“Every Person Has a Name”

I don’t remember the woman’s name. Only that she came to each Weight Watchers meeting in a Chanel-styled suit and complained she couldn’t lose an ounce. I, on the other hand, was  finally fitting into the low-slung, wide-legged Levis that were the signature of the early 1970s. I commented to the leader during our shared drive home one night about Chanel Lady’s week-in, week-out litany.

There was a long pause.

She asked me if I had noticed the blue wrist tattoo that, on the rarest occasions, chanced below the tailored cuffs. Then came the backstory: Bergen-Belsen…family lost…extreme starvation. Oh, the judgments we make out of ignorance.

I would meet several survivors in the years following, working at Rose Medical Center. The hospital had been created immediately post-WWII so Jewish physicians returning from the military could practice. Only one other Denver hospital would admit them to its medical staff, at the time. Some 40 years later, my daughter would enter the world there. As would her husband-to-be.

Today is National Holocaust Awareness Day. http://www.ushmm.org/remembrance/dor/ This year’s theme is “Every Person Has a Name.”

And, as I’ve learned, a story.

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Dr. Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

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One Response to ““Every Person Has a Name””

  1. Try to catch “Swimming in Auschwitz” on PBS or perhaps it was the History Channel. Fascinating interviews with women who survived that camp (and others). All with their own stories well worth knowing.

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