Here’s Ephraim and Helena (with baby Ruth in arms) and their children: Zelda, Frieda, Julia, Naomi (far right, my grandmother), Leo and George. I estimate this to be in 1892, West Liberty, West Virginia. I’ve written the taking of this consciously proud and humorous family portrait into the book. If I’ve misidentified the children, please let me know!
This page, and others building from it, is for other photos of Ephraim, his family and people in his life. And, perhaps, for a growing list of Ephraim Epstein descendants — I’ve already met a few online during the writing of his life story. I start with a page on his sibling, Pauline.
Dear distant greatgreat-uncle,
Who reappears from the dark after an absence of over a hundred years, to the delight of your – more or less close – descendants,
I’m so sorry that I missed the meeting on August 10; it was only afterwards that its existence came to my knowledge.
Still, I am moved, that your direct descendants have kept you in their hearts, and that they are now trying to show you ( and the world !) their esteem and their love.
I am also very pleased to talk to you about some of your little cousins, who managed to escape from Poland back then, when the country was left in the hands of the worst criminals. You had taken this step much earlier, in a unique personal approach, and perhaps not without provocation or relief ; you’ll surely think that History has proved you right to form part of a sort of vanguard ! Maybe you did foresee that the Jews of Eastern Europe, already badly tried and tested, would not escape the tragic future that awaited them, lurking in the folds of history.
In short, when you arrived in the US, they still lived in Belarus, most likely in Bereza Kartuska, before moving to Warsaw and building up their lives there. If I stick to my father’s words and to the striking photographic likeness, this branch of the Epstein family, of whom I descend from, must have been closely linked to the one coming from Mazovia or to the other from Zamość, namely branches who, at the end of the 19th century, found in France and Warsaw two havens, almost equal in importance.
It seems that you have learnt since that some of your descendants were living in Norway; they may even have given you some news. For our part, we also have some relatives there : one niece, her husband and her four (bilingual) children, who often come visit southern France; but none of us hardly speaks any yiddish or hebrew, and even polish or russian. Some have become free-thinkers, others have converted.
As for me, I was born in the country that offered protection to my parents during the war – Switzerland – , and grew up in central France, as the eldest of five siblings. I had three children, all reliable, handsome and gifted, both intellectually, linguistically and creatively, who built up very interesting lives in Paris, and who themselves got four, no less lovable, children. One year ago, I celebrated my 70th birthday, surrounded by my whole family, hoping that this party would contribute to unite its members for the future. My turn has definitively come to write a family chronicle: I’m trying to do so, but it happens to be quite complicated, since so many traces and documents have been lost or destroyed.
I appreciate all the more the book your grandgrand-daughter wrote not about you, but for you. May it fullfill all your wishes! By and large, its publication was for me a real event. Let’s hope it will also give us the opportunity to make new connections across time and space.
Les grandes Fâries
61260 Ceton ( France)
Tel : (033) 2 37 29 73 72
PS: Would you have any information on the family branch that I belong to ? This side of the family probably arrived at Bereza Kartuska lately, seems to have come, at least partly, from Lomza and was certainly related to all the Belarus Epstein families.
Welcome, Anne-Monique! As author-distant-cousin Susan I’ve emailed you directly. Do get in touch again if you want contact details of our similarly very distant relation in USA, Anatoly. He’s done lots of Epstein family tracing and may be able to help you.