The Brothers Josephu

The Brothers Josephu
Young Josef at work...circa 1917

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trip - Day 7

Sunday, June 5th

Today is a day I've been looking forward to for some time, the family reunion. My chance to meet the family I only knew of recently. Many thanks to my cousin George who arranged it. Family from all over the area are coming; from Vienna, Croatia, Germany, Salzburg and the Czech Republic.

We begin our morning with our usual breakfast together, with George, Brigitte, tea and fresh rolls. Then we head out in George's Toyota Yaris and we pick up Dusan and Bianca...and drive to the First District. We stroll around streets I now feel at home in, pass the Vienna State Opera House, walk near the Albertina to a Holocaust Memorial in a square nearby. It once was a home where many Jews hid during the war, and single bomb destroyed the house killing all the inhabitants.  From here we walk along the Graben, pass Stephensdom Cathedral, and stop for lunch at Figlmüller's. This is a heuriger I remember from my visit 14 years ago that has gotten so popular it's difficult to get in without a reservation. George called ahead and we were told if we got there at the opening we'd have a chance for a seat. What is special at Figmüller's is their schnitzel. One piece is the size of a pizza - and it's tasty, tender and perfectly accompanied with a salad. Dusan cannot believe the size of it! I could eat two, but that would be overdoing it. Afterward, we continue our stroll.

Back in the Yaris we head off to a restaurant/beer garden that George has arranged as the spot for our family reunion. Peter and Herbert Josephu have already arrived with their wives, Astrid and Katharina. Soon other's began to show up from all the branches of the family; the Josephus, the Kleins, the Beniceks and the Kundis...20 people in all! I am overwhelmed by how far they have traveled to meet. The youngest of the family is George's grandson, Emil. We compare family tree notes compiled by Peter and Herbert's father, and scour over a photo scrapbook and other family memorabilia...there's so much family history here!

Many photos were taken, and then we went to George's apartment for more wine, and food, and talk. It was a very special time I'll always fondly remember. I look forward to keeping in contact with everyone...and I look forward to the next family reunion someday. George now has the photo scrape book and will soon scan it's pages and send them to me. A very special day indeed!

One family mystery remains, its evidence found a book of letters George has, formerly held by Florian. In 1952 there was a cordial letter from my grandmother, the red Olga, to Florian's wife, the black Olga. However, all these years we were told the family hide not survived World War Two. But the reality was they were in contact with the family long after the war. Now that my mother is dead this question will remain an mystery.

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