As they had planned, Elizabeth’s beloved Erik went to Hamburg, Germany for cardiac research. And he made a side trip in search of Grandfather’s birth certificate. It could be a link to Grandfather’s secret, and the mystery woman’s photo in his pocket watch.
“There’s no birth certificate anywhere for your grandfather. In the Schleusingen records office, they told me old documents were either lost or destroyed. The clerk sent me to Rappelsdorf, Gustav’s village. Nothing there either. The locals suggested a synagogue in Erfurt, an hour away.”
“Erik, a synagogue wouldn’t have birth certificates.”
“They did though, in a sense. The rabbi had just finished services. He took a liking to me. His English was limited, but luckily, I spoke German. The rabbi went into the archives and came back with a photograph album (spoiler sentence taken out). He opened the album to 1879. There was a photo of a young woman in a nurse’s uniform holding a baby in her arms. Gustav Jacob Heim (spoiler words taken out). and Esther Rothschild were written underneath.”
Elizabeth jumped up from the sofa. “A picture! Do you have it?”
“I do. It’s in my jacket pocket.”
“I’ll get the pocket watch with the photo from my dresser drawer.”
Erik pulled out the faded black-and-white photo from an interior pocket of his jacket.
If the photos matched, who was the nurse with a different surname? How and why was the photo taken in the first place, and then preserved in a synagogue archive for 81 years?