working blog for the Frank Dobia Archives

Archive for October, 2011

Melbourne Jewish Holocaust Center


Call with Frank

This post will be a lot of small items.  Apologies, hope to have something a bit more substantive going forward.

Long Time

It’s more than a little shameful I haven’t talked to Frank in a good long while.  Between finishing graduate school (yay!) and some other home-unfriendly issues, then the post-grad school blues, I haven’t been working on much of anything (genealogical or otherwise).

But it is time to resume.  The unintended break has re-energized me.  Going forward I hope to be more focused and efficient in the work Frank and I are doing.  I am trying to set up a plan with some achievable goals.  And of course will be recording this process on the blog here.

Blog-worthy

This blog seems to have fulfilled at least a partial purpose.  By documenting some of the work Frank is focused on here on the blog, it turns out the grandson of the man in Gmina Tuczępy who saved Frank’s life actually contacted Frank!  Frank has been in touch with the grandson, which I know has meant a great deal to him.

Yad Vashem “Righteous Among the Nations” Award

Frank is now attempting to procure a posthumous Yad VashemRighteous Among the Nations” award.  I hope that this will go through because although I have heard Frank tell the story numerous times, it never fails to touch me.  The recognition that except for the bravery of this one Polish man, Frank would not be alive today, this was a huge act of bravery and kindness.

Book

There is also a Polish language book that is going to be published that will have Frank’s story in it.  I think it’s being released this week.  Frank is on pins and needles waiting to see what is written.  Assume he’ll do an English translation of the excerpt.   When Frank does that I will post it here.

Yiddish Translations for Deakin University

Frank has been working on Yiddish translations for faculty members at the local Deakin University in Melbourne:  Associate Professor Andrea Witcomb* and Honorary Fellow Pam Maclean.  The documents are minutes from the Melbourne Jewish Holocaust Center that were handwritten in Yiddish.  From Professor Witcomb’s bio, it looks like they are working on The History of the Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre (JHMRC).

Andrea Witcomb Associate Professor (Research), Deakin University

*Andrea is “an Associate Professor(Research)in the field of cultural heritage. She is the Director of the Cultural Heritage Centre for Asia and the Pacific and is on the Executive Committee of the newly established Centre for Memory, Imagination and Invention (CMII).”

Melbourne and the Holocaust

The Melbourne area has a huge concentration of Holocaust survivors, so this is very important work.  The challenge, as Frank explains it, is that people alive today who know Yiddish mostly can read and write Yiddish, but only in its typed form.  Handwritten Yiddish is something that was much more common in Frank’s generation.  I can attest to this as I have come across a lot of family photographs of genealogical importance that have handwritten Yiddish on the back identifying the people in the photos.  If you don’t know handwritten Yiddish it’s a real problem.

Additionally, Frank’s input on these translations is also very valuable as these are documents written by fellow survivors and Frank can make sure references to Jewish life and life abroad are as correct as possible.

Łódź Ghetto Postcards and ID Cards

Frank has had Łódź Ghetto postcards and ID cards up on his old website for a long time.  We have been in touch with the awesome Nolan Altman to submit the data behind these cards to JewishGen but it will require preparing the metadata, which I have obviously dropped the ball on.

I was excited to hear that his daughter Keren Dobia, a very gifted photographer, photographed the items properly.  I hope that I can help out with adding the metadata and hopefully getting translations of the different languages attached to each item, either by Frank or with the help of the invaluable JewishGen ViewMate program, where volunteers will translate images for you.

Frank said that a descendant of Emil ALTSCHUL had contacted him after finding the image on his website recently.  More genealogy connections!