December 18, 1945
I received your letter an hour ago and you can only imagine what it meant for me. I felt, deep in my soul, that maybe it was you. I am alone, in Paris now, living here for over half a year since American soldiers found me dying in Buchenwald and thinking that I was French, sent me to Paris.
Those words form the first paragraph of the first letter my father sent my mother after learning through a small newspaper ad that she was looking for him. She had been taken to Brussels after surviving a death march from Auschwitz to Ravensbrück and within six months began looking for family and for the man who stole her heart.
Their reunion in January 1946 was the beginning of a powerful love story, albeit one that was tested and challenged by the chaos in the American immigration system directly after World War II. His letter is but one of dozens between them included in Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, my book about their lives before, during and after the Holocaust.
December 18, 1945
On April 11,1945 my father was in a hole in the floor of a latrine at Buchenwald when an American soldier (the first black man he had ever seen) kicked him to see if he was alive. Weighing only 95lbs, he cried out in French and so was mistakenly taken to Paris with 114 French survivors. Those men were housed at the Hotel Lutetia at the corner of Boulevard Raspail and Rue de Sèvres in the heart of Saint-German-des-Prés where today the nightly rates start at $800. Though Polish by birth, he chose to remain in as a Frenchman thinking that he might more easily recover life in the country where he had gone to university.
In 1985 this plaque was permanently affixed to the building to commemorate this moment in history.
This is just one small moment from the hundreds that are revealed in Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, my book about my parents’ lives before, during, and after the Holocaust. A huge heartfelt thanks to all who have pledged, and please share this Kickstarter link with friends and family. http://kck.st/2UYTmfy
In 1938, 80,000 people lived in Radom, Poland—45% were Jewish. After a ghetto was formed in March, 1941, most of those people were systematically transported to the extermination camp at Treblinka.
As in many cities and towns in Poland, the gravestones from the Jewish cemetery were removed by Nazi forces and used to pave sidewalks and streets. When my mother and I visited in 1993, some of those markers had been returned to the cemetery and stacked up in the center like a defiant wall.
The space was vast, acre after acre of weeds and wildflowers sitting motionless under a lowering sky. Images of Nazi soldiers, assigned to the desecration of the cemetery, filled my mind. I saw them fired up, cursing the Jews and urinating on the peaceful site of my grandfather’s grave.
This image is one of more than forty in my book, Sweet Noise: Love in Wartime, my parents’ poignant love story told against the backdrop of the Holocaust. Please consider supporting my Kickstarter for the book. http://kck.st/2UYTmfy