Elaine Rosenberg Miller


I try to imagine what my parents, Holocaust survivors, would have thought about the recent violent riots on American college campus, in public buildings and streets demanding the deaths of Zionists (Jews) and Israel (the only Jewish state).

My father was born in a small southeast Polish town. The main industries were lumber, crafts and trade. The town had a library and elementary school. Jewish boys who attended the school also went to cheder, girls to Bais Yachov). The town’s wooden synagogue had biblical scenes painted on its ceiling.

He faced down Nazis, Communists, and, in the US, organized crime.

He would not have been cowed by the keffiyeh and mask-wearing hordes and their bullhorns, drums and demands.

My mother, from an even smaller rural town in the Maramures region of northern Romania where the authorities didn’t care if Jewish births were registered or Jewish children went to school, would likewise have had no illusions.

“Vider” (again), she would have said, with recognition.

Children of Holocaust survivors are the only remaining witnesses to the post-war lives of the remnants of Jewish communities across Europe and the Mediterranean. We have much in common. Our parents often had no or few living relatives, spoke with lifelong accents and preferred to socialize with other survivors. Some of our family members had black numbers on their forearms. Something kept me from asking my aunts and uncles about the markings. Although I had never heard of Pandora at that age, fear of uncovering terrifying histories demanded silence.

Today is Yom HaShoah.

In Israel, they sound a siren and lives come to a standstill. Most people rise and bow their heads.

We don’t have that in America.

We should.

On Yom HaShoah:

-I remember my father’s paternal grandparents who were forced to march to the cemetery in Frampol, Poland and made to dig their own graves.

-I remember my mother’s parents who were deported to Auschwitz from the ghetto in Viseul de Sus, Romania and killed the same day.

-I remember aunts, uncles, their spouses, children, extended family who died in the gas chambers of Belzec and Treblinka.

I do it for future generations so that they will never have to say “Vider.”

About the Author
Elaine Rosenberg Miller writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous print publications and online sites, domestically and abroad, including JUDISCHE RUNDSCHAU, THE BANGALORE REVIEW, THE FORWARD, THE HUFFINGTON POST and THE JEWISH PRESS. Her books,, FISHING IN THE INTERCOASTAL AND OTHER SHORT STORIES, THE CHINESE JEW. THE TRUST and PALMBEACHTOWN are available on Amazon and Kindle.
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