On Holocaust Remembrance Day: from 2015.
Most Jews have stories about the Holocaust that get passed down generation to generation. And while the elder generations are often reluctant – or cannot – speak these days, continuing conversations are essential.
My father John B Liedtke’s family – the Liedtke’s – have a rich history dating back as far as the 1600s. We have stories about relatives living in Ireland, coming to pre-America as indentured servants, integrating with the Samish Indian Nation, forging through the 1800s and spreading their kin, living into the 1900s, the industrial revolution, and eventually migrating to Canada to help lay the foundations for the life I know.
His stories could go on for hours without stopping, and I’m happy to know this side of my history.
My mother Sheryl Davies’ family – The Cohens – isn’t so fortunate.
Her family can trace back to the year 1900 and then the family tree stops.
I wont know the family I lost in the holocaust. I wont know the other side of my history before 1900. This will never change. They are gone. So are their memories. They aren’t even dust in the wind, as dust can be seen.
My great grandfather and his baby brother were 2 of 13 children to escape from Europe. Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, distant relatives…their stories stopped being told by the end of WWII because aptly, there weren’t anyone left to tell them.
Today, on Holocaust Remembrance Day I’m thinking of the family I have & the ones I wont ever know.
I’m also spending a lot of time today thinking about atrocities being committed throughout the world and praying – not to God, but to humanity – that we as humans can overcome our consistent need for bloodshed, hate, and war. It’s 2015 and about time for peace.
Never forget. Never Again. Not to anyone.
[Photo of Jon Liedtke at his Bar Mitzvah with his Zaida Morrey Cohen, and his Great Zaida Joe Cohen.