Friday, November 13, 2009
My mother received a most unusual gift for her birthday yesterday. A few months ago, she contacted the Registry at the United States Holocaust Museum and applied for information about her father (A”H) and mother who survived the Holocaust and for 6 other relatives who did not make it through. Out of all of those people, it was her father’s information that showed up on her birthday, just days before his 3rd yahrtzeit. We are totally amazed at how many documents were discovered and delivered. It is emotional and at the same time surreal to see the records, documents and personal signatures that testify to the horrors that our beloved family members endured. One particular document stands out from all of the rest. The Allied Expeditionary Force Registration form is faded and pale like all of the others. The form, which was filled out when my grandfather entered the Föhrenwald Displaced Persons Camp, contains nothing other than simple facts and information. Name, birthday, gender, etc… However, the banality of the document betrays the depth of emotion that it actually contains. The upper right hand of the document asks for the applicant’s nationality. My grandfather’s answer? STATELESS. Beneath that one, simple, cold word lays the entire tragic series of events that left millions like my grandfather alone, lost, and homeless in every sense of the word. Further down the document and slightly to the left, the form asks for the applicant’s desired destination. Zaida’s answer: PALESTINE. Israel was and is the only possible answer to the 2,000 year persecution of the Jewish people. Zaida never made it to Israel (other than a few visits), though he is buried here. Instead, fate took him to Columbus, Ohio where he made a good life for his wife and only child. Yet two of his grandchildren and almost all of his grandchildren have made their homes in the Jewish country. Sometimes goals are only realized by later generations. It is through us that my grandfather has finally reached his DESIRED DESTINATION and his legacy lives on.