Fort Lauderdale

Box of Family Photos Finds Descendant Decades Later

32-years later a box with over 100 photographs goes to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

NBC Universal, Inc.

David Semmel had no idea that one day his relatives from decades ago would show up on his doorstep, opening a door into the past during World War II. 

"Into your inbox comes this email with pictures of your mother, your grandfather," he said.

Silvia Espinosa Schrock had found the box of old photos in a closet at her parents' house. She had bought the box 32 years ago when she was an art student in New York City.

"I said, this belongs to a family, and I go to save it and maybe there's something interesting here, I'm thinking I can also use it for an art project, you know, so I gave him five bucks," Schrock said.

Semmel has an online blog about his family history. Schrock noticed a particular name on one photo and it turned out to be the key to finding Semmel.

"I typed Joachim Getter and it led me to David's blog," she said.

These memories are important to Semmel and his family, especially on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Semmel's beloved Aunt Chaya, her husband Muni Getter and their child Florine were rounded up in France and sent to Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Only Muni and Florine survived. 

"And my mother had always talked about this lost aunt and my grandfather was always heartbroken about his lost sister, but she wasn't real to me and then all of a sudden these photographs show up," Semmel said.

David's family was originally from Poland and many died during the Holocaust. Besides the family portraits, there were also many other photos taken at a French internment camp.

Semmel donated most of the photographs to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC. He hopes one day other families may recognize their ancestors in these photographs like he did.

Contact Us