Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back to Poland we go.

In a few short weeks, my mother will arrive from Australia, and then we fly together to Poland.   It will be a trip filled with  memories of the past for her, a trip with reunions and "thank you's" for the people who saved her.  We will pay tribute to those in our family who survived and those who did not.   It will be a time of renewal and healing, and of building bridges between the past and the future.    It will be a journey of hope.

There are some who think I am mad for trying to build  bridges between peoples who have experienced hatred in its purest form.   To those I say - what other choice do we have?  Do we want to create a world for this and future generations where people can learn to respect and understand each other by learning from  mistakes made in the past?  Or, do we want to  take revenge for those mistakes and segregate ourselves from people who think different from us?   I prefer to take a glass-half-full attitude toward the human race and want to be a bridge builder.

Call me mad if you wish.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Not today

The day I left to travel to New York to see my grandfather's film at the New York Museum of Jewish Heritage, the envelope arrived.   I expected a lot and was in some ways scared to open it in case it failed to reveal the SS commander I am looking for.
I did open it and carefully laid out the prison files on the kitchen bench.  Yes, I was looking at the 1944 prison files of my grandparents. Very official looking, tidy, methodical and planned.
I looked carefully through the documents, which were written in a combination of German and Polish with some illegible script. I could see the false names under which they were arrested, crossed out later with their birth names.   I could see the dates of their arrest, the address of the saw mill in Suchedniow, and, the dates of their release into the Radom Ghetto.   I could see official looking "permission" documents to do certain things, signed by someone representing the Gestapo.   I did see various sets of signatures, but new I would need professional  help from someone specializing in the history and people of that time to match these signatures, if possible, to prosecuted war criminals.   So, I'm waiting again.....