Amazing What Information Two Photos Can Provide

26 Jun

It is a wonder how two photos that I did not know were related could help find a branch of the family that I had no information about.

I have a family album that we found hidden in the bottom of a closet in the attic of what had been my grandparent’s and then my parent’s home in Kauneonga Lake, NY.  We found it when we cleaned the house out about four years ago.  Most of the photos are from the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.  Many of the photos are unidentified.  But some have comments on the back written in one of many languages including, English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish and German. (See blog below.)

Every few months I open the book and focus on a few of the photos.  It is an emotional task, as I find that many of these photos lead me back to the Shoah.  And often the people in the photos perished in concentration camps or were murdered near their homes.  I find it a bit terrifying.

About a year ago I posted a photo of two young girls on the Tracing the Tribe website.  No one translated that one for me.  I am not sure why.  It probably got posted on a busy day. As usually these short messages are translated in a few hours.

Then about a month ago I posted two identical photos of a young man, but each had a slightly different note on the back, written in German.  I wondered why German, although I knew that my grandmother could read and write German along with three other languages.

I knew that one of the photos of the young man and the photo of the two girls were sent to my grandmother, Tova/Thelma.  And I that the other one of the young man was sent to her aunt, my great aunt Gussie.  This lead me to write about the young man Abraham Prentki/Prantki.  (See blog post below.)

I assumed he had to be the son of one my great grandfather’s three sisters , Esther, Sura or Leba, who we really had no information about.

By some serendipitous decision, I was looking for another post on the Tracing the Tribe Group when I stumbled upon this photo of the young girls who had never been identified.  So I reposted it on Tracing the Tribe and Jewish Ancestoy in Poland.   With in a few hours, I had a translation.  It was to my grandmother, their cousin.  There were names including the last name Granek. This postcard was also written in German.

My Tracing the Tribe friend, Amy, decided to search some more.  Thank you, Amy.  She found a Yad V’Shem testimony written by a Martha Granek Wynn, who wrote a page of testimony for her mother Cella Prentki Granek.   Cella’s parents were Esther Schenk and Pinkus Prentki and they lived in Breslau, Germany.  But originally came from Boleslaviec, Poland, where my grandmother grew up. Cella was murdered in Mauthausen.  The testimony is chilling.  In Place of death: it is written Mauthausen.  In circumstance of death, it is written: Oven.

The pieces were now coming together.  And although I cannot be one hundred percent certain.  This is what I know.  My great grandfather Shlomo Abraham had several sisters.  Gussie moved to the United States, where she married and had four children.  My grandmother moved in with Gussie and her family when she moved to the USA. (See two blogs below.). The postcards from the young man, Abraham Prentki were to his cousin Tova and his Aunt Gussie.  I assumed he had to be the son of Esther, Sura or Leba, my great grandfather’s sisters who we had no information on.  This leads me to believe that Abraham was the brother of Cella Prentki Granek who died at Mauthausen.  And that he was also the son of Esther Schenk Prentki.

Grandma Thelam, Carlsbad

My grandmother is sitting on the right.  Who are the other two women?

More information, we (my sister helps me with my research) know that my grandmother went back to Europe in 1931 with my mother and uncle. (see blog below.). We also know that she left the children behind with her father and then her in laws and went to Breslau to visit her family, her aunt, and go to the waters of Carlsbard/Karlsbard to heal.  The Prentki family lived in Breslau.

My sister says she agrees that this looks right. But we are not totally sure. On the page of testimony there is an address in Melbourne, Australia.  I found this address on line, in Australia.  I sent a letter to the woman who submitted the testimony about her mother, but not sure the family still lives there.  It was written in 1999, and Martha would be in her 90s now. She is probably one of the young girls in the photo.  I am hoping that some family members live there.

However, another connection.  After the war, my grandmother’s two brothers and their wives moved to Australia.  They were waiting for visas to get out of Europe and went when the first visa to Australia arrived.  They lived in Melbourne.  Coincidence?  Or did they move to be with other family who had escaped.  My mother’s first cousin is still alive. She was born in Melbourne in 1955 and now lives in Israel.  I have asked her if she knew this family. But she was a child when she left Australia.

We might never know the truth.  My sister is right,  we cannot be 100 percent sure.  But in my heart, I think these were the Grandchildren children of my great aunt Esther.  In my heart I believe that this was the family my grandmother visited in Breslau.  In my heart I think the mystery of these two photos is solved.  Still not sure about the photo from Karlsbard.

It is amazing what information two photos can lead to.  And that is why I keep going back to this album and searching.

Update:  I did get a message from a woman who knew my grandmother’s cousins.  In fact one of the girls lived with her family in England.  The girls were separated, which made me a bit sad.

14 Responses to “Amazing What Information Two Photos Can Provide”

  1. Amy June 26, 2018 at 8:16 pm #

    So glad I could help you put these pieces together. It truly takes a village.

    • zicharon June 26, 2018 at 8:33 pm #

      It really does! The search continues.

  2. Dr Kerry Bluglass October 25, 2018 at 12:30 pm #

    Hello, We have lots of information on Marth Wynn, nee Granek and her sister Rosa Jacobs, that is definitely Martha in the photo, She came to my in laws in London on the Kindertransport , we kept in touch until her death in ,Melbourne.
    Please contact me if you get this, if we can help further
    Best wishes, Kerry.

    • zicharon October 25, 2018 at 1:39 pm #

      I tried writing to the family in Australia. I am so happy to hear from you to learn a bit what happened to them. Thank you for writing!!

    • zicharon October 25, 2018 at 1:46 pm #

      I mean their mother was my grandmother ‘s first cousin. They would be the age of my mother. Thank you so much Kelly. I am just trying to bring these names and people back into our family’s memory.

    • zicharon October 27, 2018 at 7:48 am #

      Do you know if she and her sister were ever reunited with any family? And how old they were when they went to England? I had no idea they were on the Kindertransport. It is taken me a few days to process this information. Do you have contact with her children? I would love to be in touch and send the, the photo.

    • Maria Luft January 27, 2020 at 12:29 pm #

      I just read this page and your comment. I came across Cella Granek and her daughters Martha and Rosa (the two little girls in the photo) because of our research project about the “Topography of the Shoah in Breslau/Wroclaw 1933-1949” at the TU Dresden. Cella was a victim of the so called “Polenaktion” of 28 October 1938 and sent to Poland. The girls lived in the Jewish orphanage. Their father already had died in 1928.
      I would be thankful if you could contact me.

      • zicharon January 27, 2020 at 3:26 pm #

        Hello Maria, Thank you for contacting me. From my blog, you can see that much of my grandparents’ families were murdered in the Shoah. I have committed to finding out what happened and writing about them so that they would be remembered. I will try to contact you through a private message on Facebook.

      • Professor Robert Bluglass CBE February 9, 2021 at 12:15 pm #

        Martha came to stay with our family in 1938 I think when I was about 8 years of age and my sister was aged 5. She was about 16 or 17 I think. Her sister stayed with another family in a different English city. I remember her well as she stayed with us for about a year and her sister, Rosa, was with another family elsewhere in England. She stayed for about a year I think and moved with us when my parents and my sister and I moved to stay in the country at Banbury to escape the bombing in London. She was a mothers help to my mother and when with us she attended she attended English classes.

      • zicharon February 9, 2021 at 1:42 pm #

        Thank you for the information! I tried reaching out to the address I had found in Australia. But unfortunately it was from the 1980s. I am still looking for them. I hope you are well during this difficult pandemic time! And thank you again.

  3. zicharon October 25, 2018 at 1:42 pm #

    I believe she and her sister were my grandmother’s first cousins. It is good to know hey err saved by the kindertransport.

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