Which is only one of the fascinating things I’ve learned from a family member’s just-published report on the Rapoports. (UD‘s father, Herbert Rapp, was born Rapoport.) Harz, Motel, and six of their sons came to the States from Cherkassy Ukraine in the early years of the twentieth century and settled in Philadelphia. My grandfather, Joseph, was one of the sons.

Another sibling, who stayed in the old country, is presumed to have died at Babi Yar.

Although Joseph and his children look like a typical American Jewish success story (doctors and entrepreneurs galore), a closer look reveals a strikingly high degree of physical and mental infirmity in my father, his two sisters, and quite a few of the children the three of them produced. “Dad’s family,” concluded my sister Barbara, after scanning the report, “was a genetic nightmare.”

1948, Baltimore. Engagement of my parents (far right). My mother’s mother, Fanny Kirson Wasserman, far left. Her husband, Charlie Wasserman, is taking the picture. Middle: Reba and Joseph Rapoport.

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