Family Merath

This is a small-sized photo album from German ebay. The tiny photos in it are full of life and laughter, an homage to friendship. But unfortunately, it does not hold many clues.

The “main characters” in this photo album are who I refer to as “the tall lady” and “the fur coat lady”. There are dozens of photographs of them together.

There are two photos of a grave site. I assume that the fur coat lady is related to the deceased. She is standing at the grave site of one Josefa Merath, born Oct 9th, 1870; died May 1899. Or at least that’s why I decipher. Was she her mother who died at child birth? I’ve tried to find information on Josefa Merath with these details but unfortunately no luck. I think it says „Hier ruht unsere liebe Tochter“ (Here lies our dear daughter).

The second photo was taken at a grave site of one Maria Merath neé Lau, 1854-1927.

I noticed the capital letters “INRI” on top of the gravestone and a star of David above it. INRI stands for Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum which in English translates to “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”. I think it is now safe to assume that at least some of the Meraths were Jewish in Germany…

As I said, there are not many other clues in this photo album. Here’s a photo of the fur coat lady and friends posing in front of a DEROP gas station. This photo was taken after July 1st, 1929, when this German company was founded. The DEROP Oil Company sold fuel from Soviet Union in Germany and it existed under this name until 1935. I don’t know if this was just a random rest stop to get gas for their fancy car, or if the gentlemen had anything to do with the oil company.

The photogenic fur coat lady. There are so many photo of her smiling.

And this is the lady to whom this photo album probably used to belong. Was she related to the Meraths, I can’t say. Perhaps she was a close family friend. What can I tell you about her? She played the piano. She loved to travel. She seemed to have light blue eyes. She was a tall gal, always tallest in the group. What I can’t tell you, though, is her name.

I am little scared for the Meraths, thinking that WWII was at the outbreak some years later and the xenophobie was on the rise when the photos were taken. I wonder what the Meraths’ fate was in the years that followed.

Let’s hope the grave sites still exist today and someone who attends to them, might find these photos online one day and contact me.

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