Finding the Farbers: A Genealogy Treasure Hunt

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A Jewish Viennese family was lost -- and found in South America after a year of intensive research.

A Jewish Viennese family was lost -- and found in South America after a year of intensive research.

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  • 1. For the last year Freud’s Butcher has introduced us to the members of the Kornmehl family. The blog began with information on 8 Kornmehl siblings, their Vienna family butcher shop and its association with Sigmund Freud.
  • 2. Never one to leave a stone unturned, I wanted to help complete the history of the VK8 — the 8 Kornmehl siblings we were introduced to in Freud’s Butcher’s original piece.
  • 3. The Farber family has been mentioned several times in Freud’s Butcher. The entries allude to the fact that their family history remained a mystery.
  • 4. A mystery no more….
  • 5. Leib (Leopold) Farber was born in Winiary, a town near Poznan in Poland. He married Reisel (Resi) Kornmehl in Vienna in 1903. Leib moved from Vienna to France with his wife, likely in late 1938,with passport #38900 issued by the Viennese Police. They lived in Paris until early 1940 when they received this entrance card to Brazil.
  • 6. Leib’s profession is listed as an acougueiro, a butcher, similar to other members of the Vienna Kornmehl family.
  • 7. Leib (Leopold) Farber was quite industrious when he lived in Vienna . He was more than a butcher. According to business records in the Magistrate’s Office in Vienna, a partnership was recorded for a business owned by Farber and Kornmehl in 1912. The Office produced the following information regarding that business:
  • 8. The business associates were listed as Leopold Farber, coffee shop owner and Sigmund Kornmehl, businessman. The document states the purpose was to open a coffee business in Vienna, located in the second bezirk on Ausstellungsstrasse Street #27. Established in the spring 1912. The business closed on 3/28/1941.
  • 9. Resi (Reisel/Theresa) Kornmehl Farber was born in Radlow, Poland on 12/25/1877. She was granted a separate visa to Brazil from her husband.
  • 10. Awaiting them was……
  • 11. Herma and Ludvik Alt had applied to become citizens when they arrived in Brazil . Several years went by before they were granted permanent citizenship. This was noted in the newspaper:
  • 12. “In 1943 the Alts became partial owners of a company called " Decal Lumax Ltd " which acted "in manufacturing and operating labels decal intended for all purposes“.
  • 13. P. n. 16.751-13, de Decalcomania Lumax Ltda., para efeito de aumento de capital Virti Cr$ 62.000,00 cabendo a cada sócio a sabaa• Herma Alt e Ludvik Alt, Cr$ 31.000.00 — fabrico exploração de etiquetas de decalcomania destinadas a todos os fins. Tempo ilideterminado. Arquivado sob o n. 159.038. P. n. 16751-13, for Lumax Decal Ltd., For the purpose of capital increase Cr $ 62,000.00 entitling shareholders Herma Alt and Ludvik Alt $ 31.000.00 - manufacturing and operating labels decal intended for all purposes. Time ilideterminado. Filed under n. 159,038. Newspaper listing Bill of Sale
  • 14. Newspaper ad for the Farber’s business in Rio
  • 15. A genealogy inquiry in the newsletter of the AHJB - The Archives of Jewish Brazil -Boletim do Arquivo Historico Judaica Brasileiro :
  • 16. Looking for the Farbers in Portuguese!
  • 17. In 1945 Ernest applied for a visa to visit his mother and father in Brazil. He was a citizen of the Dominican Republic.
  • 18. Initially it was thought that Ernest might have been part of the Dominican Republic Jewish community living in Sosua during the war. In regard to that community: In 1938, Rafael Trujillo, the Dominican Republic dictator, offered to take in Jews. Between 1940- 1945, Dominican visas were issued for 645 Jews. The refugees settled in Sosua, a tiny seacoast town near a jungle. Trujillo established the town with funding from the American Joint Distribution Committee.
  • 19. Jewish settlers were provided with 80 acres of land, 10 cows, a mule and a horse. Most of the settlers were German or Austrian Jews. In Sosua they eventually established a successful Jewish cooperative—Productos Sosua—which produces most of the country's meat and dairy produce.
  • 20. Further research showed that a smaller Jewish community in the Dominican Republic had been established in Cuidad Trujillo (Santo Domingo) three hours from Sosua.
  • 21. Additional information on Ernest Farber ‘s work history revealed that he actually did live in Cuidad Trujillo and was engaged in a familiar family profession….
  • 22. Ernest was in the meat business, like his uncles and cousin. He was an administrator in a matadero = slaughterhouse.
  • 23. Ernest was an administrator at Matadero Industrial, an industrial slaughterhouse (see postcard below). It was located in CUIDAD TRUJILLO (a city named after the dictator Trujillo, later renamed Santo Domingo, DR)
  • 24. In 1953, Ernest again applied for a visa to visit his mother in Brazil. Padre (Leib ) was listed as fallecido = dead
  • 25. Once again, in 1956, he applied for a visa to visit his mother in Brazil. This time he updated his picture and used Kornmehl as his last name.
  • 26. Accompanying Ernest in 1956 was his lovely wife, Maria de la Conception Menendez who was born in Spain.
  • 27. This ends the story of the Farbers, the final chapter in the history of the Vienna Kornmehl family. A remarkable story of survival against all odds.
  • 28. In deepest appreciation to: • Blima Lorber- Journalist, genealogy investigator and e-friend from Curitiba Brazil . • Isaac Lalo- Secretary of the synagogue “Centro Israelita de la Republic Dominicana” (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic) • Mag. Wolf-Erich Eckstein and Irma Wulz- Curators, Vienna Jewish Records at Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien . • Daniella Kimmich for translation of documents
  • 29. In deepest appreciation to: • Sylvia Schwarz- Sosua Jewish Museum archivist • The Municipal and Provincial Archives personnel, city of Vienna, Austria • Misha Mitsel, JDC (Joint Distribution Committee) Senior Archivist, New York • Dr. Hillel Koren for translation of documents • Edie Jarolim- for the inspiration to pursue the fate of lost members of the Vienna Kornmehl family