JENNIE Workman Milne's family history is cloaked in mystery. Jennie,
of Inverallochy, Scotland, didn't know she was Jewish until last year.
Jennie's late mother, Elizabeth Mary Lister, discovered that her
mother was Polish, born Malie Rothenberg, who had changed her name
to Helena Colomerecki before marrying a military man named Stanislaw
Jennie's newly-discovered second cousin in Ohio, Sandra Guilfoyle,
similarly was unaware of having Jewish roots.
Sandra suspects that her late father, Wlodzimiercz 'James' Russocki,
worked as an American spy after moving from Poland to America.
It's been a lot for the cousins to digest. Last year, Jennie telephoned
"When Jennie said, 'You're Jewish,' I started bawling. I always
thought I was Jewish," said 58-year-old Sandra.
Jennie, 47, is now trying to locate any members of their lost
She wants to learn whether Malie's younger brother, Henryk, has
descendants and whether there are descendants of any siblings of
Malie's mother, Francesca Rothenberg, nee Feige Dwora Probst.
Helena and Stanislaw were married and worked during the Second
World War in different parts of Britain for the Polish military-in-exile.
Helena concealed her pregnancy from her husband and colleagues.
After delivering Elizabeth in South Hammersmith on November 4,
1943, she gave the baby over to a private nursery in Hope Cove,
When the home moved twice and Helena didn't collect her daughter,
the home's nurse, Rose Toms, raised the child.
In 1965, at 22, Elizabeth located her natural parents, who had
divorced in 1949, remarried others and remained in England.
But Stanislaw died in 1967 and Helena disappeared after meeting
the adult Elizabeth just once, at a coffee shop.
Helena told Elizabeth she'd searched for her after the war.
"My abiding childhood memory is of feeling a total outsider wherever
I was. I simply felt I didn't belong anywhere," Elizabeth told Jennie
before dying of cancer last year.
"Looking back nearly 70 years later, I can see how that helped
to shape me as a person."
Jennie read her grandmother's file at the Ministry of Defence,
leading to a number of revelations, notably name changes and learning
that Malie and her elder sister, Rosa, were from Stryy in present-day
Ukraine; that their brother's name was Henryk; that Henryk was murdered
in the Holocaust (possibly shot in the ghetto of Lvov); and that
the siblings' parents were Francesca and Pawe (Pinchas), the wealthy
owners of a sawmill in the Polish district of Zolochiv.
Some of Jennie's findings meshed with what her American cousin
knew because Sandra's father had recorded some of his family's information.
He'd even taken Sandra and her sister, Renata to visit his Aunt
Helena at the nursing home in Lincolnshire.
Jennie has also gained information through Michael Tobias, the
vice-president of programming for JewishGen.
Glaswegian Michael was asked to help by British magazine Who Do
You Think You Are?
He constructed a family tree of Jennie's Probst relatives, many
killed in the Holocaust.
If anyone can help, email firstname.lastname@example.org
JEWISH Telegraph columnist Gita Conn is leading the hunt for
anyone who knew Otto Szpiro.
Otto moved to Manchester on the Kindertransport in 1940 and was
subsequently sent to St John's Open Air School in Chigwell where
he died in December, 1943, aged 15.
His sister, Miriam, who was only seven at the time, wants to hear
from anyone who knew Otto or anything about him.
Telephone Gita on 0161-434 8767
LAVINIA 'Vi' Savage is searching for the family she worked for
in the 1950s.
Mr and Mrs AJ Cohen owned a fashion wear business on Tib Street,
Their daughter, Marlene, above, married Lennard Joseph on June
22, 1958 at the Higher Crumpsall Synagogue.
The wedding pictured appeared on the front page of the Jewish
Contact David Walker on 0161-287 1496.
To make an appeal, email MIKE COHEN at
Please include your home address and contact telephone number.