we'd love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. >> an ancestor they knew nothing about... >> i went through 50-some-odd years of my life and had no clue. >> an inheritance they can hardly believe... >> what was your reaction as you opened those first boxes? >> it was mind-blowing. >> why does andrew green have george washington's will? >> bare-knuckle politics, cold-blooded murder, a legacy all but snuffed out... >> this was a cloud of suspicion of having lived a double life. >> what did they do? >> what are the chances that those boxes would've just been trashed? >> very good chance of that. >> what would you do? >> well, it drove me crazy. >> how 'bout 6,000? >> and what's it all worth? >> you think you'll ever get another auction with a story like this? >> no, i kinda doubt it. [ door creaks ]
[ wind howls ] [ thunder rumbles ] [ bird caws ] >> i'm jamie colby. and today, i'm in kennebunkport, maine. it's renowned as the bush family's summer haven and also for its succulent lobster. but this story has a cast of characters that are up and down the atlantic seaboard. the heirs, they live here, a reclusive aunt from massachusetts and their gilded age ancestor once dubbed "the father of greater new york." >> i'm john green. >> and i'm lisa green buchanan. >> i think it's fair to say that our aunt julie was a hoarder. and when she died in 2009, she left us a mountain of stuff to sort through. >> oh, what a great house! >> thank you! welcome to kennebunkport! i got a story... >> john and his sister lisa belong to a new england family whose history goes back
to mayflower days but whose legacy had been largely forgotten. in 2005, that reclusive aunt i mentioned, julie green, is diagnosed with cancer, and john moves her from the boston area into a condo up here in maine, where the siblings can help care for her. it's a big job to be a caregiver. >> i never thought of it that way. she had nobody else. >> what was she like? >> she was single and independent. >> never married? >> no. >> no children? >> she did not want children. >> nor does aunt julie want anyone to get rid of all her stuff. >> even when we moved everything out of that house, we had a dumpster put in there, and she would guard the dumpster. she would make sure we wouldn't throw anything out. >> so the basement of julie's condo gets overwhelmed with stacks of boxes of books and who knows what else. john, what are the chances that, if you and your sister didn't care for aunt julie, that those boxes would've just been trashed?
>> very good chance of that. >> in her last years, the tight-lipped aunt julie does drop references to their ancestor she says accumulated much of it all. >> the only thing she would say is uncle andrew this, uncle andrew that. we'd tease her that she was living in the past. you know, you're talking about all these people that aren't here anymore, and little did we know why. >> aunt julie dies in 2009 at the age of 73. >> everything was left to my sister and myself. when we started opening boxes, we still didn't know exactly what we had at that time. >> first, they have to separate the wheat from the chaff. and there's plenty of chaff -- decades of old knickknacks, newspapers, mail, and clothing. how many boxes are we talking about? >> hundreds. >> among the boxes, lisa discovers this book which gives them a clue of what's to come. it's a family journal going back to the 19th century.
this is so cool! this is a caricature of andrew green, known as the father of greater new york. i'm from new york. i've never heard of him. did you know much about him before? >> no, we didn't. >> that's when i started to go down the rabbit hole. they learned that this guy, their great-great-great-uncle andrew green, was born in 1820 in an area known as green hill in worcester, massachusetts. >> he had 10 brothers and sisters. his father was a lawyer. they were well-off but not rich. >> 300 miles south of kennebunkport here in manhattan, historian mike miscione has pieced together the story of lisa and john's ancestor and how he left his mark here in the big apple. and while there's no skyscraper, highway, or airport named after him, it turns out there really ought to be. >> he was largely responsible for creating the institutions
that transformed new york into a world-class city. >> mike explains that, as a teenager, andrew green left massachusetts and moved to new york city. >> he worked as a clerk at a dry-goods operation, and, eventually, he decided to settle upon a career of law and came into contact with a up-and-coming lawyer by the name of samuel tilden. >> tilden is making a fortune representing railroads. he's also becoming a big shot in new york politics. >> green's dealings with tilden brought him into democratic political circles. and soon, he was involved in new yor >> green becomes tilden's law partner and begins making a hefty salary. instead of marriage and children, he's devoted to work. but when tough times befall his family up in massachusetts, andrew returns temporarily to worcester to take charge. >> he was able to not just get the estate out of debt
but make it prosper, as well. he became the patriarch of his family for the remainder of his life. >> great shot. is that the house? andrew figures the family home could use some extra rooms, 42 to be exact. one of those rooms is a museum showing off artifacts from the green family's history. >> there was a museum in the home for the family, not for the public. >> and how do you know that? >> this book is the story of the family and green hill. >> can i look? >> sure. >> so this is the story of the home 1754 to 1905. that's a lot of family history. >> mm-hmm. >> andrew's ready to make history himself back in new york by shaping it into a world-class metropolis. among other jobs, he heads the commission that creates central park. >> central park, the metropolitan museum of art,
the american museum of natural history. green would be largely responsible for creating the bronx zoo, the new york public library. >> there's very little green doesn't touch during new york's gilded age. in 1871, when city coffers are almost bankrupt, he becomes the city's comptroller. >> andrew green needed to be escorted by a ring of mounted policemen as he was approaching the comptroller's office on his first day of work. and this was a blood sport in this era. >> green exposes the shenanigans of new york's corrupt democratic machine, known as tammany hall, and helps send the city's notorious boss, william tweed, off to prison. oh, and one other little achievement... >> it was green's efforts to get new york to expand beyond the borders of manhattan island and to annex the municipalities around new york harbor, which included the city of brooklyn, and make that all one giant metropolis.
>> so how could his own family 100 years later not know all about him? could it have anything to do with the way green died? that's next. >> but first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. in the presidential election of 1876, andrew green's law partner, samuel tilden, won the popular vote but lost to rutherford b. hayes. the answer after the break. when you think about success, what does it look like? is it becoming a better professor by being a more adventurous student? is it one day giving your daughter
(splashing/destruction) (splashing/destruction) (burke) and we covered it, october twenty-seventh, 2014. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪ >> it's "a." among other problems, florida democrats printed ballots showing abraham lincoln's face in an effort to trick freed slaves who couldn't read into voting democratic. a special commission was set up to decide the contest, leading to the election of hayes over tilden. >> john green and his sister lisa green buchanan initially think their hoarder aunt julie has simply left them a big headache
when she dies in july 2009. but among the hundreds of boxes that filled her basement, they uncover a 19th-century journal that begins to open their eyes to the legacy of their great-great-great-uncle andrew haswell green, a man theodore roosevelt nicknamed "the father of greater new york." >> nobody told us the story. >> i went through 50-some-odd years of my life and had no clue how important he was. >> john comes to suspect that may be because of the scandal surrounding green's death in 1903. >> a man approached him and accused him of seeing his mistress and shot him in the back. [ woman screams ] >> the stranger -- his name was cornelius williams -- shot andrew green five times, killing the man instantly. he made no attempt to escape, made no attempt to deny what he had done.
>> the confessed killer claims green and a brothel owner named bessie davis were part of a conspiracy against him. newspapers across the country relish the salacious story. >> this was a very troubling, mysterious set of circumstances, and andrew green was under this cloud of suspicion of having lived a double life. >> the police determine green was a victim of mistaken identity. or was it payback from the political machine that he had taken down? whatever the case, the damage to his once-spotless reputation is done. plans to erect memorial gates in his honor at the entrance to central park evaporate. in worcester, green's mansion is sold to the city and later demolished. gradually, even his own kin forget all he accomplished and left behind, the effects of an important man boxed up in cardboard.
>> they cleaned the mansion out. and my grandfather's father took possession of all these items, and then it went to my grandfather. they were passed on to julie. >> and why julie? >> she took care of my grandparents when they got elderly. when my grandparents moved into assisted living, julie was the one that took 'em. >> and because john and lisa take care of aunt julie in her dotage, she leaves them this strange inheritance. what was your reaction as you opened those first boxes? >> it was mind-blowing, really exciting. >> there's china, tiffany silverware, coins, stamps, antique books, clothing, toys, and jewelry. and how many items are we talking about? >> thousands. >> so after tossing aunt julie's actual junk, including decades of old newspapers and mail, they reach out to richard oliver, a family friend and local auctioneer. >> we knew there was enough value to get historians and people like richard involved.
i mean, my brother and i couldn't have settled this estate by ourselves. >> indeed, richard will need an entire team to go through all those boxes and catalog everything. >> i said, "listen. john, you pay the expenses. i'll keep the buyer's premium." >> do all your clients pay up front? >> well, a good part of the time, we take 20% or whatever it might be, and we pay the expenses. >> john agrees but quickly learns he's taken a huge risk. research gets expensive. take this old hebrew translation of the qur'an from andrew green's massive library. to find out where it came from, richard must run an ad in an antiques magazine. >> somebody picked up on it, and i started getting calls from israel and calls from all over the country. >> another example -- this silver cup with a wolf's-head crest. >> it drove me crazy. i wasn't able to find out what the crest was.
>> after much effort, historian bill ralph, a member of the research team, figures out it was from a group called wolf's head. sounds like a secret society. >> and it -- in fact, it is, and it was. it was the third secret society at yale. >> fascinating stuff. but can the siblings expect a return on that kind of research? did you ever say to richard, "i got your latest bill, and we're not gonna do any more research until we sell some of this stuff"? >> i didn't put it like that, but i questioned him. "are you sure we're discovering enough things of importance to pay this bill?" and, richard being richard, "oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. don't worry about it." >> i told john i had calculated we ought to be able to do $600,000 without a problem. >> that's because his team has found plenty. check out these letters apparently given to andrew green as a gift, penned by thomas jefferson, james madison, and james monroe. >> they were... >> originals? >> yes.
>> what were the letters about? >> my favorite letter, james monroe and james madison were talking about this gentleman who happened to be andrew jackson. they were afraid that he might be the ruination of their careful plans to carry on their ideology with the american public. >> the next big find? this rare copy of george washington's last will and testament, printed in 1800, right after washington's death. >> at the time, we knew there were only 13 existing copies. >> make that 14. >> it was in a plastic bag filled with other things, and it very well could've been thrown out without anybody ever knowing about it. >> by july 2010, john and lisa's strange inheritance is cataloged and ready for sale. they've invested a year and a lot of money in it. how much had john spent getting ready for this big auction? >> it was around $225,000. >> whoa!
>> i hope we get enough out of this to pay for what we've discovered. >> will they? >> sold at $1,000. >> that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. when andrew green was new york city's comptroller, the brooklyn bridge was partially financed by renting what? apartments atop its towers, boat slips by its piers, or wine cellars at its base? the answer in a moment. my school reunion's coming fast.
could be bad. could be a blast. can't find a single thing to wear. will they be looking at my hair? won't be the same without you bro. ♪ when it's go, the new choice privileges gets you there faster. and now, stay two times and you can earn a free night. book now at choicehotels.com legalzoom has your back. for your business, our trusted network of attorneys has provided guidance to over 100,000 people just like you. visit legalzoom today. the legal help you can count on. legalzoom. legal help is here. with esurance, upload you into a a few photosk?
x1 makes it easy to find what blows you away. call or go onliand switch to x1. only with xfinity. great time for a shiny floor wax, no? not if you just put the finishing touches on your latest masterpiece. timing's important. comcast business knows that. that's why you can schedule an installation at a time that works for you. even late at night, or on the weekend, if that's what you need. because you have enough to worry about. i did not see that coming. don't deal with disruptions. get better internet installed on your schedule. comcast business. built for business. >> it's "c," renting wine cellars at the base of the bridge. the granite-enclosed spaces maintained a 60-degree temperature even in hot summer months.
>> it's september 2010, and john green and his sister lisa are preparing to auction off thousands of items they inherited from their aunt julie. many belonged to their great-great-great-uncle andrew green, the long-forgotten father of new york city. they decide everything must go -- well, almost everything. >> these are dueling pistols. when you had to settle a score back in the 1700s, these are the dueling pistols that you used and the powder flask that goes with it. >> now, why would you keep these? >> i'm a gun nut. so i thought it was kinda cool to have dueling pistols. >> the stakes for the auction are high. to appraise and catalog the collection, the greens have spent $225,000. >> every box was another -- you never knew what you were gonna get into. >> the big question now -- will the auction bring in the money they need to break even? >> here we are.
we've extended a lot of time and a lot of money and a lot of resources just to get to this far. >> was it important for you to recover enough from the auction to cover your expenses? >> very important. >> lot number 22. let's start with... and how much? and get bidding where? >> john frets as auctioneer richard oliver unloads antique toys, dolls, and music boxes for just a few hundred dollars apiece. >> it was a slow start, like, "oh, boy. is this gonna come into it?" >> next on the auction block, that silver cup that bill ralph finally determined was from a yale secret society. even that only fetches 1,000 bucks. they're a long way from the 225,000k john and lisa paid up front to get their strange inheritance ready for auction and a far cry from the minimum of $600,000er . and then, with one surprising bid, everything starts turning green! >> none of us thought it was gonna go
for what it went for. >> that's next. what's your strange inheritance story? we'd love to tell it! send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. when you booked this trip, you didn't know we had hundreds of thousands of places to stay all over the world. or that we searched billions of flights to get you here. a few weeks ago, you didn't even know where here was.
>> now back to "strange inheritance." >> it's september 2010, and john green and his sister lisa green buchanan are wondering if they're going to be able to cover the $225,000 they've spent preparing their strange inheritance for auction. >> uh, we had to pay for this somehow. >> at first, the sale moves slowly and ekes out only a few thousand dollars, nowhere near what they need. what was the moment at which it picked up? >> one of the most exciting was the small hebrew book that they found. none of us thought it was gonna go for what it went for. >> the 17th-century hebrew translation of the qur'an, a gem from andrew green's vast book collection? >> $33,000.
>> that copy of george washington's last will and testament? $16,000. a single letter from thomas jefferson to president monroe? 13k. all of the presidential letters together -- just under 70 grand. 9 booklets from 19th-century india fetch 11k. a cherry tea table? $9,000. this windsor high chair goes for $11,500. the sales just keep ringing up. the final tally at auction's end -- $700,000. so were you pleased or disappointed? >> oh, very pleased. the things in that auction needed to go to people who cared for them so the general public could see it. >> in fact, the new york public library buys a bundle of letters written by green himself for only 500 bucks, a bargain for the guy who helped create the library in the first place. >> if it wasn't for him, who knows what central park would be? he brought the five boroughs of new york together
to make one city. this is a lot of history. >> we told you how john kept those dueling pistols. john's sister lisa keeps something, too -- that dusty old journal that reconnected her to the green family legacy. >> i learned a lot while we were going through this process. it's pretty astounding, and there's no way to deny where i came from anymore, the more i learned. >> in 2012, new york city finally got around to funding a small andrew green park here along the east river for $5 million. but then the city realized that the pilings along the river would need repairs, costing another 15 million. so for now, andrew green has a dog run and a beautiful view to honor him. and his story, which was in storage for more than 100 years, is finally out of the box. i'm jamie colby
for "strange inheritance." thanks so much for watching, and remember -- you can't take it with you. >> a daughter inherits a mysterious diary from her father, an artist who survived the holocaust. >> he had to live so that he could show the scenes that he witnessed. >> his words become her quest. >> i made a promise to my father that i would show his artwork to the world. >> these pages, her road map. >> here is a man who went through so much horror. >> but can she recover what the nazis stole from him? >> what do you think went on in that room? ♪ i'm jamie colby, and, today, i'm in rockland county, new york, an hour north of new york city. i am meeting a viewer who wrote me about her strange inheritance
and how it turned her into a sort of time traveler, right back to her father's harrowing past. >> my name is miriam friedman morris. my father, david friedman, a painter and holocaust survivor, left me a diary, "tagebuch fuer miriam friedman." as i read it, the diary led me on a remarkable journey that continues to this day. >> miriam, i'm jamie. >> hi. welcome. >> miriam wrote us an e-mail that said... it was so impassioned, i had to meet her. my goodness. look at all of this. i feel like i'm in fine-art gallery or a museum. tell me about your parents. >> my parents were both holocaust survivors, and in 1954, we moved from israel to new york. >> in her mind's eye, little miriam sees only gauzy pictures
of her father's past. he doesn't tell her all that much. she knows he was a painter, who, in world war i, drew combat scenes on the russian front and was decorated for bravery. but she's in the dark about the full scope of his artistic career, including hundreds of drawings of top personalities for german newspapers and exhibitions of his work in major cities. in december 1938, friedman fled berlin for prague, czechoslovakia, after what's known as "kristallnacht" or "the night of broken glass," when jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues throughout germany and austria were ransacked. in prague, he continues to paint portraits. he snaps black-and-white photos of them and puts them in albums, which somehow survive. >> i would go and look in the albums, and this one really spoke to me. >> but he doesn't tell her the stories behind those pictures.
>> he knew that i was looking at the pictures in the book. i was really quite fascinated with them. he just would watch me, but he wouldn't really say much. >> young miriam knows her father was in a concentration camp but not how he got there or how in the world he survived. how did your parents meet? >> they met in a small town about one hour from prague. it was a place where the survivors went for healing. >> nor does miriam know about her father's disappointing attempt in israel to use his talent to express the horrors of the holocaust. he'd only write about that years later. >> "i had a one-man show in tel aviv with paintings of the concentration camps. i'm sorry to say, the interest was only small, and learned people do not want to talk about concentration camps. >> feeling defeated, the 60-year-old artist moves his wife and 4-year-old daughter to new york and madison avenue.
and that was really, like, the "mad men" era. your dad went into advertising. >> that's right. and the company moved us from new york to st. louis, where he was a lead artist. >> that's the dad miriam grows up knowing -- the guy who paints these gigantic billboards for major clients, like michelob and 7 up. what was your childhood like in the united states? >> we were happy and we had a beautiful apartment. i noticed many of our friends had accents and had the numbers on the arm. the survivors all were the same, in the sense they wanted their children to have a better life. >> in search of the american dream. >> indeed. >> for david, the american dream demands compromise. >> "i had to forget about art paintings and i had to forget what was hidden in my heart -- the pictures from the concentration camps. i had to work hard to make a
living. >> then, in 1961, an envelope in the mail sends his spirits soaring. it contains a reparations check -- $4,350 -- from the west german government for his looted art. it wasn't the money but the official recognition that his life's work -- all but obliterated by the nazis -- meant something. >> i remember lots of excitement in the house. i really didn't understand it at the time, but i knew that it was very important to my father, who had been recognized for his case against the german reich for the loss of his paintings. >> now, at 68, david sets up his easel, full of trepidation. >> "i had the idea to try again but was afraid to start. >> he alone can put to canvas the evil he witnessed. he tried years before. he's now ready to try again. >> "in december 1963, in the
night, i quietly left our bedroom for my studio, placed a piece of paper on the easel, took charcoal, and made my first sketch." >> over four furious months, friedman creates 28 haunting drawings -- memories of the holocaust. >> it was like the pent-up emotion of images that lived inside of him. he just tore it out of his head and put it on this canvas. >> the drawings awe miriam. she becomes more and more curious about her father's past. on a college trip to germany in 1970, she visits an aunt she'd never met, who has a painting she's never seen. >> it was a painting of my father's first wife, mathilde friedman. >> miriam had only heard mathilde spoken of in whispers. david married her in 1937, but
she perished during the war. >> i wrote my father from germany that i had seen the painting, and he didn't understand what i was talking about. >> her father arranges to have the painting sent from west berlin to st. louis. >> my father took the package and he went into the bedroom for three days. >> what do you think went on in that room? >> i think he was remembering a woman that he had loved and lost. >> after college, miriam launches her own career as a fashion designer. she moves to new york, marries harold morris, and starts a family. then, in february 1980, her father peacefully passes away at 86. and then comes her strange inheritance. >> when my father died, my mother handed me the little diary with my name on it. >> he started writing it the day
miriam was born. turns out that the father who had revealed only fragments of his past would now fill in the blanks. >> the more i learned about him, it sort of drove me to rescue him from obscurity. >> where it drove her next. >> but, first, our "strange inheritance" quiz question. in the movie "the monuments men," george clooney is intent on recovering what work of art looted by the germans? the answer in a moment. when you think about success, what does it look like? is it becoming a better professor by being a more adventurous student? is it one day giving your daughter the opportunity she deserves? is it finally witnessing all the artistic wonders
of the natural world? whatever your definition of success is, helping you pursue it, is ours. t-i-a-a. [bassist] two late nights in blew an amp.but good nights. sure,music's why we do this,but it's still our business. we spend days booking gigs, then we've gotta put in the miles to get there. but it's not without its perks. like seeing our album sales go through the roof enough to finally start paying meg's little brother- i mean,our new tour manager-with real,actual money. we run on quickbooks.that's how we own it.
so we know how to cover almost alanything.ything, even a stag pool party. (party music) (splashing/destruction) (splashing/destruction) (burke) and we covered it, october twenty-seventh, 2014. talk to farmers. we know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two. ♪ we are farmers. bum-pa-dum, bum-bum-bum-bum ♪
>> it's "c," michelangelo's "madonna and child." it becomes paramount in the film after nazis kill one of clooney's men who attempted to prevent its theft. >> when painter and holocaust survivor david friedman dies in 1980, he leaves his daughter, miriam, a diary he wrote for her. she can't bring herself to read her strange inheritance until her mother dies, in 1989. when she does, one statement in the opening pages stops her cold. >> "nazi criminals deported me, my wife, mathilde, and child, also named miriam." >> as a girl, miriam had picked up inklings about a half-sister
with the same name who was killed in the war.er, in her father's hand... >> i was quite astounded that many of the things that he spoke about from his first daughter were similar to experiences that i had with my father, like he taught her how to paint and he wrote about how he kept scrapbooks of her art. >> she reads on. her father reveals details about his life after the germans conquered most of europe and began deporting millions of jews to ghettos and concentration camps. the nazis loot her father's apartment in berlin and steal his artwork after he and his family flee to prague, czechoslovakia. >> "i was only married for two years and had a 3-month-old baby. and there was the anxiety of how to get out of this hell." >> in 1941, the germans deport friedman, now 48, his wife,
mathilde, and their daughter from prague to a large ghetto in the polish city of lodz. in august 1944, the nazis liquidate the ghetto and deport the 65,000 jews living there to concentration camps. >> my father was on the last train to auschwitz, and he never saw his wife and child again. >> upon arrival at auschwitz, men and boys are led one way, women and girls another. he never learns how and where his wife and daughter die, though the gas chamber is most likely. david's life is spared. >> "i would not be alive today were it not for a lucky fluke." >> using improvised paints and brushes, david creates a mural of a nearby river on the prison wall. his talent impresses the guards. they let him live. friedman survives five more
months in the nazis' most notorious death camp. then, on january 25, 1945, the russians arrive. he is liberated and heads to czechoslovakia. but miriam's strange inheritance does more than fill in the gaps about her father's life. it leaves clues for miriam to find his lost art and implores her to restore his legacy, which, like so many others, was all but erased by the nazis. >> "between 1919 and 1933, my works were constantly on view in the various exhibitions of the berlin academy of the arts." >> the more i learned about him, it sort of drove me to rescue him from obscurity. >> to rescue him from obscurity, miriam writes to museums and archives in germany and czechoslovakia. polite responses offer nothing. it's as though her father never painted, never existed.
european art appraiser robin starr says miriam faces a needle-in-the-haystack challenge. how much art did the nazis loot? >> millions of works. hitler was collecting them for his own private collection, and there were soldiers at all ranks who were grabbing and plundering. >> in 1994, miriam flies to europe to use the diary to reassemble the pieces of her father's life. what did you find? >> i went to berlin, to the newspaper archives that i had been told previously did not exist. and i was very excited to find portraits my father published in the newspaper. >> it's miriam's first big discovery -- a vast spread of her father's sketches, from the 1920s to early '30s, of luminaries including politicians, sports personalities, and musicians. and what did finding the
newspaper clipping do for you? >> it showed me that i could find more. it would help me find evidence of the lost work that the nazis did not destroy. >> and miriam's strange inheritance is about to lead to more evidence -- kept by the nazis themselves -- that will resurrect some of friedman's early paintings and shed new light on his darkest works. this is a particularly disturbing drawing for me -- electrocution by choice. why do you think your father didn't make that choice? that's next. >> here's another quiz question for you. the answer in a moment.
>> it's "b." in 1939, museum director jacques jaujard smuggled it out of the louvre in an ambulance to the french countryside. >> like an impressionist painting that gets clearer as you step back from it, so, too, has miriam friedman morris' image of her father. she's been following clues in this diary, which she inherited after he died. she's had some luck in berlin, where she found hundreds of drawings he did for the newspapers. then, in 2003, miriam and her daughter, lauren, meet with the director at the jewish museum in prague. the museum discovers, in its archives, these meticulous nazi-era catalog cards that name specific works of art by her father and when the nazis looted each one. and along with the catalog
cards... >> i discovered the jewish museum held several of my father's works. >> including this image of a jewish holiday celebration and lithographs of david's hometown in czechoslovakia. in all, miriam uncovers nine of her father's artworks. and what does it feel like for you, miriam, when you find a piece of your father in that way? >> it is so exhilarating. it feels so triumphant. one more work that has survived that the nazis did not destroy. >> one painting she discovers is of a jewish cemetery in prague, a cemetery which she visits with her daughter, lauren. >> it was just unbelievable to me that his artwork existed outside my house, outside the museums here in the united states, and it made me very excited to see what else we could discover. >> they discover, next, a living link to her father's past. april 2009, miriam's speaking to a new york audience about that
photo album from her youth. >> it showed my father's pre-war career, and there was a portrait of a young girl. she looked to be about 8, 9 years old. >> suddenly, another speaker on the panel gasps. she recognizes this girl. >> she said that it was her friend, and she had moved to buffalo. >> does she still have the portrait? >> yes. >> here, after all those years, is the actual portrait david friedman painted back in 1941. >> it's the only portrait painting, from this period of my father's life as a refugee in prague, to survive. >> when you've identified someone that was in one of your father's paintings, what is going on with your heart and your mind? >> it's just like everything comes together. >> it also makes it impossible to forget that others her father painted did not survive. but miriam believes her father's life and her journey are
unfolding this way for a reason, all going back to the vow she made to him the night he died. did you make him a promise at his bedside? that's next. what's your strange inheritance story? we'd love to hear it. send me an e-mail or go to our website, strangeinheritance.com. when it comes to small business, she's in the know. so strap yourselves in for action flo! small business edition. oh, no! i'm up to my neck in operating costs! i'll save the day! for plumbers and bakers and scapers of lawn, she's got customized coverage you can count on. you chipped my birdbath! now you're gonna pay! not so fast! i cover more than just cars and trucks. ♪ action flo
of dollars each year going back into my business... that's huge for my bottom line. what's in your wallet? "strange inheritance." >> we've told you the story of artist and holocaust survivor david friedman, his first wife and daughter killed by the nazis, his life's work looted, how he came to america and started over... and how the strange inheritance he left his second daughter sent her on a journey to reclaim his legacy. we haven't told you about his dying wish and his daughter's vow. >> did you make him a promise at his bedside? >> all he could think about was
what was going to happen to his concentration-camp pictures. i made a promise to my father that i would show his artwork to the world. >> those concentration-camp pictures were not the ones lost in europe or mentioned in the diary. they're the ones he furiously drew here in america, as a retired sign painter, in his late 60s. but they were, in fact, his most impassioned work, the art father and daughter both knew that he was put on earth to create. keeping her promise, she donates some to the u.s. holocaust memorial museum here in washington, d.c. this is a particularly disturbing drawing for me -- electrocution by choice. the drawing depicts concentration-camp inmates throwing themselves against the electrified barbed wire. >> people had been dehumanized, tortured. they could no longer think, and this was a better option. >> why do you think your father didn't make that choice?
>> he had to live so that he could show the scenes that he witnessed. that was a powerful reason for his survival. >> he had to live to show what he witnessed. miriam also ensures his paintings find a home at the renowned yad vashem holocaust museum in jerusalem. half a century after david friedman felt defeated by that failed exhibit in tel aviv, his paintings are now on permanent display at israel's leading holocaust memorial, all due to a daughter inspired by her strange inheritance. >> even when i was young, i knew he was special. i wanted him to be recognized as an artist and i have achieved that. >> are you proud of her? >> very. >> miriam's daughter, lauren. one day, her mother's strange inheritance will pass to her. what will she do with it? the diary, the story, your mother's efforts -- do you feel
a responsibility to continue her work? >> i feel a huge responsibility. i just hope that everybody from the next century on will not forget what happened. >> behind me are bleak reminders of kristallnacht, "the night of broken glass," the awful night in november 1938 that convinced david friedman he had to flee berlin. but here's what happened 70 years later, in november 2008 -- the berlin philharmonic commemorated kristallnacht with a concert, accompanied by an exhibit of david friedman's artwork. the 30 portraits featured jewish composers, musicians, and conductors, many of whom were part of the berlin orchestra before the nazis took it over, an historical treasure from an era the nazis tried to erase and a testament to the enduring power of david friedman's artistry.
i'm jamie colby. thanks for watching "strange inheritance." [ male announcer ] the following is a paid pteel, brought to you by emson. coming up, find out how you can get a free titanium and ceramic frying pan. details ahead. [ green ] tired of food sticking to the pan? you try to scrape it, and then you scratch it. you may as well trash it. not anymore. [ male announcer ] introducing gotham steel, a revolutionary new nonstick, non-scratch frying pan that's transforming the way people cook in kitchens all across america. cleanup is so easy with this pan. i will never have to buy another frying pan again. maybe you cook once in a while or maybe, like me, you use it all the time. it's gonna last, and it's gonna hold up through anything you give it. [ male announcer ] and now, to demonstrate how this new technology can change the way you cook,