Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Photo by Angela Peterson, JSOnline; click to enlarge

The documents you see above were part of a large stash of old papers, photos, and other ephemera that a Milwaukee woman named Lisa Crum found in the garage rafters of a home that she purchased more than a decade ago. Crum wanted to return the materials to their family of origin, but many of the documents were in German, which complicated her efforts. But she was never gave up. Her family moved to new homes twice after the found the documents, and each time she brought the papers with her.

Now her efforts have finally borne fruit. With the help of a local museum, Crum recently made contact with Lori and Steve Zeitlin, who are descendants of the now-deceased couple that had saved the photos and papers. The connection has extra resonance because, as it turns out, many of the documents track the family's efforts escape the Nazis during World War II.

You can get the full story in this excellent article, which is accompanied by this slideshow. It mentions that Crum always felt that the documents were her "responsibility," and that she and the Zeitlins "call each other family now."

So much of this feels familiar to me. It took me more than a decade before I made contact with anyone connected with the Manhattan Trade School report cards. During that time, I moved to a new apartment but took the cards with me, knowing that they were my responsibility. When I eventually began contacting some of the students' descendants, it forged a series of intense bonds, some of which still remain. It's great to see other people experiencing this same kind of connection via found objects.

(My thanks to Nicole Haase for letting me know about this one.)

No comments:

Post a Comment