b-4022

The numbers on my grandfather’s arm.

I set my alarm to 9:50 AM, leaving me 10 minutes to get ready to walk down to my busy street to stand for the Holocaust siren. Loud typical car honking fill my bedroom despite the fact that every car will stop moving soon for 2 minutes. I grab my flip flops and get downstairs while I stand in the sun in my black sweater – how could it be this hot so early? My thoughts begin to wander as a woman’s dog comes up to sniff me. We exchange smiles and I keep walking. The seconds go by and the minutes turn to 10 am as the siren sounds throughout the streets and car doors begin to open. Every single car halts and there is a person standing next to it, old, young, women, men. We all stand in silence and I look down our frozen busy street. As we stand there commemorating the 6 million Jews whose lives were taken away from them, I glance at all of our street signs written in Hebrew, our ancient language. I think of my grandparents and their families and tears begin to fall. The numbers “B-4022” are imprinted in my brain of the blue inky tattoo forced upon my grandfather’s arm. “This is our home” I keep hearing repeated in my mind. “No matter what you decide and where life takes you, this will always be your home.” 

The siren stops and people get back into their cars and begin driving again, life goes on and I look at how far we have come. I too, turn around and begin to walk back to my apartment, feeling loss, pain, and pride all at the same time. I’d like to think that maybe we have 6 million angels in heaven watching over us and helping. So many of those people wanted to defend themselves and their people but were not given the chance to, perhaps now they can. I don’t know who or where I would be without the history of the Holocaust or the country of Israel. To me, these two go hand in hand and as I arrive to my apartment door, I feel their souls with me.

My grandpa and I a few years ago before he passed away at the age of 95. He was and is my hero!

My grandpa and I a few years ago before he passed away at the age of 95. He was and is my hero!