Yesterday (9 October 2011) I experienced something very interesting which just shows how surprised you can often get when puzzling with the family tree:
I was (and am still) looking for the family connections between Mr. Zvi/Hershel Beer, who was born in UStrzyki-Dolne (Galicia) and has lived in Dresden (Germany), and my great-grandfather, who was known to be cousins with Zvi Hershel Beer.
I mentioned already in an earlier post (see “Where to look for old newspapers in Flemish-Belgium“) that my great-grandfather and the children were were stateless citizens before they naturalized as Belgians. The reason for their statless status was that when my great-grandfather Gerschon Lehrer was born in Ustrzyki-Dolne, it was Austrian and after the First World War it became Poland.
My great grandfather lived since 1919 in Dresden (Germany) and Poland took away the nationalities from all citizens that were not in the country for a long time, hence my great-grandfather and grandfather automatically became stateless (source: naturalization file 21875N).
That was a short explanation about the stateless status from my great-grandfather and his children.
I am subscribed to a few mailinglists with an interest in genealogy. One of these lists is from the “Gesher Galicia SIG” (see http://www.jewishgen.org/galicia for more information about that group).
Recently there was a discussion on the stateless status of Galician Jewish refugees who moved to GERMANY after WWI.
I’d like to post these discussion in this post because I believe that the information in that discussion goes a bit deeper on the background of my ancestors’ stateless status after the First World War, then what I wrote before.
In my opinion the last post from Rivka Schirman which you can read below, provides us with the most complete answer. It is mainly the following paragraph which interests me:
Once the Conference of Ambassadors legally attributed East Galicia to Poland, it also based it on the articles of the Treaty of St Germain en Laye regarding nationality and citizenship (full text available at http://www.forost.ungarisches-institut.de/pdf/19230315-1.pdf). This time, those who opted for Polish citizenship, because it was possible, had, according to article 78, 12 months to move to Poland.
I found in the naturalization files of both my great-grandfather and of my grandfather, that they published, as was stipulated by law, in a local newspaper an announcement in which they publish their intention to be naturalized as Belgians.
Before they naturalized they were stateless citizens because when my great-grandfather Gerschon Lehrer was born in Ustrzyki-Dolne, it was Austrian. After the First World War it became Poland. My great grandfather lived at that time in Dresden (Germany) and Poland took away the nationalities from all citizens that were not in the country for a long time, hence my great-grandfather and grandfather automatically became stateless (source: naturalization file 21875N). (update April 11th, 2011 -> check my new post “Citzenship status of Galician Jewish refugees after World War I“)
I was trying to find the newspaper. In the naturalization papers I read that my great-grandfather published the announcement in the “Le Matin” (on the 15th of June 1952) and my grandfather published it in the “Het Handelsblad” (no specific date was given).
I posted recently (10 February 2011) a question via soc.genealogy.jewish regarding a company where my great-grandfather’s (Gershon Lehrer) brother Kalman Lehrer worked during WWII. The company was called Julius Berger and was based in France.
Kalman was born 20th June 1898 in Ustrzyki-Dolne. When the war started Kalman lived in Antwerp, Belgium on the Kroonstraat 205.
From 26 July 1942 to 31 October 1942 he was forced to work for the “Julius Berger” company in North-France.
He was deported via Malines/Mechelen in Belgium to Auschwitz on 31 October 1942 with transport 16 from which he did not return. The Belgian authorities confirmed (on 5 May 1955) their assumption that he passed away sometimes between 31 October 1942 and 1 June 1945.
I am looking for more details regarding the company Julius Berger.