Posted by PartlyCloudy on December 29, 2010, at 19:08:22
In reply to Re: PartlyCloudy speaks up, posted by sigismund on December 29, 2010, at 14:41:58
> My family were straight anglos, but at the table from time to time my parents would allude to the period and wonder a little about it in shorthand, as people of that generation often did when speaking of it. My mother's best friend married a man who, when a boy, was one of the Jewish children who were sipped to the UK out of Vienna, who then of course fought against the Germans. His family completely perished. And my uncle fought for the RAF for some time in the bombing of Germany. I can remember my mother talking about a man from Germany or Austria doing the handkiss and she saying 'oh, we don't do that here', and I don't know why, but just from that one comment, I felt all this inherited sorrow (in which I believe), even though our family was so tangentially involved, and I have thought about that sorrow for years.
Inherited sorrow. Yes. One of the most intriguing things to happen was that my mother and two of her sisters each independently were able to visit their family homestead after the breakup of the USSR.
My mother's sister A*** was as pleased as a child to see the property so well tended and generations of a (culturally) Russian family had made it their own. She was welcomed in with open arms; she took the Russians through the house and told stories about how the house was utilized when they lived there.
My mother's other sister, B***** visited several years ago. There's a photograph of her looking on to the property from the fence that encircles it. She looks sad, angry, and bitter. She did not approach the people living inside.
My mother had a similar experience to sister A****, and is in sporadic contact with the family.
I found a book, finally, called "DP's: Europe's Displaced Persons" and passed it on to my mother with trepidation. She read while I was visiting with her and it temporarily opened the floodgates into the past for her and I. It was the only time she has ever spoken of her experiences, and she talked as if in a catharsis. After the book was finished, she buttoned her lip and has not spoken of them since.
(Which was when I thought that *I* needed to write this stuff down.)