Pat family photo on the Wall Street Journal!

Gilad Japhet
July 12 2006 04:52

Dear family and friends,

I am happy to let you know that the Wall Street Journal has honored our family by displaying a historic photo of the Pat family on its cover. On June 22 2006 an article about MyHeritage was posted on the Wall Street Journal.

For the article, the reporter Jessica Vascellaro who interviewed me, kindly asked for some background materials. I readily provided her with the earliest known photo of our family from Bialystok, taken around 1905 and it was published in the article, appearing as a small image on the newspaper's front page as well.

The photo features my great-grandfather Eli Pat and his wife Esther Weller, in the center, with their children. The seated son in the bottom right is none other than Chaim Pat (Japhet), my grandfather, at the age of 5.

Chaim immigrated to Israel in 1920. Working in the Va'ad Leumi (prior to the establishment of the state of Israel) Chaim founded Social Welfare in Israel together with Henrietta Szold, and retired as Director of Social Welfare and deputy minister of Yosef Burg. The other children are my grandfather's siblings: Jacob (Yankel), Masha, Meir and Chaya. The old woman is Menucha Weller, the mother of Esther Weller -- she is really ancient and must have been born circa 1820-1830. She is my great-great-grandmother! Chaim's sister Masha Pat, the baby to the left of Chaim, passed away recently at the age of 100.

It's a fascinating story how this photo came to our possession but I'll keep it for another time. BTW, the handwriting in Hebrew on the photo was written by dearest Yantche Pat, my father's cousin who was taken from us suddenly in 2003.

The Wall Street Journal also published a photo of an old passport that I had given the reporter.

There is an amazing story behind that passport. It belongs to my father's aunt, Miriam Brass, still alive today at age 90. She was issued that passport after getting married in Israel to my father's uncle, in order to visit her parents who were living near Bialystok, and show them her 2 year old son (Oded Braz) -- their first grandchild. She travelled there in June 1939 on the eve of World War II and was trapped there while the war broke out. She was nearly killed. She miraculously managed to escape back to Israel after 10 months of hardship together with her son, while saving another 10-year-old boy from the Holocaust and bringing him with back with her to Israel. I met Miriam and the boy she rescued (now himself over 75 years old) in Miriam's 90th birthday in February this year. Miriam is a beautiful person and crystal clear, and on the phone she sounds at least 30 years younger. I will tell the story of Miriam's miraculous escape from the clutches of war back to Israel, some other time.
Love and kisses to Pat family members all over the world,


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