Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thanks for Joining the Search for a Lost Sister

Incredible that publishing "Walk Forward," which is one of my last hopes in finding my sister who was lost in the Shoah (Holocaust), has led me to finding a new cousin, a new friend who was with my sister on the journey in various concentration camps, and the grave of my father's beloved youngest brother, Leo Chimowicz, in the "New Jewish Cemetery" in Prague.

I wish to thank the many readers in the UK, USA, and Australia who have not only read "Walk Forward," but have sent leads. I am grateful for the help in the search for my lost sister and any and all information leading to more information. I am impatiently waiting for the results of DNA testing as my father said, "If anyone comes to you one day and says she is your sister, you must believe her." My sister lives on in the book and in your hearts. Many thanks to those of you who have taken the time to read each of the chapters in "A different kind of Schindler's List," my lifelong search for my lost sister.

"Walk Forward" is not one story, but a series of chapters put together over a 20 year period, with the hope that if my sister is out there, she will read the book, and feel confident in contacting me. Each chapter is merely a piece of the complex puzzle. If my older sister, Eugenia (Genia) Chimowicz, is not out there, the book keeps her memory alive along with her young cousins. The 1.5 million children who were robbed of their childhood and systematically murdered, having been born at a wrong time and in the wrong place, have nothing to be remembered by, but perhaps a book, book trailer, or a movie.

No matter what you read or how incredible it might seem, we do not yet know the fate of my sister, Eugenia Chimowicz, a beautiful 9 year old, with blond hair and blue eyes. We have no proof to date that she was murdered in 1944. My father did not believe that his firstborn was killed, he did not declare his child as "dead," and he did not light a memory candle for her. She lived in his heart and survives in the minds of her three younger sisters, each lucky to have been born after the Second World War.

We have discovered some encouraging facts;  Eugenia was the only blond-haired girl in the group now called, "The Last 500," and not everyone's hair was shaved off in concentration camp Auschwitz.

Saturday, January 11, 2014


Finding a cousin was a miracle, but small miracles have continued since the publication of "Walk Forward."

A wonderful lady, who at 12 years old was on the final journey with my 9 year old sister, responded to a letter I sent to her in Oklahoma. I was privileged to visit this incredible person named Eva, who gave me a chance to envision a bit of the most complicated and horrible world as my lost sister might have seen it. Had Eva's hair been blond and her eyes blue, I would have believed that perhaps I had finally found my lost sibling! We know we are not sisters, but family relationships are yet to be researched.

Eva and I found we have very much in common. The more Eva and I search, the more similarities we find. We have uncovered many coincidences, but their true meanings are yet to be revealed. Not only do we like the same foods, have similar furniture in our homes, and the same desire to tell the story so that history does not repeat itself, we both feel strongly that the 1.5 million children who were murdered in the Shoah should never be forgotten. The children were not numbers, but had names and wonderful lives before the events of the Second World War destroyed their childlike qualities and hopes. Eva is a survivor of the Shoah, I am not a survivor, but the daughter of a survivor. I am a member of the second generation (2g), the generation who heard the first person stories, felt the enormous pain of the survivor (our parents') generation, and who continue to search for lost family members in lifelong attempts to put the pieces of the complex puzzle together.

As members of the second generation, we did not experience the Shoah in person, but we have the obligation to keep the true stories alive. We must do the best we can to publish the truth as we know it and encourage our peers to do the same. We owe it to those who can not speak, who dare not write, who are afraid to remember or publish the truth, and the millions who died long before their time. Hundreds of millions of words are lost forever, they never made it into books!

Genocide has horrible effects on many generations. Man's inhumanity to man remains with the young as fear and pain are not easily forgotten.

If you have a secret to survival or to what truly happened, be brave and share it with the world. If you have a story to tell, or have been privileged to hear a survivor's story, "Walk Forward," and please share it for the historical record and humanity!

Kindness, knowledge, and truth are first steps in healing our deepest wounds.

Lessons Learned

I have learned much from writing my family's stories in Walk Forward. I believe that with research, care, and luck, hidden secrets can ultimately be discovered. Family's tend to keep secrets, but in the case of the Shoah, (Holocaust) there remain too many secrets, too many lost pieces of a most complex puzzle, but in time, new pieces and old puzzles will be solved.

Small hints seem to lead to answers, for example, I wondered where my Uncle Leo Chimowicz was buried? I had searched cemeteries around concentration camp Theresienstadt and wondered in what other cemeteries I should be looking for a grave for my Uncle Leo Chimowicz, who survived the Shoah. I concluded that he had to have been buried in a cemetery as my Uncle Alfred Chimowicz, his older brother, had seen him in very bad shape in a hospital shortly after May 9, 1945.

As a child, I saw my father, Herman Chimowicz, and uncle light memory candles, Jahrzeit candles, for my Uncle Leo. When I asked my father what happened to his beloved youngest brother he told me that Leo was very tall, and being tall was a misfortune during the Shoah as the Nazis came down with their clubs, the taller persons in the groups being hit the most.

I recently found a new cousin who had my father and uncle's letters in which my Uncle Alfred described the wounds of his youngest brother Leo. Uncle Alfred said that Leo died of his wounds, but the letter did not say where, did not mention a hospital, did not mention a cemetery.

I had almost given up my search for Uncle Leo when I visited my new friend Eva in Tulsa who was with my lost sister on the most complicated journey through various concentration camps. Eva said to me, "Maybe your uncles hitched the same ride we did to Prague on release from Theresienstadt?"

I remembered the words of Uncle Leo to his older brothers, "I will go to the East from where my wife's family came, while you two proceed to the West." Uncle Leo was searching for his lost wife and three young boys, my father was searching for his lost wife and 9 year old daughter, Eugenia (Genia).

When Eva mentioned to me that my uncles may have hitched a ride to Prague, I zoomed in on the cemeteries in Prague and to my shock, I found the grave of my Uncle Leo Chimowicz.

Uncle Leo's final resting place is in the "New Jewish Cemetery" in Prague, his grave is in Section 33, Row 6, Number 17. I would love to find a picture of his grave!

If you know anyone visiting Prague who might take a photograph of this grave for his family in the USA, please email me at


"Walk Forward" was published on on September 25, 2012 as an ebook and in paperback formats on and CreateSpace at The creation of the book has led me to finding people, letters, and photographs, which I never imagined existed.

I have found a cousin who not only had my father's letters, but had photographs of my family in Poland before the Second World War. I never imagined finding these materials, which I donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) on May 9, 2013. I had met a member of USHMM at a conference and was asked if I might donate the original letters cited in the book to the museum in Washington, D.C. May 9 was a significant date in our family, as it was the day my father felt free of concentration camp Theresienstadt. It was finding a new cousin who had the letters, and the cousin and her sister agreeing to send the letters to the USA, which are all small miracles! Finding a new cousin so many years after the Shoah (Holocaust) is truly amazing. Thanks Cousin Nira for sending the letters to me for donation to USHMM!