Beautiful Sunset

     It is 1956, and I am sixteen years old. It is a beautiful spring evening. I am walking in downtown Frankfurt, Germany . It is rush hour and the streets are mobbed. People are rushing everywhere, some to catch the streetcar home, others to make a last minute shopping trip, still others to take care of an errand that did not get done during the day.      The church bells of the Paulskirche start their daily evening ringing. They bellow over the whole area. Traffic is bumper to bumper. Impatient drivers honk their horns. It is getting dark....

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The Old Woman

     “The Old Woman,” as I call the woodcarving that hangs in my dining room, is ugly. Nobody wants her. Nobody likes her but me. My husband dislikes her. I offered her to my children, but they refused to take her. “She is hideous and depressing,” they both said, their feelings echoed by their respective spouses. But I like her, so I hung her in my dining room, opposite my chair, where I can see her almost daily.      Why do I like her? What attracts me to her, even though, I admit, she reminds me of an old witch? She used to hang in my...

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Photo Essay

     “Cioci Frenie, Felusia; Sopoty,20/9/1945” – “To Aunt Frenia, Felusia; Sopot, 9/20/1945”      Thus reads the back of a photo I recently found while rummaging through my parents’ photo box.      I am “Felusia,” and we did live in Sopot, Poland after liberation, but who is “Aunt Frenia”? I have no memories of her and have never heard my parents mention her. She could not be a real aunt, because the only one I had when the war started was murdered, probably in Belzec killing center. And, if the picture was for “Aunt Frenia,” what was...

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Liberation

     February 1945. Planes roaring overhead; people dancing; men strutting drunkenly down the unpaved street, laughing, singing and shouting,”The Russians are here! The Russians are here!”      My uncle is one of these men—as usual, the center of any celebration. He is the one who found shelter on a farm in a small village southeast of Warsaw for himself, my mother and me after we were bombed.      I am five years old. Confused, I am not sure what it is all about. The roaring of the planes, the loud laughter of the drunken men...

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If It Weren’t Impossible, I’d…

     How I wish I could find someone to hypnotize me and send me back in time to recall the first two years of my life. How I wish I could tear out of the deep recesses of my brain images, pictures of grandparents who, so I have been told, adored me. How I wish to be able to remember these very special people from long gone.      I was their first and only grandchild, adored, fussed over, spoiled. According to my parents, they came by daily as long as it was safe, in order to hold me, to play with me. My paternal grandfather’s greatest joy, I...

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Hidden Child

     There are many ways that children survived the Holocaust: in hiding, in concentration camps, or shipped off on the Kindertransport to England or to the U.S. Some wandered through forests, always on the run, living by their wits, and some joined partisan groups. And this list is far from all-inclusive. Almost all of these children were torn away from their parents and often never saw them again. Very few children were fortunate enough not to be separated from at least one parent.      The majority of child survivors were Hidden Children,...

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