I have set about to rephotograph places in Harlem that VanDerZee has photographed in the past.
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Many of the places do not exist anymore. I am primarily interested in the hotel as a link between the past and present. I am also interested in the difference in the structure between the two periods. The difference in these photographs illustrates the shift in business interest in the Harlem community.
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Writers used cigarette paper, Soviet propaganda postcards and newspapers with the newsprint rubbed off. Second was getting the letters past the Soviet censors. Since her discovery of the letters and then interviews with survivors of the Gulag and their descendants in Canada and the United States, Siemens has learned about various ways in which letter writers coded their messages. For example, she said, one letter refers to conditions in the prison camp being 'as nice as in 2 Corinthians ,' the writer knowing intended readers would get the reference while the Communist censors didn't know Scripture and didn't dare consult a Bible.
The passage says, in part: 'We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.
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Even if the letters got past the censors, it was illegal to send them outside the Soviet Union to the West. Siemens says she has yet to learn definitively how the letters got out. She speculates that there must have been sympathetic prison guards and postal workers along with some kind of underground network of dissidents that managed to pass the letters on. Many went to relatives in Ukraine and from there to Canada and the United States.
A large number of them ended up in the tiny town of Carlyle, Saskatchewan, even if the writers had no family connections there. Other collections of letters ' 'postcards from hell,' one British newspaper called them ' have been found in south central Kansas in the Whitewater area, in the Beatrice, Neb. The second largest group of letters, after the Regehr letters, turned up in Kansas.
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Elma Esau, now of North Newton, has them in translation in a notebook, Siemens said. Many of the letters arrived in the United States or Canada with postage due. My maternal grandfather had a brother who separated from the rest of the family, and the only information we had was a picture of his tombstone and reports that he died in Vienna. Of course, nothing is easy. Searches by Katja-Maria of several databases showed no evidence of him, but she did not give up so easily. Katja-Maria tracked down books that confirmed that my granduncle was residing in a sanatorium for mental health and documents that showed his definite cause of death along with dates of birth and death.
We searched for other relatives that may have passed through Austria, but not much success on those. When a visit with a distant cousin, revealed a postcard from my paternal grandfather while serving in the Austro-Hungarian Army to his parents at an address in Vienna, I knew that Katja-Maria would be the one to figure out the mystery.
His parents lived in Ulanow, Poland. Why would the postcard go to Vienna? She tracked down that my paternal great grandparents were staying at a hotel in the city, by locating the registration of visitors to town.
Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards, s,
You can locate people who were vacationing in Vienna years ago! Well, of course you need Katja-Maria to help you! Katja-Maria Chladek for researching genealogy.
I was amazed at how she pursued the leads like a detective on a case! She constantly remained in contact with me regarding successes and failures, and always checking to make sure the charges were acceptable. Home Darf ich mich Ihnen vorstellen?