My Grandpa’s yahrzeit was Monday, August 28, 2023. He’s been gone for 14 years and to me, it’s still stings. As an autistic woman, I don’t take deaths very well, and I still don’t. I don’t “get over them”.
My grandpa was not a Holocaust survivor, I’ll get that out of the way now. I’ll tell you why I say that: He educated me about the Holocaust. Everything I knew, came from him and the books he gave me to read.
One of my dreams and aspirations was to work at a Holocaust Museum. He really supported me on this dream and now, I am a docent at a Holocaust Museum, which is wonderful to me. My mother had other words about it. She basically said that my grandpa should have never “indoctrinated me” about it. First off, he didn’t. It was my choice to learn about it. I was intrigued and I wanted to know everything about it. Anne Frank was given to me at age 9 and I don’t think he gave me a better gift than that. He told me that people would try to take her from me and I needed to protect her, just like she protected me.
My grandpa was Texan born and raised, but he was not a man who hated others, at least not that I saw. He always seemed to be taking me to different places and wanting me to be educated on why we were there. For an example, he took me to a synagogue when I was 10 years old. My grandpa, who was a very unreligious man, who believed he was a man “broken by God,” wanted me to be accepting of other people’s religious beliefs. We met the Rabbi, who I cannot for the life of me remember his name, asked me if I believed in God. I told him, that I didn’t know- I was 10 and now being 31, I still don’t know if I really believe in God?
My love for history came from my grandpa, and the Holocaust, I seemed to be really attached to. I think he knew that and indulged my learning for it. He had sooo many Holocaust books it was insane and a lot of those books, I have kept, but I am always buying new ones.
Grandpa was a special man, he could see things that other people couldn’t. For me, he wanted me to always be a decent person and he wanted me to always keep learning. He loved me, and I know he did. I hate it when people try to make him out something he wasn’t. He wasn’t hateful, he wasn’t that way, at least not that I saw. He was a man who worked hard, and wanted me to have a better understanding of people.
With the current state of book bans and libraries being torn apart, My grandpa would have not stood for this. He would have told me to bring the books and share them that they are trying to take away. At the Holocaust Museum, I do just that. I bring my diary collection, which includes Anne Frank. They are my rebellion. I will always make them my rebellion.
My grandmother hated that my grandpa would talk about such depressing things with me, but I wanted more of it. I wanted to learn. I wanted to understand.
I WANTED THIS. He didn’t make me. He told me, if it was too much, he wouldn’t bring it up again, but I was eager, and I wanted to know more.
As for my dream, I wanted to make sure that what happened to those kids, wouldn’t happen to anyone else and that’s still my goal. Jews or non-Jews alike, I was going to keep those kids memories, who perished during the Holocaust alive, and I have been doing that for the past 12 years and it won’t end now.
Though my grandpa has been dead for the past 14 years, he taught me that I should always be a good woman, no matter what the cost of it. If I have to die for someone, or in someone’s place, I better do it.
“Your heart is not measured by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others.”