On October 20th 2017 at 9:30 I gave a talk to the History Class of the JCC (Jewish Community Center) in Pittsburgh, USA. I started with an overview of the events that led to a Holocaust in Romania, the geographical, political and religious factors that played parts in the development of events. I then read a part from the book that tells about my own childhood, being a Second Generation of a survivor, in a country and neighbourhood where survivors with their peculiarities were the norm.
More than 25 people attended, many intelligent questions were asked, and some more interesting stories were shared. My audience showed genuine interest both in the historical background and in the family story. We even came to a discussion by the end about modern antisemitism, but we didn’t manage to get to the bottom of it.
I was moved by a woman called Shulamit, like my mother, who was hidden as a tiny baby in a cellar by a nun for the first three years of her life, then being ‘donated’ to an orphanage. When you hear such stories and you think of how spoilt we are in our current lives, you appreciate life more.
On October 25th 2017, at 18:00 I gave a talk in the Holocaust Center, Hazelwood Ave., Pittsburgh, USA. About 25 survivors and some Second Generation were present. They were all so warm, welcoming and attentive. It always amazes me how people that suffered such humiliation and deprivation of their physical and human needs, could still rise up and keep not only their normality, but also dignity, humour and kindness.
I told them a little about my mother’s journey, about my father’s adventures in Cyprus, and about my life in Israel of after the war, with Holocaust survivors being a common phenomena all around me.
The group felt very free and secure to tell some of their stories too. We were especially moved by the sharing of Carol Schechter, who came with his wife Bella. Carol told us a few anecdotes of his memories from his time as an eight years old child in Transnistria. It was mostly about the freezing temperatures in which they needed to walk in, with no shoes or proper clothing, and with the Gendarmes hurrying them with their guns. An image that touched our hearts was his memory of a baby, about four months old, lying on his mother’s tummy, crying nonstop of hunger all night, and in the morning he was silent, dead.
May our remembrance events help in bringing awareness of the suffering that war brings. And may world peace come soon.