My focus this summer has been on writing. I have been trying to churn out chapters, which means, I haven’t been doing all that much research. There haven’t been new discoveries or new collaborations with far off researchers for a while. As a result I feel a bit “blog blocked, ” to coin a new phrase.
Here is where I ask you, reader, to step up with some help. Give me an idea as to what to blog about. What do you want to know? Do I tell you about the writing process? Do I write about a little known Holocaust fact I may have stumbled upon? Do I give you a glimpse into my actual chapters? Tell me what you want to read and I’ll see where it takes me.
5 thoughts on “A Little Help From My Friends”
Heidi, a few years ago I came across a documentary titled “Shanghai Ghetto” and was mesmerized by the story. While the Nazis were frenziedly persecuting and slaughtering Jews in Europe over of Nazi terror, Raoul Wallenberg, a prominent Swedish diplomat, saved thousands of Hungarian Jews by distributing Swedish passports. Chinue Sugihara, Japan’s consul in Kaunas, Lithuania, granted transit visas for more than 2,000 Polish Jews, enabling them to escape from the Holocaust. The true story told by the film “Schindler’s List” is now known to all. However, at the same time, the government of many countries imposed strict restrictions on the entrance of Jewish refugees. Especially after 1938, almost all countries closed their doors to the desperate Jews, sadly, including the U.S. Their refusal to accept those people struggling for survival on the verge of death was tantamount to choking living beings.
Viewing what the non-Jewish world had been doing to Jews in retrospect, the people of Shanghai, are very proud of the fact that when all the civilized world closed its doors to Jewish refugees, Shanghai provided a vital haven and every possible relief for them. Personally, I’d love to know more about Shanghai’s history as it relates to the Holocaust.
If there is one thing I have learnt from my research on what happened to my family and the world around them, is that things are often not what they seem. I know about Raoul Wallenberg. And I also know a few things about how his banker family collaborated with the nazis throughout the duration of the regime. In many families there were two and more sides. What is the “true story” ? Through archive research I have found things that tarnish the reputation of more than one helper of jews. We all would like to see our parents, uncles and aunts and grandprarents as heroes. Guess what, they are or were human. What should we think of the jewish chief doctor at the Westerbork camp who helped his patients as best as he could, only to have them put onto trains to Auschwitz? And what to think of the testimony of one who did not come back, Philip Mechanicus, who tells us how the doctor used his influence with the camp Kommandant to favor some people ahd have them stay longer before being deported?
Let us not shy from the complexity, tell it all as we know it and try to know more.
I just joined a writing group called the Book of Me. There will be a weekly writing prompt in which you write something about yourself and your own feelings, memories, etc. the group just started and you are not obligated to write every prompt or even post them. It might just get your mind off the holocaust and give you something else to think about. My first post was posted Saturday.
Heidi, how about some connections to current world events? How should lessons from the Holocaust inform our view of the all-too-many instances of large-scale ethnic and religious violence around the world?
I like the idea of writing about the writing process