My grandmother (1904-1976) was a well-known Yiddish poet, Malka Lee. Her father's name was Leopold, her mother's was Duhl, and the family came from Monastyryska, Tlomacz, and Chortkov in present-day Ukraine.
Malka was born in Monastyryska and came to the United States when she was 16 years old. For some reason, the family sent only her. She lived in New York, married writer Aaron Rappaport, and had two children. Her son, Joseph, is my father.
When Malka learned that her family had perished in the war, she became extremely distraught, and for the rest of her life harbored terrible feelings of sadness and guilt. Only one brother survived; he moved to Toronto.
I became interested in genealogy and registered my family names with JewishGen. Because the name "Duhl" is not that common, it was easy to make outreach to the people researching that name. I came in contact with a man who was researching his wife's Duhl family tree, and he alerted me to some of the databases that might shed more information.
Through the JewishGen family finder database and the Yad Vashem database, I learned that my grandmother's uncle had moved to Palestine before the war, and had descendants living in Israel. Last summer my sister traveled to Israel and met our cousins. It was a bittersweet reunion.
The branches of the family that survived are thriving, yet we feel sad for the losses that happened so many years ago. We know that our grandmother's heart would have been warmed by the knowledge that some of her family survived. I know that we will be in contact with our cousins for many years to come.
Thank you, JewishGen, for allowing this amazing reunion to occur.
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