What I remember

Unlike many North Americans, I have no pictures of grandfathers in military uniform. So I remember the good fortune that allowed my maternal grandfather to leave a concentration camp in 1939 when my grandmother obtained visas for the Dominican Republic.
My father’s family left Berlin for Prague, on the advice of my grandfather’s connections in 1935. Then they left Europe in 1939, also for the Dominican Republic. My father tried to join the Czech army (I was told) but the boat never came. Perhaps he tried to join the Resistance.
I’m proud of Canada for entering the war in 1939 to support Britain, and of the U.S. for its vital, though belated, entry after Pearl Harbour.
What I remember though, are decades of European anti-Semitism that no North American country gave a damn about.
The Second World War did not end North American anti-Semitism. Much of the McCarthy era was a thinly disguised attack on politically and culturally active Jews. Today, like the German Jews, North American Jews have assimilated so completely that anti-Semitism has had to find a new target in the Muslim community.
So I thank all my friends for their families’ sacrifices. But I ask them to remember all the civilian lives that were also sacrificed in Hitler’s rise to glory and power.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: