Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Lukasz, our friend from Warsaw, is one of the main detectives working to unravel Roma's saga. He recently traveled to Israel where he confirmed an improbable connection that he had made between Roma's father and a man he knew of living in Israel.

This thread introduces two new players to the tale, Yoram and Mr.S - his name obscured in these posts for his privacy. Lukasz explains who they are, and how he found them:
I met Yoram and his wife in Przemysl 5 years ago where they were researching his
Kammermann and Dems roots. I remember we took picture in front of one of the houses they lived at Czarnieckiego St, the same street that "yours" lived on (David: Here he is referring to my great-grandfather, Marcus Metzger)

Then we talked about Mr.S, whom they know and who left the most interesting testimony after the war. I always wanted to meet him, but had no occasion and proper motivation. When the Barans' story showed up and I read Cytryn's testimony I had sudden insight associating a village in the Bieszczady mountains, where, as I suspected, they were both hiding at the same time. It was almost obvious to me that they ought to know each other.
Lukasz's email to Roma sets the stage for this remarkable discovery:
I attached the testimony of Mr.S from Przemysl who was in hiding very close to Jakub in the mountains. They were probably evacuated by Germans in the same transport and may have known each other. I'll try to talk to him on the phone when in Tel Aviv.
But first, Lukasz attends to family and business in Israel:
Our visit in Eretz was very exciting from the start to finish. First we met our daughter, who studies in Jerusalem, then we went to Nazareth where I presented a paper and spoke at a psychiatric conference about shame of the second generation witnesses. It took place in an hotel converted from a Catholic church and monastery. I worked on the paper until the last moment before finding that there was a problem with the printer at the hotel. The Arab receptionist said "no problem, I shall send it to my brother, he'll print it and will deliver it." 20 minutes later it was in my hands - would such service be possible in Europe?

All the time they fed us as if we were geese with fantastic food that in a restaurant one would cost a fortune - all for nothing - and in a room overlooking all of Nazareth from atop a hill ...
Then the trail to Roma's father heats up, in a most interesting manner...
Dear Yoram,

I'd like to call Mr.S from your place. It seems he was evacuated by Germans in the same convoy as one other guy from Przemysl who was hiding there named Baran. Fantastic story at the Przemysl Blog.

Shabbat Shalom,

----- Original Message -----

Lukasz -
Amazing story of Baran, I believe Mr.S knows this guy by his previous Cytryn name...

Cheers, Yoram
And off to Yoram's house...
We then went to Yoram's and once again, we were stuffed with delicious food. There, we met Mr.S who is a very bright person of great culture who remembers Przemysl well. We impressed each other with the knowledge of Przemysl past and people. He happens to be the relative of the famous Anna Feingold, the only woman who served as a president of a Judenrat in Poland - at Zasanie mini-ghetto. He knew other interesting living people from Przemysl, like Jurek Kamieniecki who we had breakfast with the next morning at a cafe on Tel Aviv beach...Small world indeed ...
Amazing... through knowledge, skill, and a whole lot of luck, Lukasz has found someone who not only knew Baran, but hid out with him back when he called himself Cytryn. Lukasz informs Roma:
Dear Roma,
I met Mr.S yesterday. He knows your father well and knows more than you'd like to know. I'll be back home on Wednesday.
Love, Lukasz

----- Original Message -----

Dear Lukasz,
I'd like to know it all. I have suspected it's not pretty, but the truth is all I have now. Do you think Mr.S would meet me in December? What language does he speak? Have a safe trip back, will check in then.
love, Roma
More than you'd like to know... is not in Roma's vocabulary. But what is the story? What happened all those years ago. One man seems to know. Time for Roma to head to Israel and find out.
Dear Yoram,

I am writing at the suggestion of Lukasz Biedka regarding setting up a meeting with Mr.S. Apparently, through an amazing coup of research, Lukasz connected him and my father, and, as it turns out, they were well acquainted, both at the end of the war in the Ukraine and Hungary, and in Przemysl.

I very recently found out at the age of 61 that I am a Jew, and that my whole family changed their names and kept this secret. As you can imagine, I have been trying to put our family history back together. Since my father has been dead for 20 years, I have not even found someone where he lived who knew him, so it is an astonishing discovery Lukasz has made indeed.

If you would like to read more about my revelation and Lukasz' role in it, it is being followed by David Semmel on his Jewish Przemysl blog.

I will be in Israel in the Jerusalem area from December 11 through the 15th. I look forward to hearing from you.

Roma Baran

----- Original Message -----

Dear Roma
I have read and heard from Lukasz about your amazing quest. I'll talk to Mr.S and come back to you.
Warm regards
Quite the cliffhanger; soon to be resolved. Stay tuned.


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