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March 14, 2014     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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March 14, 2014
 

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PAGE 10A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, MARCH 14, 2014 Se ;#crag kin: Across the ocean, a poignant end to an Israeli's search Zipora Saar These Allentown, Pa., studio portraits of Lillian and Filippus Mosesco, were enclosed with a 1965 letter to his cousins in Israel. Duane Walrod Zipora Saar's cousin Philip Walrod, shown while serving as a California school's headmaster, and his second wife Dory, a physician. By Hillel Kuttler extended family's hometown of Darabani, Romania. While the couple was child- less, Filippus had a son, Philip, from his first marriage. What became of Philip, whether he became a father, Saar didn't know. It wasn't much, but even across overseas phone lines the 81-year-old Saar, a resi- dent of Moshav Merchavia in Israel's Jezreel Valley, projected hope in a life once offering none and robbing her of so much. Saar survived the Holo- caust with two sisters and their parents; in 1943, an- other sister was killed. Saar's The "Seeking Kin" column aims to help reunite long-lost relatives and friends. BALTIMORE (JTA)--AII Zipora Saar had were some letters, names and pictures of American relatives she never knew, people last heard from a half-century ago. Saar fancied turning up descendants of her mother's first cousin, Filippus Mosesco, and his second wife, Lillian, who sent the letters from their farm in Macungie, Pa. Filip- pus was known as Feivush before emigrating as a young boy in about 1902 from the mother, Pearl Katz, was raped. One of the surviving sisters, Sarah, suffered from Holocaust-caused depression and committed suicide in Haifa in 1980. At just 10 years old, Saar, too, was raped, and in Israel her husband beat her. The cumulative torment forces Saar to take daytime catnaps. She can't sleep nights, so Saar, a retired teacher, finds comfort in the great literature and classical music keeping her company. "If I read something good and interesting, I don't think about the past," said Saar, who has two sons, six grand- children and two great-grand- children. A longtime listener of "Hamador L'chipus Krovim" ("Searching for Relatives Bureau"), Saar is captivated by the Israeli radio program's brief interviews of people seeking long-lost loved ones and acquaintances. Maybe, she figured, the show could help her. As often happens when the missing are American, host Izi Mann asked"Seeking Kin" for assistance. In most cases, the mystery is solved. Here, too, albeit poignantly. "Seeking Kin" uncovered rich information about Saar's relatives, but not what she most craved. Philip, it turned out, had no siblings and died childless in 2005. Unexpected obstacles near- ly stymied the trail: Philip had tweaked his surname's spell- ing to Mosescu. Upon marry- ing his second wife, Dory, he adopted her surname, Walrod. An obituary for Dory in 2001 mentioned her siblings, and her brother Don Walrod's 2008 obituary listed his sur- vivors. A phone call to Don's son, Duane, of Corvallis, Ore., uncovered the first person to have known Saar's American relatives. Walrod remembered an- nual visits to his Aunt Dory Help Want, Part time. Approximately two days per week, flexible hours. Busy newspaper office needs help with bookkeeping, telephone, billing, sales and various clerical duties. Call Jen at 407-81 d Zipora Saar This letter was sent in 1965 by Filippus Mosesco to his cousin in Israel, Pearl Katz. and Uncle Philip in the late 1960s and early 1970s in Bur- lingame, Calif., where Philip served as headmaster of the Moore School. Around 1973, the couple bought a farm in Oregon, where Dory moved her medical practice. For Dory, said Walrod, "it was like going back to her roots in rural Pennsylvania." The Keystone State was where her father-in-law spent much of his life. A May 29, 1929, article in the Reading News revealed that Filippus Mosesco came to the United States at age 8, skipped school until 17 and fought in World War I. He went on to teach French at Allentown Preparatory School and work as a reporter for the Allentown Morning Call--both while studying for dual degrees at Muhlen- berg College and Kutztown State Teachers College. That summer he would begin a master's-doctoral program at Lehigh University in nearby Bethlehem. Mosesco became politically involved. He was a principal correspondent for NAACP conferences in New York in the early 1940s and co-edited The Conscientious Objector. A March 16, 1960, article in the Tyrone, Pa., Daily Herald mentioned his appealing to the American Civil Liberties Union and a Quaker group to assist Amish parents impris- oned for refusing to send their children to high school. In an Aug. 27, 1965, letter to Saar's mother in Israel, Mosesco wrote that he and Lillian had moved from New York City to the farm 15 years earlier because of health ail- ments that included his being "badly disabled" in France during World War I. The letter discussed his siblings: Golda Ruchel, known as Gertrude; Rebecca; David Joseph; and Pearl. The middle two were unmarried and sickly, living in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, respectively. Gertrude had two children, Robert and Ruth Lee, but their surnamesweren't given. Pearl was a divorcee and widow who disappeared in SouthAmerica while nursing an infirm busi- nessman. "Thus, a rather unhappy story of your cousins in the U.S.A.," Mosesco wrote. Just seven months later, in March 1966, Lillian was killed in a car accident near the farm. A New York Times obituary mentioned her 37-year career as an editor and author of textbooks at the Prentice-Hall publishing company. Very early on the Mosescos' trail, "Seeking Kin" struck goldwhen the man answering the telephone at a Macungie- area cemetery association said he had driven the ambulance dispatched to the site of the crash. Racing to the hospital, Paul Miller and two colleagues revealed to Filippus Mosesco only that another ambulance was coming for his wife. Miller recommended sever- al Lower Macungie Township employees as sources on local history. The township's tax collector, Pat Vasillaros, said she learned that Fillipus's first wife -- Philip Walrod's mother -- was Hope Balliett Faul, 15 years his senior. Vasillaros discovered that Philip, born in 1921, at- tended Ohio University and while in Philadelphia in 1942 enlisted in the military. On Nov. 18, 1951, he mar- ried Genevieve James, the daughter of Herman James, the university's former president. They divorced in Florida in 1954 and, on Nov. 12, 1962, Philip married Dory Walrod. After her death, Walrod moved to Blaine, Wash., where he died in 2005. No doubt remains about Philip Walrod (nee Mosescu) being Saar's second cousin. "I'm sorry that no relatives remain," Saar said, her voice breaking. "There's no conti- nuity to the family, but this is the reality of life." If you would like "Seek- ing Kin" to write about your search for long-lost relatives and friends, please include the principal facts and your contact information in a brief email. "Seeking Kin" is sponsored by Bryna Shuchat and Joshua Landes and fam- ily in loving memory of their mother and grandmother, Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong uniter of the Jewish people.