Our Visit to Orla - 11 May 2012

The families of Moshe & Paula reconnect.

(See Moshe & Paula for Part 1)

On 11 May 2012, I meet Ray Hengy from Freiburg, Germany  in Warsaw.

She is wearing the engagement ring that her mother Paula was given by my great uncle Moshe.

Ray, her husband Heinrich, my wife Jill, Wojciech and I visit Treblinka on our way to Orla.

We arrive in Orla (the sign is in Polish and Belarussian), reflecting the mixed history of the area. In our families’ time, it was part of Russia.

L - R: Heinrich Hengy, Marek Chmielewski, Ray Hengy, Eli Rabinowitz, Jill Rabinowitz and Wojciech Konończuk outside the Orla synagogue.

(Marek is a local farmer and councillor, born in Orla, who, with Wojciech, is active in regenerating the Jewish links to Orla).


Inside the Orla synagogue

So by Ray and I meeting in Orla, where it all began nearly 100 years ago, descendants from opposite ends of the world create a happy ending to an ill fated romance.

Story continues in Uncle Moshe, South Africa 2012 - next tab

On Sunday 27 May in London, I meet Michelle McCue, the grand niece of Paula. She shows me the photo that she had emailed to Wojciech. This photo, together with the one given to me by my aunt in Jerusalem, resulted in our families (who are not related) reconnecting in such a remarkable way.