I have found over the years reaching out to this community to solve
the most obscure puzzles, more often than not, there is someone who
has a special knowledge and rises to solve the unsolvable problem.
So, I am now reaching out as many have before me.
A person contacted me because of my interest in the town of Subacius
Lithuania vis a vis Jewish Gen. They had reached their own brick wall
in their family research.
I had been far "luckier" in so far as there have been records for my family
branch taking my journey back to the late 1700s in Lithuania. I say
lucky because as many of you Litvak researchers know, Lithuanian records
can be sparse just at the moment when you need them most.
After some weeks we determined we might be just one generation away >from
linking her family to mine, i.e. our common branch.
I proposed she take a DNA test. So she did and the results indicated we
were indeed related to the degree where we thought our common link
might be. Her two brothers then took the test.
Her father was born in Subacius Lithuania in 1911. In that same year
his father passed away. The story goes, he had gone to America hoping
to eventually bring the rest of the family over, but he fell ill and died.
There is no found record for him yet in the United States.
After the outbreak of the first world war the family was expelled >from
Lithuania and did not return until the early 1920's and when Lithuania
became a sovereign state. Through passport records that still exist, we
learned her father with his mother's help and witnesses >from their town
had to appeal for and prove his citizenship. He was eventually successful
and received his internal passport papers.
In 1939 Lithuania lost its short lived sovereignty, becoming a vassal
state under the Soviet Union vis a vis the signing of the Hitler-Stalin
pact. By the summer of 1941, German forces arrived in Lithuania and her
father was forced into the Kowno Ghetto with his wife and young daughter.
They had married in 1935. (There is a record for that) (There is no
record yet found for the birth of the daughter) Through all of the
horror that was the Kowno Ghetto, they survived.
In the summer of 1944 her father was placed on a transport with his wife
and now 8/9 year old daughter. The transport stopped at KZ-Stutthof whee
his wife, and we presume also his daughter, were detained along with 280
other Jews >from Kowno. After Stutthof, her father was transported to
Dachau and specifically the sub camp Kaufering I. In the summer of 1945,
her father was free again. Approximately one month after her arrival at
Stutthof, his wife was sent to Auschwitz, where thus far, there is no
record of her there. At this moment we presume she went straight to her
death upon arrival. Of the daughter, still no record.
While recovering at the DP Hospital in the St. Otillien monastery near
Landsberg am Lech, Germany, her father met his second wife, also a survivor
of Dachau, originally >from Poland. They had their first child who died a
few days after birth and is buried at St. Otillien. They then had a second
child, a boy. Though their first choice was to go to Palestine, they
were, in 1949, resettled in Australia. After resettlement they had two
more children, a girl and a boy. It is the girl who has become my
correspondent in this story vis a vis Jewish gen and our common town
So, for the lack of a record, she and her brothers take a DNA test.
Her results come back first indicating we are indeed cousins of a kind.
Strangely though, we share as a common cluster, DNA relationships with
some of my "other" cousins >from another family branch (also originally
Lithuanian) and also with a dear friend of hers >from childhood in Australia.
Her dear friend's father, also resettled after the war, lived with her
parents for a time, then went to Israel where he married and then returned
to Australia. The results for her brothers come back and they show sh
is the half sibling of one, her brother born as she was in Australia, and
between the two of them show they are not related to their older brother,
the one born in Germany at St. Otillien.
In recent years there was a ceremony held at St. Otillien celebrating
the many babies born there to Jewish parents after the war.When the first
Jewish baby was born it is said that Jewish American soldiers came to the
bris and wept over both the sadness and the joy.100's of Jewish babies
were born at St. Otillien, so much life coming after so much death.
On this occasion, the son of a good family friend who was also born at
St. Otillien, invited the oldest brother in this family to go with
him to attend this ceremony. Their expenses were paid by St. Otillien
such was the importance of the occasion. There is a picture of her
father and this family friend taken at St. Otillien. The friend has
a remarkable resemblance to her older brother. She doesn't see it,
but somehow I do.
You can imagine quite easily the difficulties these results have created.
I theorize that some time between her father's time in the Kowno Ghetto
and his eventual release >from the work camps at Dachau, he became sterile
He met his wife at the displaced persons camp and a very special
place called St. Otillien where weekly a new birth was celebrated in a long
list of births numbering well over 400 Jewish babies after the horrors
suffered by their parents during the Shoah. My theory is, her father and
mother wanted a family and willingly sought a surrogate, first at St.
Otillien and then again in Australia. Making such a thing public today
would not be unusual, but in the late 1940's and early 1950's, one can
only guess how unusual that might have been. More DNA tests are being
However, the one fact that needs the most finding is: some proof, her
father was made sterile either by the Nazi's or in some other way.
I have found over the years now that I became a Genealogy researcher,
there is always the general story, like the story of the Shoah in all of
its chapters and versions, but it is not until one digs down into an
archive with a tweezer that the real story emerges in the way of pulling
a needle >from a haystack. So, perhaps there is at least one person on this
email list who has encountered an archive as yet not discovered by me, that
will have that needle to answer this question regarding my cousin's father's
sterility, and for that family, bring them peace regarding this question.
They will never lose the true family they had or their growing up with
the parents who parented them, but there is now something missing for
them, and maybe this is the thing that can make them whole as well as do
service to the heroic couple they knew as mom and da. So, if YOU are
re out there and can help with this brick wall of mine, please then reach
out to me. I will be grateful, as will they, for the help.
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