Michigan: ‘The Brothers Warner,’ April 26

Join in the nosh-and-a-movie fundraiser for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan, on Monday, April 26.

The event starts at 7pm, the film screens at 8pm, in the Commerce Theatre, 14 Mile and Haggerty, Walled Lake, at the Lenore Marwil Jewish Film Festival.

This is the inside story of the little known major player in the Warner Bros. studio legend, Harry Warner, honest Abe, visionary Sam, and volatile Jack – the original Hollywood independent filmmakers. This close-knit band of brothers was the first to use mass media to “educate, entertain, and enlighten.”

“‘The Brothers Warner’ is a well-made, fascinating documentary. Cass has not only honored her grandfather’s legacy with this work, she’s also paid homage to one of the guiding principles of the four Warner brothers who founded the studio by producing a film that will educate, entertain and enlighten audiences.” —Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment

Their legendary scrappy rise from nothing, their overcoming of personal tragedies, and their battles are all woven together with the times they lived in. From opening their first storefront theater by hanging a sheet on the wall and borrowing chairs from a funeral parlor to creating one of the top studios in America – four brothers built an empire on a dream and revolutionized Hollywood creating the first major studio with a social conscience.

Fee: $18 per person ($8 goes to support JGSMi; additional donation appreciated); for more information or to order tickets, register online.

Michigan: Jewish children’s signatures, April 11

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan has been invited to the Polish Mission in Orchard Lake on Sunday, April 11, from 1-2.30pm.

Ceil Wendt Jensen and Marcin Chumiecki will lead the tour.

Jensen (below right), a Certified Genealogist who presents at many genealogical conferences, heads the Polonia Americana Research Institute, and Chumiecki (left) is the
Polish Mission Director

The event will highlight newly-discovered “yearbooks” with thousands of signatures of Jewish children.

Chumiecki and Jensen will present the holdings of the Association of Former Political Prisoners of German and Soviet Concentration Camps.

Opened in 1990, the collection holds uniforms, documents [including signatures of Jewish students from Mlawa, Olkusz and other Polish towns, camp art, and memoirs of Displaced Persons who settled in Michigan]. These former Polish citizens were incarcerated in Auschwitz, Dachau, Gross Rosen, Mauthausen, and the Soviet Gulag.

The artwork of Jan Komski is featured. Komski’s artwork features both Jewish and Catholic inmates – he depicted both the Star of David and the red triangle with a black P which depicted political prisoners.

The first part of the program is in the handicap-accessible Adam Cardinal Maida Library; the second part requires climbing several flights of stairs in the “Ark” Building.

The session will be held at the Adam Cardinal Maida Library
3535 Indian Trail,
Orchard Lake.

Fee: JGSM members, free; others, $5. Register online.

New York: Telling family secrets, March 21

Tracing the Tribe readers will note that I try to track the speaking engagements of Steve Luxenberg, author of the award-winning “Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret.”

Although some people think it may be strange that I do so, Steve’s book should be a must on everyone’s to-read list. If you haven’t read it, get yourself a copy. All genealogists and family history researchers should read it.

In addition to telling a compelling story, Steve’s use of all possible resources to solve his family mystery can provide clues and tips to all of us.

A Washington Post associated editor working on special projects, Steve will be speaking to the Jewish Genealogical Society of New York at 2pm on Sunday, March 21, at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.

Steve’s mother was an only child. That’s what she told everyone, sometimes within minutes of meeting them.

When Steve heard that his mother had been hiding the existence of a sister, he was bewildered.

Through personal letters and photographs, official records and archival documents, as well as dozens of interviews, Steve revisits his mother’s world in the 1930s and 1940s in search of how and why the secret was born.

Employing his skills as a journalist, he pieces together the story of his mother’s motivations, his aunt’s unknown life, and the times in which they lived. His search takes him to imperial Russia and Depression-era Detroit, through the Holocaust in Ukraine and the Philippine war zone, and back to the places where his aunt languished in anonymity.

Steve has worked for more than 30 years as a newspaper editor and reporter, beginning at the Baltimore Sun. He joined the Washington Post in 1985 as deputy editor of the newspaper’s investigative/special projects staff, headed by assistant managing editor Bob Woodward. In 1991, he succeeded Woodward as head of the investigative staff.

His professional investigative journalism skills served him well when it came time to write the book.

Married with two children, Steve grew up in Detroit, where “Annie’s Ghosts” is centered.

If you haven’t read the book yet, a book-signing will follow his talk.

Michigan: Create a family website, March 14

In 2009, Robert Ruskin created a ShtetLink page for Selets (Shiletz), Belarus, for his father’s birthplace.

He is researching his parents’ families (ORECHKIN, SHIFMAN).

Ruskin will demonstrate how participants can create a family website or ShtetLinks site for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan, on Sunday, March 14.

The meeting begins at 11am, at the Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills.

A JGSMI member, Ruskin is a native Detroiter.

He’s a retired radiologist and graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1955. Until 1996, he was in private practice and at Sinai Hospital in Detroit. He was also an assistant professor of radiology at Wayne State University Medical School and taught a computer filmmaking class at SOAR.

When he retired, he attended the University of Michigan Film School.

Fee: JGSMI members, free; others, $5. Register in advance here.

Michigan: HMC Library resources, Feb. 21

Learn about genealogical resource gems at the Holocaust Memorial Center with librarian Feige Weiss, at the next meeting of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan, on Sunday, February 21.

The meeting begins at 11am at the Holocaust Memorial Center, in Farmington Hills. The full name of the institution is the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus (HMCZFC), and the JGSMichigan library is house there as well.

Feiga Weiss is the head librarian and began working there the second day it opened 25 years ago – when it was located next to the JCC in West Bloomfield.

Before coming to Michigan, Weiss worked for many years at the Library of Congress and was the Hebraic Section’s Senior Reference Librarian.

This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the HMC Library – and to utilize its resources after the meeting.

Fee: Members, free; others, $5. The HMCZFC is at 28123 Orchard Lake Road. Hours are Sunday-Thursday 9.30am-3.30pm and Friday 9.30am-12.30pm.

For directions and more information, click here; RSVPs suggested.

Michigan: Public library resources, Jan. 24

The Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan will host a session on using the Detroit Public Library resources, on Sunday, January 24.

The program runs from 11am-1pm, at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills.

Mark Bowden of the Detroit Public Library will discuss genealogical holdings at the Burton Historical Collection and emphasize Jewish collections.

For more information, click here.

Michigan: Capt. Ocskay film, Nov. 22

Three great programs were scheduled by the Jewish Genealogical Society of Michigan this month, kicking off with the innovative Steve Morse, then author Steve Luxenberg (“Annie’s Ghost”) made an appearance.

The next program – on Sunday, November 22 – is a screening of the film, “Captain Ocskay, The Forgotten Hero.”

The film centers on Captain Ocskay who saved 2,000 Jews in 1944-45.

Following the film, JGSMI past president John Kovacs will relate his personal experiences escaping deportation from Miskolc to Auschwitz.

The program runs from 11am-2pm at the Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills.

Admission: JGSMI members, free; others, $5.

Please RSVP on the JGSMIwebsite.