The Geneological Tour

The genealogical tour idea.

* The idea of researching my roots came about when I phoned Oscar Pichon, a bed-ridden Nowakowsky grandson, then 93, and introduced myself as Ron Graner.  “Graner! Graner?? he rasped. Are you any relation to Irwin Graner??” “Yes” I answered. “He was my father. My dad died in 1986.”

Oscar: “He was my best friend when I came to Canada in 1930. We were together day and night. [until Oscar moved to Montreal].

I then asked my mother about the relationship and she surprised me with another revelation. My paternal grandmother had the same maiden name of Nowakowsky’s assistant organist: Isador Geller, who brought a handfull of Nowakowsky’s original manuscripts to New York in 1923, to become the organist of Park Avenue United Synagogue. A search on and Canadian census records show two brothers named Galler as tenants of my grandparents. Is there any relationship between Geller, (Galler) and my grandmother? It was the Gallers that Oscar came to visit in 1930, and met my father by accident.

I figure that if I am going to hire a genealogist, and go back to Odessa, I may as well invite others who are researching their families’ roots to join us and become part of the documentary.

The French concert (near Geneva) is to honour the 46 martyrs of the Dutch-Paris Underground who saved over 1,000 refugees and downed Allied airmen fleeing the Nazis. The heroic and inspiring story of Le Recu Dutch-Paris (Dutch-Paris Underground) and of its leader: John (Jean) Weidner are known but not yet videoed. The French villagers of Collonges s/s & Archamps are entirely unaware of the musical treasures they helped save during the war. By giving a concert of Nowakowsky’s music in the actual places where they were saved, I can trigger memories of this exciting and dangerous period in history in a celebration of glorious music.

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