10 My Jewish mom? Yes. Now I know.

jesus mary solidarity prison

Having turned off all public everything on my Ancestry a while back – and I haven’t had a subscription for years – I started in on mom’s family tree. Not easy without a subscription. However, it seems that some relatives have done quite a bit of work which also touched on mom. That opened up a couple more generations back. I noted a “look-up” page on Ancestry that I hadn’t noticed before. There were filter options, meaning that if you unchecked all databases except one, for instance, only some “hits” would come up. That’s useful when dealing with many hundreds or thousands of entries on a too-broad search. I was surprised to see a filter restricting results for Jews. Great! That’ll make things easy.

So, I started entering mom’s parents and grandparents’ names on both sides of her family tree that I already know. Mom is sooooo veeerryy Jewish. This confirms all my hypotheses which I always thought were really strong, but which others dismissed and even attacked, but which could only make sense, only be possible if mom was Jewish.

And now the reality of it all comes crashing home to heart and soul. There are statements, profound and far reaching, about suffering, which came from the depths of mom’s heart and soul which now make sense. But more on this in the future. I’m overwhelmed. I’m guessing that some of the names in the Holocaust Memorial databases for victims and survivors are related to me, even closely.

fulton sheen time

The Venerable Catholic Archbishop Fulton J Sheen once recounted about the liberation of a particular Nazi Extermination Camp, a story I listened to on a recording back in the 1980s. He said, if I remember correctly, that any prisoners still alive were killed quickly moments before the liberation, except for just a few who successfully hid in the mayhem. The Archbishop said that a soldier noticed a young Jewess, alive, and now liberated, but sitting atop a veritable mountain of corpses. He asked her what she was doing up there. Her response was a question, which brings me to tears:

“How can I live when all my people are dying?”

In the future, it will be a matter of ascertaining which relatives who had not come to America were where at the time of the extermination camps, if possible (probably not). That’s too much for me right now. I’m overwhelmed.

What I would like readers to do is to take the words of that young woman and put them into the mouth of Jesus…

“How can I live when all my people are dying?”

4 Comments

Filed under My Jewish Mom

4 responses to “10 My Jewish mom? Yes. Now I know.

  1. pelerin

    I am very pleased for you Father that your suspicions have been proved right although there will undoubtedly be heartbreak with your further investigations.
    Yesterday I was stunned and saddened to learn that my Parish Priest was moving to another parish after Easter. Although I mainly attend another parish more easily accessible by bus he will be sadly missed as he celebrated a weekly EF Mass, together with a monthly Sunday EF Mass in another town all of which I understand will now be terminated. …..
    His replacement will be a Polish Priest. I recognised the name as being Jewish and sure enough when I googled it, it said that it was a Polish surname of Jewish origin. I wonder how many other Jewish Priests there are in the world?

  2. nancyv

    Way too overwhelming. Thank you Jesus. How can I not think we owe any less than our lives?
    Just this morning I had to beg forgiveness for thinking (in the past)
    “Mary had it easy, being born without sin, chosen by God, etc.” For some reason, it just hit me full force and I am ashamed, sorry and thankful.
    …and just like Jesus, you had a good Jewish mother.

  3. The atrocity is overwhelming and I can’t even begin to think how you feel when it is your family that has been (not sure of the appropriate words) affected by the awful regime.

    Reading about the atrocities of the extermination camps during WW2 is upsetting but it was not until I visited the ‘Old Jewish Cemetery’ in Prague that I became overwhelmed by the immensity of numbers. To get to the cemetery you have to pass through the Pinkas Synagogue which is now a memorial to all the Jewish Czechoslovak citizens who were imprisoned in Terezin concentration camp and later deported to various Nazi concentration camps. On the walls of the Synagogue are the names of 77,297 people who didn’t return!

    When I stepped into the building, seeing all those names on the wall was quite overwhelming.

    Then on another occasion, when on a day trip to France I visited St Omer and also La Coupole which was a Nazi underground bunker (the latter on a whim as we drove past it heading back home). When inside the museum we found that there was a temporary exhibition on display entitled “Deportation and genocide, a European tragedy”:

    I wrote this shortly after my visit:

    “To say the pictures were harrowing is a bit of an understatement and one of the people I visited with said they were the most horrific pictures he had seen outside the French National Army Museum.”

    More recently I visited the Holocaust Museum in Mechelen, it is next to what was a deportation centre.

    An enormous photo wall spans five floors showing the faces of the 25,856 deportees and their human aspect contrasts with those whose propaganda and mass hysteria persecuted the deportees and threatened them with annihilation.

    Within the museum two of the rooms are dedicated to present the names and faces of those who were deported therefore breaching the anonymity of the victims and going against the aim of the Nazis which was to extinguish them without a trace.

    The museum goes on to explore ongoing terrorist regimes…

  4. pelerin

    Following Cherry Pie’s memories I have been looking at some photos I have taken when visiting Paris. Since about 2003 plaques have gone up outside various schools in the French capital detailing how many of its Jewish pupils had been deported and killed in the death camps.

    The area I stay in was once a Jewish quarter and the plaque on the side of the local school is particularly poignant because of the number involved.
    It reads:-

    ‘To the memory of the pupils of this school who were deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were born Jewish. Innocent victims of Nazi barbarity and of the Government of Vichy. More than 1200 children from the 11th arrondissement were exterminated in the Death Camps.’
    This plaque as do all the others adds ‘Ne les oublions jamais’ (‘Never forget them’)

    In the 3rd arrondissement a plaque states:-
    ‘From 1942 to 1944 more than 11,000 children were deported from France by the Nazis with the active participation of the French Government of Vichy and assassinated in the Death Camps because they were born Jewish. More than 500 of these children lived in the 3rd district …Never forget them.’

    In a park in the 10th arrondissement a sign has been erected stating that from 1941 to 1944 the Vichy authorities on the orders of the Nazi occupiers issued laws forbidding access to all the public parks and squares to ‘dogs and Jews.’ ‘More than 700 Jewish children who were deported lived in the 10th district of whom 75 were tiny babies the youngest being only 15 days old. These children never had the joy of playing in the public parks. All were torn from their mothers and deported. They perished in the Extermination Camps. In order to prolong their memory for ever a monolith has been erected dedicated to them. Never forget them.’

    The French Goverment has taken a long time to erect these plaques but they are now visible in the city and remind people of the atrocities that happened there.

    ‘Ne les oublions JAMAIS’ – ‘ NEVER forget them’

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