Monday, April 20, 2009


Came down from the office and saw the Italian restaurant closed. Weird, I thought, the times must be really tough. The nearby coffee shop was about to close. "It's Holocaust Day", came the waiter's answer to my enquiry. I felt so embarrased I forgot it starts tonight.

Usually we go about our daily business and don't think about the Holocaust. I'm not sure even the survivors think about it every day. For me the Holocaust is not just a big tragedy that happened in the past, it shapes the way I am, think, do or don't do things, even my children's life.

My Berger (that's my maiden name) grandparents lived in the small Hungarian village of Szentjobb in today's Romania. They were a traditional Jewish family with 8 children, a village shop and a soda water filling station. My aunt Ester survived Auschwitz and my father survived labor and prisoner camps. My other grandparents were luckily on the right side of the border, and after just one week of German-Hungarian occupation (during which they already implemented anti-Jewish laws), the Russians liberated their town (looking for watches to steal and women to rape).

My parents married late and I was a late and only child. They had no energy for more. My husband's story is similar. He is also a late and only child for the same reason. Our children have no cousins. I could have had a large happy family, to be loved by and lean on.

The murdered third of the Jewish people could have bettered the world. They won't compose music, write literature, win Nobel prizes for outstanding scientific achievements, raise new generations of followers. Their potential contribution is lost forever.

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