Now, my grandfather's war stories aren't the fodder for Clint Eastwood to turn into a WWII epic. More Farley or Coen brothers I think. But regardless, it really is an example of how the "greatest generation" really is the Greatest Generation. Imagine the world of 1918 when my grandfather was born. 90 years later, look where we are. Will there be as many technological, political, or social changes as he's seen in our lifetimes? Somehow I don't think so. Sure, we've got middle eastern terrorists, but I think they are still a distant second to the horrors the Nazi's wrent on Europe back in the day. Stories from this era fascinate me. I remember a classmate's grandfather coming to speak at school about being a German Jew during WWII. About how he escaped auschwitz thanks to an SS officer with a conscience who looked the other way when he and a few others snuck through a whole in the fence in the middle of winter. Just a wee bit different than golfing in Bermuda.
If you head over to mom's side of the family, her grandmother (her father's mother) never came to America to stay till after WWII - she lived in Warsaw through the whole war - occupation and all. While they weren't Jewish, they were Catholic which wasn't very high up on Hitler's favorites list. My mom was never close to this side of her family, so we don't know much about this woman, my great-grandmother and the family that stayed with her during the war. Did she take part in some form of underground resistance? Did she help Jews to escape the city? I'd like to think she did because the opposite would just be awful to admit. On my mom's other side, she had an aunt (mom's mom's sister) and a cousin (mom's mom's sister's daughter) who died in aushwitz. I wish I knew more about these people, all of them. I'd like to honor them, what they went through, what they meant to the larger world they were living in. Perhaps this little blog post can be a start to that.