The Power of a Picture

There are times when words fail, no matter how gifted the writer. Goethe, one of the most gifted, said that “Music begins where words end,” but even choosing the music for the above picture would be difficult.

I will say very little about the photo reproduction and leave the rest to you. The photo was taken at a wedding, the happiest of occasions. The year was 1928. The place, Hungary. The Jewish wedding of Ibolya Heisler and Erno Kaufmann. By now you are getting the picture.

Fifty-eight people, all numbered and most identified. Many would eventually be numbered differently: with tatooed identification numbers placed on the left forearm as they were swept into the Holocaust during World War II (1939 – 1945).

April 8th is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is a day to honor those lost, but also intended to warn us never to forget what happened to them; and never to permit this depth of human cruelty to occur again. And yet, my hunch is that for the survivors and their children there has been no difficulty in remembering. The problem is instead that it is so difficult to forget.

Only two of those pictured survived the Nazi attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe.

Each one with a life much like yours or mine. Each one. If you click on the photo, you will see an enlarged version and be able to make out the faces. Their names — the names that the Nazis replaced with numbers — can be found below.

The photo comes courtesy of the children of the two survivors.

M=male; F=female Taken at Ibolya Heisler’s wedding

(6th revision 7/7/86) Date:  Summer of 1928 (LGF)

1. F Unknown relative of #31 (OHM).  KEMPFNER, Piroska, niece of #48 (LGF)

2. M Eldest son of Isidor BRAUN, brother of #43 (OHM); BRAUN, Francis, son of #18 & #48 (LGF)

3. F HEISLER, Hermin, nee Reisz, sister of #6, married HEISLER, Ferenc, nephew of #13 & 1st cousin #37 (TH, MH, & LGF)

4. F Rosa, our maid (LGF)

5. F KEMPFNER, Irma, daughter of #9 & niece of #48 (LGF)

6. F HEISLER, Ilona, nee Reisz, wife of #37, sister of #3 (TH, MH, OHM, LGF)

7. F unknown KAUFMANN relative

8. F HEISLER, Imre’s wife, Sari (OHM):  HEISLER, Sara, wife of 1st cousin of #37 (LGF)

9. F KEMPFNER, Berta, sister-in-law of #48 **

10. F HEISLER, Ilus, daughter of #13 by 1st wife; sister of #37; married MARKUS, Imre (OHM); HEISLER, I., daughter of #13 by 1st wife, died in Auschwitz (LGF)

11. F HEFFER, Sara, daughter of #15 (LGF)

12. M KAUFMANN cousin (LGF)

13. M HEISLER, Marton (Mor) married (1) Julia Fischer (2) Arabella Weisz (MH, OHM, TH)

14. M KAUFMANN cousin (LGF)

15. F HEFFER, Theresa, second cousin of #43 (LGF)

16. M Unknown, KAUFMANN relative (LGF)

17. F KEMPFNER, Berta, sister-in-law of #48. **#9 & #17 are different persons (LGF)

18. M BRAUN, Isidor, brother of #43 (LGF)

19. F KAUFMANN, Katharine, sister of #45 & daughter of #46 (LGF)

20. F unknown KAUFMANN relative (LGF)

21. M KAUFMANN, Bernard, brother of #45 & son of #46 (LGF)

22. M Probably the gardener! (AMH)

23. F Wife of Bernard KAUFMANN, #21, (LGF)

24. F SCHWARTZ, Wilma, daughter of #25 & distant cousin of #43 (LGF)

25. F SCHWARTZ, Bertha, third cousin of #43 (LGF)

26. F SCHWARTZ, Vilma sister-in-law of #25 & relative of #43 (LGF)

27. F SCHWARTZ, Sydonia, cousin of #43 (LGF)

28. F Unknown KAUFMANN relative

29. F HEISLER, Margit, daughter of #43 married Greiner, Isidor (OHM) (LGF)

30. F HEISLER, Arabella Weisz, 2nd wife of #13 (MH)

31. F KOVACS, Frieda, nee Braun, sister of #43 (OHM); KEMPFNER (changed to KOVACS) Frieda, nee Braun (LGF)

32. M SCHNEIDER, Sandor married to #33 (TH, LGF)

33. F HEISLER, Bozsi, daughter of Heisler, Samuel & Fanny (TH); Heisler, Elizabeth married to #32 (LGF)

34. F Piroska, daughter of #42 who is 2nd cousin of #43 (LGF)

35. M Husband of #34 – they divorced later (LGF)

36. M ADLER, Bela, husband of #39 (LGF)

37. M HEISLER, Mihaly aka Michael, son of #13 by 1st wife (TH, MH)

38. F FISCHL, Josephine nee Heffer, daughter of #15 (LGF)

39. F BRAUN, Piri, cousin from #43’s side (OHM):  BRAUN, Piri, daughter of #18 & #48 & niece of #43; married (1) ADLER, (2) SPITZER, George (LGF)

40. F Baby:  FISCHL, Susan, daughter of #38 (LGF)

41. F Grandma KEMPFNER, mother of #48, & mother-in-law of #18 (LGF)

42. F SINGER, Sidonia, second cousin of #43 (LGF)

43. F HEISLER, Roza nee Braun married H., Jakab, brother of #13 (OHM, MH, TH, LGF)

44. F HEISLER, Ibolya, bride of #45, daughter of #43 (OHM, TH, LGF)

45. M KAUFMANN, Erno, groom of #44 (OHM); the bridegroom (LGF)

46. F KAUFMANN, mother of #45 — this was a wedding picture (OHM, LGF)

47. F SZILAGYI, Gundi, #43’s daughter by 1st marriage (OHM):  SZILAGYI, Kunigunda nee Braun, 1/2 sister of #43 by her father’s 1st marriage (LGF)

48. F BRAUN, Gizella, nee Kempfner, wife of #18 & sister-in-law of #43 (LGF)

49. F HEFFER, Ilona, daughter of #15 (LGF)

50. M Unknown Kaufmann relative (LGF)

51. F HEFFER, Jolan, daughter of #15 (LGF)

52. F KAUFMANN grandchild (LGF)

53. F GREINER, Edith, daughter of #29 (TH, LGF) married HOLZER, Alois (LGF)

54. F HEISLER, Klari, daughter of #3 & HEISLER, Ferenc, nephew of #13 (TH)

55. F GREINER, Lenke, daughter of #29 married Farkas Laszlo (TH, MH, LGF)

56. F KEMPFNER, Piroska, daughter of #17 (LGF)

57. M HEISLER, Laszlo (Laci), son of #43 (TH, OHM, LGF)

58. ? Baby on right:  Probably the child of #21 & #23 (AMH)

Dog:  Bundy (OHM);  Bundas (LGF)

Note: Sources indicated in parentheses ( ) following entry are:  OHM = Olga Heisler Marko;  TH = Tibor Heisler; MH = Mihaly or Michael Heisler; LGF = Lenke Greiner Farkas; AMH = Anne McDonnel Heisler

For a very different story on the same subject, click on the link: To Save One Life Is As If You Have Saved the World: Nicholas Winton and the “Kindertransport”.

6 thoughts on “The Power of a Picture

  1. Not sure “like” is quite the right sentiment for this, but thank you for posting it. Photos like this make things real in a way all the textbooks can’t, somehow.

    Like

    • You are welcome. And I agree with your ambivalence about the word “like,” but appreciate that you did “like” it.

      Like

  2. “A million candles burning for the help that never came.”
    Leonard Cohen
    You Want It Darker

    May peace be with them all. International Holocaust Remembrance Day – Never Forget!

    Like

    • Those who rightly call us to remember also have another obligation. To be aware of the history leading to the Holocaust and to take political action now against those who encourage racial, national, and religious discrimination. And those who enable them by their assent or silence. False claims against minorities in the USA echo the words out of Berlin in the 1930s. Taking such political action in resistance to POTUS and his feckless supporters in government honors the memory of the murdered Jews, Roma, and Homosexuals of Europe.

      Like

      • I’m sorry that even on this day of personal remembrance and reflection, the conversation turns to politics.  

        Would but that all politicians, both on the left and on the right, have your good heart.  “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. ”  No greater proof is needed of the veracity of Lord Acton’s wise words than to look at ALL those in power today.  The relentless desire on both sides to grab and hold power at any cost, the rampant hypocrisy, the in your face double standards, the relentless grandstanding with little regard for this great country or her people, have brought us to this sad time for America.  Maybe you should run for President, you would certainly have my vote.

        Like

  3. Thanks for your vote. Set aside those who sustained a personal loss and whose family tragedy condemns them to revisit it. But for those others who are asked “never to forget,” what is the point unless it engages us to prevent another iteration or metastasis of the same affliction? What use is such “reflection” if it is stillborn and, by its silence, permits a repetition of similar awfulness today? A version of awfulness that has already happened to children separated from parents, refugees who request asylum (as the Jews onboard the St. Louis did), etc. So, yes, remembrance must turn to politics for all who do not mourn as a personal event. Indeed, the lead up to the Shoah came in the form of political and legal acts by a corrupt government.

    False equivalences like the one you offer (“desire on both sides to grab and hold power at any cost”) echo POTUS’s comment (“some very fine people on both sides”) in defense of the neo-Nazis and white nationalists at Charlottesville in the summer of 2017). This is how it starts.

    Like

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