehl, mother-to-be of Viktor Kornmehl, as the young (age 35) occupant of a plot where her in-laws were already resting. I’d like to go back in time today and give her an […]

  2. […] Kamilla, Viktor’s mother, was born in 1884 and died in 1920 at age 35 (there’s plenty of documentation of her death — and especially of the people with whom she shared her grave). […]

  3. […] family history writing challenge, for a while now. I first looked at his mother, Kamilla, who was buried in a group crypt, married in a synagogue that was later destroyed, and misidentified in a picture; and then at his […]

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