Research Dreams

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 11.20.41 AM

Recently I have been delving into new questions related to my book. I want to know more about the falsified passport that saved my grandfather from being sent to Auschwitz. This is what I know so far:

  • It was obtained from the Paraguayan Consulate in Bern Switzerland. I say “obtained” because I do not know if it was bought, bribed, forged or gifted from the consulate.
  • The then Mayor of Basel and a business associate of my grandfather were the ones who managed to get this passport.
  • There were actually several passports that these two men managed to get and they proceeded to send them to their Jewish friends in Amsterdam.
  • Of the approximate two-dozen families hoping to get these passports, only our family received one. The Nazis who were censoring the mail confiscated all the other documents.

The daughter of the businessman told me that her father’s non-Jewish secretary smuggled the passport into Germany and mailed it from there. I am assuming they thought mail out of Germany would be subject to less censoring than that from Switzerland. And here is where my new questions have been coming from. Who was this woman who smuggled the passport? Was she young, adventurous, and wanting to do something, anything, to help a Jew who was caught in Nazi occupied lands? Was she unhappily married and trying to make an impression on her boss? Did she offer to risk this journey for a handsome fee in order to make ends meet and feed her young children?

Last night I dreamt that I received a package in the mail. It contained her journal. In my dream I was as excited to receive this journal as my grandfather must have been when he opened the envelope with the passport. I had trouble holding back the tears of joy. She had spelled out exactly what she did and why. The journal even had her train tickets from Basel to Lörrach and a pen and ink drawing of the disguise she wore. There were also many pieces of paper in an envelope that needed to be put together like a puzzle. I was working hard on organizing those when I woke up. I really wish I had slept a little longer.

2 thoughts on “Research Dreams

  1. Lori says:

    I think I have about 100 questions as well!! The more I know/hear, the more questions and the more interested I am in YOU finding out the answers!

  2. Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld says:

    Hi Heidi,

    today I did some research in the Red Cross archives in The Hague. In Bobby’s file I found a note that your grandfather H. Lichtenstern, then living in Amsterdam, made an enquiry about Bobby by telephone on 2 December 1950!

    I also found a not in a letter by Bobby’s father-in-law Louis Bendien of 1 November 1947 which corroborates the fact that Bobby was arrested and taken to Scheveningen prison on 9 December 1941. Besides the graffiti in cell 362 this is the first record which gives this date.

    So far we couldn’t find any record of the four in the prison registers but a next search is planned for next week!

    Good luck with your new detective story!

    Hartelijke groeten

    Arnoud-Jan

    popje and me schreef op 6-8-2014 om 17:24: > WordPress.com > Heidi Fishman posted: ” Recently I have been delving into new > questions related to my book. I want to know more about the falsified > passport that saved my grandfather from being sent to Auschwitz. This > is what I know so far: It was obtained from the Paraguayan Consulate ” >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s