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Spring, 2012 Regional Meeting — Kraków, Poland

Material Culture & The Preservation Of Memory: Searching for Rohatyn’s former Jewish Past

Monday, May 21, 2012 – 5:00 PM
Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków, Poland
Marla Raucher Osborn, Gesher Galicia Board Member

More than 65 years after the end of WWII, the physical artifacts of the once-flourishing Jewish community in the Galician town of Rohatyn can still be found: in the abandoned headstone fragments remaining around town today, ripped by the Nazis out of the Jewish cemeteries and used to pave roads and sidewalks; in the hundreds of scraps of paper and print discovered in 2011 in a building that once housed a synagogue, but which later housed the Rohatyn Judenrat; in the few structures still standing where Jewish families once lived or prayed. Complementing these physical traces of former Jewish life in the town of Rohatyn itself, are the hundreds of pages of documents and records found in archives, universities, and foreign repositories and locations.

Marla Raucher Osborn, a member of the Gesher Galicia Board of Directors and a retired California attorney, will talk about living abroad – presently in Kraków, Poland, and previously for 5 months in Lviv, Ukraine for the express purpose of being within driving distance to her ancestral town of Rohatyn. She will share her 2011 discoveries within Rohatyn, what prompted her to visit Rohatyn originally in 2008, her Rohatyn research resources in Europe, Ukraine, Argentina, and Israel, as well as her involvement in an online international research group composed of the children, grandchildren, and survivors of Rohatyn’s former Jewish community.

The HORN Identity: Using Historic Vital Records To Re-Construct the Lives of Two Galician Sisters

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 – 6:00 PM
Jewish Community Center, Kraków, Poland
Marla Raucher Osborn, Gesher Galicia Board Member

Jason Bourne was not the only one searching to recover identity, affected by larger, external events beyond his control. Jute and Bronia HORN, two sisters born in the Galician town of Rohatyn, grew up on the eve of the downfall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their lives from childhood to womanhood would be buffeted by cataclysmic events: their beloved town would suffer as the front for both devastating World Wars, and their homeland, official language, and nationality would change five times over the course of their lives. Despite their gender, both women would study at prestigious institutions of higher education in Lemberg, Vienna, and Krakow and pursue professions, one as a dentist in Chodorow (and then Haifa, Israel), the other as a school teacher in Krakow and Busko-Zdrój. Both sisters, Jute and Bronia, would ultimately leave their beloved Rohatyn for Palestine, and by doing so, survive the Shoah that would destroy their parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and friends, along with Rohatyn’s vibrant Jewish community.

Marla Raucher Osborn, a member of the Gesher Galicia Board of Directors and a retired California attorney, will talk about living abroad – 5 months in Lviv, Ukraine and today in Kraków, Poland – for the express purpose of digging deep into historic and academic archives and traveling repeatedly to her ancestral town of Rohatyn. She will share her efforts to follow in the footsteps of the HORN sisters and reconstruct their lives through records, photos, and stories gathered across western and central Europe, Argentina, America, Israel, and Ukraine – from the sisters’ childhoods in Galician Rohatyn, to their student and professional years in Vienna, Lemberg, and Krakow, through their departures for Palestine and beyond.

Marla Raucher Osborn CV:

Marla Raucher Osborn was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She graduated from UCLA and Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, then practiced law in San Francisco from 1988-2000. For most of the last decade she has lived abroad with her husband in Berkshire, England, Paris, Milan, Buenos Aires, Lviv, Ukraine, and presently, in Krakow, Poland, returning to Paris in mid-June 2012.

During the last several years Marla has worked with a wide variety of organizations and archives in the US and across Europe. She made her first trip to her grandmother’s Galician town of Rohatyn (today in western Ukraine) in 2008, returning almost a dozen times in 2011 while living in nearby Lviv. During those visits she and her husband viewed and photographed various sites of the town’s former Jewish past, met with local officials and townspeople, gave an interview with Ukrainian local TV, and accompanied friends and fellow researchers. She has also written articles on her Rohatyn research and YAHAD experiences for the Gesher Galicia SIG digest and The Galitzianer as well as Jewishgen’s Success Stories.

Marla was an early member of and remains an active contributor to an online Rohatyn research group founded by Dr. Alex Feller, which strives to gather and distribute records and information about the lost Jewish community there, for survivors and descendants; this group has over 150 members worldwide today.

Links to some of the events described above:

Gesher Galicia is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people research their Jewish family roots in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire province of Galicia, which is today southeastern Poland and southwestern Ukraine. Our organization's primary focus is researching Jewish roots in Galicia, but the diverse community records in our databases contain names that span all the ethnic and religious groups who once lived in this region.

Search our free All Galicia Database, Map Room, and Archival Inventory today, and learn about our terrific member benefits for genealogists, researchers, and families, starting at just $36/year. You can join online!