April 15 15

My mom was born in a DP camp in Austria in April of 1949.

This fact is something that I have known all my life, since it was required information for every elementary school family tree project I ever turned in in the 1980s. Born in Austria, came over to Montreal on the Schiff Nelly in the winter of 1950—it’s a story I have heard many times and can recite by memory.

But when I sit down and really think about it, this isn’t just another old fact for a family tree—like the fact that my Grandpa Lou was born in Cleveland—it’s so much more.

My mom was born to two holocaust survivors after they were each liberated from concentration camps {him from Matthausen by way of Auschwitz by way of Plaszow, her from a munition-making work camp} after they both lost sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, parents.

Falling in love, having babies, moving to North America, starting fresh and new with nothing but the clothes on their backs and the babies in their arms after the very, very worst is a testament to the strength of not only my own Bubbie and Zaydie, but to many of my friends’ Bubbies and Zaydies and to the entire Jewish people. It’s amazing, a miracle truly, that my grandparents were able to rise up, Phoenix-like, after losing everyone, everything.

They found happiness, faith, hope, something to live for. They found jobs, friends, synagogues, communities.

They created legacies. 

Legacies—more and more names for their family tree—that I just know they would be so proud to see today. Legacies—the very thing Hilter and his Nazi party tried to take away from the Jewish people.

Tonight begins Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, that we have been commemorating every 27th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan since 1953. Truth be told, I don’t actually need this day to remember. I remember every time I speak to my mom, every time I look at my children. I remember every time I hear stories about my Zaydie’s mother (who my own mother was named for) and my Zaydie’s sister (who my sister was named for).

I continue to tell all of their stories for my children to hear and to remember and to memorize and to add to all of their elementary school family tree projects.

I will never forget.

And neither will my children.







  1. This is an absolutely beautiful post for every reason.

    Comment by Alex on April 15, 2015
  2. Thank you for sharing – human strength is amazing..

    ps. is that your mom in the b&w? looks so much like Isabella!

    Comment by sarah on April 16, 2015
  3. It *is* my mom! They are basically twins, those two 🙂

    Comment by ali on April 16, 2015
  4. awesome 🙂

    Comment by sarah on April 16, 2015
  5. Beautiful post. We can never forget.

    Comment by Kristabella on April 16, 2015
  6. This gave me chills and goosebumps all over, what a heartbreaking and inspiring legacy. Thank you for sharing.


    Comment by Feisty Harriet on April 16, 2015
  7. What is a “DP camp”?

    Comment by Nicole on April 16, 2015
  8. It’s a Displaced Persons camp. They were temporary places for people who had nowhere to go after World War II, mostly people who were liberated from concentration and work camps.

    Comment by ali on April 16, 2015

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