A wonderful guest blogpost in Moment Magazine, penned by TJ Council member, Al Munzer.
Earlier this month, as I watched the Theater J production of Our Class, I revisited a painful part of my family’s history in Poland. The play, being performed in Washington, D.C., chronicles the lives of ten friends—five Catholics and five Jews—over the course of 80 years beginning in 1926. The play comes to grips with one of the most painful aspects of the Holocaust when political differences and foreign invasions rekindled ancient religious hatreds that pitted neighbor against neighbor. It portrays the inexorable tragic descent from the innocence of childhood into the hell on earth that mirrored the experience of my own family. And it leaves us with the question whether reconciliation after such horror is ever possible.
My family history, wrapped up in the history of Poland and the Holocaust, is not something upon which I often care to reflect. My mother was born in Rymanow, a small town in Polish Galicia whose Jewish population was deported to Belzec, a Nazi extermination camp. She left Rymanow to avoid persecution in 1925 for Berlin, and in 1932 went on to the Netherlands where she married my father. Her brother, who found asylum in Bolivia, was the only other family member who was spared the fate of the Rymanow Jews.
To continue reading, click here.