b'WESTERN MARBLE ARCH SYNAGOGUEus throughout the generations would never win. But however hard we searched we could not find what happened to Yossel and Lebel.In 1924, my grandmother aged 18 took the hand of her sister and began the long journey by train and boat to London. Her mother Mindel ne Nitlich had died 24 months previously. Her elder sister and two elder brothers were already in London. They implored her to join them for a safer and more secure life. Looking after her mother had kept her in Warsaw but perhaps even more so was her love for her two brothers who lived in the city with their young families. The Nazi curse had not yet reared its ugly head in Warsaw, but my grandmother knew fear and Antisemitism. In 1919 the Bolsheviks were at the door, ready to capture and pillage the city. My grandmother was a beautiful girl of 14 who looked 20. Birth records had not been properly recorded at that time, and the Russians would conscript her or even worse if they thought she was an adult. So her neighbours signed official witness to her 14 years. A piece of paper that saved her in a way that many others who desperately relied on documents were not saved.Our family lived at 14 Wolynska Street in the heart of the Jewish quarter of Warsaw. Latterly to be just one street away from the Mila 18 bunker, famous for the defiant last stand of the Ghetto uprising. My great-grandfather ran a cloth business that was taken over by his two sons Yossel (Joseph) and Lebel (Leon). Was this the reason they stayed when the rest of their siblings fled? Or more likely was it their deeper roots to the city, created with their wives and young children? Yossel with two young boys and Lebel with three beautiful children. The black and white crumpled photos of these happy families belie the sinister fate that would be theirs.Today tracing records of Jewish lives online is relatively easy. So many databases exist under the banner of JRI and we have traced all four branches of our family back several generations. We were confident that we would find out more of their fate. But after several hours at the Jewish Historical Institute, with the expert help of Matan, a young Israeli researcher doing so much excellent work to ensure the Shoah in Poland will never be forgotten, we found nothing. The Nazis ensured it. We thought records in the great capitals of Europe would be the best. But they bombed the hell out of Warsaw, ensuring the traces of their destruction could not be properly uncovered.Letters to my grandmother via the Red Cross finally came to an end. We can find nothing more. Did they perish in the Warsaw Ghetto or in Treblinka like many of their fellow Warsaw Jews? I suspect we shall never know. Today to walk in Treblinka is a cold and sinister experience. The sun shone through the pine trees like the backdrop to some bizzare forest picnic. The death camp is gone. Only the stark memorial remains. I stood there and said the memorial prayerjust in case.Just nine lives among six million, but nine lives that mean so much to my family.16'