A Mysterious Letter

The year is 1960 and Max Dreyfuss - my grandfather - is a German Jewish immigrant living on a quiet street in Saint Joseph, Missouri, with his wife and 2 sons. He is 46 years old and spends his days traveling the rural midwest as a door-to-door salesman. He keeps an ear out, hoping to find some trace of the family he left behind 24 years before.
His journey starts in 1936. In France, the political climate towards Jews is changing. So at 21, Max boards the Hoppa Six Steamer Ship and heads off to Ellis Island. In New York he takes up residence in downtown Manhattan and works as a button salesman. He meets a German woman, Bertha, and they start a life together in Washington Heights where they have 2 sons. When the button company decides to expand into the Midwest they ask if he will relocate. Soon he is treading the streets of Missouri, hoping to one day come across another Dreyfuss, to find out what happened to his 2 sisters back home, but news never comes. In 1984 he passes away. 
My father Stanley and I spent our lives assuming as Max did, that a clear picture of our lineage may never come. That is, until one day in 2004 — a letter arrives from France. A long lost aunt has tracked down my father and, with her daughter as translator, has written out a detailed family history. She explains that many family members were lost in the Holocaust but that some survived. The letter answered a 58 year mystery and communicated to me the power that lost family has to transcend decades.

Place(s): Germany,France
Year: 1936

– Lawrence Dreyfuss

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant