I was getting an echocardiogram the other day and the Eastern European nurse was telling me what a lovely country Poland was, how much I needed to visit it. And I told her that I could not and would not, that I still had too much sorrow and anger. She looked at me quite quizzically, and let the matter drop.
Truth be told, I have never visited Germany, Austria or Poland and may never. The wails of my family are still too loud in their graves. A wise friend once told me that I should not fight my father and grandfather's battles but I have a hard time resisting the inclination. My father's family came from Poland.
I was doing some family research the other day and came upon this distant relative of my father, Mary Miriam Sommer.
On the left above is my grandmother and her sister's memorial to our fallen family in the Wyszkow Yizkor Book.
Many of our family can be seen in this picture from before the war, including my grandmother, second row from the bottom, second person from the right.
My life hangs from a very narrow string. Why was my thin branch allowed to survive, when so many good people perished? I am so lucky that my grandparents and father were able to come to this country before the fire erupted.
...the son of the barber, Yitzhak Vinokor, came to us. He was also with us amongst the “young ones.” He told us that everyone had been brought to the cemetery where they were told to dig two pits. Then they were put down on their knees beside the open pits. The soldiers fired at them with machine guns right into their faces. Some of those shot immediately fell into the open pits. Others remained laying badly wounded on the ground. Groans and the sounds of people expiring were heard. After a few hours the voices ceased. The soldiers thought they had finished their “job” and left the spot. Vinokor, though he was wounded, still felt capable to get up on his feet. He made his way out of the cemetery and arrived at our house, wounded and distraught.”...at the head of these hooligan rapists, the sons of the local gypsies, “Katzapes” was the gypsy fiddler Ivanitza, who played the “Hatikvah” at the “bazetzn” of the bride at all Jewish weddings. He pointed out where to find Jewish women and girls so that the “shkotzim” could despoil together with them.
Dad also refused to buy German cars. I have no desire to go to Germany, Poland or any of the other Eastern European countries. I once had an affair with a woman who looked almost exactly like me and was a Spanish Jew from Warsaw. We figure we we’re probably related. She came here in elementary school and never came back.
Mg speaks German, but knows I would be very upset if he went to Germany.
Grandpa Israel always said that his wife was a Spanish Jew from Warsaw. Gail and I figured our families immigrated in the 1400’s
Dad bought several BMW's.
With the antisemitism rising as it is there is a real need to remind people of the level of horror we can sink to.
It is very sad :-( Evil is still with us and always will be. Mankind has learned nothing through the wars and years.
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