Monday, October 09, 2017

Lest we forget … in remembrance of Amy.

Here is dear Amy who passed away early Saturday morning at the elevated age of 97. 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 he from Germany. Herbert became a father figure to my husband who had lost his dad when he was just a child. Both Amy and Herbert were Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and World War II but they rarely mentioned it.

In the late 70's, after my move to North Carolina, my daughter Jody and her husband Brian continued the friendship and when Herbert died they formed their tight little surrogate family of three.

This went on for many years but still Amy seldom referred to that terrible time. However, while visiting up there in 2006 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.” And now that Amy is gone I realize how true this is.

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. But now I realize that I have to do more. I need to keep her memories alive in order to prevent them happening again.

Amy was an amazing person who was a world traveler even into her 90's, spoke 4 languages and truly loved her fellow man. Jody and Brian have been with her through thick and thin and it's just made them closer. Here is one of the last pictures of Jody with Amy a few months ago at a park in NY City.

Have a safe journey home, Amy ... and give my love to Herbert.





Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Beautiful tribute to a remarkable woman. Her story had to be brutal for her to tell but it needed to be heard. Just sorry it caused her such pain to relive it. The bit about the baby is beyond horrid. Man can be a disgusting creature.
I just love that your daughter stayed in her life like she did. May Amy rest in peace finally.

3:49 PM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Tears here too, reading about the baby. God speed, dear Amy!

3:51 PM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

It's always so hard to lose a cherished friend, Ginnie, as so many of us well know. From what you wrote about her in this post, Amy and Herbert were remarkable people who lived through much sadness. And, now they can be together once again. Thank you for sharing these remembrances of your dear friends.

10:38 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Well, I'm a little teary now myself.

3:16 AM  
Blogger possum said...

2 Kleenexes later... a story that is both sad and beautiful.
Thanks for sharing, Ginnie.

9:48 AM  

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