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Bent, But Never Broken

Mishpacha Contributors

The following essays by children of Holocaust survivors reveal a range of emotions and scenarios, but if there’s a common theme, I think, it’s one of appreciation. It wasn’t always easy growing up in a family full of scars, but despite the hardship, our parents were our heroes. At this time of national loss, it is right to remember the pain, and equally right to savor the strength of a people who will not be broken, with G-d at their side.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Beyond Comprehension Dr. Norman N. Blumenthal It was hardly ever spoken but thoroughly known. It consumed our home but remained taboo. At 11 years old, I went for the first time to sleepaway camp. I returned during my parents’ one-week summer vacation; they were staying in a hotel upstate. My father drove in and picked me up and we arrived one hour before dinner. After we had eaten, my parents invited me out for a walk. They wanted to hear about camp. At camp, we learned to chop down trees, I told them. I spent a disproportionate amount of time detailing the process on our walk. Perhaps to break the monotony, my mother, who never spoke of her war years, interrupted and said: “I know. I chopped down trees in a concentration camp.” I immediately said, “I’m sorry,” and said not another word. Being attentive parents, my mother and father urged me to keep talking. I refused. The three of us turned around and walked back. Until today, I can hear the crackling of leaves and branches underfoot as the three of us silently walked back to the hotel.

 

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