80 Years After Her Fiance Died in a Automobile Crash, Their Descendants Discovered Every Different

The brand new report assortment lately added to MyHeritage, Lithuanian-Jewish data from LitvakSIG, 1795–1940, is of specific significance to individuals descended from the Jewish neighborhood of Lithuania and the encompassing areas. Immediately, we’d like to focus on an enchanting and bittersweet story from MyHeritage person Eli Rabinowitz, who’s of Lithuanian-Jewish descent.

Eli Moses Rabinowitz is a filmmaker, internet developer, and photographer who was born in Cape City, South Africa and at present lives in Perth, Australia. Many members of the Jewish neighborhood in South Africa have Lithuanian roots. Eli started taking curiosity in family tree in 1992, and has traced his household traces again to a number of Jewish communities in Europe. For instance, his third great-grandfather, Avraham Shlomo Zalman Zoref, was a follower of the Gaon of Vilna (a widely known sage from Lithuania) and immigrated to Jerusalem in 1811 from his native Kėdainiai, Lithuania. Avraham was a pioneer in rebuilding the Ashkenazi Jewish neighborhood within the Outdated Metropolis of Jerusalem and performed a pivotal position in acquiring permits to reconstruct the well-known Hurva Synagogue.

When Eli got down to analysis his household, he knew little or no concerning the great-uncle whose title he inherited — Moshe. What he did know was that Moshe had died in a motor accident 6 weeks earlier than he was speculated to be married, someday within the late Nineteen Twenties or early Thirties.

However what precisely occurred to Moshe? And what grew to become of the younger lady who ought to have turn into Eli’s great-aunt?

A photograph of Moshe Rabinowitz together with his fiancée, Paula Lichtzier, colorized and enhanced on MyHeritage

Whereas Eli was tracing his household historical past again to the Jewish communities of Europe, he discovered that his grandfather, Nachum Mendel Rabinowitz, was born in 1887 in Orla — a small village close to Bialystok, Poland — and ultimately migrated south to what was then Palestine and settled in South Africa. Nachum’s brother Moshe, after whom Eli was named, joined his brother in South Africa in 1921.

In November 2010, a Polish researcher named Wojciech Konończuk was writing a ebook concerning the Jewish neighborhood of Orla and got here throughout Eli’s analysis on-line. Wojciech made contact with Eli asking if he may share any testimonies or photographs from the Orla department of his household, and Eli started sharing his analysis with him.

About 6 months later, Eli took a heritage tour of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Hungary, and Turkey. On his method again residence to Australia, he stopped to go to his final surviving aunt, Sarah, in Jerusalem. In the course of the go to, Sarah gave him {a photograph} she had from Orla: a faculty photograph with the scholars holding an indication that reads “Orla Folks College II” in Yiddish, and had the 12 months 1920 written on the again. She identified the trainer on the underside left nook of the photograph: Moshe, Eli’s great-uncle.

The {photograph} Eli’s aunt Sarah gave him

Eli scanned the photograph and despatched it to his household — and to Wojciech, the Polish researcher.

A month later, Wojciech wrote to Eli with an odd coincidence: he had acquired {a photograph} from a researcher in London that seemed similar to Eli’s.

Mary, who was researching a distinct household from Orla, didn’t know the names of anybody within the photograph, however had shared it as a result of Orla is talked about on the banner. When Wojciech noticed the photograph, he instantly acknowledged the trainer on the highest left as Moshe Rabinowitz — the identical particular person within the photograph Eli had despatched him a month earlier than.

Wojciech helped Eli and Mary join the dots: when he talked about Moshe’s title to Mary, she responded that that was the title of the person who had been engaged to Paula Lichtzier from Orla — a member of one of many households she had been researching. She added that Moshe had been killed in a automotive accident 6 weeks earlier than his marriage ceremony to Paula. A while after Moshe’s loss of life, Paula had gone on to marry a person named Joe Pinn, and so they had a daughter: Ray Hengy, who lived in Freiburg, Germany.

Mary put Eli in contact with Ray, and Ray despatched him some photographs, together with a few of Paula with Moshe’s household.

“It was considerably eerie to obtain pictures of my household from a stranger in Germany,” says Eli. “Apparently, Ray’s mom, Paula, maintained an in depth relationship with Moshe’s household in Cape City after Moshe’s tragic loss of life.” Eli’s aunt Sarah wrote in her memoir that she stayed shut with Paula after Moshe’s loss of life, and that Paula even sewed her a marriage gown when Sarah received married.

Eli met Ray for the primary time in Warsaw in Could 2012. Along with their spouses and with Wojciech, they traveled to Bialystok, Orla, and Treblinka — the place a memorial stone stands in reminiscence of the neighborhood of Orla.

Eli and Ray in Treblinka

After they met, Ray confirmed Eli one thing on her finger: an outdated engagement ring.

Ray advised Eli that this was the engagement ring Moshe had given Paula, and that Paula treasured it all through her life.

Later, Eli was capable of collect extra particulars about Moshe’s loss of life by contacting the Jewish burial society to study the precise date of loss of life and utilizing that to look the native newspaper archives. He discovered two newspaper clippings reporting on it, together with the next, which supplied an in depth account of the accident:

“A younger Jewish trainer of Hebrew named Rabinowitz, dwelling at Coghill’s Lodge, Wynberg, was fatally injured in a collision between a motor-car and a bus at Salt River at 12:40 a.m. right now,” reads the report. It describes the circumstances of the accident and mentions that Moshe was the brother of “Rev. Mr. Rabinowitz, a Jewish minister.” On the finish, it says: “He was engaged to be married to a younger lady who lately arrived from Palestine.”

Moshe Rabinowitz, colorized and enhanced element from a household photograph

Sadly, Paula’s daughter Ray and her husband Heinrich handed away final 12 months. However Eli is extraordinarily grateful that he had the chance to fulfill them and to shut the circle left so painfully open by his great-uncle’s premature loss of life. We think about Moshe would have been so happy with his namesake for all the trouble he put into uncovering his story.

Eli says he has discovered MyHeritage’s in depth database administration and DNA administration very helpful in his analysis, and that he’s significantly impressed with the photograph options. “I’ve been sharing a few of my colorized photographs on my networks, with robust optimistic suggestions,” he says.

When requested if he has any suggestions for different genealogists, Eli says: “Be tangential — be open-minded, and observe your leads, even when they appear to be headed in one other route; ask the specialists — properly! Say please and thanks, and you will discover extra luck coming your method than by being conceited and a know-all; be affected person and thorough; and be ready to journey to fill within the context and normal historical past and geography.”

You’ll be able to learn extra about Eli’s analysis on his weblog: https://elirab.me/

Does your loved ones even have roots within the Jewish communities of Lithuania and the encompassing areas? Who is aware of what tales you may uncover in our new historic report assortment! Search Lithuanian-Jewish data from LitvakSIG, 1795–1940 now.

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