Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Gestapo Officer's Girlfriend

First, I apologize for not posting this on the anniversary of Kristallnacht proper. However, given the importance of Kristallnacht to my family, I figured that a belated post was in order.

In any event, this week marked the 70th anniversary of the night that really marked the "beginning of the end" for not only German, but all European Jews. For my family, Kristallnacht was the event that precipitated their fleeing first to other countries in Europe before being smuggled into Canada. Yes, smuggled, since Canada had its "One Jew is Too Many" policy. To be precise, the story goes that a Gestapo officer's girlfriend, who was fond of my grandfather, convinced him after Kristallnacht that things were going to get very bad for the Jews. After being briefly detained by the Nazis, he caught up with his wife and children, as well as the brothers and their children who chose to leave. Of the remaining brothers and their families, only one cousin survived the camps. She joined the family that was already in Canada after the war.

So, here is a tip of the hat to that girlfriend, who saved countless generations through her kind-heartedness. And here is a moment of silence for those unfortunate enough to have believed in their native lands and lost their lives as a result. As we say "Never Again" for yet another year, the lessons that can be learned from our fallen brethren should remain in the forefront of our minds.

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