Tel Aviv Diary May 4-8, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel -Aviv Diary - May 4-8, 2016 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 4, 2016

what has it been - 14 years since i started this? and i still make html mistakes all the time. I've been trying to move to an 'easier' site. but i can't figure it out. maybe one day...

Here's a holocaust story for you. My parents spending a few years escaping the Nazis in Danzig before Hitler invaded. They were after my father who was not only a Jew but had been imprisoned for communism in Lithuania. Once he was beaten so badly the police threw him in jail and my mother spent the night looking for him. When she found him his head has been so badly beated he never healed from the wounds. Anyway they deemed it essential to abort her pregnancies in order to survive. It worked but as my brother says, that makes us first generation. So here's my little poem:

when they tell you to remember
they mean there is a possibility
you might forget. But in me
there are brothers and sisters
who were never born
it has nothing to do
with memory

May 5, 2016

The siren today caught us in the hospital. We were just leaving and were trying to absorb the fact that I had just agreed to another operation. And then - just as we got off the escalator - it began. Everyone stops, stands still. Later my five year old says he heard the siren in kindergarten. And what did you do, I ask. He stood up, hands folded behind his back, and lowered his head. I wished at that moment that my grandmothers and my aunts and uncles could see him.

May 6, 2016

Haven't been able to get my head around the treatment the deputy chief of staff Yair Golan for warning us on Holocaust Day to look inward, to discuss our ability to uproot the seeds of intolerance, violence, self-destruction and moral deterioration.' it made perfect sense to me, but instead of examining ourselves, our prime minister asked for clarification, or 'watch out for your career' and Golan explained he didn't mean we were becoming like pre-war Germany. Of course that wasn't what he meant. But self-criticism is essential - even if we were beyond criticism. which we obviously aren't.

Panic Ensemble has been working on new songs, and it is beginning to look to me like they have a new disk coming. In all event i spent the day listening to these guys discussing every element of a song - up and down back and forth. but instead of just enjoying the music i kept thinking why aren't they the model for government - independent professionals working together for a single goal. we just don't have that.

May 7, 2016

Another day of rehearsals. I leave hours earlier just because i fear exhaustion but then i'm sorry because even a gorgeous day by the beach is not comparable to group work. We went to Cassis thinking it would be a rest, but the noise and the music ruined the gorgeous sea for me. Even though the food was fine. Somehow it is hard for me to taste good food when you can't even share the news with your neighbor.

i know i'm a little crazy about noise. yesterday my step-daughter looked up video of the last war and played one of her kids going for shelter when the sirens go off. I jumped and the kids laughed at me. But I don't think it is funny. She didn't think so either after she saw my reaction.

May 8, 2016

Relatives. A cousin asked me to tell about his family. My brother and I did some research a few years ago and know just a bit about my father's non-communicative survivors, so I know that my grandmother was killed in Stutthopf and almost all his brothers and sisters survived. About 32 cousins on my father's side were killed but I never heard stories about them and I never saw anyone mourning them so I don't feel the tragedy I felt with my mother's family. My cousin knew absolutely nothing, not even the name of his grandmother. Dvorah. We spent a few hours with them and I came home wrung out.

Stutthopf, by the way, was one of the places where they made soap.

Another detail. My parents escaped Danzig the days before Hitler entered. Their entry to Great Britain was on August 28, 1939. On September 2, 1939 the Jews of Danzig were sent to Stutthopf.

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