>Sundown marks the start of the Jewish New Year. Tomorrow, Husband and I will join his parents, his brother and his wife, his brother's wife's parents, and my mother-in-law's friend and her son (whew!) for a Rosh Hashanah celebration. Meaning: we will stuff our faces. Husband's parents and brother, Husband, and I are not at all religious, but believe strongly in keeping our culture alive. (Hence tonight Husband and I are not doing anything special because he doesn't want to battle hours worth of traffic to join the mispucha in New Jersey.)

When I listed the guests for Saturday's feast, it initially seemed like a long and random list. Then I thought about all the people that I celebrated Jewish holidays with when I grew up; the 11 people I will dine with tomorrow is an intimate party in comparison. In addition to my parents, both sets of grandparents, my sister, my mom's sister, and whoever my mom's sister happened to be dating/married to at the time, there were the Holocaust survivors that my grandparents befriended either when they lived in Displaced Persons camps (i.e. - refugee camps) or when they arrived in the United States in 1950 to start new lives.

One of their closest family friends moved to Canada after the war. The daughter in the family is my dad's age. She sent me a nice email message wishing me shana tova (happy New Year), and I happened to be in the middle of researching Displaced Persons camps for a story I am writing, so I followed up with some questions. She was kind enough to outline the histories between our families for me:

From 1949 to Feb.23,1950 looks like they were in IRO CAMP 231 in STEYR, AUSTRIA.
From 1950 to Feb.1951 ...IRO CAMP EBELSBERG,LINZ ,AUSTRIA.
Feb.27,1951 were in CAMP ASTEN, AUSTRIA.
These places were written on ID CARD ...INTERNATIONAL REFUGEE ORGANIZATION,AUSTRIA

We arrived in Canada in Dec.1951...but I think your grandparents arrived in US earlier. My sister was born in Feb.1951 & Marusha* had sent a package gift for the baby...from U.S....I think. Probably Steyr & Ebelsberg were camps where families met & kept in touch for almost 50 years.

I remember Herman** was our friend in the camp....then visiting us in Montreal in the early 1950's. I was a penpal during schooldays & so we've been close friends forever....actually more like family!

I'm sorry that I never wrote anything down when my parents told their stories...now it's too late.

Once I stopped bawling, I realized that a lot of history may have been lost, but it is not really too late. We are still here. We are still telling our stories as best we can. We will not be quiet.

No matter where you are or what your religion is (as long as you are not trying to force me into it), I wish everyone a safe, healthy, and happy Jewish New Year.

*My bubbe
**My dad

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