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The World is Built on Hesed

17 0 31

Last August, my husband and I found ourselves in the middle of a field of wheat at the end of a small unpaved road, looking for the Jewish cemetery of Cramberg, Germany, where we hoped to find the grave of my great-grandfather who had died in 1927.

Cramberg is a small village on a plain, not far from the watchful eye of the Schloss Schaumburg, a late 18th century, neo-Gothic fortress, and where my late father, Luther Nashman, was born in 1930. My father, the only child of an only child, knew little about his forbears, and had no desire to return to Germany. By the time I became interested in learning more about my family, both of my father’s parents had passed away. I knew that my grandfather had fought for Germany in World War I and been awarded an Iron Cross Second Class (a source of considerable cognitive dissonance for a child growing up in the US in the 1960s), and that my father’s grandmother, Sophie Nachmann (for whom I am named) died in the Holocaust. That was all.

If one has a relative who perished in the Holocaust, the path to learning about one’s family is through Yad Vashem’s witness pages, and that is how I came to find Jason Hallgarten, a (very) distant relative in Israel who was able to fill in the gaps and give me an entire genealogical tree of my father’s family. Tragically, my father and his parents were the only branch of his family to have survived the Shoah. However, through Jason and a closer relation, Avraham Frank, z”l, I was put in touch with a group of concerned German citizens, the Gesellschaft für Christlich-Jüdische........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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