By Andrea Simon
Haunted by means of her grandmother's previous global tales and bigger-than-life personality, Andrea Simon undertook a religious look for her misplaced kinfolk. Her sojourn, a quest for fact, gave her tragic solutions.
On a bunch travel of ancestral Jewish place of birth websites that were beaten within the Holocaust, she makes a riveting detour to her grandmother's village of Volchin, in what's now Belarus, the place the final recognized family had lived. There, she the path of the dying march taken through the village Jews to where in their slaughter by way of Nazis and Nazi collaborators within the fall of 1942. through the similar interval, in Brona Gora, a woodland among Brest and Minsk, a few 50,000 Jews have been shot. Simon was once in a single of the 1st American teams to go to this little-publicized web site.
Bashert, the Yiddish notice for destiny, guided her in the course of the hard quest. With newly translated archival documents, she peeled again layers of clues to confront the secret. This tale of her momentous odyssey finds the bad destiny of her family members.
Mass shootings of Jews, rather within the Soviet Union, haven't been addressed with an analogous concentration given to concentration-camp atrocities. but Simon's examine unearths that Nazis killed approximately fifty percentage in their Jewish sufferers through capacity except gassing. within the historiography of the period, relatively scant reference is made to the executions at Brona Gora. therefore Simon fills an important hole in Holocaust historical past through delivering the main huge document but given at the executions at Brona Gora and Volchin.
As she interweaves tragic narrative with evocative family members anecdotes, Simon writes a narrative of existence in czarist Russia and, inside this body, of her family's flight from pogroms and persecution. From a distinct vantage Simon's memoir discloses her dogged genealogical seek, the newly perceived Jewish heritage she exposed, and the ramifications of the Holocaust within the postwar iteration.
Andrea Simon is a contract author and photographer in big apple urban. She has been released in Mondo Greco, Sanibel Captiva Review, The Acorn, Fine Print, Arizona Jewish Post, and anthologies.
Visit the author's web site, http://www.andreasimon.net
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With a polite good-bye to the police officer, we get back into our cars and pass a few simple houses, a wishing well, and a large barnlike building with red and gray stones. Drora thinks the stones are from the old synagogue. At their last visit, they had found similar stones with Jewish lettering in the Catholic cemetery. We pass a different Christian cemetery, a stone-fenced mansion, more simple wooden houses. Suddenly we stop. We’re at the beginning of the Jewish section. “This is Hanna Kremer’s house,” Esther whispers, motioning to a green wooden A-frame building.
I listen to a second Miriam, Miriam Lichterman, a petite, snub-nosed, formally dressed woman with auburn hair. Born in Warsaw, she survived life in the ghetto and several concentration camps. After the war, she married another multiple-camp survivor, Cantor Jacob Lichterman of the renowned Nozyk Synagogue, the only Warsaw synagogue to withstand the bombing. Starting a new life in South Africa, the Lichtermans had two sons, who also became cantors. Both are on this trip. Their dream is to sing in the same synagogue as their late father.
Her chestnut eyes sparkle with good cheer. “And I can’t tell you,” she adds, “what meeting you means to Shmuel. ” As if Shmuel suddenly understands her English, he hands my friend, Miriam, his camera and asks her to take a photo of us all, and then Dov asks the same thing. Everyone watches. I hope the redness in my cheeks doesn’t show in the picture. I dread the final song, the serving of dessert. I know it’s time. The last of my group is out the door. ” I hug everyone, saving Shmuel for last.