Renate Rosenblatt's SRRG success story

I have been searching for information on my family from Skalat for a long time, and recently the search became more necessary as my niece wanted to adopt the family name. One can do this in Holland only if proof is provided that a "name is about to vanish." I knew the facts from hearsay, but needed written proof now. While trying to get this proof, I found Israel Pickholtz who has been working on Skalat and Pickholtz family research for some time and who is now the SRRG Shtetl Leader for Skalat. Israel accomplished something extraordinary. Via the Chevra Kaddisha in Haifa, he located not only the grave of my uncle Joseph Rosenblatt, but also the addresses of the relatives who took care of the funerals of Joseph and his wife. This would have been an amazing discovery in any case, but it is more so because of my own immediate family story. In the summer of 1943, my parents had the courage, vision, and fortitude to give their two daughters, aged 4 and 2, to complete strangers, members of the Dutch resistance. In September of the same year my parents were deported to Auschwitz. (In 1944 a bill was prepared that would declare all parents who gave their children in hiding to be deprived from parental power, whether the parent themselves lived in hiding or had been deported. A compromise in 1945 prevented this getting into a law. ) While my sister Hermi was hidden in the south of Holland with a Roman Catholic family, I was with several Protestant Christian families in the centre of the country. When it became clear that our parents would not return, our "rescuers" were appointed as our foster parents. Hermi and I met again for the first time four years after our separation, in 1947. Only later the impact of this meeting and the loss we suffered became clear to us. In the early sixties, Hermi and I began to search for our roots, that we grew away from so far by that time. We were in our 20s then. We started in Amsterdam, but we didn't learn much as people were suspicious, cautious, and afraid to talk. We finally came to a former neighbour who had some photographs of Hermi and me playing with her children years ago. In one photo, standing behind us was our father. You could see only a small part of his face, but you cannot imagine how happy it made us. She gave us these photos, and we have cherished them. Our research languished until the late '80s when I obtained, instead of a birth certificate, a copy of the original registration; this had the signature of my father. This inspired us again. Hermi found membership cards for our father Jakob and his brother Chune at the Amsterdam Diamond Exchange. Both had passport photos on them. We later learned that Uncle Chune was taken from Antwerp and murdered at Auschwitz and that his wife and daughter Flora survived the war in hiding. Via the Chevra Kaddisha in Antwerp. I found Flora on a kibbutz in Israel. I will never forget that phone call, on May 5th 1991, the Dutch "liberation day", remembering the end of WW II. Flora told me in that phonecall that I had an uncle, Boruch, in Paris), five cousins in Israel and one in Argentina. My sister and I were thrilled and very emotional about this. All we knew until that time was that my father was born in Skalat and had one brother Chune. Uncle Boruch told us that my grandparents lived in Skalat. They had seven children, all born in Skalat. My grandfather Hersch worked in Vienna. He only got home about once a year. After the first World War the family left Skalat for Vienna. My grandparents died 1928,1929. They were buried in Vienna. The family scattered all over the world, my father landed in Amsterdam after he married in 1936 in Vienna. My sister Hermi died in 1993, only 52 years old. After that her eldest daughter started thinking about adding Rosenblatt to her surname. This is how we found Israel Pickholtz and the SRRG. We are grateful to all the people out there who make Jewishgen, SRRG, and Skalat pages possible and succesful, especially Israel Pickholtz. A more detailed report on my history can be requested by Email from Renate Rosenblatt.

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Last updated 10/19/06 by ELR
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