A Treasure Found In The Street
On 23rd October, a Facebook post appeared in the group ‘All Things St Albans’.
As soon as I saw the post on Facebook, I wrote to the woman advising that I would contact both synagogues in St Albans, and that my grandparents also have their original versions of their Nazi-era German Jewish passports and how important these items are.
I immediately contacted every single Jewish organisation I believed could help, Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (JGSGB), AJR (Association of Jewish Refugees), Holocaust Educational Trust, the Board of Deputies. At this point, the woman who found the passport had given me additional information of the man (not yet public knowledge) to try and help find any descendants.
Every single organisation replied, however only one of these lead to something real! I was told by AJR that they only had one Wasserman on their records, Paul Wasserman, who died in 2016, and his partner had died in 2020. They contacted the next of kin of the partner, who contacted a relative named Ann.
My full time hobby is genealogy, and so I created a family tree on MyHeritage for Mr Wassermann based off the information from his passport. I had seen that he had 1 child, but no information. He had multiple sisters, who had children of their own. I wrote to a couple of relatives who had Mr Wassermann on their family trees, one of which forwarded an email to their cousin, Ann.
Ann wrote to me, explaining that she had heard of me and the passport through two different sources – AJR and MyHeritage. Her grandmother was the sister of Mr Wassermann, making Mr Wassermann her great-uncle. She explained to me that his only son, Paul, had died in 2016 aged 95 in Golders Green. We are all absolutely flabbergasted of how this passport ended up on Hatfield Road in St Albans. If anyone has any information, please do feel free to come forward!
As for the passport now, the lady who found it handed it to me. As for where it will end up, the great-nieces aren’t especially keen to have it, but were grateful for the high resolution scans I emailed them. It may end up in a museum, unless someone can tell me how it ended up in St Albans.
– Harry Sassoon
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Hidden Treasures: Celebrating the documents, photos and artefacts in British archives that tell the story of Jews in Britain