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Second Generation

Second Generation

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Published by Xlibris
I have been consumed with thoughts about the Holocaust ever since Iwas a little girl and I have decided to write about my experiences as a childof Holocaust survivors both as a catharsis and as a memorial to my parents’memories. I would like to note at the outset of this memoir that until veryrecently, I always felt that the story I want to tell here was not my story atall, it belonged to my parents—what happened affected them profoundly,but surely, or so I thought, not me. I am American born—born in 1943 andbrought up in the tiny village of Homer in Upstate New York. I have beenfortunate enough to have lived a relatively peaceful life which is light-yearsapart from the experience of my parents. But I have come to realize that myparents’ stories are, indeed, my stories. Their identity is, indeed, my identity invery profound ways. They survived the Holocaust. I am a second generationsurvivor.As a child, I lived under the pall of the Holocaust. My parents hadbeen thrown out of Germany. That’s exactly the way my Dad sneered thewords—he was “thrown out of Germany by Hitler.” When speaking ofHitler with our relatives, he always referred to him as that “Schweinehund,”the nastiest epithet he could conjure up—translation, “pig dog.” The Englishtranslation does not do justice to the scorn in his voice. When he used thosewords, his entire body revealed his contempt. Fortunately for our family,my parents were able to escape Germany in 1939 shortly before the massmurders began.My parents rarely talked about their experiences, but it pervaded the air Ibreathed from the day I was born in a hospital in Cortland, New York, three milesfrom Homer, New York,—three thousand miles from where the catastropheof the Holocaust took place. Whenever my parents would get together withfamily or friends, their voices would be hushed as they would talk about things that I was not supposed to hear because I was too young. I learned about theHolocaust the way most children learn about taboo things—by listening instairwells or by pretending to be asleep as my parents had conversations inGerman in hushed voices. In this way, the story of the Holocaust seeped intomy consciousness subliminally and effortlessly.
I have been consumed with thoughts about the Holocaust ever since Iwas a little girl and I have decided to write about my experiences as a childof Holocaust survivors both as a catharsis and as a memorial to my parents’memories. I would like to note at the outset of this memoir that until veryrecently, I always felt that the story I want to tell here was not my story atall, it belonged to my parents—what happened affected them profoundly,but surely, or so I thought, not me. I am American born—born in 1943 andbrought up in the tiny village of Homer in Upstate New York. I have beenfortunate enough to have lived a relatively peaceful life which is light-yearsapart from the experience of my parents. But I have come to realize that myparents’ stories are, indeed, my stories. Their identity is, indeed, my identity invery profound ways. They survived the Holocaust. I am a second generationsurvivor.As a child, I lived under the pall of the Holocaust. My parents hadbeen thrown out of Germany. That’s exactly the way my Dad sneered thewords—he was “thrown out of Germany by Hitler.” When speaking ofHitler with our relatives, he always referred to him as that “Schweinehund,”the nastiest epithet he could conjure up—translation, “pig dog.” The Englishtranslation does not do justice to the scorn in his voice. When he used thosewords, his entire body revealed his contempt. Fortunately for our family,my parents were able to escape Germany in 1939 shortly before the massmurders began.My parents rarely talked about their experiences, but it pervaded the air Ibreathed from the day I was born in a hospital in Cortland, New York, three milesfrom Homer, New York,—three thousand miles from where the catastropheof the Holocaust took place. Whenever my parents would get together withfamily or friends, their voices would be hushed as they would talk about things that I was not supposed to hear because I was too young. I learned about theHolocaust the way most children learn about taboo things—by listening instairwells or by pretending to be asleep as my parents had conversations inGerman in hushed voices. In this way, the story of the Holocaust seeped intomy consciousness subliminally and effortlessly.

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Published by: Xlibris on Jan 19, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781456823665
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10/01/2014

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