Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ronald Kluger

A big part of uncovering the past is the discovery of living relatives. For Roma, one such find is Ronald Kluger, a cousin, now living in Canada. Mr. Kluger was nice enough to share his discovery of his new cousin, and to explain how it all fits together:
I received a phone message from Roma Baran, saying she was the daughter of Mary and John Baran and that we were relatives. I didn't know who she was or who her parents were. When we talked the next day, I learned that we indeed were relatives - her mother, Roza Klüger, was the daughter of my father's uncle Bernhard and that she was working to find out who she really was, having lived with parents who had invented their biographies.

My parents had left Austria in 1938 with their identities intact and had moved to the US after taking refuge in Belgium - Kristallnacht had sent a clear message that it was time to leave. My father, William Kluger (born Friedrich Wilhelm Klüger,) was raised in Vienna. His parents, Reizel Klüger and Josef Klüger, first cousins, came from Bukovina, Romania.

The Kluger family - Zygmunt, Dorka, Roza, and Bernhard

When I was a child, we had visited Roma's grandparents, my father's uncle and aunt, Bernhard and Dorka Klüger, in Montreal.

We had met their very debonair son, Zygmunt, but had no further visits. I was told by my father that his Uncle Bernhard had acquired a passport of a dead catholic man in Poland named Josef Karas and had not bothered to revert to his real identity. In our family, they were still referred to as Uncle Bernhard and Aunt Dorka.

We were told that with their Catholic identities, they were not really interested in developing the family relationships. Nonetheless, my father's sister, Gisa, had been very fond of visiting them in Montreal. She liked the British connection in Canada, having served in the British Army. I don't know if she had met Roma. I was not aware of Bernhard and Dorka's daugher Roza, called Mary Karas, who was Roma's mother and also didn't know about Roma. I had seen Zygmunt again about 10 years ago when we visited Montreal but he did not introduce me to his family.


Blogger Crisscross said...

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November 30, 2008 at 5:12 PM  

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