Yom HaShoah

04.11.10

My Grandfather was arrested on Kristallnacht.

His birthday was November 11th and he turned 17. Or maybe 15 or maybe 25, because when you don’t have a country you get to create your own age.

The gates at Sachsenhausen have the words Arbeit Macht Frei inscribed in them. Work will set you free. My Grandfather did a little work, found a guard, pointed at the sign and asked, “I worked, now can I be free?” I’m not sure what set my grandfather free. It seems like it was most likely the Kindertransport. He somehow got to England and joined her army.

Update from my family: Fact- your Grandma got to England via Kindertransport and your Grandpa got to England via the Free French who transported him via small boat to the King’s shore-line. He denied having been lost in the Belgian/Dutch/French countryside but you may well recall that “navigation” wasn’t his strong suit albeit he seemed to have navigated life on his own course. He did escape Sachsenhausen (verified in person by another inmate) and, incidentally, swore to me while at our visit there that he never worked as hard for the nazi’s as he did for the Brits.

Everyone in my family has a story about how they left Germany, who didn’t make it, who stopped being Jewish.

I never know how much to tell my kids. Too much can be too much, and too little is dangerous.

Yom HaShoah, the day of the Shoah. The Holocaust.