|Early morning on September 3rd Stefan took me to the train station
in Melle. Every day at their home had been a blessing: even got to enjoy
delicious German home made bakery at a birthday party of a neighbor held
under my hosts' porch roof, and a tour of the Melle flower festival exhibiting
all sorts of floral figurines and themes. Now it was time to leave for
France, empowered and safeguarded with the congregation’s prayers. I said
my good-byes, taking with me new wonderful memories and my camera full
with pictures helping me not to forget.
The shuttle bus took me to the airport, and when I arrived at the Charles
de Gaulle airport another shuttle bus, standing directly in front of the
exit/entrance of the Lufthansa terminal, took me straight to the front
door of the building in which my friend Stéphane lives. Her daughter
Raphaelle was waiting for me, recognizing me immediately.
This also was prepared by the Lord in advance. For when I was e-mailing
with Stéphane she told me that her daughter was in Israel just then
and gave me a phone # by which I could reach her. One day the Lord suddenly
prompted me right urgently to call Raphaelle. I did so immediately and
asked where she was. “In Beer-Sheva, at the Canyon,” she told me. What
an amazing thrill! I went at once to meet her.
Now we hugged and carried my luggage of “bricks” up to their apartment,
then went for a stroll through Montparnasse, the Parisien district where
Raphaelle and her mother live, until Stéphane would come home from
work. It was grey, cool and drizzly. Raphaelle claimed that this was typical
Parisien weather… “always,” she said.
But the next day the sun shone from a blue sky with white puffs of clouds,
warming the air, so that people filled up the sidewalk cafés enjoying
the summer weather. And it stayed that way all the way through the day
of my departure.
Stéphane arranged for my transportation to Drancy by calling
the “right-hand man” of Serge Klarsfeld. Following her instructions I took
the Metro to make it to the place of meeting which I actually found. Then
we drove to the Memorial in Drancy for the ceremony. I was full of expectation.
The Lord’s timing… oh, now it would happen! I was like a little child expecting
Only about a dozen people showed up, mainly older folks, and because
I had come all the way from Israel I was called upon first. I had so well
prepared, knew exactly what I would say, had it all written down in proper
order. But as I stood there with the eyes of survivors fixed on me, to
honor my mother’s father whom I could not remember because I had been too
little, I began to tremble and my eyes filled with tears.
All the years of experience with talking in the presence of many people
went up like smoke in the awful memory of the holocaust. I stammered, I
babbled, I mixed up the pages, and finally could not read anything through
the veil of my tears. It felt as though thousands of eyes were fixed on
me like witnesses, the eyes of my family diminished to a fragile “succah,”
just like the eyes of that dozen people present with me. It felt as though
I was the last link in this long line of family to carry the torch, both
of memory as well as of restoration. It felt as though these eyes were
pleading, “don’t let us down!”
”I won’t! I won’t!” I cried out in my spirit, stuttering about the family’s
book of generations. I was so very small, such a tiny link, yet --- “The
eyes of the L-RD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show His
might on behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward Him,”8
the Holy Spirit breathed into me. Right! It did not depend on me but on
the Lord! He would do it!
But no one came with the book, no one knew of the book, and those twelve
advised that I should not get my hopes up. Klarsfeld himself was so very
negative I suffered a severe Asthma attack, feeling desolate. But I quickly
comforted myself in the Lord, as David had done at Ziklak.
However, there was one kind old gentleman, a survivor of camp de Gurs
who, though he had not known my grandfather, personally knew the director
of the “Amicale de Gurs” whom I had written earlier, and had his phone
number. Back at Stéphane’s I called Monsieur Laharie. He was very
kind and advised me which of the Archives I should try first, and gave
me name and phone # of the Archive and the archivist.