Shirley Hosler of Saranac Lake, N.Y., has a calling: She tries to put families back together. Having lost her own family to domestic violence in the 1940s, Hosler, now in her 70s, spends a lot of time helping families reunite.
"That’s what the world’s about, reaching out," she says. "I love to do it."
For several years, Hosler has been trying to help a young Russian woman, Farezat Thormat Abdokov, find her long-lost half-sister, who was born Margaret Wiesner. The two last lived together on Mill Street and Spring Street in Paterson, before Margaret was placed in the Hebrew Shelter Home in Newark. Since Margaret’s father was Jewish, Hosler approached The Jewish Standard in the hopes that some "angel" might remember the family and offer some information.
Hosler, who learned of Abdokov’s search from NBC’s "Unsolved Mysteries," says that Abdokov, now a teacher in Russia, was separated from Wiesner after their mother committed suicide in 1956. According to a fact sheet compiled by Abdokov, her mother, Roszi (Rose) Thoman Wiesner Thormat, "died with our infant sister in Barbours’ Pond in West Paterson, New Jersey, USA." Thanks to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, Abdokov now knows where her mother is buried.
Born in Poland in 1916, Roszi Thormat came to the United States in 1950. Wiesner’s father, Samuel Wiesner, was born in Lodz; while Abdokov’s father (Margaret’s stepfather), Boris Thormat, was born in either Poland or Russia. Margaret Wiesner was born on March 15, 1946, in Poland. Abdokov was born in New Jersey in 1954.
In 1959, following the death of his wife, Boris Thormat left for Russia, taking Abdokov with him. However, Samuel Wiesner insisted that his daughter Margaret remain behind and live with him. To the best of her knowledge, notes Abdokov, Margaret went to live with her father in New York City in 1960.
Despite appeals to the Red Cross of Poland (where Margaret was born) and Germany (where Samuel Wiesner lived for a time), Abdokov has not been able to get any information about her sister. While the American Red Cross was unable to help, a contact made through that organization resulted in Abdokov’s subsequent appearance on the NBC show.
Hosler remains hopeful, and urges anyone with information to call (518) 891-00’0.
"She is my only sister in this world," writes Abdokov. "That’s why I want to reunite with her."