|Murdered Polish Intellectual|
Sunday, January 2, 2011
A Bittersweet Task
Take a good look at this picture. Then imagine that the two twin girls and their mother were exterminated by the Nazis during World War II. Their older brother managed to survive by joining the Russian Army. Does he have a story to tell.
For over a year, I've expressed an interest in preserving the history of this family before it is lost. About a week ago, I received a 60-page document and almost 90 pictures of the survivors and non-survivors of this family. I don't want to identify the family without permission -- other than to say that they were a Jewish family from Poland. It wasn't only the Jews who suffered.
Taking on this project has been difficult. For two days I scanned in picture after picture of people who were killed for no reason. Yet the man who shared the pictures with me is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met. Despite a life that is beyond my ability to comprehend, I have never been with him when he didn't appear to be upbeat. He is a survivor -- one who eventually lived the American dream. His family is scattered throughout the world with surviving relatives starting over in Sweden, Uruguay, Israel, France, and surprisingly, Poland.
As we begin this new year, I hope that all of us will take the time to reflect on what is really important to us and consider what our contribution can be as citizens of the world. We have to be on guard against prejudice, bigotry, and scapegoating. We have to take the vow: Never Again!
Note: Louis Weisser has given me permission to post this story. He has also recorded his story for the Holocaust Museum.