Travel Letters

Rhodes: "€ 6.00"

November 3, 2009
Rhodes

Dear Family and Friends:

The Old Town of Rhodes is a pleasant place. The Old is now spiffy, with well-restored city walls, churches and mosques. There's the harbor of course where The Colossus once stood. And since most of the 1.7 million visitors -- mostly from Great Britain and Germany - had already departed, I shared the streets and plazas with just one small yet enthusiastic group of Israeli cruise passengers.

Montevideo and the Polatschek Family Tree

Montevideo

Uruguay

El 2 de Mayo de 2012

My Dear Family and Friends,

Forty years ago, in 1972, my father Otto decided to draw a Polatschek Family Tree.  He wrote to his sister Ida Kiewe in London and to his cousins around the world to gather information.

 Eventually, with pen and paper, Otto drew a chart.  He included the names and dates of his relatives, past and present.  In addition, he added as much information as possible about his many uncles, aunts and cousins who had “disappeared” during the Holocaust in Europe in the 1940’s. 

When the large chart was complete, Otto mailed copies to his relatives in Europe, Canada, California, South America, South Africa and Israel.

Over the years, my father and I discussed our Family Tree.   I was curious about where his (my) relatives had lived in Europe and where their descendants were now living.

Jewish Salta

Salta

Argentina

May 21, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

The plaque on the wall reads “Estudio Contable, Ema Jaffi de Kohan, Contadora Publica National.

 After almost two weeks in the “deep freeze” of Patagonia, I wander about this lovely city with its spring-like weather (actually, right now it’s late fall). This city of about 500,000 is known as “Salta la Linda” – Salta the Beautiful.

I find the Cathedral, the Church of Saint Francis, and the Monastery.  Orange trees line the residential streets. I photograph the preserved colonial homes and offices with their ornaments and pastel walls.  I stroll through the Plaza of the Ninth of July where the kids are enjoying the mild temperatures. And by accident, I find that brass plaque affixed to the wall of a narrow street. 

I normally think of the surname Jaffe as a possible Jewish name.  But, Kohan? A possibility.

Mysterious Jewish Cemetery

Yeghegnadzor

Republic of Armenia

October 19, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, 

 My grandfather, Herman Poláček, had a dry and sometimes biting sense of humor.   Yet, he always delivered his remarks with a twinkle in his eye and a broad, devilish grin that spread from ear to ear across his round Slavic face.

When my Grandmother poured him a cup of coffee, black as night, he took a sip, smiled and said, “Warm ist es.”  (At least it’s warm.)   When she served a delicious Czech-style meal, he laughed and said, “Die bidienung ist sehr schlecht hier.”  (The service is not so good here.)

After he had purchased a burial plot he proudly and comically announced, “Es hat eine gute Sicht.”

Wedding of Miriam and Zev

Tzfat

Northern District

State of Israel

October 29, 2012

Larry Benowitz

Boston, Massachusetts.

USA

Dear Larry,

cc: Friends and Family

Thank you so much for inviting me to your daughter’s wedding.  I am sure that you and Brooke and all of your family are delighted that your daughter Miriam has chosen Zev Padway to be her husband.

I was happy to make a slight detour in my travels in the Caucasus and fly from Tbilisi, Georgia to Tel Aviv.  I rented a car for the beautiful drive north past Haifa and then east to Tzfat.  What could be more inspiring than the farmlands on the open plains and on the rolling hills of the Galilee?

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