Saturday, March 19, 2022

Heirlooms without an Heir ...

Who'd be the last twig on a moribund bough?

That's the case for John and I and our Gänzl-Gallas branch.  Father was the only son of an only productive son ... 

What this means, of course, is that all the 'stuff' hoarded by the last three generations of Gänzls, Gansls, and Gánsls has channeled itself from Austria and temporarily allied countries down to one little farmhouse in, would you believe it, New Zealand. Mine.

Apart from a few good-to mediocre paintings, of which I am fond, most of it, since it came to me, has been stashed away in cupboards. I rather think it might have also been the case in my parents' home. I am not under the illusion that anything among it is 'valuable' in monetary terms, but 'historical' ..?

I've already blogged the bits and pieces which adorn my shelves. I look at them daily, and they have helped impress the Austro-Hungarian-Jewish half of my pedigree on me rather deeply. Now, at last, I have gone to the back of the cupboard. Pretty things ... but, what will become of them when I shuffle off this mortal coil? What would Wendy do with a century-old Mah Jong set in ivory and ebony ... what would Paulie do with a lovely set of antique Viennese dominos ...

There appears to be one piece missing, but I think it is a blank ...   Father has translated the rules from the German, I would suspect very early in its career as his immaculate English seems just a little imperfect here and there.  There is no maker's mark. No sign of provenance. But the quality is good. A charming thing but ... what do I do with it?

There were two sets of dominos. One heart-touching set of beautifully hand-painted little ones, which I suspect were the work of my grandfather. Those had 'family' connections and feelings to them: so I packaged them up and sent them to my grandfather's wife's sister's family in Brazil. They have beautiful babies ... so maybe in another half century these will be cherished again.

The other is a real, heavy set of ivory/ebony dominos, in a custon-made pencil-case box. 

I had always thought that they came from the Scottish side of the family, but today, for the first time, I turned the box over ...

Josef Arazym (b 1968) shifted his bookshop to 46 Hietzinger Hauptstraße in 1915. He went on to become prominent, latterly at other adresses, so I'd guess this dates the box of, presumably bought-in, dominos to perhaps the 1920s. I guess now, a hundred years later, all dominos are plastic. 

Mother always seemed to think that 'father's building bricks' were the nicest thing amongst the Austrian heritage. I remember, John and I were allowed to use them once or twice. But neither of us evinced any architectural ambition, so the blocks went back in the cupboard ... until they ended up in mine. 

Clever toy. But, once again, no maker's mark that I can see .... Alas, a child with a mobile phone would probably find these dull. I think we did. But they are a wee bit historical. What pleased a child circa 1920 ...

Then there are boxes. One from 'Papa' Danziger's glacé fruits place in Vienna and pretending to be French ..

Another from a cigar emporium ...

The cigars were called 'Der Ewig-Männliche'. I would guess they date from well before National Socialism!  The model was either R Valentino or some Jewish male of dubious sexuality!

There's more. But that will do for the moment.

One of our own kittens has just caught herself in the (unset) cat traps which arrived an hour ago. Sometimes I think an heir or two might have been more manageable!

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