One of the best rewards for creating Searching for Hugo is hearing from strangers in unexpected places who recognize their ancestors in the book.
Take the story of Frank Mörler from Munich. While researching his family’s history, he typed his last name into the Amazon search box. To his surprise my book popped up. He clicked on the cover, and was even more astounded to see his great-great-granduncle’s signature right on the front cover. I had chosen one of Dr. Mörler’s many letters for the cover collage. If you recall, there were numerous letters to and from Dr. Mörler, the Privy War Councilor (War Ministry high official) in Berlin who was helpful in the search for Hugo. Frank was able to get in touch with me through my friend who works at the Frankfurt Historical Museum. I learned from Frank that Dr. Christian Mörler, like the Rosenthal family, came from Bad Nauheim. This explains the connection between the families and Dr. Mörler’s constant support for the search for Hugo.
I heard about several other descendants of letter writers from Ruth Marcus in Tel Aviv. Ruth’s father came from a shtetl near Grodno and Ruth has been researching the area’s history and knows much about that community. She told me that the great-grandson of Grodno’s Chief Rabbi Abram Gelbort lives in Jerusalem and was excited to see his great-grandfather’s letter on page 301. Ruth also alerted me to a mistake in the book. The signature of the letter from the Secretary of the Grodno Jewish Community was misread and written on pages 312 and 313 as A. Schulz. His name was actually Aaron Schulkes. Ruth informed me that his grandson lives in Australia. The mistake has since been corrected.
I’m hoping to hear from other descendants of letter writers or people mentioned in the book. I would be especially glad to find any descendants of Grodno’s brave Dr. Isaak Routenstein. Then there are connections of the heart. Has the book touched you in some way? Please share and comment below…