Al fin, tras la muerte de mis papás (ambos sobrevivientes) ¡ya pude comprarme un Audi! (¡Bravo!), en Inglés

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I waited until I was 6 to ask about the blue numbers tattooed on the arms of some of the other refugees, and was angry when I was told to wait until I was older. When later came, I knew not to ask again. It was all connected to the things that made my mother wake up screaming some nights. I became a little soldier protecting my parents from those things that hurt them, like the time when I was 10, and found my mother watching “The Pawnbroker,” where Rod Steiger plays a Holocaust survivor haunted by flashbacks of concentration camp atrocities. I stood in front of the TV blocking her view until she walked out.

The only stories they did tell were from their happy pre-war lives, or the rare funny war-time incident. One was about the time my mother received a goose as thanks for secretly and illegally teaching local children during the Nazi occupation in Poland, and after great anticipation for this special meal, discovered she had overcooked it to an inedible cinder.

In the battle between my need to fill the holes in my family story and my duty to keep the silence, duty usually prevailed. One exception was on my first trip to Europe, when I was 20, and went to visit the French city Nancy, in Lorraine. In the summer of 1939, when my father was 19, he had arrived there from his town in Poland. He planned to enroll in the engineering school. Then the war started and he was cut off from family and funds. He traveled to Paris and when the Nazis were about to occupy that city, he somehow acquired the papers and uniform of a French Army private and his unit was evacuated, eventually to French Morocco. He liked to joke that he was in Casablanca at the same time as Rick and Sam and Ilsa. On a scorching summer day 37 years later, I stood in front of the same engineering school and unsuccessfully tried to picture myself doing anything like what he had done.


On that trip I had my first test: a young German picked me up as I was hitch-hiking outside Lincoln, England. Listening to his accent and seeing his blond hair and blue eyes, my first thoughts were about what his father might have done during the war. Was Nazism genetic? As we drove through the countryside and talked, we got on so well that we roomed together at a farmhouse on the way to York.

That was where things were left, present but unspoken, except for the pledge I made. Then my own children became old enough to ask, “Why don’t you know what happened to your uncles and aunts?” and “Why can’t we talk about the war with Grandpa and Grandmom?”

At first, all they were concerned about was finishing the second-grade family trees. As they grew older and smarter, it became more difficult to know how to answer their questions. Finally, reluctantly, I agreed to visit the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington when my older daughter was 14.

I almost threw up in the room filled with piles of shoes and broke down in hushed sobs watching survivors tell their stories, but I hid these reactions from my daughter. The museum was surprisingly crowded though the silence reminded me of what I grew up with.

We went to a nearby restaurant for lunch and my daughter was uncharacteristically quiet, so I started to explain what I hoped she had seen. Yes, it was personal and it happened to our family, but it was also universal. Genocide is a human stain. People are capable of doing evil things to one another, sometimes from ignorance but sometimes in the name of revenge. We can choose to perpetuate the cycle of hater and victim and hater, or to break it by building museums, or sometimes, by not talking about it.

My daughter came around and gave me a hug. “I know,” she whispered. “I saw you crying. It’s O.K.”

My father died in 2003 and my mother in 2010. This year, at age 57, when I needed a new car, I could finally buy a German one.

Henry Rozycki is a physician at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University and a writer.

3 comentarios en «Al fin, tras la muerte de mis papás (ambos sobrevivientes) ¡ya pude comprarme un Audi! (¡Bravo!), en Inglés»
  1. So you had to wait until your parents died to ‘overcome’ your love for Germans.

    Since you are Jewish basically because you where educated as such and since Germans are Germans because they are educated as such (not because as you mentioned they are blonde and have blue eyes which some of us Jews have too and are not Germans) I assume that your buying their car is your way of showing them your appreciation and open mindedness

    Anyway, I am happy to see you overcame your deepest frustration now that your parents died. This Audi must be SO precious !!

    Since you needed to rush to buy a German car now that your parents are not alive have you also felt that extreme need to do something Jewish? something to rebuild what the owners of Audi (among others) destroyed?

    Or maybe you can check what did Audi produced in the camps -using people like your parents- and then you can research how many big arm contracts have Audi and associated firms fulfilled for Arab countries or how many Jewish patents, industries or buildings they stole.

    Happy ridding, the Autobahn is waiting for you, and if it becomes to boring turn tight and drive straight to the Polish border, Majdanek would be a perfect place where to park your beautiful new car. !

    I hope you’ll tell us later what you find.

    You might feel so proud of your investment and the support you’ve given to the next generations.!

    Responder
  2. ¿Qué les pasa a los judíos que tienen esa necesidad intrínseca de comprar autos alemanes?

    ¿De verdad creen que manejar los autos de las empresas que se hicieron y enriquecieron robando los patentes de inventores judíos y el trabajo de esclavos judíos, los hace mejores? ¿Más bonitos? ¿Menos judíos quizás?

    ¿Será que en el fondo quisieran ser arios?

    Responder
  3. Todo mundo sabe que los autos europeos son los mejores en especial los autos alemanes.
    Se me hace una exageración dejar de comprar un producto por ser alemán, en tal caso tampoco hablen español porque fue el idioma usado en la inquisición, No usen sillas porque son invento egipcio. No utilicen los números porque son arábigos.  

    Responder

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