Not very spectacular, I have adopted four names, but I would have liked to adopt more than a hundred. For that’s how long the list of names is of relatives who met their end somewhere in Europe, the majority of them in Auschwitz and Sobibor.
Born after the war, I experienced the lack of relatives as a fairly normal matter, for I didn’t know any better. But from the age of seventeen I was confronted by it. Various examinations (by the army, by employers) jolted me awake. Any sicknesses in the family? What could I answer? Most of them weren’t sick and had never reached the age of 50. Being Jewish was hereditary, but not lethal.
Now, at the age of 58, I’m confronted by it again. Pills for high blood pressure. The doctor asks if it’s ‘common in the family’. No idea, for I’m older now than most of my relatives ever were...