Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How a Shtetlinks Site Helped Locate a Family Connection Between Branches Who Survived the Holocaust

By Ann Rabinowitz

There are a few basic tools which every genealogist should take advantage of in order to find Holocaust survivors.  A case in point is the recent reconnection of Krengel and Meyerowitz “mishpocha” through JewishGen ShtetLink resources and those of Yad Vashem.

JewishGen provides the capability to find information on families through its ShtetLinks sites which cover many different countries around the world.  These can be found at:  http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/

These sites have links which give researchers data, photographs, histories and connections which can enable them to find other family members as well as surviving relatives.  As an example of the serendipitous melding of data and what it can bring to researchers is the Kupiskis, Lithuania ShtetLink Site, http://www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/kupiskis/kupishok.htm.  The site is an outgrowth of the Kupiskis SIG group, one of the oldest such groups.

The Kupiskis site has a Photograph Album link which focuses on specific families and has many photographs of those families.  In addition, there is a Holocaust section which provides the names of those who were killed in the shtetl.  All of these links are a result of many years of research, gathering data, and development of the information into a useable format to put on the Internet. 

To continue . . . one day, Anna Krengel was googling her name and found a reference to what she thought might be her father’s brother, Shmuel Krengel, on the Kupiskis ShtetLink Site.  She looked at a family picture on the site and found that Shmuel Krengel did indeed look like her father Berel Krengel. 

She contacted the coordinator of the Kupiskis SIG group, who happened to be me.  I knew exactly who the Krengel family was and who they were related to.  From that point on, I looked through all of my available records and searched the Yad Vashem database.  There, I found the Pages of Testimony which had been submitted by the nephew of Shmuel Krengel’s wife Breine Meyerowitz.  The Pages specified that Shmuel was the son of Menashe Krengel and Rachel Zilberman of Kalvariya, Lithuania. 

Sure enough, when I gave this information to Anna Krengel, she recognized that this couple was her very own grandparents.  They had five sons and a total of ten grandchildren and Anna and her brother were the only surviving grandchildren out of this large family. 

The grandfather, Menashe Krengel, had a huge bee hive, honey and wax business and some of his children had a varnish and oil business.  All of these were in Marijampole and signs with the family name were found on a number of buildings throughout the city attesting to their prominence in business.  

With the information I gave Anna, she could now be in touch with the descendants of the family of Breine Meyerowitz Krengel, who had left South Africa and now lived in Israel, Australia and America, and they, in turn, could be in touch with her and learn more about their aunt’s husband and his family.  As it turned out, the descendants of Breine Meyerowitz Krengel’s family had been instrumental in the erection of a Holocaust Memorial in Kupiskis where Shmuel Krengel was listed.  And, Anna had photographs of all of her uncles and their children including one which had her uncle Shmuel’s wife Berta (Breine) and their child Fraidele. 

Here, both families, the Krengel’s and Meyerowitz’s could now share memories of their respective families, who were no more.  It was a poignant and bittersweet result of what started as a basic Internet google search and reached into the JewishGen ShtetLinks site for Kupiskis, and thereafter into the Yad Vashem’s database.


1 comment:

  1. I think I may be related to Anna Krengel. She recently contacted another relative of mine, and I hope to meet her soon. Thank you!

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