|United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Robert Waisman|
I am pretty sure that the smiling young man at the back right of the above photo is my father.It was taken at the OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants) children's home in Ecouis, France in 1945.
I found this picture with the assistance of Professor Ken Waltzer, who contacted me after reading my blog post about visiting the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, and getting my father's records from Buchenwald.
Prof. Waltzer helped me understand the records (which are in German) and even provided information about my father's time in Buchenwald based on his extensive research and on something that Arthur said my father told him: Just before the liberation the Germans were running through the camp looking for Jews. As they got to the bunk where my father was the Nazi soldier asked the first person he saw - someone political - whether there were Jews there. The prisoner replied that there were no more Jews left in the bunk and the soldier left. My father survived and was liberated by the Americans.
My father was one of eight children of Frimet (Weisel) and Avraham Fruchter. His parents and four of his siblings, including his twin sister, Charna, were killed at Auschwitz. His two oldest siblings as well as another older sister and he survived the war. None of them really spoke about the war or their experiences and none of them are here anymore to answer questions.Their history went to the grave with them.
Tomorrow morning, when the siren sounds throughout Israel, I will think of my father and his family, those who survived the Nazis and those who did not.
יהי זכרם ברוך.