Wednesday, April 19, 2006

the relative size of life's tragedies

I just heard on the Writer's Almanac that, on this day, in 1943, an armed uprising began in the Warsaw ghetto in Poland against the Nazis. A group called the ZOB (which, in Polish, or perhaps Yiddish, meant Jewish Fighting Organization) had formed once the Jews in the ghetto learned of the mass murders in the camps. They fought the Nazis for a month before they were overpowered.

I listened with chills, because I've spent the past few weeks reading about the Warsaw ghetto. SK's dad was there. All his family was killed, but when? Where? In the ghetto or the camps? I listen and wonder where SK's dad was on this day in 1943. Had he already been smuggled out? Was he ever smuggled out? How did he survive? I can't remember. Only remember he was raised with cousins by a distant aunt and uncle. Only know he was a stern, over-serious survivor and know that SK, child of a survivor, wears a near-constant frown and wonders how she has the right to laugh, do fun things, *survive* -- she went paragliding in Australia last week and heard her dad's voice in her ear as she soared above the treetops: "I survived the Warsaw ghetto so you could fly through the air strapped to a parachute??"

The answer is yes. A heartbreaking, glorious yes.


Anonymous tufster said...

i heard her dad was watching the flames rise from the rooftops of the ghetto, knowing his father was now dead, hiding in a flat close to the ghetto walls
i heard that it was a very bad time
i heard that it was very bad

8:38 PM  

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