Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I couldn’t believe it when I read recently that very few teenagers today have any idea of what the Holocaust was, much less the significance of it. I immediately thought of my friend Amy, a 93 year old survivor of that horrendous time during World War II. 

My husband and I met Amy and her husband Herbert in the late 1960’s and we became fast friends. She was from France and I believe he was from Germany. Herbert became a father figure to my husband who had lost his dad when he was just a child.

Amy and I are both widows now but we still have a very close relationship. It was back in 2006 when Amy opened up and confided that a woman editor had approached her to write down her remembrances of the war years.  She was very agitated as she told me this and the only thing I could think to ask was if it was cathartic. She answered with a very strong “NO, and it is tearing me up inside...but it must be done. Pretty soon there will be no one left to record the facts and it’s critical that we don’t forget.”

One of the memories that she shared with me that day was seeing a busload of Jewish women packed in like sardines with Nazi Guards.  It was obvious that they were being deported to a camp.  The bus was stopped behind heavy traffic and evidently one of the guards allowed them to open the windows to let in some air. As Amy and a group of nuns looked on a girl suddenly flung her small infant out the window.  One of the nuns caught the child and  before the Nazi could see what had happened the baby was gone from sight.

Of course she was crying by the time she’d finished her tale and the only response I had was to cry with her. Can thing’s like this happen again? You bet they can and I think it’s critical that our young people are made aware of this.





Blogger Anvilcloud said...

What a story about the baby! What a horrible period in our history!

6:57 PM  
Blogger Bonnie Jacobs said...

Wow, what a powerful story about giving up your baby. I think what would get me most would be not knowing, ever, what happened to your child.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Such a nightmare, and just yesterday we were discussing the horror for ALL in the camps, during WWII, and after the war when the Allies especially the Russians) behaved very badly towards civilians in the Axis areas.

There was no honor for anyone during this conflagration, and how anyone living through the experience could find hope afterward, eludes me

7:34 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Time is running down for those who are the proof of history. Bless your friend for having survived and even though painful, is allowing her story be told.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Freda said...

You are right - we need to remember and of course we only need to look at Syria....Kenya...... Somalia....... and so on. Freda from Dalamory (

10:34 AM  
Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Sadly we will forget, or at least become a faded memory glossed over in the history books. We only have to research the genocide of North American native peoples. Instead we celebrate Columbus Days the day the centuries long genocide began. And of course, we celebrate Thanksgiving the day Native Americans extended friendship for which they were rewarded with fear hatred and denial of human rights.
History is always written by the victors and the powerful. Shame on our lack of serious consideration of history.

When I was a teenager, just beginning to be interested in a critical reading of history, I used to go to a beach of Lake Simcoe at Roches Point. On the beach it seemed every adult wore the tatoo number from the camps. I so would have liked to strike up a conversation with someone but I was too shy. I am glad that many survivors in their last years spoke up and wrote down a personal record of their experience. It is in the particular and personal that the horror can best be understood.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ginnie, I wanted to share a memory of me as a 6 year old kid and your sister (my mother) Mary.

I was fond of a TV show for which I had no context besides it being another "comedy." What were they thinking when they created Hogan's Heroes?

I remember Mom taking me aside after the show was over one night and telling me about what a terrible time that was and how upset she was that it had become a situation comedy.

Although it was not a concentration camp, but a prisoner of war camp it was still in bad taste, especially for those who were alive during that time.

She was very frank about ovens and gas and showers and that millions of innocent people were killed. It was a lot for a 6 year old mind to absorb. Although it took me time to fully comprehend (if that's possible) the horror of the Holocaust I have always appreciated my mother not pulling any punches regarding this.

Her authenticity and candor insured that I never forgot about that terrible chapter in history. Just one more thing to appreciate about Mom.

Thanks for keeping the story alive.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Syd said...

I am glad that the Holocaust Museum is there to remind us of the horrors. And yes, such genocide continues today. What we humans do to each other is so terrible.

5:14 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

Oh, Ginny..there are no words for this abomination.
I do remember seeing films and being educated about these atrocities when I was in high school. I have never, ever forgotten...and it does continue.
(p.s. thank you so much dear person for your support.)

4:45 PM  
Blogger possum said...

I have never been able to read about or watch movies about this time. I become way too emotional. And it upsets me that so many folks today do not know how this happened or that it is more than a story in a book or a bad movie.
As Philip said, the same thing happened to Native Americans and few know the truth there. Even fewer care.
Good for your friend to persevere. I don't know if I could have done it. Thank you for writing about it.

Lest we forget.........

5:20 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Sadly, we live in a vacuous age when people know more about who contestants are on various "reality" shows than they do of recent history.
Glad you are helping to keep memory alive.

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many younger people today cannot forget, because, sadly, they never knew what happened in the first place.

8:15 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

There have, of course, been many books and films on this topic, Ginnie, and one very interesting one is by Erik Larson, In the Garden of the Beasts. This was such a sad period which it bears remembering.

12:44 PM  

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