I always wanted to be a Nazi hunter but I was born too late. How else could I avenge my grandparents’ deaths and heal my father’s pain. To track down the murderers who took the lives of my family and millions of others had the potential of making me a hero in my father’s eyes. It just might have been enough to finally please him, though probably not.
As a daughter of a holocaust survivor, my “second generation” status has been imprinted upon me. I have memories that are not my own, as well as feelings of grief and abandonment, though I never met the grandparents over whom I feel such deep loss. I have inherited the legacy of the survivor community in which I was raised, and that has left me with nightmares and occasional anxiety when riding on trains.
I have never shared these feelings with my father, or any other of my relatives who miraculously survived the ghettos and concentration camps. It just felt wrong to say that I could even remotely understand what they experienced. But now, 7 years after my father’s passing, I feel the need to at least memorialize those fragmented lives.
Though I know I will never be able to bring back the dead, I need to find some way to do more than say Kaddish to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Possessed by the spirits of my ancestors, I must bring Jewish life back to the home they kept hidden in their hearts.