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I Identified 16 People in a c. 1908 Family Photo Thanks to Smart Matches™ on MyHeritage

Yael Joelle Ashkenazi (née Zisermann), a French user living in Israel, has a beautiful family photo dating from the beginning of the last century: a black and white photo featuring 18 people. She was able to identify almost all of them thanks to cousins she found with a few Smart Matches™ on MyHeritage. Here is the story of this photo.

Yael Ashkenazi

Yael Ashkenazi

My paternal family, the Zisermann family, is originally from Botoșani in Romania and arrived in Paris in 1900 following persecution and pogroms. We have this photo of the family taken around 1908 in the Bois de Vincennes in Paris. I knew that my maternal grandmother is in it, but most of the faces were nameless to me.

It’s a beautiful photo that encapsulates the French joie de vivre. The family, 18 people of all ages, gathered for a picnic; the bottles of wine and the accordion underline the jovial atmosphere of this moment.

Bois de Vincennes Paris, c. 1908. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

Bois de Vincennes Paris, c. 1908. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

Bois de Vincennes Paris, c. 1908. Photo repaired, enhanced, and colorized by MyHeritage

I have been working on my genealogy on MyHeritage for several years and currently have a tree of over 1,000 people. Thanks to several Smart Matches™, I met several second cousins ​​and together we brought this photo to life by identifying almost each person.

I met my cousin Audrey Hass through MyHeritage. Her family tree was very useful. Her grandmother is my grandfather’s sister.

I also found my cousin Brigitte Joffo, whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person last April. Brigitte equally appreciated the collaboration between the two cousins:

Brigitte Joffo

Brigitte Joffo

“It was with emotion that I met Yael during her stay in Paris after telephone exchanges around that family photo. Thanks to Yael, I was finally able to identify part of my paternal family, the Zisermans, the Tziglers, the Barons and know their history. I was wondering what had become of Berthe Fairstin (Cherkasky) and Esther Zisermann (Tuchminz), close friends of my beloved grandmother Esther Zisermann (Flaisler).

I was able to reconstruct part of my family tree thanks to Yael, who shared hers with me, and her passion for genealogy. I am very happy to have one more friend and relative in Jerusalem.”

Another cousin found thanks to MyHeritage, Philippe Gold, was able to tell me that the little girl in the photo was his grandmother Sophie Zisermann.

They lived very well in Paris until World War II. It was said at the time that “Jews can live like a God in France.” They worked in sewing or flea markets. My father Henri was born in Paris in October 1900. He worked in the market, Porte de la Villette, and sold clothes. In 1939, he was a soldier, like almost all the men in the family. They believed that being French would protect them from the Germans.

Henri Zisermann, Yael Ashkenazi's father, in 1939. Photo enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage

Henri Zisermann, Yael Ashkenazi's father, in 1939. Photo enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage

Henri Zisermann, Yael Ashkenazi’s father, in 1939. Photo enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage

Here are all the people we have managed to identify in the photo.

Family tree of Abraham and Taube Zisermann

Family tree of the people in the photo (click to zoom)

In the back row, from left to right, all born in Romania

Joseph and Ottilia Tsigler (detail from colorized photo)

Joseph and Ottilia Tsigler

My great-uncle Joseph Tsigler (1871–1951) ran a cinema in Paris on rue des Jardiniers. He had a stand at the Foire du Trône, later he was a butcher on rue des Rosiers, then a second-hand dealer. After the war, he settled in the countryside, on a farm.

My great-aunt Otilla Tsigler (1878–1948), Joseph’s wife, was the daughter of Abraham and Taube Zisermann. After the war, she took in her grandson Charles Baron whose parents had been deported in 1942.

Pierre Haas (?) and Mina Haas

Pierre Haas (?) and Mina Haas

The man with the mustache might be Pierre Haas, but her granddaughter Audrey does not recognize him. Is this my grandfather Léon Zisermann (1873–1930)? I have never seen him and I don’t have a photo of him. In any case, it is my great-aunt Mina Haas (1884–1942), née Zisermann, who has her back turned to him. Ottilia and Mina were sisters. With her husband Pierre, she had a tailor shop on rue Hermel, in the 18th arrondissement. Mina died in Auschwitz in 1942.

Pierre and Mina Haas in front of their shop, with their children Alice and Nathan, and their cousin Juliette Zisermann (left). Photo colorized and enhanced by MyHeritage

Pierre and Mina Haas in front of their shop, with their children Alice and Nathan, and their cousin Juliette Zisermann (left). Photo colorized and enhanced by MyHeritage

Pierre and Mina Haas in front of their shop, with their children Alice and Nathan, and their cousin Juliette Zisermann (left). Photo colorized and enhanced by MyHeritage

Facing her in the photo is Sabine Zisermann, born Zussmann in 1875. She was the wife of Haim Moshe and the mother of Juliette, Isidore, and Esther. She raised my grandmother Berthe Cherkasky (née Fairstin), who lost her mother in Romania.

Sabine Zisermann (detail from colorized photo)

Sabine Zisermann

Abraham and Taube Zisermann (behind her granddaughter Juliette; detail from colorized photo)

Abraham and Taube Zisermann (behind her granddaughter Juliette)

Next to Sabine stand her parents-in-law, who are my great-grandparents Abraham Zisermann (1831–1910) and Taube, née Tepper, who was a seamstress. They lived in the 18th arrondissement.

To Taube’s right stand two of her sons. One is my great-uncle Haim Moshe Leon Zisermann (1867–1945), Sabine’s husband. He was a second-hand dealer in the 18th arrondissement. He was naturalized French in 1907.

The two brothers Leon Zisermann and Marius Zisermann (detail from colorized photo)

The two brothers Leon Zisermann and Marius Zisermann

The other, pouring himself a glass of wine, is my great-uncle Haim Maurice Marius Zisermann (1891–1942). He would later become a tailor and furrier. He also perished at Auschwitz in 1942.

During WWI, Haim Moshe Leon Zisermann was mobilized in September 1915 and sent to the 35th infantry regiment in the city of Besançon, before being definitively discharged in January 1916. He was 49 years old.

The French military record of Haim Zisermann, showing his profession as a second-hand dealer, and describing him as brown-haired with blue eyes. MyHeritage Collection, France, military conscripts of Seine.

The French military record of Haim Zisermann, showing his profession as a second-hand dealer, and describing him as brown-haired with blue eyes. MyHeritage Collection, France, military conscripts of Seine.

Isidore Zisermann (detail from colorized photo)

Isidore Zisermann

Isidore Zisermann, the son of Haim Moshe Leon, who proudly holds the accordion, was around 12 years old. He, too, perished in the Holocaust in 1944.

In the second row

Sisters Anne (right) and Jeannette Tzigler (detail from colorized photo)

Sisters Anne (right) and Jeannette Tzigler

The eldest daughter of Joseph and Ottilia Tzigler, Anne, was born in Paris in 1902. She was arrested during the Vel d’Hiv roundup in July 1942 and died shortly afterwards in Auschwitz. His son Charles Baron, who was then 16 years old, was hidden with his grandparents. He was deported in 1944, but he returned.

Joseph and Ottilia Tzigler with their daughters Anne and Jeannette, a few years after the photo of the Bois de Vincennes. Photo enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage

Joseph and Ottilia Tzigler with their daughters Anne and Jeannette, a few years after the photo of the Bois de Vincennes. Photo enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage

Joseph and Ottilia Tzigler with their daughters Anne and Jeannette, a few years after the photo of the Bois de Vincennes. Photo enhanced and colorized by MyHeritage
Little Sophie and her sister Juliette Zisermann

Little Sophie and her sister Juliette Zisermann

Esther Zisermann (detail from colorized photo)

Esther Zisermann

The little girl is Sophie, born in Paris in 1907, daughter of Haim and Sabine Zisermann. Sophie is the grandmother of Philippe Gold, a cousin I found on MyHeritage. The blonde girl by her side is her sister Juliette Zlata, who was 7 years older.

Lying in front of them is their older sister Esther Zisermann (later Flaisler), who was born in Romania in 1895.

Berthe Fairstin (detail from colorized photo)

Berthe Fairstin

Finally, lying beside her is Berthe Fairstin (later Cherkasky), my maternal grandmother, born in Pitesti in Romania in 1889. She was brought up by my great-uncle Haim Zisermann and his wife Sabine after the early death of her mother. 

Shortly after, in 1908, Berthe married Léon Cherkasky and together they lived for a time in London before returning to Paris. In London, in 1911, they lived at 36 Albert Square and Léon worked making women’s clothing.

Berthe with her husband Leon Cherkasky and her first two children in London in the 1911 English census. MyHeritage Collections, England & Wales Census, 1911.

Berthe with her husband Leon Cherkasky and her first two children in London in the 1911 English census. MyHeritage Collections, England & Wales Census, 1911.

Berthe had 7 children. Her daughter Ginette lived with her upon her return from deportation. My grandmother suffered a lot from having lost her husband Léon, her son Gilbert, and her grandson Georges in the Shoah.

I have already met Audrey and Brigitte, and next month I will meet Philippe. In the meantime, we are having a Zoom call with the whole family.

This photo was truly a catalyst. It allowed me to know more about my father’s family that I knew little about. I had fun meeting new cousins. All this around a single photo and thanks to MyHeritage!

It wasn’t easy and the research took great effort. There are still two unidentified people left in the photo, the two gentlemen in hats on the right.

In this photo, my grandmother is the only one who is not a Zisermann by birth or marriage. Several decades later, her daughter Suzanne — my mother — married Henri Zisermann. Henri is not in the photo of the Bois de Vincennes but he was a grandson of Abraham and Taube Zisermann.

This photo therefore hints at the future link between my maternal family and my paternal family. Amazing!

As the cherry on top, just before the publication of this article, I received an incredible photo from Brigitte Joffo.

The photo Yael’s cousin found

The photo Yael’s cousin found

After I uploaded the photo to MyHeritage, the faces in the photo were recognized by the Photo Tagger feature. I think this is the wedding of my grandparents Berthe and Léon. You can see for example the young Anna Zimmerman, who looks like she’s wearing the same dress. There are people in the photo taken in the Bois de Vincennes, and many others from the Zisermann and Cherkasky families. It’s very moving, and I’m excited to continue identifying them!

Many thanks to Yael for sharing these incredible photos and her story with us! If you’ve made an amazing discovery with MyHeritage, we’d love to hear about it. Please share it with us via this form or email us at stories@myheritage.com.

The post I Identified 16 People in a c. 1908 Family Photo Thanks to Smart Matches™ on MyHeritage appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Source: My Heritage

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