Marilyn Sheridan <marilyns@...>
Dear members of JewishGen Discussion Group, and BohMor SIG, France SIG,
Galicia SIG, and Hungary SIG,
Thanks to JewishGen (and to some other wonderful Jewish organizations) I
have recently found lost family in Budapest!
Not long before my father died, he mentioned that when he was a young
child, his mother would take him by train >from Vienna to visit his
C******* cousins in Budapest. He had three girl cousins, all older than
himself. He remembered only the first name of one cousin, and that
another cousin had married a man with the surname R*****.
My father could not tell me how he was related to these cousins, but I
suspected that his own mother and the mother of the cousins were sisters.
This proved to be correct, as I found when I looked recently in a book
called "Counted Remnant: Register of the Jewish Survivors in Budapest" that
was published in Budapest in 1946.
When I searched the list under "R" for the name R*****, I found a woman by
that name. As is done for each survivor in this record, she listed her own
mother's maiden name. That was my big clue: it was the same maiden surname
as that of my father's mother. Moreover, Mrs. R***** listed her mother's
first name. So, for the first time, I knew a name my father had not been
able to remember - the first name of his mother's sister.
My next step was to scan the same list for any children of Mrs. R*****.
I found two sons, who identified the maiden name of their mother as the
former Miss C*******, and their current home address as the same one where
their mother currently lived.
In an on-line telephone book of Hungary, I found only 5 people with the
surname R*****, and with one of the two first names. I wrote by snail-mail
to the only one in Budapest, including a photocopy of the relevant page of
"Counted Remnant" and a genealogy tree to show how we might be related.
You can imagine my thrill to receive a reply by snail mail! This was
indeed my second cousin. My father's mother and his mother's mother were
sisters. (Those sisters were daughters of Avraham Zvi Hersch BEUTEL the
Hosid, who was born in Skalat on April 16, 1852 and died in Vienna on May
7, 1936. I can not find further information about him; so if anyone knows
where I can look, I would be happy to receive suggestions. The IKG Wien
has no further information; and I can not find out where Skalat records
might be - apparently they are not in Skalat - if any have indeed survived
to this day.)
The daughter of BEUTEL who lived in Budapest became the mother of three
daughters of her own. One was the mother of the the two R***** brothers
whom I discovered very recently. The second moved with her family to
France; my father lived with them >from the time he fled Vienna in 1938
until the battle of Dunkirk in 1940; alas, I have confirmed (Klarsfeld)
that all perished at Auschwitz. The third sister (probably the oldest)
and her family may have moved to France, but they or some children may
have stayed in Hungary. No one seems to know or remember their surname.
It turns out that the wife of the younger R***** brother has cousins in
Las Vegas; they are very close, and telephone each other several times a
month. The younger R***** brother told his cousins about the letter that I
had sent to the older brother. A few weeks ago, the younger brother and
his wife traveled to Las Vegas to visit these cousins. Because I live in
nearby Tucson, I went to meet them. It was instant family!
The younger brother speaks only Hungarian; and because his wife is a
Hungarian government worker, their number is not in the telephone book for
reasons of privacy. The cousins in Las Vegas are multilingual (the wife
survived Bergen-Belsen, the husband was a partisan) and every word back and
forth had to be translated - but with such warmth and joy! My cousin hugs
just like my father did; we could not stop hugging each other. We had a
huge traditional Czechoslovakian / Hungarian dinner!
The younger brother knows little about his past, because his mother, who
died only a few years ago, could not bear to talk about her losses,
including the murders of her husband and father. His older brother, also,
finds it hard to talk about those times. The earliest memory of the
brother I met, is the occasion when Jews were herded brutally toward a
ghetto in Budapest; a soldier shoved his beloved grandfather, who could
not move "quickly enough", making him fall down, and then shot him on the
When the Nazis demanded that Jews join the labor battalions, the older son
tried to convince his father that they should run away together and join
the partisans. The father said he was a WWI veteran, this was his fate,
etc. - and paid for this with his life, as did so many other decent Jews.
The older son fled, and survived as a partisan.
The younger son and his mother were saved by the extraordinary and
unforgettable heroism of Raoul Wallenberg; they lived in one of the
safe-houses till the end of WWII.
The younger son brought to Las Vegas a stack of ancient photographs; he had
found them in his mother's room after she died. She had never shown them
to him, or talked about them with him. He had planned to leave all of them
with me, so that I could photograph them and then mail them back to him.
But in the end, he could not bear to part with any that showed his father,
whom he does not remember at all. He also hung on to all the photos of his
mother. I find it very touching that he is such a devoted son.
However, he agreed to lend me photos that showed people he did not know.
I could not believe what I saw! There was a photo of my father at about 3
years old, with his mother and older sister, similar to the one SIGAL
family photo my father had been able to save. There were several photos
of the two sisters of the mother of the R***** brothers, each with spouses
and / or children. I knew who these people were, only because names on
the backs of some photos were those my father had mentioned. I was able
to tell my cousin, "This was your aunt! These were your little cousins!"
Some of the other photos showed a person or persons whose name on the back
I do not know; others provided no name or information, and I did not
recognize the person. But I found a wonderful turn-of-the-century photo
of the exquisite eldest aunt of the R***** brothers, with her three
sparklingly beautiful little children - and their first names are on the
back of the photo. Any such clue is a help in further research!
Now I must visit my cousins in Budapest, in order to meet all of them and
their families, and to see the rest of the photographs! I still have a
thousand questions, and I want to find more family. More important, we are
alive and we need to celebrate life. I must locate a person who speaks
both Hungarian and English, and with whom all of us can feel comfortable in
Budapest and / or Vienna.
I have found these relatives in large part due to the existence of
JewishGen and its various SIGs and sources of information. Thank you,
also, to the dozens of Genners and SIGgers who have helped me with all
kinds of advice; I have tried to thank each of you personally. My
financial contribution will be on its way to JewishGen.
Shana Tova to all. May we see peace in Israel and throughout the world,
Marilyn Sheridan (Miriam SIGAL)
Tucson, AZ, USA