I just finished reading Daniel Mendelsohn’s book, The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million. It really rekindled my interest in my own family’s history, my roots, and the stories behind the people.
I’ve always been the one to sit through Grandpa’s stories of hiding during World War II, getting married to my Grandma during air raids, and finding her alive in Dachau after the war. After the camp was liberated she had worked as a translator for the Dachau War Crimes Tribunal for a few years before returning to Budapest. I guess I heard the stories so many times and they sort of became common-place. But as I read The Lost, I was really inspired by how the story of one family describes what happened in a larger scale during the Holocaust. My Grandma’s story is definitely not as horrific as some other survival stories, but nevertheless, it is a Holocaust story. In 1947 she wrote down what she had heard and witnessed during the tribunals and I am thinking about translating it into English and maybe sending it to Yad Vashem and the Holocaust Museum in D.C.
So, since I just finished the book yesterday, I did a little Google search today and actually found a picture of Grandma at the tribunals! I have seen pictures of her there, but this is a new one. First I wasn’t sure if it was her, but my Mom confirmed it. She looks really young – she was probably younger than me when the picture was taken during the trial of the Malmedy Masacre. That’s her, in the glasses, looking up at the American soldier in front of her.
I have to take a moment and acknowledge how weird it is that sitting in front of a computer in 2008, I found a picture of my Grandma on the Internet, taken during 1945-46, in Dachau, where she was a Holocaust survivor. Mind-boggling, really. She died when my Mom was young and I never got to meet her, but I have to wonder what she would think of this. Would she find it pretty cool? Or would she think that somehow her experience has been trivialized into a Google Search?