A Crime Was Committed, But What Happened to the Accused?

My mother’s second cousin, Margie Kateley, was married in 1947 when she was just 16 years old. Margie and her husband, Kenneth Dorman, had six children. The third oldest child, Jackie, was the victim of a horrific murder.

In 1973, Jackie was divorced and living with her 8 month old daughter in a trailer park in Redding, California. Her body was found on April 15th when a babysitter arrived to care for her child while Jackie worked at her job as a barmaid. She had been stabbed in the stomach and throat, shot in the head and disembowled. The baby was found unharmed.

Her neighbor 45 year old Miley Glazzard, was arrested the following day. He was charged with her murder and held in a local jail.

Those are the facts I’ve found. I knew Jackie had died young, but didn’t know how until a newspaper article showed up as a hint in my ancestry account. I haven’t been able to find anything else. Was there a trial? Was Miley released? Why aren’t there any more newspaper articles? In California, criminal histories compiled by law enforcement agencies are not public record, so that is a dead end.

I can think of several possibilities:
  • He pled guilty and there was no trial
  • He was decided to be mentally incapable of standing trial and remanded to a mental health facility
  • There was a trial, but there are no newspaper records (seems unlikely)
  • He was exonerated
  • After 1973, Miley disappears from the city directories until 1994 when he reappears with a Redding address, continuing every year until his death in 2000. It seems likely to me that he was in prison or a mental health facility during that time.

    This is a disturbing story with an unsatisfying ending. I like tidy endings or at least resolution, and this story doesn’t have one. I’d like to know the rest of the story. If he did it, why? If not, is the case unsolved? I hope that someone was held accountable for Jackie’s death. Her family deserves answers, I hope they got them.

    Response to 52 Ancestors Weekly Prompt: Crime and Punishment

    Update: Thanks to https://findingmyancestors.wordpress.com/ and some articles from the Sacrament Bee, I now know that Miley went on trial and was convicted of Jackie’s murder. He claimed he was framed by investigators, but a jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to life in a state prison. He must have been paroled in 1994, when he starts to appear in the Redding City Directories again.

    Brick Wall Dreams

    According to dictionary.com, dreaming about a brick wall means that you are trying to build a prosperous future for yourself and you are possibly encountering difficulties. Bricks are seen as obstacles, “a block” in life.

    I don’t know if my great-grandfather, Frank Kateley, dreamed about brick walls, but he certainly encountered obstacles. When he was 20, he was injured in a Civil War battle near Kindrew Mountain, Georgia. A cannonball struck a rail file where he was working, crippling his right hand and injuring his right eye. He overcame his injuries, returned to Minnesota, married his sweetheart, and got on with his life. If not exactly prosperous, he was able to care for his wife and growing family working on area farms.

    Frank longed for a farm of his own, so in 1873, he applied for and received a land grant for 160 acres in Jackson, Minnesota. Unfortunately, 1873 was the beginning of the great grasshopper infestation in Minnesota, and Frank lost his farm.

    Disaster struck again in 1887. While he was working in a blacksmith shop, a hammer broke and a piece struck him in the left eye, putting his eye out.

    A lot of brick’s in Frank’s life, but from what I have found in my research, he had a resilient personality and managed to come back from all of them and make the most of his life.


    Response to 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Weekly Prompt: Brickwall

    The Great Isolation

    I first read about my Great-Aunt, Nettie Alvord Stott, when I was doing some research for a story about her brother, my Great-Uncle Pearl. This week’s prompt gives me a chance to tell a little of her story.

    Sweetgrass Hills, Montana

    The story begins with her husband, Lester Stott. Lester was born in Wisconsin in 1862. When he was young, his family relocated to Brookings, South Dakota. They had always longed for the unsettled open spaces of the west, and in 1895 the entire family joined a wagon train and traveled to the Flathead Valley in Montana where they settled.

    Lester was a hawker, traveling around the country selling odds and ends out of the back of a wagon, doing shoe repair, carpentry and other odd jobs. In his travels, he met my great-aunt Nettie, who was a school teacher in Martin County, Minnesota. They were attracted to each other and began courting via correspondence. In 1900, after 8 years of letters, Lester returned to Minnesota and on February 10, they were finally married.

    They lived in Kalispell, Montana for several years and started a family there. In 1903, Lester, Nettie and the baby boarded a train for a visit to Minnesota. They were eager for relatives to see the baby. While they were on the train, Lester heard the Sweetgrass Hills calling him, and he decided to do some prospecting for gold. So, he got off the train and sent Nettie and the baby ahead. He didn’t find any gold, but he fell in love with the hills and decided to homestead there. Nettie and their son Ray and her brother Pearl Alvord, joined them later in the year.

    Living in the Sweetgrass Hills at the turn of the century was a very lonely and isolated life. The ranchers only went into town to pick-up supplies or for cattle drives. The women usually went along. They cooked for the ranchers, and in town purchased kitchen and sewing supplies. It was also a time for visiting with other women.

    Although the ranchers didn’t leave often, mail arrived every day but Sunday. It was their link to the outside world. It was where they got all national news, as well as news from their loved ones. It was a way of breaking the loneliness and isolation.

    Getting the mail was a process. It came by train out of Chester. At Chester the mail was transferred to a team and wagon who carried it to Whitlash where it was delivered. It was quite a deal to get mail, but it came every single day but Sunday and it was never late.

    In 1916, Lester and Nettie sold their ranch and cattle and moved to Whitlash to avoid the long, lonely and brutal winters. They moved their log cabin to town and it became the general store as well as their home. In 1918, Nettie became the postmaster for the area and their house expanded to include the Post Office. It was a place to visit while picking up your mail, often in Nettie’s kitchen. The post office was in one corner of the store. It had a counter inside and then, on the outside, the boxes opened on the porch, so people could get their mail at night.

    Nellie served as the Postmaster until October 1928, when she and Lester moved to Chatteroy, Washington. Her daughter, Louisa and her husband Ted Allen, moved into the house/post office. Ted became the storekeeper and Louisa was appointed the new postmaster. She raised her own family while continuing Nettie’s tradition of dispensing mail and gossip. At her retirement in 1974, she was recognized as the longest acting postmaster in the United States.

    Lester passed away in Chatteroy in 1937. After his passing, Nettie went to Oregon to live with her daughter Ellen. In April of 1946, she went back to Whitlash for a visit. She died there on Easter Sunday.

    People like Nettie and Lester were instrumental in settling the west. Nettie’s work with the Post Office was vital to breaking the great isolation and loneliness that was common and was also an important connection for families. I enjoyed learning about her and her story.


    Response to 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Weekly Prompt: Great

    The Piano Lessons

    It was 1929 and the great depression had begun. Times were hard for a lot of families in Ceylon, Minnesota. Even before the depression, times were hard for my widowed grandmother and her five children. They had a place to live and food on the table, but there was no money for anything extra.

    I don’t know who in the family was musical, but there was a piano in the house, and my Aunt Lola, who was about eleven at the time, decided she wanted to play. Grandma told her there was no money for lessons, but she was insistent. None of her family was able to teach her, so grandma figured out another way for her to learn.

    Grandma’s good friend, Claribel, was the pianist for the Methodist church and the minister’s wife. As the minister’s wife she had many events to go to or host and she had two young sons and no one to watch them. Grandma and Claribel came to an agreement. Claribel would provide piano lessons for two of grandma’s children and they would provide babysitting service whenever it was needed.

    It was decided that Lola, who wanted the lessons and my mother, her older sister, Mary, would be ones to learn, or as my mother put it, they were the victims. Mom was not so sure about this deal. She didn’t care if she learned to play the piano, and she was really sure she didn’t want to babysit. The children, Clarence, called Pete and his younger brother, Walter, called Fritz, were well known rascals, and babysitting was not one of her favorite activities.

    Despite my mother’s objections, the arrangement went forward, and both girls learned to play the piano. Lola became a good musician, and was still playing its her late eighties. Mom ended up enjoying the piano. She was never very good, but she learned to like the lessons and love Claribel.

    In addition to teaching them piano, Claribel instilled a love of music in both girls that extended to all six of their combined children. All of us learned to play instruments, and two of us played through college and beyond.

    As for those two rascally boys, Clarence (Pete) became a well known professor and expert in American Studies at George Washington University. Walter (Fritz) grew up to be a lawyer, senator, and 42nd Vice-President of the United States, Walter Mondale.


    Response to 52 Ancestors Weekly Prompt: Music

    Disproving a Family Story

    There was a world pandemic of scarlet fever between 1820 and 1880 and several severe epidemics occurred in North America. Outbreaks continued in waves that occurred until the advent of penicillin in the mid-twentieth century.

    In early 1924, there was an outbreak in Martin County Minnesota and numerous townspeople and farmers in the Ceylon area lost loved ones. My mother often told the story of losing both her grandparents and her little brother. Her grandparents died first around the same time. Because the house was under quarantine, there was no traditional wake. They were laid out in the front room, near the big front window so relatives and others could safely walk by and view the bodies. Mom remembers her family parading past wearing their Sunday best clothes. Because it was thought to be safer to be outdoors, the funeral was graveside at the local cemetery.

    Shortly after the funeral, my mother’s youngest brother, Dean, became sick with the disease, the quarantine signs went up, and no one was allowed to enter or leave the house. A few weeks later, he died.

    No one else in the family got sick, but they still had to have the house fumigated to make it safe. The fumigation took several days and then the house had to be aired before they could move back in. Mom’s father, my grandfather, was the sheriff, so they moved into the jail during the fumigation process. My mom and her sisters always joked that they had spent time in jail.

    After Dean’s death, grandma was understandably very distressed. She vowed there would never be another child. Things did not go as she planned. Eight months later, my Uncle Howard was born. When Howard was just eight months old, Grandma suffered another great loss when her husband was killed in an accident.

    It’s a good family story, if only it were true. I not sure if memories changed over time or there was confusion, but, like a lot of family stories, it’s not quite right. Oddly, my mom and my aunts remembered it the same inaccurate way.

    First Problem: The Grandparents:
    When I first started my family tree, I didn’t know anything about my great-grandparents, not even their names and I wondered which ones were killed in the scarlet fever outbreak. Turns out, none of them. Her paternal grandfather, William Clark, died in 1918 of old age. Her paternal grandmother, Mary, died in the right year, 1924, but of kidney disease not scarlet fever. Her maternal grandmother, Caroline, died in 1909 of kidney disease, and her grandfather, Frank, died in the Spanish Flu epidemic in 1918. I wondered if mom might have confused the flu epidemic with scarlet fever, but she would have only been 2 years old and one of the aunts was not even born then.

    Second Problem: The Little Brother:
    I had a hard time finding any information about my Uncle Dean. He was born and died between censuses and there was no indexed birth or death records. Martin County has death records on-line, but you have to browse. Luckily, they were in order by year. Because I had an idea about the time of his death, I started looking through all of the death records for 1924. I found it. I turns out his name wasn’t really Dean it was Warren. He was three years 8 months old when he died of scarlet fever. Not the 4 years my mother thought, but close. They must have called him Dean, because I found a grave for a Dean with the right dates in the family plot in Ceylon.

    As for the fumigation, it was a common practice at the time and is probably true. My grandfather was the sheriff and they might have stayed in the jail. This part of the story will have to remain a family legend.

    Uncle Howard was born 18 months after Dean’s death, not the 8 months in my mother’s story. It is true that my grandfather was killed in an accident about 8 months after Howard’s birth.

    As I’ve been filling in the leaves of my family tree, a lot of family stories have been incomplete or even wrong. Sometimes the truth has been more interesting, sometimes less. This time it was surprising because everyone was so clear on the details.

    My mother always emphasized the loss of her family. While the loss of life was terrible regardless of when or how it occurred, I regret the loss of a good family story.


    Response to 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Weekly Prompt: Loss

    The Sewing Basket

    My grandmother Julia, my dad’s mother, was an excellent seamstress. She certainly had a lot of practice. She made all of the clothes for her large family, including hats, gloves, coats, and underwear, as well as the usual dresses, shirts and pants. I have pictures of one of the fur coats she made for my Aunt Esther and remember a beautiful coat with fox trim that she had sewed.

    Esther, born in 1894 and her sister Edna, born in 1898, were the two oldest girls. At that time, women’s clothes were very decorative, with lots of tiny buttons and ornaments to sew. Women’s dresses were worn with corsets that made them highly fitted. This required a great deal of skill in sewing. Esther and Edna were always fashion plates and their clothes were always the latest style and beautifully made.

    Grandma Julia had a wooden sewing basket where she kept her hand sewing supplies, the ones she used for finishing, mending, sewing on buttons, etc. After she died, Esther and Edna, unmarried daughters who lived at home, preferred to get their clothes at the department store. They thought the department store was the greatest thing ever invented. You could buy a beautiful dress and someone else did all the work. Neither of them were interested in sewing. They put grandma Julia’s sewing basket in the closet for emergencies, but no one ever used it and it ended up in the attic with her sewing machine.

    Grandma’s Wooden Sewing Basket

    Many years later, when the house was about to be sold, Mom spied the sewing basket on the rummage table and rescued it. She wanted me to have it. She boxed it up with some other family things she though I might like and took it home with her. I was living in a dorm at the time and later a very small apartment with no storage, so the box stayed in her basement and over the years was forgotten. Later, when she was preparing to move to a senior living facility, the sewing basket was discovered and came to live with me.

    Inside were the usual expected items, thread, a pincushion with needles and pins, a darning egg and assorted lace and trim. There was also a Johnson & Johnson First Aid Travel Kit, a tin box that I later dated to 1942. She used it to store buttons, hooks and eyes, extra needles and razor blades. Lots of razor blades. I’m not sure how she used them.

    I also found a surprise in the box, a metal, decorative hook with a fancy handle. I thought it might be a button hook for shoes. It would have been a popular, necessary item when she was a young mother at the turn of the century.

    When I was thinking about writing this post, I wanted to find out more about the shoe button hook and how old it might be. I got out the button tin to look for the hook and guess what? There was a second, similar hook at the bottom of the box.

    It turns out the hook on the left is a glove button hook. It is distinguished from the shoe button hook on the right by its handle. Generally, only button hooks for gloves had handles. All classes of people had them and they were carried on their person, sometimes in their pocket or purse, but often hanging from their waist.

    Button hooks for shoes were slightly longer, with no handle. Some could be as long as a foot or more to accommodate those who found it hard to bend because they were portly or heavily corseted.

    Although button hooks were used as early as the 1700s, most button hooks found today were made between 1860 and 1930. They became very common when women’s high, button-up boots and shoes came popular in the 1880’s and were used until around the end of WW1. Often they were given away as promotion items with a business name engraved on the handle.

    They were relatively inexpensive. Here is an item from the 1897 Sears Roebuck Catalog for boots and button hooks to use with them.

    I had never thought about how to use a button hook. There is a definite technique. Here is a link to a YouTube demonstration

    It was such good fortune to find my grandma’s sewing basket. It’s a great way to remember her and now I can image her buttoning up her boots and gloves. In my mind she was probably swearing at all the tiny buttons.


    Response to 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Weekly Prompt: Fortune

    Which One Was the Patriot?

    There are four generations of Thomas Alvords in my family. They all lived within a hundred miles of each other and they all have a military history. To make things more confusing, none of them have a recorded middle name and, after the first, all were referred to as Thomas, Jr.

    The first Thomas, born in 1653 in Windsor, Connecticut, was my 7th great-grandfather. He was the first Alvord born in America, the fifth of 11 children born to Alexander Alvord and Mary Vore. All of the children had Bible names and almost all of them had sons named Thomas. That makes for a lot of Ebenezers, Elijahs, Daniels, and of course Thomas Alvords. A search on Ancestry of the name Thomas Alvord born between 1650 and 1760 brings up more than 28,500 entries.

    This post concerns Thomas 1 and his son Thomas 2 and the the Battle of Turner’s Falls also known as the Peskeompscut massacre. On May 19, 1676 Captain William Turner and more than 150 Colonial militia, including Thomas Alvord 1, attacked a village of several hundred Native people killing more than two hundred in less than an hour. Women and children and even babies were slaughtered. Their dwellings and all belongings were burned and canoes and a small forge was swamped in the river.

     In the immediate aftermath of the massacre, natives from several other villages in the area attacked the colonists as they retreated 20 miles south to Deerfield. Thirty-eight colonists died in these attacks including Captain William Turner.

    Although it seems barbaric by today’s standards, the participants in the massacre were considered heroes and patriots at the time. In 1734, the General Court of Massachusetts granted land to those who had served under Captain Turner in 1676 at Deerfield. Thomas Alvord 2, as the oldest son of Thomas Alvord (then deceased) was given the grant and agreed to settle in the area.

    The confusion comes in a second story, widely available in historical accounts and by family legends.

    “In the attack on upon Deerfield, he (Thomas Alvord) was a Captain and acted very heroically in defending against the Indians. After the garrison was nearly famished for water, he went out to a well where he was much exposed and continued to draw water for the garrison until the well-pole was shot off above his hands.” (The following may refer to Thomas, Jr.)

    Since there were later battles around Deerfield, it’s unclear which Thomas Alvord this refers to.

    So, which Thomas is the patriot? According to the people who lived at the time, maybe both. Thomas 1 for his service in 1676, and Thomas 2 for his service at Deerfield later. But, maybe it was Thomas 1 at the Deerfield garrison. No one knows for sure.

    Falls fight Memorial, Turners Falls, Massachusetts

    Response to 52 Ancestors Weekly Prompt: Same Name

    A Multiplicity of Twins

    Multiples abound in my family. In my immediate family there are four sets of twins. I am the mother of twins, the grandmother of twins, I had twin sisters and my father-in law is a twin. All fraternal and, with the exception of the sisters, all male. In filling in my family tree, there were numerous sets of twins, especially in my maternal grandmother’s line. And then there are the elusive triplet aunts or maybe cousins of my mother-in-law.

    My father-in-law, Tommy and his twin brother Lloyd were born in 1906. Their mother went into early labor and delivered them in the farm kitchen. Tommy weighed 2 pounds and Lloyd weighed 3 pounds. Their mother wrapped them in diapers, put them in shoeboxes and kept them in the warming oven until they were bigger. They were always close, but they became even closer after their parents and sister were killed in an accident when they were teenagers. They never lived more than a few miles apart and they saw each other several times a week. When Tommy was injured in a farm accident in 1982, Lloyd showed up at the hospital before he was called.

    My twin sisters were born in 1940. They were also premature. The second baby was still born. My sister, Donna, was not the smallest baby on record, but she was the shortest.

    My twin sons wee born in 1977. Also premies. Mike weighed 4 pounds 4 ounces and Nick weighed 5 pounds 10 ounces. They were small, but like their grandpa, they were healthy and they grew and thrived.

    Grandpa Tom and his twin brother Lloyd with twin grandsons in 1979

    My twin grandsons just celebrated their 5th birthday. Again premature and very tiny. And like the others before them, they grew and are thriving.

    Twin grandsons home-schooling

    Then, there are the elusive triplets. My mother-in-law always said she had triplet aunts. At least I thought she said aunts. Some family members think cousins. She even had a picture of the three of them at a family wedding. I’m not sure what happened to the picture after her death, but it was never found. I have been searching for triplets in her family tree, but not finding them. Maybe this is one of those family stories that has been embellished over the years and none of it is true. Who knows?

    How many twins are in my family tree? All I can say is many. I wish I had used a searchable database so I could count. I noticed twins when I was researching my tree, but unfortunately didn’t keep a record. I know I was surprised at how many I found, especially on my mother’s side of the family. It makes sense as fraternal twins tend to follow the female line.

    Going forward, I’ll be looking for twins and documenting them. My family is as interested as I am.


    Response to 52 Ancestors Weekly Prompt: Multiples

    Uncle Pearl and the Sweetgrass Telephone

    I’ve already written about Uncle Pearl and finding some new cousins https://talesfrommytypewriter.wordpress.com/2020/07/12/we-all-own-it/ This post will be about his interest in the Sweetgrass Telephone Line.

    My Great-Uncle Pearl, my grandmother’s brother, was a rancher in the Whitlash, Montana area. He wasn’t powerful in the conventional sense, but helping bring the telephone to northern Montana empowered isolated farmers and ranchers to communicate with each other and made him important and powerful in his own way.

    Uncle Pearl was born in southern Minnesota in 1879, but like others in my family, he had the urge to go west. In his early twenties he relocated to Montana to be near his sister Nettie and her husband Lester Stott. He worked on ranches in northern Montana and eventually settled in the Whitlash area near the Canadian border. He lived there until his death in 1955.

    Uncle Pearl was a big proponent of technology of all kinds. Shortly after his arrival in Montana, he became interested in the Sweetgrass Telephone Line. He was an advocate for bringing the telephone to the area and helped install telephones when the system was first put into operation. He was frequently called upon to help with repairs and up-keep on the line. Often times it would be by horseback or with a team of horses and a sled. In 1953 he suffered a paralytic stroke and his time repairing and maintaining telephone lines ended. Amazing as it might seem, this was about the same time that regular telephone service came to the area.

    The phone lines during Pearl’s time, were cooperatives that connected several to several dozen isolated ranches or farms. They were simply constructed, using a wire strung along the tops of existing barbed wire fences and powered by batteries. They used a simple switchboard, sometimes located in a store, but more commonly in someone’s kitchen. Each place on the line had its own ring, a series of longs and shorts and there was a general ring for all parties to answer. This was particularly valuable in community emergencies. With the telephone, area farmers and ranchers were now able to call for a doctor, get weather reports, order supplies and check agriculture prices and labor costs. Some people were very creative with the service, like the radio operator who broadcast news items over the wires and the occasional person who played phonograph records over the line. Social communications were able to break the loneliness and isolation, especially in the winter. Of course, since anyone could listen in, gossip and eavesdropping were common too.

    With this simple and inexpensive method of providing telephone service came unreliability, especially in bad weather. People like Uncle Pearl who worked on repairing and maintaining the lines were essential, giving him power to empower others to communicate.

    Response to 52 Ancestors Weekly Prompt: Power


    Sources:
    Settling the Canadian-American West 1890-1915: Pioneer Adaptation and Innovation by John William Bennett
    How the West Was Wired by David B. Sicilia https://www.inc.com/magazine/19970615/1416.html
    First Steps and Early Phones, 1900-1910 https://www.angelo.edu/community/west-texas-collection/museum-of-telephony/first-steps-and-early-phones-1900-1910.php

    Uncle Howard and the Displaced Persons List

    I don’t know how unusual this source is, but it was certainly surprising and lead to an interesting search for my Uncle Howard’s ex-wife and her ex-husband.

    Howard Alvord was my mother’s youngest brother and the bad boy of the family. He disappeared from our lives in the 1950s and we never heard from him again. We heard rumors he had divorced his first wife, but nothing else. Quite a few years ago, I searched for him on the internet and found he had remarried in Las Vegas in 1994 and died in 2001. When I started my family tree, I entered the information in his profile and moved on to work on another area.

    Not being Jewish, and having no known connection to the holocaust, imagine my surprise when a hint showed up for my Uncle Howard linking him to a woman in a displaced persons camp. Following the information in the hint, I found a marriage in 1957 to a Jewish refugee who had emmigrated from Europe following the war. Her name was Veronika Lorand Bab and according to her naturalization papers she emmigrated in 1949 under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. This act assisted in the resettlement of thousands of European refugees who had been displaced from their home countries by the war. Her records indicated she had a number, A23388, tattooed on the underside of her forearm, a common practice in the concentration camps.

    I was extremely curious about her and why she married my uncle. My family considered him a con man and loser, but maybe there was more to his story. From her naturalization petition, I found out she had married Werner Bab on Christmas, 1946 in Ebensee, Germany and they had a daughter born in Munich in 1947. A son was born in San Francisco in 1950. I looked for a photo of her. I thought there might have been one on her traveling papers or she might have had a passport, but no such luck. I don’t know when they divorced, but it was sometime before her naturalization petition in 1955.

    Veronica’s story in Hungary, where she was born, and her experiences in a concentration camp are unknown. After she divorced my uncle Howard in 1968, she remarried and divorced again. Her third husband was also a holocaust survivor. She died in 2005 in California.

    Although I didn’t find a story for Veronica, I did uncover some facts. She is one of the interviewees in the USC Shoah Foundation Visual Archive, video interviews of holocaust survivors. Although her video is private and accessible only to family members, it is indexed. I found she was confined in ghettos in both her native Hungary and in Czechoslovakia and imprisoned in death camps in Auschwitz, Krakow, and Markkleeberg. Where she met Werner is a mystery. Maybe they met in a displaced persons camp after the war. Or maybe not. How she met and married my uncle Howard is also a mystery. Veronica was wife two of four, and, like two others, they married in Las Vegas.

    Werner Bab, Vera’s first husband, does have story. He was featured in a film Segments of Time- Werner Bab on DVD published by imdialog! e.V. in Germany. The press release includes an abstract. Werner was a German Jew, born in 1924. Because of the restrictive laws enacted in Germany in 1935, he was forced to go to a boarding school in Stettin. After Kristal Nicht in 1938, the school was closed and Werner returned to Berlin. In 1942 he tried to escape deportation with faked papers, but was captured at the Swiss border and transferred to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, then to Mauthausen and Ebensee. He was selected for “special treatment” (extermination), but somehow survived. Werner was liberated by the Americans at Ebensee.

    He is also featured on the website for Holocaust Survivors and Victims at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Like Veronica, the USC Shoah Foundation Visual History Archive has several hours of video of him being interviewed. His interview is public and I listened to some of it. Even speaking little German, his testimony, in his own voice is very compelling.

    I didn’t learn much about my Uncle Howard or his ex-wife Vera, but their history led me to another fascinating story, and a window into life in Germany in the late 1930s, the Concentration Camps and life after the war.

    National Holocaust Memorial Memorial Museum, Washington, DC

    Response to 52 Ancestors Weekly Prompt: Unusual Source