Next Stop – Pilsen

After our emotional day in Terezín we took a day to visit Pilsen (Plzeň), about 50 miles west of Prague. It is a vibrant city (fourth largest in the country) and was given the distinction of being a European Capital of Culture in 2015. Two things that Pilsen is known for are their beer andContinue reading “Next Stop – Pilsen”

Yom HaShoah

For Holocaust Remembrance Day I am sharing some pictures of my mother’s family members who did not survive Hitler’s hatred and evil. Pictured above are Flora and Louis Spier (my mother’s maternal grandparents). Below are Franz Robert Spier and Justine Spier-Bendien (my mother’s aunt and uncle). This card tells us that Franz Robert Spier wasContinue reading “Yom HaShoah”

Feeling the Bern*

One of the mysteries of my family’s Holocaust survival is their passport from Paraguay. According to my mother, that passport saved her father from a transport to Auschwitz. We have a copy of the document along with a letter of notarization stating that it is real. The mystery here isn’t that the passport exists, butContinue reading “Feeling the Bern*”

On the Way to Terezín

Our guide, Jiri, picked us up at our hotel. After a few minutes of introductions and small talk we climbed into his minivan and headed to Terezín. The drive there from Prague was about 45 minutes, and I used the time to explain to Jiri that my mother and her family were prisoners in TheresienstadtContinue reading “On the Way to Terezín”

Kaddish in Prague

For our second day in Prague I had set up a meeting with one of the archivists at the Jewish Museum. I was hoping that she might have access to some of the primary source material I was looking for. According to my great-grandfather’s diary, my grandfather, Heinz, had been told to report for aContinue reading “Kaddish in Prague”

Under My Nose the Whole Time

While I was visiting my parents recently I took a few minutes to look at the bookshelf in their living room. There is a section on sailing for dad and The Complete Works of Shakespeare. There are atlases and dictionaries and several art books of the great masters. And then there is The Holocaust shelf.Continue reading “Under My Nose the Whole Time”

Bigotry, Bullies and Brundibar

Yesterday I went to Boston to see the Central Square Theater production of Brundibar & But the Giraffe! The original opera was written in 1938 by a Czech composer, Hans Krasa with a libretto by Adolf Hoffmeister. Krasa, a Jew, was imprisoned at Theresienstadt and later murdered in Auschwitz. Hoffmeister survived the war, but diedContinue reading “Bigotry, Bullies and Brundibar”

Why I’m Writing about the Holocaust – Part 2

This is a powerful piece (click on the link below) by Naftali Bendavid that appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week. It is about the last survivors of the Holocaust telling their stories. According to the popular press there were only 100 child survivors of Theresienstadt. My mother was one of them. I don’t knowContinue reading “Why I’m Writing about the Holocaust – Part 2”

Treasure in the Compost Bin

When I went out to dump some kitchen scraps into the compost bin a few weeks ago I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. There were several tall leafy plants topped with delicate purple flowers. I had no idea what they were and so proceeded to look them up on the internet. I found aContinue reading “Treasure in the Compost Bin”