By now, everyone who reads this should know Gertrude Priess-Spiro, the woman who arranged to have Pnina Gutman smuggled from the Warsaw Ghetto in August or September 1942. New information about her has recently been discovered that provides details about her marriage to Leo Spiro. It also explains why she was listed under her maiden name Gertrude Priess-Spiro on the Pawiak transport records to Auschwitz. During my recent trip to Berlin, I was able to visit the address at 176 Brunnenstrasse, where Gertrude grew up and lived for a while after she was married. The building is about three blocks south of what was once the Berlin Wall running along Bernauer Str. It is located at
The keynote at the 27th annual International Symposium on Human Identification (ISHI27) was given by internationally recognized video journalist David O’Shea. O’Shea addressed the conference on the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Asociación Civil Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo), a human rights organization formed in Argentina in 1977 in response to the disappearance of hundreds of children who were either kidnapped or born to mothers who were “disappeared” political dissidents during the country’s “Dirty War” in 1974-1983.
Flight to Berlin and Arrival Thursday, August 11, 2016 My trip from Los Angeles to Berlin went smoothly with a layover in Keflavik Interntional Airport. It is the cleanest airport in the world. It felt more like an igloo than an airport – snug from the elements. Yet it was a beehive of activity – with people snacking in one of several cozy cafes, or browsing the stores which naturally offer beautiful Icelandic sweaters and other products. The sandwiches are the most beautiful sandwiches I have ever seen. I was tempted to exchange $10 for Icelandic krona at the money exchange, but thriftiness got the better of me. The gates are small- there is
By the time I was asked to find Claude and Marie Dexter* in France, I had pulled a few unclaimed property rabbits out of unclaimed property hats so that I had become the company’s patron saint of hopeless cases. Typically, when they finally got around to assigning me a case like Claude’s, they had exhausted all their own resources yet had not been able to find their man. My first stop was my favorite website www.numberway.com, with links to telephone directories worldwide. France’s online Pages Blanches were tedious to navigate back then. You had to individually search each of the 96 “départements” (France’s equivalent of US states) and overseas départements and territories. These included island territories in the Atlantic,
When people ask what I do for a living, I tell them “I read minds”. This is not far from the truth. The case of the Chedidi’s* stands out in this regard. In about 2007, the international investment company I worked for gave me an assignment to find a couple named Jack and Lily Chedidi* who were owners of unclaimed property in the US. Their last known address was in London. My only responsibility was to return the phone number of the couple or their next of kin, leaving the business end of things to the investment company. Easy enough. I searched the UK phone books on www.numberway.com, to discover there was only one