A Secret Grave 124: Like a Bag of Sparkling Diamonds

 

When I started my research on the Gottlieb family I expected to find nothing but obituaries, but that didn’t occur. It turned out that both Leonard and his father, Rudolf, had been prolific writers and inventors, so there was quite a bit about them online. I will paraphrase what I learned to avoid being tedious.

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Rudolf Gottlieb was born in the city of Lviv, which is now in western Ukraine but was once the capital of Galicia (when the city was also known as Lemberg). The changing borders of the Austro-Hungarian empire are confusing, so I’m not sure whether he would have been considered Russian, Polish, Austrian – but probably none of that matters; he was simply a Jew and around the time of his birth, in 1900 in that part of the world, being a Jew was fraught with danger, horror, difficulty – tsuris. I don’t know much about his family of origin. His father, Meir, whom I learned was also a doctor, was born in the same city in 1858. Why he, his wife, and all six children didn’t emigrate to Canada is a mystery that probably involved money. Only three children were sent: Rudolf, ten, and two older siblings, Raya, fourteen, and Pinchas, sixteen, who died of an outbreak of typhus on the trip over.

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The 3 Gottlieb children with their mother – from left: Raya, Pinchas and Rudolf

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I assume that they had family, probably cousins, in Toronto. How Rudolf picked up his extraordinary medical knowledge without the traditional, intergenerational tutelage of his father we will never know. What we do know, from deduction, is that the highly valuable and coveted Bukh of Remedies must have traveled across the Atlantic with the three children before finding a temporary hiding place in someone’s attic or in an innocent-looking bureau drawer. Rudolf, who was no doubt brilliant, must have spent hours secretly poring over the pages of the Bukh. Perhaps he had a rabbi who helped him. Or a learned doctor or scholar since he needed several languages to comprehend the immense amount of information in the Bukh. It must have been drilled into him that the huge tract was secret, that possession of it carried an element of danger, that it was as precious as a bag of sparkling diamonds, and that it must be guarded with his life if necessary.

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The Bukh, Photo Credit Gilbert Garcia

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Rudolf grew from a scraggly ten-year-old boy to a sagacious doctor whom people traveled great distances to see. He married Irma Gurevich in 1919, and his eldest son, Leonard, was born a year later. In researching him, I found articles in his name on such subjects as blood borne diseases, the relationship of oral bacteria to bacteria in the heart and brain, vaccination and herd immunology, and a booklet: “Easy Remedies for Complicated Maladies.” But it was the unusually high number of lawsuits against him that interested me the most.

 

To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ https://worldofdiamonds.tv/en/news/

 

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