Event in Israel on the Jews of Ozarow, and Ben Zion Wacholder

I have written here about doctoral student Lukasz Rzepka's research on the Jewish community of Ozarow, where both he and my father, Ben Zion Wacholder, were born. My father's memories of the liquidation of Ozarow are recorded on the website maintained by my niece Shifra Goldenberg. Thanks to Lukasz, … [Read more...]

Recalling My Father and the Jewish Past in Ozarow, Poland

Lukasz holding "Memories" next to a picture of my father Ben Zion Wacholder z"l Several months ago, I wrote about Lukasz Rzepka, the graduate student who, like with my father Ben Zion Wacholder z"l, was born in Ozarow, Poland. After months of preparation, Lukasz has published the first volume … [Read more...]

A Surprising and Touching Inquiry into My Father’s Polish Past

As long-time readers know, my father Ben Zion Wacholder was born in Ozarow, Poland and survived the Holocaust, living in Germany with false papers hiding his Jewish identity. A few months ago, we received an email from a man named Lukasz Rzepka, who wrote: I'm a doctoral student of theology at The … [Read more...]

A Daughter’s Tribute to Shimon ben Shraga

I recently finished The Watchmaker's Daughter, a sensitive  and touching memoir by Sonia Taitz. Taitz grew up as the child of Holocaust survivors in Washington Heights, New York City, where my husband and I also lived for a time. It turns out that we attended the same synagogue as her … [Read more...]

The Last Night before the Hurban of Ozerow

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am sharing this excerpt from my father Ben Zion Wacholder's memoir of the days before the deportation of the Jews of his town of Ozarow, Poland: No decision was taken by the family as to whether or not I should leave them until the eve of deportation. The … [Read more...]

Last Days of Ozerow: My Father’s Holocaust Memoir

In the 1980's, my father, Ben Zion Wacholder, began writing a memoir of his World War II experience in Poland. Unfortunately we only have two chapters, as the rest was on a computer that got stolen. My niece, Shifra Goldenberg, edited the chapters with help from the family and published them on a … [Read more...]

We Learned Not to Ask: Second-Generation Holocaust Story

Tonight and tomorrow we observe Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. A few weeks ago I listened to a moving podcast, The Suitcase by the Door, via American Public Media. APM interviewed Dr. David Wahl, a child of Holocaust survivors. Wahl's parents had some unusual habits, like requiring everyone … [Read more...]

New Online Holocaust Era Archives

I've been away from the blog on a different project, but I wanted to share something that gave me the chills. Someone on Twitter (@yteutsch) linked to an article from NPR about a new online archive of material from the time of the Second World War. The American Joint Distribution Committee aids … [Read more...]

Yom Hashoah–Holocaust Memorial Day and “Sepharad”

A year or two ago I attended the funeral of a neighbor's father. One of the eulogies described how the kindness, knowledge and experience of the deceased were a model that is gradually being lost as the generation raised in pre-World War II Europe dies out. At the time I thought of my father, now … [Read more...]

Kaddish and the Holocaust

Today is the 10th of the Hebrew month of Tevet. According to II Kings and Ezekiel, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem on this date.  It marks the first stage in the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple in 586 BCE. 10 Tevet is observed as a fast from sunrise to … [Read more...]