One of the leads that I have not found an answer to in my research has been how my grandfather was able to get a falsified passport that helped to save his family. What my mother has told me is that someone who my grandfather did business with in Switzerland somehow obtained two dozen copies of this passport, which claimed that Heinz Lichtenstern was a Paraguayan citizen, and sent them to Amsterdam. One of the passports got through the Nazi mail censors and that passport meant that my grandfather was excused from a transport to Auschwitz.
My mother has always been satisfied with that amount of information, but I have more questions. Who was this man? Did he buy the passport from the consulate directly? Was the passport a forgery? Did the authorities ever get back to him when the other copies were intercepted in the mail? Was he frightened? Did he ever know that he saved my grandfather’s life?
My mother knows his last name and that is all. She has told me what it is, but I had no idea how to spell it. Mom tended to spell it one way – with an ‘i’. But every time I searched for that name on the internet I came up empty-handed.
Yesterday I was looking through my grandmother’s photo album for the hundredth time since I started this project, and I found a very important clue. There were three small snapshots. Each one was just about two square inches. And written above them in blue ballpoint ink on black paper, hardly legible, is the name of this man’s daughter. Now I have his last name with the correct spelling. There is no ‘i’. It is spelled with a ‘y’.
Back to the internet and scouring through many genealogy sites, I found him! I found him, and I found living relatives! They have pictures posted which look very similar to the ones in my grandmother’s album, and, the piece de resistance, the family tree says that the father, the man I have been looking for was a non-ferrous metals buyer – the same as my grandfather!
Now I just need to write a letter to the family with all my questions.