15 September 2009

From Philli it was off to Cleveland to spend time with my relatives

And to celebrate my Great Aunt Pesel's 96th birthday

She is a Holocaust survivor and whilst she has given testimony,
I wanted to record the little things,
the stories about my family at the time.

My father and her are very close for she is my father’s mothers youngest sister.
My father’s mother was killed in The Holocaust.

Having her look at my piece in Exhibition 36, about my fathers experience during the war was very special.

I was also there to find and research our family tree. I was missing a photo of one of the pesel's brothers, my father’s uncles. I knew I had seen it as a child in her home. I was told it was not there but I dug and dug and found it.

Most family photos and family heirlooms and possessions were lost, destroyed by the Nazi’s so when I am able to fill a gap,

for me,
it means the world.

Spent some catch up time with Michael in New York

Spending time with Michelle in New York is always fun

Michael joined us for a stop at an art store

Michelle and I were trying on these rings
when the owner demanded
"No Photo, no photo"

But we got it anyway

Lunching together – this one is for Janine who is a friend of Michelle’s too
And then there were those hot and humid subway tunnels

One of the reasons I joined Face-book and spent so much time in New York was to connect with Corinna.

Meeting up with Corrina was vital to my “Seeking Sara” piece and workshop in Italy for she wrote her thesis on Sara Copio Sullam. It is the largest work ever done on Sara so stopping in New York was a must.
I could not believe it when Corinna lived 2 blocks away from where we were staying so I was thankful that she let me have the thesis to read and scan for a few days.

Loved that the binding of the thesis was in RED

200 pages later and I now feel as if my research into the life of this 17th Century Literary Woman was complete. Now I was able to further my piece in the knowledge that I had the right facts.

I do tend to go across the world
in many ways
just to research for a piece
and here is the proof.

I got a tip from my relatives in Cleveland and from some in New York to visit another relative in New Jersey.
So off I went back pack stuffed with computer, Flip, camera and scanner just in case I found some new evidence of family.
I hit GOLD.
Our elderly cousin Doris had a photo that she was 95% sure was my Great Great Grandfather. The significance of this photo was huge as it ties all the families together.

I scanned the image and immediately emailed it to my cousin Henry in Cleveland.
Thats him in the photo whilst we were up researching the family one night.
I told him to go to his mums (Pesel, my Great Aunt) in the morning and to NOT tell her who it was in the photo.

Just show it to her and see what she says.

“That’s my grandfather” she exclaimed.

The evidence and proof!
I was very emotional as I knew what this would mean to everyone in the family.

He was at the top of all of our family and extended family’s trees.

He was the link.

My father, who had been gravely ill before and as I left for my trip, waited for the email. To be able to show my father a photo of his Great grandfather was a precious thing indeed.

In fact it was priceless.



Sam Marshall said...

Hi Judy,
I'm so happy for you. It is truly amazing being given a chance to connect up with family in this way. Thank you for sharing this journey.

Judy said...

Yes it was really an amazing time and trip - so much more to do there never seems to be enough time. Thanks

jaks said...

what an amazing journey you set out on and achieved your goal. You must be so proud. I am proud of you too. Wow to do what you do! You inspire us all...love Jaks

Suze said...

Judy..I am floored by your amazing family stories. It is the most wonderful Mitzvah that you are the family historian and will keep alive all these memories.
There's no question that YOU will be inscribed for another year in the book of life...L'Shana Tova and I hope we are able to get together on your next visit.

Judy said...

Thanks Jaks, just seems finding the family history is something I love doing.
Thanks Suze, here's hoping for a good, happy and healthy New Year for us all. Be back next August - hopt to catch up then. xo

Ro Bruhn said...

What a fabulous photo of you and your Great Aunt. That must have been a thrill to find a photo of your Great Great Grandfather. Your family tree must be amazing.

ArtPropelled said...

Very exciting to fit more pieces of the puzzle together, Judy. I'm happy you found the precious photo of your Great Grandfather.

nancy neva gagliano said...

i can feeeeeeeel some of your great aunt pesel right here...from her face, hands, CHAIR.....
smart you to go put more pieces together.....important, healing, celebratory work.

Redness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lumilyon said...

How wonderful, to find that photograph. I understand EXACTLY the joy that it will have brought you x

Redness said...

Your telling gives me goosebumps! I so relate to your quest. Words will ever describe finding that precious link ... bravo Judy ... thank you for taking us with you ... you make me smile ... you're such an absolute gem.xo

Laura Jane said...


Lets hear it for TENACITY!

Well done Judy. IT feels great even reading about it, but to achieve it - PRICELESS!

Kelly Snelling_Soulhumming.typepad.com said...

so many heartfelt events all rolled up in this one beautiful post. the photo of your great-great-grandfather is exquisite. his eyes are so wise. it is just the most lovely photo. i'm so happy that you were able to find it and share it with your people

stregata said...

Wow, how amazing is that!!! So precious that you could find another link. And I am very excited that you could finish your research on Sara - I just know this project will sweep me off my feet!

Kim said...

Judy this is wonderful, I'm so pleased you have found these special fragments of your family again. These things we all take too much for granted, I cannot imagine how it must be to be without that piece of your past. Thank you for telling the story and sharing ith us all.Hugs!

Lynn said...

judy there is so much beauty and joy in this post...I can't or won't comment on each part, just to say I am as always deeply moved by each part! Well so happy you could spend time with your great aunt Pesel...and that she could id her g grdfa. Awesome. Just so happy for you and your family, dad especially. Hugs. and Shana Tova again.

BloggingQueen said...

SCORE![dancing the victory dance]

I'm always so excited when I read about another victory you have against the ravages of time and memory. Your guardian angel, if there are such things, must be the envy of all his/her colleagues. :o) Glad you got such a warm and useful moment with your auntie.

BloggingQueen said...

Aaack! I almost forgot -- Shana Tova, girl!

I was watching HBO's "Entourage" last night, and the agent character Ari had another hilarious scene. When he made another character look bad during a conference call, he shouted into the phone, "Good yontif!"

Judy said...

Thanks everyone - so blown away that people are interested in this stuff - very nice indeed.

Hey, Blogging Queenie. - love it. My son Ari loves that show. cant wait to see that episode - he will crack up.

LisaHoffman said...

The family Quest.
Your fantastic New York connections.
Michael on the coast.

I feel like I just saw a wonderful documentary.

Wishes for Health to your father Judi....

layers said...

What a moving story-- to have such a family tree and history-- very powerful.

connie said...


the photo of your great aunt pesel's chair brought tears to my eyes as I remember my grandfathers very favorite chair, the turquoise recliner with years of compfort and wear. (the things we normally take for granted and dispose of, so glad you captured
it ).

what a quest you lead. truly facinating.

(the pillow case on pesel's lap holding her glasses...I had the very same pattern on my bed when I was 16!

happy new year my friend!

JoAnnA Pierotti said...

love seeing the photos of your journey. I don't think any of us who did not loose family to the Holocaust can truly relate to your what this means to you and your family. I so admire your determination and passion.

Aharon Horwitz said...

Judy, wow, amazing to see this. The picture of great great blew me away. I put it on my phone as a background. What eyes.

love, aharon

Judy said...

Hey Aharon, thanks for the comment. Those eyes were blue! They are astounding. Glad we all got to see him. Shana Tov. Stay safe over there. See you in January

michelle ward said...

Judy - I love the pricelessness of every morsel, of how you follow the trails with passion and verve, and make connections to the past by being so present. You are a rare one and I treasure moments with you. Thanks for sqeezing me in for two visits....it was a pleasure to meet your partner this time too. xoxo

michelle ward said...

I just re-visited the photos again....I can't believe your photo of the rings turned out. I wanted that one but the guy was such a _____. How is your Dad doing? more xo.

Janine said...

You are amazing Judy, thank you for sharing your journey with us... thanks also for the photo of you and Michelle! xoxo

ginny said...

I am sorry I missed meeting you while you were in Cleveland. I am just minutes west of the city. I would have been happy to taxi you about.
What wonderful discoveries you made!

HeArt Collective said...

what can i say that hasn't already been said?

and more...

Tiglizzyclone said...

This is a wonderful and interesting post! I enjoy the pictures!

Happy birthday to your Great Aunt Pesel! My mom turned 91 this year!

Pearl Maple said...

Your posts are always full of creative adventure and hope, congratulations on your findings all very exciting.
It appears the world really is smaller than what we think sometimes.

Judy Wise said...

Judy, I just got the book Seeking Sara at Karen's suggestion; every time I come to your blog you shake my soul with new revelations. Your love is so powerful, your art so personal that I feel it in my bones. Big hug.

Karen Cole said...

Jeez.....where the heck have I been????? Your stories are always perfectly done, my dear. This one is particularly special. Shana Tova...

hugs to you and yours....hope all is well

Lani Gerity said...

As always, what a pleasure!

alteredbits said...

what a beautiful and moving story. how wonderful it is to find such a treasure! a couple of years back i was researching my family and after two years, finally found a photo and BOOK about my g-g-g-g-grandfather who lived to 107 and had had 7 wives and dozens of kids. he was "the link" in our family too. i know you must have been so elated to find that amazing photo and proof of who it was.