Saturday, December 02, 2006
The 'new' cousin
I dragged L along with me to meet the 'Cousin'. We took the train out of Berlin's impressive new central station, a double-decker train (how come we don't have those?) and arrived in the town with the 'Cousin' (P). L saw him first, a very tall man holding a large sheet of paper – the family tree. P had moved back to the town where many of my ancestors lived after the reunification of Germany. I was expecting a small village, but it was a large town, surrounded by water and absolutely beautiful; hardly any war damage. P took us on a driving tour, an old house where the family had lived, the place where the synagogue had been; a plaque marking the spot, a street (kinda outside the town) named after a great great uncle. A lovely lunch at the Schloss, an almost Disney affair, a better Apfelstrudel, lots of talking, trying to work out who was who. Names that previously were just anonymous words on paper and dates that I hadn't thought much about were brought to life, I want to know more, who were these people and what were their lives really like? And P's side of the family only partly Jewish, had stayed throughout the war, lost jobs and university places, kept their heads down and been 'OK'. It was a lovely day, a bit of a whirlwind, in my head a constant background of questions and emotions.
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