my global mishpocha - Die großen Spuren des Sigmund Klein

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One of the most delightful outcomes of my research into my own family's history has undoubtedly been the most wonderful discovery of quite a few (literally) distant relatives all around the globe.

The first one of those distant Jewish relatives had been Pieter Kohnstam in Florida. His own story and history as a childhood friend of Anne Frank and her family, and the story of his family's escape from Nazi persecution is truly unique and remarkable. It is particularly kind of him (and his wonderful wife Susan who gives her whole-hearted support) to be ready to participate in online events. His lively example as a Holocaust survivor in the 21st century can teach us all so much!

Some other genealogical traces led me to London where I could get in touch with Rabbi Ari Kayser, who is also a Klein-descendant whose family luckily could escape persecution. Even though Ari now lives in London other members of his family live in Israel, which means that with Pieter and his family in the USA there is somebody on the American continent, but Ari's family in Israel has put Asia on the 'family map' as well. This imaginary family map, of course, stands only for my rather silly ambition to be able to boast of relatives on all continents.

So, obviously, Africa and Australia were still missing. It was thus a very happy coincidence that another Klein-descendant, Simon Lowe, who also lives in London, had discovered my book in 2021. Being not only a very kind and generous person, but also a very skilled historian and researcher, it was Simon who helped me with regard to the Africa and Australia issue.

After our initial contact in early 2021 it had not taken Simon very long to help me get in touch with distant cousins in South Africa and Australia. Both Darryl Kaufmann, who lived in Germany for some time and now lives in Australia, and his sister Janice are direct descendants of Bertha Kaufmann (née Klein, who was my great-great-grandfather's sister). Bertha's son had escaped to South Africa in the 1930s where Janice still lives.

As a consequence, I think it is just fabulous how a rather limited research project (on a 'little affair' in the history of my own family) has turned into something almost amounting to a global project.

And yet, it has not only to do with my certainly somewhat laughable ambition to discover relatives on all continents (Antarctica is as of yet missing ...) that I am so childishly happy about this 'spin-off story'. It is not only that things have developed from such modest beginnings (simply trying to find out more about one family member) to a 'global scale'. What I find even more delightful is the fact that the focus on the past has been turned into a focus on the present.

Naturally, the horrid events of the past must and can never be forgotten, but in some way what started out as a potentially dreary journey into the gloomiest chapter of German history has now resulted in a global network of 'cousins' by birth and friends by choice.

Vielen Dank für Ihr Interesse am Buch Die großen Spuren des Sigmund Klein

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