Ancestry Tour finds holocaust survivor
It all happened in August 2016 during one of our Ancestry Tours. Ann and Alan came to Poland from NY.
We were traveling together from Frankfurt Oder and looking for places and cities related to their Polish ancestors.
We ended up in one Polish City. Nothing special you may say now. But it was a city with an incredible past. A city rich in terms of its Jewish history and Jewish heritage.
Perhaps it is one of many cities like this in Poland. I think that city is clearly ashamed of its history. What Astonished us? The collective amnesia and strong sense of the denial of the past.
After proper research we knew where we should go. And we found nothing at first. Yeah, it was not easy. But as always a bit of luck is needed. One person gave us an address of a man "who knows everything".
- Everything? -We asked again as we wanted to make sure.
- Yes, everything regarding the history of this town. Especially the oldest post-war times.-Added the man in a low voice then quickly disappeared. Just as he had appeared.
Not knowing what to expect we went to the address. A Lady greeted us there.
She asked all important questions. Who we are? Where did we came from?.
After a short conversation we were able to go inside.
Inside the house in one of the rooms on the couch there was Mr John. He greeted us in very(!!) unusual way.
He simply said Ich bin ein Jude. At the same time he revealed his sleeve showing the tattooed number of an Auschwitz prisoner!
We were blown away! After a moment of shock and small disbelief what we have just experienced we sat down and started talking. Tears of joy and sadness were constantly mixing but nonetheless we were enjoying these special moments. To the fullest extend.
Mr John showed us his memorabilia and secret boxes and other things from the past which he used in the camps. Yes, camps. We were more than surprised when we have learned that we are speaking with a person who survived not 1 but 2(two!) concentration camps! He was in both Auschwitz-Birkenau and Mauthausen
Wow! It was an amazing day it was! And it is hard to describe our whole conversation. Not in one article.
Well we all felt pumped-up after this meeting as how often you can meet such amazing people?
People with huge will to life which is still visible when they are 92 years old!
People strong enough that nothing in this world can break them. For us it was a pure honor to meet such person as Mr John!
Ann and Alan came back home to NY with warm memories and so many emotions in their hearts that is hard to describe.
I started to look completely differently on some aspects of my tourist work and started a new project with educational tours to Auschwitz.
I still keep contact with Mr John. We agreed to meet again very soon and record his memories.
Meanwhile pray for Mr John's health and stay tuned. Mr John a Holocaust survivor.