My dads side of the family is Jewish, but when my grandmother had my dad and his sister, the religion mostly dropped off as our family only now celebrates hanukah and sometimes Passover. Today while I was at my aunts, we got the topic of her grandmother, which I will refer to as Omi (what everyone in my family calls her).
Omi was born in Czechoslovakia and lived a very wealthy life. Her parents made good money- I’m talking owning ponies and a mansion money. Not only that, but she was a single child. When the nazis invaded, they didn’t just target minorities but they also targeted the wealthy. Knowing their house would be raided, they fled. They believed the safest place they could hide was in Germany; why would the enemies check their own backyard? Omi’s mother got lost sometime in their journey, I don’t have much info on her. They traveled in the dead of night through the woods, grabbing her cousin along the way. Keep in mind, Omi is only 15-16 during this whole trip. Once, while near a nazi stationed camp in Germany, her cousin started having a panic attack and wouldn’t stop sobbing and screaming. No consolation would calm him down. The only thing that worked was Omi’s dad putting a gun against his head and shooting him. It was the most humane thing her father could do. It was either he died, or he got them all captured. I’ve heard this instance traumatized Omi; I could only imagine such a terrible thing to witness.
She did not stay in Germany for the rest of her life, she had made it to America where she raised her two children in New York. While in Germany, she fell in love with a US spy and married him. They had kids together and created a life. When the war ended and he went back home, he sent a letter (I can’t remember the name of the form) that approved for his wife and their kids to come to America. She lived a long life and even began writing a autobiography, but sadly passed while in the process. I wish I could tell her full story, but the family member that has her manuscript pages is unknown.
I hope you enjoyed the few tales I’ve been told, I wish I could write more. My Great Grandmother was a fighter, a mother, and a survivor. I never used to associate with the religious side of my family, but I’ve never felt prouder to have Jewish heritage.