Saturday, August 8, 2009

FINDING LONG LOST RELATIVES IN NEW YORK

Before going to Moldova, Shlomi mentioned to me a certain Boris Nusinkis, who was a relative from the Tolpolars. I just didn’t have any time to research about it, but once I came back from the trip, I started to look into it more carefully. Asking my relatives in Brazil, it seems there was a Nusinkis who was married to a Tolpolar and he was supposed to have moved to the USA. But that was all info I could get. So it had to be related to Boris. I then took a very simple and fast route: went on US Search (which does not work out every time) and looked for Boris Nusinkis. It gave me an address and a phone number.
It took me a few weeks to gather courage before I could call the number. On the other side of the line, Irina, Boris’ wife picked it up. She said she would ask him and they would research about it to see if my story made any sense. They were in NY and I was in LA. On Saturday at 5 o’clock in the morning I got a call from a very exciting Irina: it seemed we were really related!
I was already going to New York for a wedding on October 2008, so it all worked out perfectly. We exchanged e-mails and arranged to meet. I sent the Nuskinkis in advance some old pictures I had of Tolpolars in Bessarabia. I was extremely excited to hear more about our connection and the other side of the Tolpolars, not Brazilian or Israeli – but a very recent family history in Ukraine.

Amongst the pictures I sent there was one of my grandfather when he was young. When Boris, Irina and their son Anatoly came to pick me up in Brooklyn, the first thing I saw coming out of the car was Boris with his arm straight up holding a picture of my grandfather – the exact same one I had sent! I don’t remember the exact words, but he came out of the car saying something like “Now I know who this is!!!!!!” Sure, it was my grandfather. In a few seconds, right there in that street in Brooklyn, a Tolpolar family connection which was lost by travels, immigration and language was reunited again.

Boris is the grandson of Nechome Tolpolar and Shlomo Nusinkis, whom married and lived in Chernovitz, now Ukraine. Nechome was the older sister of my grandfather. Shlomo and Nechome had 3 children: Malvina, Wlad (died in 1993) and Isaac (died in 1993). Isaac had Boris and Matviei Nusinkis (who also lives in NY). Wlad Nusinkis had two daughters: Hana (lives in Giessen, Germany) and Galina (lives in Israel). Hana has a 25 year old daughter, Inna. Galina has 2 sons in Israel. Boris married Irina and had Michael and Anatoly. Nechome and Malvina were killed by the Nazis in the woods. Shlomo died in 1936, before the war, and is buried in Sorocca.
Boris’ last connection with the Tolpolars was through Fima, Shlomi’s grandfather and my father’s first cousin. The thing was that Fima was one of the last Tolpolars to leave Russia and was a very important lawyer at the time – a lot of people knew him.
But better than reuniting again, Boris also knew another sister of my grandfather whom we didn’t know much about either: Surke. Surke Tolpolar used to live in Chernovitz too, and had 2 daughters: Frima and Bronya. Boris would see Surke every weekend; she was “Aunt Surke”. She passed away in 1968/1969 at the age of 80 and her grave should be at the Chernovitz old Jewish cemetery, with her husband, Chaim Fishman. Frima and Bronya came to Philadelphia and died there, in a nursing home.
And now Boris and I, two grandsons of the old timers Tolpolars with very different life stories and ages (he is about 50 and I’m 34), were right next to each other. To me it’s just amazing how the world turns and even with all its wars, tragedies and things that make people apart, we are still able to reunite after so many years. Well, I do have to thank the internet!
Boris’ family was extremely kind. Irina was also very excited, taking pictures and explaining life in the old Soviet Union. They took me to Coney Island for a Jewish Russian experience. It was great. I feel the Tolpolar family got bigger – and that makes you feel comfortable.

After a long day of telling stories, remembrances and making lost connections, the Nusinkis dropped me off back to Brooklyn. But before leaving, they demanded one more thing: to see my wife, Lara. So I went to get her and we took a picture.
We are still in touch and met again when I had another opportunity to go to NY (which I will tell later about it). I then met their other son, Michael. And they met my sister too.
Sometimes I think if the Tolpolars in Besarabia would ever imagine this could happen, and if there had been no war, if I would have grown up having Boris and his family next to my family and maybe we would still be in Moldova, Russia or Ukraine and could be neighbors, classmates or work mates. In any case, history was very different and now here we are to continue it.

Next: an unexpected e-mail leading to a surprising discovery.

4 comments:

Ina said...

Hello, I was reading your blogspot and I found my name in it. So, my name is Ina, I´m the daughter of Anna Nusinkis (the daughter of Wlad Nusinkis).
We are living in Germany, in the same town like Shlomi Tolpolar. He told us something, that there are relatives in Brazil, but we did not take it serious. But now we are looking at your blogspot and interested more and more in your stories and experiences. Maybe we can stay in contact. We are in contact with Shlomi and with Boris and Irina Nusinkis, I even visited them in 2004.
Maybe we can also share pictures and information, because we have not so much of both.
Waiting for your reply.
Ina
goldinna@gmx.de

miltondoprado said...

Great story, Cassio!

Looking forward the next chapter!

Abração,

Milton

Cassio Tolpolar said...

Thanks, Milton! Will be posting it soon!

Cassio

Daniel Nucinkis said...

Dear Cassio,
Hope you read this, even though the post is older. I found your blog and was amazed to see Boris and Irina there. I don't know if they mentioned me to you, but I went to see them twice in NYC, also got to see Little Russia, wonderful. Anyway, I found them some time ago via google, looking for relatives. My grandfather, Avrum Nucinkis, moved to Brazil in the 1920s, with his brother Isaac. Isaac's children and grandchildren are still there, in Bahia, Sao Paolo and elsewhere. I haven't been able to figure out a connection with the NY Nusinkis. I think the spelling difference is just a result of different latinizations of the cyrillic version, where both S-sounds are spelled 'C'. But I was very excited when I found mentions of Soroca and Yedinetz on your blog: Soroca is the hometown of my grandmother, Ita Derkautzan, and Yedinetz is where my grandfather was from. If you're interested in joining your search and mine, please get in touch:
dn@soton.ac.uk
Best wishes,
Daniel Nucinkis