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The story of B.P. or P.G. ( Hungary, Romania, Israel and the United States)

Ts. P. and her sister were born to deaf parents (who did not speak). This is an almost unimaginable circumstance, but despite this fact, both of them could hear, established excellent families, performed advanced studies in university, and today are grandmothers.

 

In the initial interview it was told that they were born in Israel to deaf parents, the father born in Hungary (today part of Romania), and he survived all the terrors of Holocaust despite his disability. He was a slave laborer in the labor brigades that the Hungarians established, he had been in Auschwitz, and was liberated in Theriezenstadt. In Israel he had been imprisoned in the prison at Atlit. He also said that he had been born into a Haridi family in which there had been 15 brothers and sisters of whom he was the lone survivor. Because of the difficulties with communications (he does not read lips or use sign language) it was hard to determine the if he was fully participating in the search. For instance, he explained that he studied to be a dental technician. It was had to believe that a deaf person who did not use sign language was able to do that. At the start of the research the Israeli documents that were in Ts.P.'s possession were at the focus. Afterwards more and more documents were presented that gave witness that his history during the Holocaust, as he had related it, was quite accurate. After numerous telephone interviews with people from Dej it turned out that all knew B.P. from the time of the war but not from before.

 

Through these interviews, details were confirmed; for instance, that he had been at Auschwitz, at Thereseinstadt and at other places. All remarked that despite the deafness it was possible to understand him, that he was physically strong and handsome. Two women noted that he was a wonderful dancer.

 

After great efforts we got two key pieces of evidence: one over the telephone and the second face to face from people that knew him and his family before the war. They confirmed that he was a dental technician; that had studied under Dr. Israel in Dej; that his family were Hasidim and that there were many children. But mainly, we learned that before the war he was known as "Nemo" the Deaf, and that his name was not B.P. but rather P.G. That is to say that he had a different family name than that which he gave in the interview in Israel and which his daughters bore throughout their lives. Actually, the family name with which he arrived in Israel had been his first name. It is really not clear why he chose to change his name and, as is to be expected, there are various theories on this matter. As soon as his Hasidic family name became known, it became easier to find documents from Majto Dej and from other locations, and also to build a preliminary family tree.

 

The fact that he had been a dental technician was also confirmed by two formal documents. During the research we learned that he and two of his brothers were born to the first wife of his father, and the other children to the second wife (a sister of the first wife). 

 

Continuing the investigation, a fruitful contact was made with an Hasidic brother living in Brooklyn, NY, in the United States, and he confirmed several assumptions that had been made during the study. As often occurs among Hasidim, from the moment that his brother heard that P.G. was deaf, the cooperation stopped (we assume because there was a fear that that fact would hurt the "yichus" or family history that is so important in the Hasidic community).

 

Other results of the research:

  1. Despite Ts.P. and her sister knowing well the character and strength of their father, for some of the details needed confirmation and that was found in the research. P.G. was described as a cheerful man who knew how to connect with hearing people, and this helped him in the death and labor camps so that his handicap was not discovered by the Nazis.

  2. The initial outline of a family tree was built that started from nothing and grew to be impressive, and that can also serve future generations.

  3. The family name that was discovered during the research and his many rabbinical family connections (Hasidim from Fant in Transylvania).

The stories and the various outcomes of the research may lead in the future to the discovery of other relatives who live in Israel and around the world.

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