Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
The Jacobowicz brothers—Karl, 16, Joseph, 13, and Rudolph, 10—stood on the metal ramp leading from the gleaming airliner that carried them on the final leg of their journey from Vienna.
The Nazis took their Jewish father away in 1940 but left their mother because she was Catholic. Then on Christmas Eve 1942, the Gestapo made their mother get rid of her children because they were half-Jewish. She died less than a year after turning them over to Catholic nuns.
An older brother, held as a U.S. prisoner of war, wrote to them about life in America. They were sent to New York in September 1947 and listed with the Catholic Committee for Refugees. A story in the local Catholic newsletter drew the attention of William F. Lear, 1328 Lemoyne St., and his wife, who volunteered to host the three youths.
A Times photographer captured the moment as the three brothers met Sister Maureen and Mrs. Lear. They told The Times reporter they thought America was wonderful “because there’s so much to eat over here.”
And then they disappeared into the pages of history. Public records show that a William F. Lear died in 1967, but the paper never published his wife’s first name so she’s impossible to trace. The three Jacobowicz brothers never again appeared in The Times.
Bonus factoid: Jackie Robinson is honored at a UCLA alumni luncheon at the Biltmore. Guests include Brooklyn Dodger manager Leo Durocher, Kenny Washington, Harry “Peanuts” Lowrey and Jerry Priddy.