<>Sixty-nine years ago in Frankfurt, my husband’s grandparents pleaded with Bernard, their youngest and dearest son, to flee to England with them. It was right after Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass” when thousands of Jewish homes and Jewish shops were ransacked throughout Germany. Jews were beaten to death and 30,000 were rounded up and taken to Concnetration Camps.
<>But Bernard, at 16, refused to go. Instead, he joined the Resistance and went to Holland where he couldn’t even know the language. After managing to do all he could to thrwart the Nazis over the next year, he was captured and sent to Auschwitz.
<>With communications being what they were back then, everyone in the family thought that Bernard was dead. And then, a year after the war was over, someone found Bernard in a hospital in Amsterdam. He was bedridden and in a full body cast. Besides broken bones he’d gotten from hard labor and beatings, he had been used as a guinea pig for medical experiments. Dr. Mengeles’had injected Bernard with parasites and removed his kidney without anesthesia. But in the hospital in Amsterdam, Bernard had figured out a system of mirrors placed exactly so that he could read a book that he could not yet hold. This enabled him to study engineering and fulfill his new dream of imigrating to Israel.
<>When an article was published about me in a Belgian Magazine, on an outside chance, I asked Bernard if he could translate it from Dutch to English. He’s eighty-six now. But with the aid of a dictionary and the pigeon Dutch, a street language that he’d learned in the year he’d spent with in the Resistance in Amsterdam when he was a teenager, he did a farily readable translation, unfazed by such words as “sublunary.”