Congratulations to, Charlotte Lugmayr-Frantz, the Find a Grave® featured volunteer of the month for March 2023! Charlotte is focused on helping families find their ancestors in the Jewish cemeteries of Bohemia and Upper Austria.
Charlotte lives in a little village named Hellmonsoedt, near Linz, Austria. She loves genealogy and history. Gardening and herbal medicine are also a couple of her interests. She even makes her own comfrey ointment from comfrey plants growing in her garden! Her cat, Russy-Boy, keeps her company while she enjoys restoring furniture, painting, and playing the piano.
She remembers many years ago when she first ran across Find a Grave. Her friend, Ronald, asked for help searching for information about his father and any other family members. She searched Find a Grave and didn’t find a memorial at that time. Ronald’s father, Staff Sergeant Andrew Blythe, was stationed in Linz, Austria after WWII and there met his mother, Erna. Charlotte learned about Andrew’s military career in the U.S. Air Force and medals issued for his military service. She also found that he died in 1957 in New Mexico. She added his memorial along with her research and his burial location to Find a Grave and shared that with Ronald. In 2008, Ronald was able to meet his half brother and visit his father’s grave in the Santa Fe National Cemetery.
Charlotte helped a friend through Find a Grave and it felt great! She started thinking about the families of those who had ancestors in cemeteries in Upper Austria and how she might help them. She found a rewarding hobby, photographing headstones and telling their stories, and it had only just begun.
Over the years, Charlotte has been contacted by relatives who shared their gratitude as they didn’t know where their family member was buried. She has photographed many headstones and recorded burial locations for victims of the Holocaust that died after liberation in 1945. When she’s met with family members in cemeteries and walked them to the grave of their loved one, the flood of emotions has been overwhelming. She’s made friends and connected with people around the world. Here is just one of those many stories.
During WWII, Zoltan Czeiger was forcibly removed from his home in Hungary to the Gunskirchen concentration camp. The camp was liberated in early May 1945, but many who were imprisoned died shortly after liberation due to starvation and diseases that resulted from conditions of the camp. Zoltan was among those who died less than a week later. His parents and six of his eight siblings were also killed in the Holocaust. His brother, Julius, survived but didn’t know where Zoltan was buried. In 2009, Julius’s nephew was searching for information online and found this memorial for Zoltan on Find a Grave. He didn’t have a headstone but the burial was recorded. Julius reached out to Charlotte and asked if she could help to arrange a gravestone, which she was honored to do. In 2010, 90-year-old Julius made the trip from Sydney, Australia to Wels, Upper Austria. He was able to visit the grave and pray the Kaddisch for his brother.
Charlotte, we are appreciative of your efforts and the efforts of all Find a Grave volunteers. This work connects us as a community as we help one another and also allows people everywhere to discover information about those that have passed on.
Do you know a Find a Grave member who would make a good Volunteer of the Month? We welcome your suggestions. Please send an email with details of their work to firstname.lastname@example.org.