Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Holocaust Memorial Chain - Hannah Nelson's story

My first post was a spontaneous response to the cartoon, which I recieved from a friend in the mail. On Saturday I recieved the letter which follows:

Hi Mike,
You reached my daughter's e-mail, who is also an offspring of one holocaust survivor - me.
I work with her and so read your e-mail, and after many years got the urge today to respond with my story.

I was born in October 1938 to Lea (Weitzman) and Avraham Grossberg from Staszow, a small village in Poland. My young parents had the courage and resourcefulness to give me to a Polish woman and pay her to keep me through the war, in the promise that she will get paid also after the war.

My whole family from both sides was murdered only three (second and a more remote) cousins survived. After the war I was adopted in Poland by two survivors Mania Bornstein and Ben-Zion Burstein, each a sole survivor of their intimate families (both were married Mania had one child and the Ben-Zion had two children), as well as their original families, none for Ben-Zion and only three nephews and one daughter of a nephew from 10 brothers and sisters in the case of Mania. All of her brothers and sisters were with families as she and her twin were the youngest (don't know details about Ben-Zion).

When we arrived to Israel in 1950, I was a 12 years old girl and wanted to forget all the past and be just like the other kids, mainly to imitate the native children, meaning try to be like a "sabra" and not a frightened diaspora survivor. Therefore I did not asked too many questions and was even ashamed to talk about it.

My adoptive parents talked very little of the holocaust as well. I tried with all my might to suppress all and till now did not even visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Now I regret I did not ask more and tried to know more because of my children (I have three: Lee-Bath, Nirith and Ben).

Recently I learned that a neighbour of ours from Staszow survived, he fled as a young boy and joined the partizans and lives currently in Toronto. But he is old now and remembers little to tell me. I hope to meet with him as he has a relative in Israel and promised to contact me when he comes.

Maybe this is too long for my testimony, so if you send it to someone feel free to shorten it.

With thanks and best wishes for the coming New Year
Sincerely, Hannah Nelson

PS: A very impressive and smart cartoon.

Seeing as Hannah bothered to write down her testimony I think I had no choice but to publish it.

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