Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Los Angeles Childhood - So We Remember. So We Don't Forget - Bearing Witness
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 11:10

Not all who survived the holocaust were in the Concentration Camps. There were first, second and third generation survivors, Jews, Germans, homosexuals, disabled, and persons different.

In the camps themselves, all personal identity was stripped. No names used, just numbers which as we all know, were tattooed on arms. A badge of dishonor, a badge of isolation, stripping away of all that was taken with clothes, jewels, books, and personal articles as they entered.

I always wondered why I so closely identified with the holocaust survivors. The ones whose photos I saw in Life Magazine. When I look at my childhood photos I am not smiling. "Your mother went away to Chicago on holiday." That's what they told me. How many others who suffered early childhood loss had those photos as children? When did they ever smile? Is it something about losing my navigational force that could protect me? It's like that with your mother when you are two or three or four years old.

I attended a lecture at the Creativity and Madness Conference the beginning of August. One of the speakers talked about the Holocaust and PTSD. Not only those who survived in the camps but the two generations after that. So many children who were hidden while their parents were taken. This is something one never gets over. It's an interior banishing, hearing voices and finally only vapor and dust. Memories tied up in a packet of letters or photographs. Something only left after death takes away the body that was a mother, a father, the aunt, uncle or cousin, brother and sister.

Yet we land on our feet, those of us who have found ways of coping. For me it was the writing.

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