Yesterday I attended the wedding of my wife’s second cousin .It was a wonderful, joyful occasion one for which many were most grateful.
One attendee was an aunt by marriage. She was born in a small Polish town before the Second World War. As a young teenager of fifteen, she stood in line about to be directed to the gas chambers together with her family and meet the horrible and unimaginable death of six million others.
“What are you doing in this line?” barked the German guard. “You are not Jewish!”
She was spared and later escaped, living as a Gentile in Germany for the duration of the war.
The music blared .The dance floor shook with the stomping and shuffling of hundreds of jubilant feet. I joined the others to the popular and pretty raucous strains of “ I will survive.” As the words issued forth from the vocalist, I turned and my eye met the eyes of my wife’s aunt by marriage. A woman now in her eighties, she was one of the smiling, gyrating and celebrating crowd of wedding guests. “I will survive!” How poignantly ironic. The lyrics of this contemporary tune encompassed an extraordinary miracle of human survival from the ashes of the holocaust. I froze, unable to continue.
How grateful aunt Helena must feel at this moment. How grateful so many should feel not only for life but also for the joy of another Jewish celebration of marriage.
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