Tyler Toomey, April 12 2023

Exploring the Past: A Story of Adventure and Discoveries

We all have our own interests, hobbies, and passions that make us unique individuals. Some people enjoy exploring the outdoors, while others love to collect antiques and vintage items. Dmitry, a resident of Yekaterinburg, Russia, is one such person who has a keen interest in all things vintage. He loves old household items, artifacts, and anything connected with history. Dmitry's love for antiques led him on a fascinating journey of discovery and adventure that he will cherish for the rest of his life.

Four years ago, Dmitry visited the beautiful city of St. Petersburg with his ex-wife Diana. While Diana was busy with her personal training sessions, Dmitry had some free time to wander around and explore the city on his own. One of the places that caught his eye was the "Flea market" on Udelnaya street. Dmitry was excited to check out the market as he had a particular interest in vintage cameras and old maps.

St. Petersburg is home to some of the best flea markets in Russia, and Dmitry was eager to find two specific items- an old camera and an ancient map of France. He scoured through the countless stalls, but his search proved to be challenging. Amongst the thousands of traders at the flea market, only two people had vintage cameras, and just one person had ancient maps. Although he could not find the map of France he was looking for, he did manage to find a Finnish map of Italy printed in 1935, which he purchased.

After an exhausting search, Dmitry's persistence finally paid off when he found both the old camera and map. However, it was not just the satisfaction of finding the items that made his day, but also the experience of being in the atmosphere of a bygone era and meeting the people who shared his passion. He spent a few hours soaking in the history and beauty of the vintage artifacts and enjoying the thrill of discovering hidden gems.

Once he got home, Dmitry started examining the two items in detail. The map was faded but with soft shades of color that delighted his eyes. The camera, on the other hand, was in pristine condition with the lens, shutter, and leather accordion all in perfect working order. He searched the internet and discovered that the camera was manufactured by Balda in the 1930s. The leather case contained an instruction manual, and Dmitry eagerly studied the details of the camera.

As he explored the leather case, Dmitry came across a well-preserved ink stamp with the name of the owner of the camera, Max Sipser, and some other inscriptions that he could not decipher. Curiosity got the better of him, and he began researching who Max Sipser was and whether anyone had previously explored his story. Fortunately, he found an article from 1998 that provided him with detailed information about Max Sipser and his wife, Frieda Löwy Sipser.

Through further research, Dmitry learned that Max Sipser was an artist and cartoonist who was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1985. He also discovered that Max and Frieda were refugees from the Holocaust who found shelter in the United States at Fort Ontario. Dmitry found this information fascinating and felt a connection to the previous owner of the camera.

Finally, Dmitry realized that the camera and the map of Italy were not just random finds but were incredibly significant discoveries that added to his family's history and culture. The camera, despite its sentimental value, would be better placed in a museum where people could learn about Max Sipser's story and his contribution to society. As a result, Dmitry had contacted the Safe Haven Museum  to donate the camera where it would be appropriately cared for and preserved and on display for others to experience the same sense of adventure Dmitry had.

Written by

Tyler Toomey