Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Amcha" Yom Hashoa 2009

As in previous years on Yom Hashoa, so also this year, I participated in a couple of workshops at “Amcha”. Under the guidance of a senior psychologist we discussed ‘Emuna Beshoa’ - Belief during the Shoa. There were vast differences in the approach to this subject. 

My own personal belief goes back on my upbringing at home in Germany. My mother was a devout Zionist. From a young age I belonged to “Habonim”, a Zionist pioneering youth movement. My belief, then and now, is based on Judaism, Zionism and Pioneering. The Shoa did not change my belief. My mother was willing to make great sacrifices for her belief. She parted from one child after the other, in order for us three children to be able to live. Her parting words were "Lehitraot Bearzenu" -See you again in our homeland-. My brother came to Erez Israel with Youth Aliya, my sister and myself were throughout the war on Hachshara in England.   There I waited  until I could fulfill my dream to come on Aliya,  to arrive in Erez Israel as soon as it was possible, which was within a month of the end of the war in 1945.  My parents perished in Theresienstadt and Auschwitz, their bodies bend, but with their spirit alive. They preserved  their integrity, dignity and  "Emuna"- 'belief' in humanity until the end.

My mother lived under the Nazi rule for eleven years, from 1933 –1944. I left home in 1939 aged fifteen. For three and a half years, until in 1942 together with my father she was on the transport to Thersienstadt, where my father died, she accompanied me during my growing up stage. It was my mother in her many letters I received from her, who gave me the courage and inspired me to live up to my belief.  It is precisely that, which keeps me going 70 years later in my old age. 

In the discussion there were people who objected to my saying that my parents perished. They insisted and tried to imply that I should say they were murdered. The word “murdered” for me brings up the image of the murderers. It sounds  like the language the  historians use.

For me it is important to remember my parents as they were. They were always concerned and helpful to others, loving and caring for each other and their children and until the end strong in their belief in humanity. It is their image that I have in mind when I tell the story of a Jewish Family, my family. 

It is my narrative, a narrative I can live with. I cherish the memory of my parents and the values which they instilled in me, hoping they will be passed on from generation to generation  


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