Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Ruhl and Shoura - two surprises in one day

I love the internet and social media. I understand there are many not very nice things about it, but it is thanks to it that I was able to find my long lost relatives in Argentina, Ukraine, Luxemburg, Israel, Germany and most recently the US and Canada.

It was one regular working day to me, and I was expecting no surprises. Days like this one happened before, where I was expecting nothing and all of a sudden, Shlomi Tolpolar from Germany calls me on Skype saying he is my cousin, or Mikhail Tolpolar calls my phone from Ukraine and we can barely communicate because I can't speak Yiddish or Russian. Well, a few days ago it happened again, now through Facebook. I got a message, out of the blue, from Alik Oshmiansky. Through his profile was writing somebody named Rachel (or Ruhl) Tolpolar, from Los Angeles, saying she was a cousin. A few hours later I receive a message from Shoura Canmore., from Calgary, saying she was my cousin as well! I was dumbfounded. You would be too. I needed some time to digest it and, mostly, ask my dad about these possible relationships.

Ruhl and us - on Skype
Shortly, this is the story: 
Ruhl and Shoura's mom was Miriam Ludner, whose maiden name was Tolpolar. Miriam's father was Velvl Tolpolar, Meyer's brother. Meyer Tolpolar was my great-grandfather. How did Ruhl knew this? Because her mom would always tell her the story of her uncle and aunt's murder. Miriam knew all of it, just like we do! Ruhl said the Tolpolars were not rich, but had a good life, had cows and got milk and cheese from them.

Miriam was born in Oliscani, a small village in Moldova, like all Tolpolars. She had 2 brothers, Haim and Shlomo, and 3 sisters. One of them was Betty, killed in a war bombing in 1941. Haim wanted to leave Oliscani and ended up in Iasi (Romania). Miriam followed her brother's footsteps and also moved to Iasi in 1931, the same year where her uncle was murdered and my grandfather left to Brazil. It was heard that Shlomo tried to move to Brazil as well, but was killed in trying.

Miriam was evacuated to Kazakhstan, and that's how she survived. In 1943, when the allies started to win the war and German power started to dwindle, Miriam was able to go back to Oliscani, but there was nothing there for her to find anymore. So she went to Orhei, where Ruhl and Shoura were born. They left Moldova in 1977 to Israel, and then North America.

Ruhl showing a picture of a cousin - looks just like my dad!

Ruhl's family was much closer to all atrocities committed in the war and suffered much more with immigration and family displacement. Speaking to her, I had the feeling that my grandfather found a haven in Brazil, and had the best life he could have imagined outside Europe. 

Miriam always tried to find the other Tolpolars, but was unsuccessful. Until one day Ruhl was on the internet and accidently stumbled upon Mamaliga Blues homepage. So thanks again for the internet and social media, and I believe more surprises are to come. They always do.

1 comment:

alik oshmiansky said...

Cassio, it is absolutely incredible how far you went to collect all information about the Tolpolars!
Thank you! For us it was also very important to find out about our mother's relatives.
She was not able to find any Tolpolars when she was alive.

It is a very interesting story to know not just for us but for many families coming from the 'old'country.
Best wishes to you and family!
Good luck to you in all you do!
Rachel Oshmiansky(Tolpolar)