Discovering Stored Treasures

Discovering Genealogy, One Ancestor at a Time.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Holocaust Memorial Day: Learning from the Past, A Vigil Against Hate

Second place winner in the
 Yad Vashem "Designing Memory"
poster competition.
Today is the internationally observed holocaust remembrance day. April 19, marks the anniversary of the beginning of Warsaw ghetto uprising, which was the largest single revolt by the Jews during the holocaust. This week, I've received many e-mails, and read posts commemorating this event. One that particularly stuck me was a poster which won second place in a "Designing Memory" competition, an ongoing initiative of Yad Vashem together with the Israel Ministry of Public Diplomacy. While the winning poster is very impressive, as a genealogist, I felt the second place poster, designed by three young artists, Liav Goldstein, Mati Liberman and Dana Bodansky, captures much of what I think about, when I struggle with the Holocaust as part of my family history. The poster, is a family tree whose members are symbolized through the Jewish Yellow star used in the holocaust by the Nazi's to mark Jews. This poster indicates how whole branches of families where wiped out because they were Jewish. Like so many Holocaust victims, their names, their photos, their stories are unknown.

Today I commemorate the Holocaust, by lighting a memorial candle. My temple, sent this small yellow candle, in memory of Dvur Kralove, from Czechoslovakia who perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau on October 6th, 1944. This simple but powerful act of lighting a candle today, allows me to commemorate Dvur Kralove, a man I never met, and whom may not have any surviving relatives to remember him. In addition, I light this candle, in memory of all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust as well as other genocides, just because they were different. It strengthens my resolve to learn from the past by holding vigil against hate that leads to such tragic loss and work towards creating an inclusive tolerant society in the future.

Despite years of research, my own family tree is full of gaps and voids, caused by this most tragic period of history. Large branches, stand bare, where no survivors were left. Others segments have managed to re-sprout despite all odds. As another small tocan of commemoration, I listed the twenty-two names of my immediate family who died in the Holocaust. I continue to kindle a small hope that someone might be able to recognize them, and share a little more of their story with me. My they rest in peace and never be forgotten.

From Lvuv Poland
Leon Speiser Jampel, Cyla Jampel (Reiter), Michael Jampel
From Tarnov- Poland:
Matias Celnik, Channa Celnik (Rosenblum), Ashzer Celnik, Helena Celnik, Sabina Celnik
From Belitsa, Russia (now Belarus):
Lazar Kranowitz, Leah Neimenshka, Vevel Kranowitz, Masha Kranowitz, Maishe Kranowitz
Braina Botschkowsky (Kranowitz) (1886-1943), Chaim Leib Botschkowsky(?-1942), Feigel Botschokowsky (1927-1943), Mashka Botschokowsky (1929-1943), Henye Botschkowsky, Malka Botschkowsky (?-1943)
Sara Esther Altman (Kranowitz), her husband and child.

"Each human being is an infinity. Today is about Six Million infinities".  Rabbi Wesley Gardenswartz, Temple Emanuel

Michael Jampel (1931-1943)
July 1935, Lvuv Poland
My paternal great-uncle who died at the age of 12.
This is one of only two photos we have of Michael.
He was my grandfather's only brother. My grandfather
never knew how or where his parents or brother died.

Are you planning to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day? I would love to hear what you do.

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