Wednesday, January 2, 2013


The picture sent to Emil and Dina, the couple I met at the Hanukkah party, revealed many things. Firstly, I must say, it shows a person I thought I would never see so clear: Sioma Tolpolar. Sioma was Fima's brother and he was killed in Cepeleutz by Cuzists in 1941 together with his wife Iza. When we went to Moldova in 2008, we went to the very site where the murder happened.

During my research, I could only find only one picture of Sioma available, in the Yedinitz Yizkor book. And it was not a very good one. Nobody else connected to Sioma seemed to have any other pictures of him. Until we see this photo. Sioma is in his very young years, his face is clear and bright. I was amazed to see it. His past is more alive to me now.

Secondly, on the opposite side of Sioma, stands another surprising revelation. The woman on the far left is nothing but Hanna Davidovich, married to Josef Nisenblat, brother of my grandmother (Rachel Nisenblat, from Orhei)! The world is getting smaller, but in those days, for the Jewish community in Bessarabian villages, it was also very small. So Hanna Davidovich knew Sioma Tolpolar, both related to me and to Emil. Hannah is probably Emil grandmother's sister, as all Davidovich sisters are in the picture.

Ultimately, the Romanian writings behind the letter bewildered me. I asked my dear friend Rachel Fain to translate it:
“This picture was taken with the occasion of the visit of our cousin (male) to Orhei
 And with the occasion that my cousin (female) left for ---------- “baise”. Frieda, Mara, Anushca Sioma “

The male cousin is Sioma. Now who would be the female cousin? Anushca - or better, Hannah? And what is "Baise"?  The name of a place or somebody's? Rachel could not tell. And next to it, something is erased. Could it be that they erased the word because they were afraid of something? Could this word be "Brazil" and the Davidovich and Tolpolar cousins got together in Orhei one last time before Hannah's departure...? We know for sure that she ended up in Brazil.

"Baise" is still a mystery, and my mind creates unconfirmed suppositions and relationships. This picture proves that Emil and I are most likely related through Hannah Davidovich - she is the main link.

Hannah passed away in Israel in 1994. She had three children: Ari, Cecilia and Mario.
Sioma never managed to escape the Holocaust.
This picture could be their last one together. And I'm sure they never imagined someday we would be talking about them.