Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Off Topic: Holocaust memorial day, my father, and King Alfred

Today I will take some time to write on an off-topic; in Israel we have a memorial day for the holocaust. I am a second generation survivor; my father (who passed away 11 years ago) was the only survivor of a big family, he started the world world II in the Lodz Ghetto where he worked in a kitchen, either the one shown in the picture above, or one other, transferred to Auschwitz, where he was selected to live, while most of his family were selected to die, and kept moving in various work camps, his final place was in Dachau, and at the end of the war, he also survived the Death March in Tyrol mountains that is documented here and in this picture.

I learned about his history during this period over the years bit by bit, since my father almost never talked about this period in his life, when I asked him once, he told me the following story instead of telling me about himself, the story of King Alfred.

King Alfred has escaped due to some revolt and was hiding in a farm, when the rebelling soldiers looking for him got there, the farmer hid the King below a big pile of straw; the soldiers started to look at the straw, they nearly removed all of it, and then decided to move on. At later time the King succeeded to overcome the mutiny and returned to his throne. At some point the farmer came to visit him and he said to him -- you save my life, I can give you whatever you wish, the farmer said: I am a modest person, don't need anything, have one question to you, what did you feel when the soldiers almost got all the straw removed. The king has shown an angry face and said: this is a very rude question, hang this man immediately. The farmer was about to be hanged, a rope was already tightened to his throat, and then the king said: stop, now you see what I felt.

(This is actually what my father wrote in a letter to a relative that found him in the survivals list and sent him a letter asked him to describe what happened to him in the war).

Only recently I learned that my father has documented the names of all his family members in Yad Vashem, that scanned all their archive to the web a few years ago, here is the webpage where my grandfather is documented which includes my father's scanned handwriting,

Back to professional Blogging -- later this week.

1 comment:

Louie Lovas said...

A really great post Opher, thanks for sharing this story. Always nice to hear such personal perspectives on such momentous events in history.

I am a first-generation American, my father in Hungarian and my mother is English. They also lived through war-worn Europe (although from different sides of the conflict). Thankfully for me they eventually immigrated, first to Canada then to the USA.