On the 2nd of April, 2018 the Gathering the Voices website – www.gatheringthevoices.com – received an e-mail from a lady called Sheryl Ross.
She wrote –
In my mother’s home is a picture of Ingrid Wolff Wuga (the very same picture that is on your website). My mother was best friends with Ingrid Wolff Wuga who was also from Dortmund, Germany, I was so excited to come upon this picture and have been looking up all the information you have on Ingrid.
My mother too is a survivor and was part of the Kindertransport from Germany. We would like to find out more information on Ingrid, specifically where she lives so as to possibly reunite childhood friends.
That day I, Claire Singerman, phoned Henry Wuga, gave him Sheryl’s email address and then left it to him. He contacted Sheryl and soon got a reply.
I shall let their correspondence tell the rest of this remarkable story.
Dear Ingrid and Henry,
I sent four emails to various places, hoping they would pass my information to you. I am beyond thrilled that one of my emails reached you!
How did this search begin? I belong to a book club and this month’s choice is “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Klein, a story about an Irish Immigrant fleeing from Ireland who was placed in three foster homes and had various experiences. I felt this story was similar to my Mom’s. I was then inspired to search for photos and videos of the Kindertransport. I spent three days of my vacation time glued to my computer. I was searching for photos of my Mom. One day, last week, just before Pesach Seder, I came across the same photo of “Ingrid Wolff” that my Mom has in her dining room. She shows me this tiny picture all the time. She tells me – “This is my friend Inga”.
I thought I recognized this tiny picture on the Internet. I took a photo of it on my phone. When I went to my Mom’s house for Passover Seder, I was thrilled to discover that it was a match! I now had the last name of “Wolff” that belongs to my Mom’s childhood friend!
I spent the Seder talking about this exciting discovery! I also had the feeling that the boy in the photo next to Ingrid had meaning as well. The name above the photo was “Henry Wuga” 1938. So, I later researched that name as well. Three days of research, determination and effort, led me to you. I did not give up! (I inherited my mother’s determination). I was fascinated to read your stories and watch your videos. I thank you for sharing them with many. I will be sharing them with my four siblings. (I am a Hebrew School teacher, so I appreciate that, especially, while doing my lesson plans for Yom Ha’Shoah. I now have new material to share with my class this year).
Background of Erika Wienmann:
Erica Marcus lives in Monroe, New Jersey USA. She lives in her home with a wonderful caretaker. Her children live nearby.
Married to Daniel Marcus for 35 years and a widow for 32 years. They met at a dance. She always wanted to be a dress designer. Instead, she chose waitressing, then later business with my Dad and I. She retired from outside sales at the age of 81. Together, they had 5 children, 7 grandchildren, and 4 great grandchildren. Having a large family was always very important to her. Her children have become Accountants, Financial Advisers, Nurses, Artists and Schoolteachers. All of us contribute to society in our own ways.
We all take very good care of our beloved Mom. Even though, at age 94, she now has dementia and has difficulty with conversation at times. I want you to know, she is loved dearly, lives a very good life and is well taken care of, as she deserves. She still dresses in beautiful fashion and loves clothes.
I wish you and your family, happiness and good health. May you both be well. I will give my eldest brother, Andrew Marcus, your telephone number. He will call this Sunday when he is visiting my Mom.
Henry wrote back –
Many thanks for your extensive information about your Mum and family. What a wonderful story. Your determined research has certainly borne results.
Ingrid also has dementia but remains remains active and positive; we go to music and opera and still travel to visit our daughters in London and Edinburgh.
You have researched our history on Gathering the Voices. We have 2 lovely daughters, sons in law and 4 grandsons, all well and busy with their professions and careers.
We are so pleased with the photos you sent. Your Mum looks great surrounded by the family.
I have sent you some photos of our family including one at our 90th Birthday three years ago.
It would be good to speak with your brother, yourself or if possible your Mum on the telephone.
Amazing that after leaving by Kindertransport in 1939 we should be in touch.
This is Hilary writing for Dad.
The contact through the photo of Mum on Gathering the Voices that led to her being able to re-establish contact with a school friend is quite remarkable. Last night they spoke on the phone while I was here.
The fact that these two 94 year old school chums are both alive in 2018 is great. Mummy used to say how she had never met anyone she knew from Dortmund, her home, after leaving … and now she has.
I’m sure you have many stories that have come out of your work, but to think that a lady who had Ingrid Wolff’s school photo on her sideboard all her life, telling her family, ‘That is my friend Inga!’ resulted in this incredible connection is truly amazing.
Many thanks from all of us,
Ingrid, Henry, Hilary and Gillian.