Showing posts from 2014

Felix Kerber

In this centenary year of the start of the First World War, one of my ancestors fought on the side of the Austrians.  My great great uncle Felix Kohn/Kerber was born on the 5th April 1894 to Rudolf Kohn and Gisela Löwenstein.

At the present time, I do not know when he joined the Army, but by the time he died on the 9th December 1917, he had been awarded the Silver Bravery Medal and the Karl-Truppen Cross.

Vincent Waterfall

Vincent Waterfall was the first airman, along with his co pilot to be killed in the First World War.

He was born on the 25th May 1892 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire to Walter Frank Waterfall and Mary Figgins and was the youngest of 10 children.  By the time of the 1911 census, Vincent and his family had moved to Burgess Hill in West Sussex.

In January 1912, he was gazetted to the 3rd Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment.  In 1913 Vincent trained as a pilot The Vickers School, Broadlands and in July 1914 he joined the Royal Flying Corps becoming a Flying Officer in August 1914.

On the morning of the 22nd August 1914, Vincent Waterfa1l and his co-pilot were flying over Labliau near Enghien in Belgium and were shot down by German Platoons and were killed.  Vincent is buried at Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension in Belgium.

Ilse Franziska Felicitas Frankenbusch Part 1

Ilse Franziska Felicitas Frankenbusch was born on the 9th November 1915 in Unter-Polan, a place in what was then Czechslovakia.  Her parents, Rudolf Frankenbusch and Hulda Kohn were both born into Jewish families in Prague and Vienna respectivley but just before they married on the 30th May 1909 Hulda converted and became protestant.  I do not know when Rudolf converted.

Rudolf and Hulda had two children Ilse, and her older sister Anna Gisela Eugenie Frankenbusch.  Initially, they all lived together in Czechslovakia, but after Hulda caught Rudolf having an affair with Johanne Tietze, who was the children's governess, Rudolf and Hulda divorced.  Anna stayed with her father in Czechslovakia and Ilse went to live with her mother in Vienna.

After the divorce, Hulda needed to work, so for about 18 months in the early 1920's she worked for Margaret Draper, an American hieress who had married an Italian Prince, and it was after the marriage ended, when Hulda came to work for her.  Hu…

Escape to Auschwitz

After my grandfather died in 2004, I inherited all the family papers and photographs.  While I was sorting through the papers I came across a series of letter that had been written by my grandmother Ilse, her mother Hulda and her grandmother Gisella.  These letters were written during World War 2 when the three women were living apart in England, France and Austria respectively and document how they were surviving during WW2. 

Before finding these letters, I very little idea of my grandmother's early life as I had never thought to ask her, but the thing that I got from the letters, was that she was a strong woman and this carried her through her later life.

If you are interested in the book it is called Escape to Auschwitz by Sonia Ann Waterfall and you can find it at

Putting leaves on the Branches part 1

During 2013 I managed to undertake some research into my AustroHungarian side of the family, all from the comfort of my sofa.  My Aunt, +Sonia Waterfall , had been writing a book about Hulda Frankenbusch nee Kohn (my gt grandmother) and had sent me a link to Ed Zwieback's website.  From here I used some of the sources he used and managed to research my tree further.

For the Austrian side of my family research I used FamilySearch and the records of Vienna's Jewish Community.  Here I finally found the birth of Hulda's brother Felix

as we knew he had died during WWI of typhoid fever aged about 18years.  I now have to find his death record.
Another website that I used was This is a cemetery database for the Jewish section of the Friedhof Cemetery in Vienna.  I found the Huldas father, Rudolf is buried here, along with her mothers parents and some of her siblings.
Finally I have also been using and browsing th…