Mariemont furniture restorer discovers rare letters revealing secrets of atomic bomb

Business owner makes shocking discovery while restoring old furniture

MARIEMONT, Ohio (FOX19) - While working to restore a piece of furniture, a local business owner made a shocking discovery when he found two letters that were written by an Army Sergeant in 1945.

Jeff Molkski runs his own business in Mariemont called Mid-Century Modern Rescue. He says he fixes up old furniture from the ’50′s and ’60′s and sells it on social media.

“It just grew and grew and grew to the point now where I restore not just furniture, but I do lighting, clocks. I’ve done some appliances,” Molski said.

After picking up a vintage bedset from a home in Indiana, Molski explains he got to work cleaning it out.

“Took all the drawers out, and as I sometimes do, I found a couple things behind one of the drawers,” Molski said. “I’ve never found anything of value, anything that would be considered rare... until this.”

Hidden inside the bedset were two letters — one penned and one typed — from 1945. Both were signed ‘Manuel Holtzman.’

“The first one was handwritten to his mother, and it was dated August 6th, 1945,” Molski said. “Tomorrow happens to be August 6th, 2020, so that’s 75 years to the date that the United States actually dropped the atomic bomb.”

Molski, stunned by what he had discovered, says he was even more shocked when the read the letters. In both notes, Holtzman, who was an Army Sergeant during World War II, revealed a remarkable secret.

“He was stationed in Chicago, staying at a private hotel, working every day at the University of Chicago in civilian clothes,” Molski said. “He was on the team that developed the atomic bomb.”

Holztman, who was seemingly sharing his work-related secrets for the first time in the letters, dropped specific details in the message to his brother. He mentioned that he had teamed up with top physicists like Albert Einstein.

“He talked about it was such a great honor to work with some of the greatest scientific minds in the world,” Molski said.

Molski, fascinated by what he found, said he started doing some digging, and in a matter of hours, he tracked down some of Holtzman’s living relatives. He learned that Holtzman was a very formal person who did not drink or swear and was known to be very intelligent.

“It was really, really fun and interesting to find these historical pieces and to learn a little bit more about him," Molski said.

In Molski’s eyes, the letters are more than pieces of history — they’re sentimental. That is why he says he plans to ship them back to Holtzman’s family members.

“That’s a great part of the business is the thrill of the hunt and the people I meet,” Molski said.

Molski was able to learn how the letters ended up in his hands. He said that Holtzman’s sister had originally purchased the bedset in Portland, Oregon, and years later, it was passed down to her daughter, Holtzman’s niece, who lives in Indiana.

Holtzman’s niece is who sold the furniture to Molski, not realizing, Molski said, that the letters were inside of it.

To learn more about Molski’s business, visit the Mid-Century Modern Rescue website or Instagram page.

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