Re: My Faceless Grandfather/How to get grandmother's picture? #belarus


Lynne Shapiro <lynneshap@...>
 

Jeff and Group,

I am in the same boat re: my grandmother, Lena CHAIT, nee: KABUSCHETSKI
(various spellings, but all family members changed that to KAPLAN after
her marriage), originally >from Lyskovo, which is now in Belarus. I have
never seen her picture, though I am named after her. I had thought of
asking this same question, though I would probably have done so with the
general discussion group, only it came up here first. I visit my
grandmother's grave every year, and there are no photos on it (I've never
seen a photo on a Jewish tombstone, but apparently there are some.) She
came to the U.S. late in 1905 to join her husband, my grandfather, never
attended school in the U.S., never became a U.S. citizen. To my
knowledge, she never belonged to a synagogue. As I recall, the only
organization I heard she was involved in was a group that raised funds
for orphans, but I don't know its name; I think I have somewhere, can't
lay my hands on it right now, the surname of the woman who led the group,
which was in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, N.Y. My grandmother
had three children, born between 1909 and 1914, and when they were still
quite young, she was incapacitated by a stroke and became an invalid.
She died in 1934, just before her eldest daughter was married.

I doubt she ever had a U.S. passport. Is there any way to know for sure?
Would it be in the info. files? I have not checked her name out with
the N.Y. Times, but though she lived in N.Y.C., I'd say the odds are
quite slim that she was ever mentioned there. Any other ideas? One
thing that occurred to me, strangely enough, after reading Jeff's
question, is that there could have been a picture taken at a family
event, such as a sibling's or niece's wedding. I don't think in those
days poor Jewish immigrant families hired photographers who went around
from table to table and captured on film everyone at the event. But does
anyone know to what extent photos were taken at family events >from the
end of WWI to the early 1930s? The photo would have to be labelled,
however, because I don't know of anyone alive now who would be able to
identify her >from such a photo.

When I read my grandmother's Ellis Island manifest, it occurred to me
that she may not have wanted her photo taken - because she had probably
had a stroke before she even came to the U.S. She had "hemiplegia",
which is defined in my Random House dictionary as a paralysis of one side
of the body. But I have never seen a photo taken before the 1940s of her
husband, my grandfather, either. And I know of just one photo of the
children when they were young. They were poor and photos were probably
just not a priority. If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, I'd like to
hear them.

Lynne Shapiro
Western Mass.

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