Telling Stories

More and more info has come to light about my grandmother and her fiance, my grandfather. I have connected with the brother of a friend who translates Polish and he has begun to fill in some blanks and offer more sources of info. I have started a separate blog for my family and the translator to share information.

It is such painful stuff.  Not only is this so deeply felt by me as a former out of wedlock expectant mother, but this is my grandmother, my bloodline and with the time period in history (WWII) and concentration camps, it is just so painful. I have been researching the camp my grandfather was kept in. Oh, how it hurts my heart (and yet I feel compelled to visit it someday).

I am reminded, again, of an incident with my grandmother.  I was living with her for a period of time when I was in high school. She knew my father and I had “issues” and she took me in.  She always cared so much for me. I came home late one night from my retail job at Burlington Coat Factory. As I unlocked the front door of the small cape cod home she lived in, I found her laying down on the couch, covered by one of her hand crocheted afghans, crying and sobbing as she watched television.

I wondered what made her cry and I sat down by her feet and watched. It was a movie called Wallenberg: A Hero’s Story. Raoul Wallenberg was a Swedish humanitarian who worked in Budapest, Hungary, during World War II to rescue Jews from the Holocaust. Richard Chamberlain played Wallenberg in the 1985 made for television movie.  It was this movie she was watching.  You can only imagine the triggering she must have felt.

I jumped from the couch the instant I made the connection and moved to turn it off.

“Why are you watching this Gramma if it makes you cry” I asked.

“Sit, sit” she demand in her Polish accent. “We must always watch. We must continue to tell this story. We must tell our children, and our childrens children. If we do not, it will happen again”.

So I sat with her. I held her hand and she cried next to me for the entire movie.

I never forgot it.  I believe that was exactly the  point.

Here I am, twenty six years later, remembering it again and telling the story again.  It will only be a matter of time before I tell my children.

5 Thoughts.

  1. Suz – your grandmother was right!! I grew up on the stories of my mother’s grandmother and how when they got in touch with the Red Cross there was no one to be found, that they had all apparently perished. So I know what you mean, BUT, have you considered that what we went through as surrendering mothers with no choices at all, that that was a Holocaust too?

  2. “We must always watch. We must continue to tell this story. We must tell our children, and our childrens children. If we do not, it will happen again”.

    i agree with Sharon . . . this applies to adoption as well.

    • Agreed Didda. And it is something I have to remind myself of at times. I often feel tired of blogging, of the same old stuff, but then remind myself that we must keep talking, sharing, telling. We may find a new audience every day and if we dont, we may finally make a dent with an old one.

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