How this site began
The story of how this project started, including having someone translate the back of a photo, finding my father, discovering the Internet and developing this site.
About my story...
From the time I was seven years old I knew that my biological father was not my mother's husband. I had heard stories about him leaving a bunch of flowers at my mother's bedside when I was born, then disappearing into thin air. He was maybe Arab or maybe Jewish - he had 'two names' and nobody quite knew who he was.
In 1993 I visited Europe for the first time since moving to Australia as a six-year-old. My grandfather's second wife Anne, who had looked after me as a baby and toddler while my mother was working, let slip that my father was Jewish.
On that trip I went to Morocco. For the first time I saw people with my features - Moroccon Jews who were serving food from a van in Fez. I went to a quiet spot in a park and cried my eyes out (turns out that both my great grandmothers on my dad's side were the Moroccan wives of Spanish Sephardic Jews).
When I got back to Australia I confronted my mother about this new information. She relented, and ended giving me the two items she said she hadn't burnt: a photo of my dad on the beach and a document from the Child Agency in Munich stating that he was untracable, was said to be living in Paris, and that he owed thousands of Deutschmarks in child support. It also had his official name on it: David Nathaniel. My mother also said he had half a foot missing.
Finding my father...
The photo was some Hebrew cursive writing on the back, and in 1995 I took the photo to the Holocaust centre in Elstenwick to see if anyoone could read it.
The volunteer there peered at the cursive Hebrew: "it says David, 1964". She peered at the face again, closely. "I think I know that guy's face..." She had lived in Israel for some years. No more information was forthcoming, but I wondered: what if he's still around and I can find him?
The photo of David my mother gave me - my only evidence of him until I found him
Place: Bat Yam
Letter to the Jerusalem Post requesting insertion of ad re 'looking for father', 7 May 1996
Stefan Sowade Schutt
x Hotham Street
phone (03) xxxx xxx
Following recent email correspondence with Mr xxxxx xxxx at your office, I would like to book some advertising, and pay by Mastercard.
The details are as follows:
Edition: International Edition
Dimensions of ad: two inch, one column
To be included in advertisement:
a) Photograph included within- maybe you can crop it so that it displays just the head and shoulders? Unfortunately this is the only photo I have of my father, whom I am trying to locate.
b) Text, as follows:
Have you seen my father?
I am looking for my biological father, known as David Nathaniel. He lived in France and Germany in the mid 1960s and would now be 65-70 years old. He served in the Israeli army, and is possibly missing part of a foot.
My mother's name is Birgit xxxxx.
If you have any information that may help me reach him, it would be much appreciated. Please contact:
Stefan Sowade Schutt, x Hotham Street, Collingwood, Victoria 3066, Australia. Phone (61 3) xxx xxxx.
Payment details: My card is a MasterCard
I hereby authorise the withdrawal of US$144 from the above account.
I would very much appreciate confirmation of this letter and the placement of the ad. I can be contacted by mail, email or phone (see above)
Thank you for your time, and please find photograph enclosed.
Stefan Sowade Schutt