Our Heritage- How DNA tests led to Holocaust family discovering lost past – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on January 14, 2021

Memories can be beautiful, croons Babs, and yet, / Whats too painful to remember, / We simply choose to forget. But sometimes even Barbra Streisand gets it wrong. Moshe Ehrenberg, a retired ophthalmologist now living in Jerusalem, has had to recalibrate some childhood memories deliberately skewered by his parents, to shield him from a truth too terrible to reveal.Ehrenberg recalls that while growing up in Brooklyn a relative from California regularly turned up to visit. Moshe was young; he didnt chat much to the tall, elegantly dressed uncle with the gentle demeanor who passed through their home en route to somewhere else, looking preoccupied. He was headed, so the story went, for Israel. In the fifties and sixties there were no direct flights from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv; Uncle Gedalya grabbed the opportunity to spend time with his brother in New York.But Gedalya Ehrenberg actually never landed in the just-born Jewish state; this smokescreen hid a truth too brutal for a little boy to grasp. Gedalya was bound for Poland, the country of his birth. And not because he hankered for Warsaws bright lights. Ehrenbergs native land held only one attraction for him: it was where his young daughter had gone missing.In 1945, when Gen. George Pattons Third Army liberated Dachau, Gedalya was 38 years old. He weighed 32 kilograms. His wife and three of his children had been murdered in Auschwitz; one of his four brothers had disappeared, another was killed by the Nazis. All that remained of his once-thriving family was brother Abraham Ehrenberg; the two survived Dachau together.But Gedalya clung to a glimmer of hope. Prior to the war he had somehow managed to hand over his baby daughter to Aleksander Paprota, a Polish Gentile, together with a whopping sum of money.Keep her safe for me, implored the father, and if I survive I will come back for her.(I interrupt this account with a personal aside: Last night, during bedtime for my grandchildren, I told my daughter this story. Miriam Sura was three when her father deposited her for safekeeping. We looked at our babies playing happily in their bath, and our minds simply blanked. We have grown up on Holocaust horrors; we know the inconceivable facts. And yet we know nothing. What did Gedalya pack for his Miriam, in her little suitcase? Her favorite doll, her toothbrush? A warm sweater for Polish winters? How did he say goodbye; did he return for a very last kiss? Where did he go from the Polish mans home; how did he put foot in front of foot? Was his wife, Chana, still alive? Did she scream, did she hug her remaining sons? Did the siblings know that their sister was safe? Did they know that they were soon to die? How do we wrap our minds around words that reverberate with agony?... I, for one, dont know.)

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Our Heritage- How DNA tests led to Holocaust family discovering lost past - The Jerusalem Post

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