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 is in the picture next to this post’s title; Jill is on the right), she gave me copies of manuscripts from Vienna that detail the confiscation of property from the Kornmehl family, especially the butcher shops of Siegmund, for whom this blog is named.
But the best gift–and a total surprise–came from Jill after I returned to Tucson in the form of a PowerPoint slide show.
The Missing Links
Whoa! How Did This Come Together?
It took me almost a year to gather it all together. Blima [Lorber] was a huge contributor–as an investigative journalist, she has resources not available to most. However, Brazilians take long vacations winter and summer and the research stopped and started all year. As for Isaac Lalo in the Dominican Republic, he asked older synagogue congregants for information, searched for the matadora (slaughterhouse) and actually walked through the entire Jewish Cemetery in Santo Domingo looking for Ernest Farber. It wasn’t until recently we discovered Ernest had immigrated to Brazil.
After seeing the completed piece, Blima wrote to Jill, “It is amazing to put all those pieces together. Thank you for mentioning my name. I feel so happy when I can help people know more about their roots and history.”
What It Meant to Me
As Jill notes, more than two and a half years ago, I set out to learn the history of my grandmother and her seven brothers and sisters, pictured with their spouses on the header of this blog (you can read much of the as-yet not updated story here). I also pursued other related topics and, intermittently, gave up the family search, for a variety of complicated reasons. But Jill never let me give up entirely. First, she connected me with Frankie Blei, an Australian Jill met in a genealogical group on Facebook, who helped me find the descendants of one of the three butcher brothers, Martin Kornmehl (see The Return of Martin Kornmehl, Detention of Jews in World War II: Et Tu, Australia? and Family Trek, the Next Generation: Herbert Bratspies).
And, unbeknownst to me, Jill never stopped doing her own research, tracking down the member of the Kornmehl family about whom the least was known–or so I thought–that of Resi Kornmehl Farber.
I was blown away as I took this family journey to France, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, found a partner in the cafe and pastry shop, more butchers… How cool is it that I have a cousin named Maria de la Concepcion Menendez?
So a huge THANK YOU, Jill. And yes, I will do my part in pulling the rest of the family story together now that I have this last large piece of the puzzle, I promise.