Good-bye Irene

The last generation of people who survived the Holocaust is dying out.  Fairly soon there will be no more direct memories.  My husband’s aunt passed away recently and we attended a memorial for her this weekend.  She survived the Lodz ghetto in Poland during World War II and six months in a concentration camp as a teenager, and through it all her spirit survived.  She became a travel writer and also wrote about her experiences during the war, providing commentary for the film “Lodz Ghetto.”  
In an essay titled, “Thinking of a Tomorrow for Scarlett O’Hara” she compares herself to this famous heroine, as she relishes finding an abandoned copy of Gone with the Wind in Polish in the ghetto. 
She too learned to forge a new life from ashes, from ruins, coming to America, studying, earning a degree, writing, publishing, marrying, having three children, becoming an involved parent in the new Santa Monica school, Crossroads, and significantly influencing its successful path.  She inspires me as a mother and a writer, and a positive spirit, who through it all, saw the best in people and kept going!
My 3 grandparents who came over from the old country – 1 from Germany and 2 from Hungary -- have passed away.  My surviving grandmother is 94 years old and was born in Chicago.  She visited Hungary (where her parents were from) as a young woman to study dance.
What are the gifts to be gleaned from our older relatives?  What are the pearls of wisdom they have that we do not wish to see washed down the drain?  What do we want to pass on to our kids and what can we use in our writing to share with all children? 


  1. Hey there. Enjoyed your post. I'm telling similar stories about POWs in Japan. They are dying out too and I'm dedicated to tell my family's story in that theatre of WWII. Good luck with your stories!


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