Jacob Feuer is my 2nd great grandfather. Little is known of him except he was the father of Marcus and married to Baila.
Markus Feuer, my great grandfather was born in 1870 in Tarnow, Poland. Tarnow had a Jewish population from the 15th century and before WWII the Jewish population was 25,000 (around half the total population). In 1965 only 35 Jews remained in Tarnow.
Markus moved to Vienna and was a leather merchant. Another leather merchant in Vienna was Max Lazar (maternal grandfather of John Key) so it is possible the families knew each other.
Markus married Gisela Spira in 1895 when they were both aged 25. They had three children – my grandfather Frederick (Fritz), and my great-aunts Hedwig (Hedi) and Margarete (Greta).
Markus lived on Wipplingerstrasse in Vienna. On the 15th of February 1941 he was transported to Opole, Poland. His prisoner number was No 90. He was taken to the Majdanek or Lublin concentration camp and died there along with around 80,000 others.
His son Fritz Feuer (my grandfather) was also imprisoned by the Nazis but his wife managed to secure his release and they were able to emigrate to New Zealand as refugees. Fritz was a successful architect in New Zealand, and upon arrival he anglicised his name to Farrar. Hence I’m not related to any other Farrars except my parents and brother.
I’m quite glad they picked Farrar as our surname as the literal translation of Feuer in English is Fire. I’m sure being David Fire would have resulted in many hassles during school years. The Jewish history of the name Feuer is “shedders of light and wisdom” which sounds good.
Of the eight great grandparents, the one I know the least about is the one whose surname (anglicised) I carry. If I ever get back to Austria I hope I can discover more.