August and Josef

A history of two brothers

Josef Hammar and the Sylvander family in Marseille

When Josef Hammar returned to Europe from the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 he came by ship passing many harbours in Asia. When he arrived in Marseille he visited the Adolf Sylvander family. Josefs sister Bina was married to Adolfs brother Anders Wilhelm. That is where he must have met his future wife Hulda Sylvander, then at the age 24.

This photo is archived in Strömstad museum from where I got a digital copy, when I visited the museum together with a French Sylvander team in 2014. The standing persons are from left to right (according to information from Ulf Lundgren given to the museum) : Harald Sylvander, Henri Sylvander, Adolf Sylvander (jr), Sigrid Sylvander,  Oscar Sylvander, Sigurd Sylvander and Josef Hammar. Sitting from left to right: Hilda Bager, Laura Mirzayans, Adolf Sylvander (sr), Elise Sylvander (born Bager), Hulda Hammar (born Sylvander).

The date is not known, but the marriage of Josef and Hulda in 1906 gives some indication. None of the small children Christine Sylvander (born 1907) and Frank Hammar (born 1908) are on the photo. The youngest person on the photo is Sigrid who was born 1894. On another  photo from 1915 of all the Mirzayans and Sylvanders and also including Josef Hammar all persons look distinctly older and there are several children.

The story of Hilda and Elise Bager is intriguing. Is it right that they were two independent Swedish businesswomen operating as ship chandlers in Marseille? Who told me that? Elise Bager apparently moved to Marseille 1869 at the age of  18 years (source: Släkten Bager av Alvar Platen).


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