The Search

What is your life?…you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 

James 4:14


My mother, Amalie, and her three  sisters, Hanna, Dora and Elisabeth Schneider, all vanished.  

As the sole survivor of the immediate Schneider family,  I am still searching for traces to honor their lives.


Sliding open a drawer to the past, I pull out scraps of paper. 

A page torn out of survivor Ruth Holden’s autograph book, my mother’s gift at their parting, a handwritten quote from a well known poem by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert dated 23 April 1937.

A gift from Ruth Holden (nee Meyer)

I remember  Elisabeth’s animated, smiling face. She was the youngest of the 4 sisters and the words she wrote on a postcard addressed to me from Berlin on 18 July, 1939, confirm the warmth of her personality.

Tante Elisabeth’s words addressed to me at the Jewish hospital in Köln, after an appendectomy.

Somehow the envelope and letter my aunt Hanna wrote from Germany to the  gnädige Frau (gracious lady) in England who received her niece on 2 August, 1939, survived, folded and yellow with age.

Letter from Tante Hanna

Elisabeth and Hanna left behind glimpses of their hearts overflowing with love and care.

But Dora, she vanished without a trace. I remember her as the one who cooked and loved in the most practical ways.

What happened to Hanna, Dora and Elisabeth?

Together they were taken from Markenbildchenweg 30, Koblenz, to a Jew House at Adolf Hitlerstrasse 15 in Kobern, and on 22 March, 1942, deported to the large transit ghetto in Izbica, Poland.

When, where and how they died is unknown.

Typhoid was rampant in overcrowded Izbica. Many were shot in the ghetto or perished in the nearby Sobibor death camp.

The Mourner’s Kaddish remembering Hanna, Dora and Elisabeth, 3 among 6 million.


Mourner’s Kaddish

Sourced from

קדיש יתום:
אבל: יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא. [קהל: אמן]
בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ בְּחַיֵּיכון וּבְיומֵיכון וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל בֵּית יִשרָאֵל בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב, וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל:אמן]
קהל ואבל: יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא:
אבל: יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרומַם וְיִתְנַשּא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְּקֻדְשָׁא. בְּרִיךְ הוּא. [קהל: בריך הוא:]
לְעֵלָּא מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא בעשי”ת: לְעֵלָּא לְעֵלָּא מִכָּל וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל: אמן]
יְהֵא שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא וְחַיִּים עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשרָאֵל. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל: אמן]
עושה שָׁלום בעשי”ת: הַשָּׁלום בִּמְרומָיו הוּא יַעֲשה שָׁלום עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן: [קהל: אמן]

Mourner’s Kaddish in English Translation

Glorified and sanctified be Gods great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will.

May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored andlauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

*You are a Mist…A Garland for Ashes page 176