I went to school today and had a special email waiting for me in my inbox, accompanied by this photograph, taken a few weeks ago.
From: Micha BD
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 11:14 PM
Subject: Train near Magdeburg
Dear Mr. Rozell,
I found your website after visiting with my father on Bergen Belsen, Hilersleben and Farsleben.
It was by searching the name of the photographer [George C. Gross] of the photos that I saw on the museum in Bergen Belsen.
My father was on that train! He was 12 years old with his mother who died and was buried in Hilersleben.
Since he was young and very ill, he doesn’t remember the whole event. He does remember that American soldiers released the train.
I’m looking for more details on that transport or any other information about this story.
Please, if you have any information, let me know.
Attached, you can find a photo of the gravestone of my grandmother on the field near the old hospital in Hillersleben and few more photos from our tour. I have more, if you interested.
I think Micha and his dad represent the 17th survivor to find the day of his/her liberation on our website.
When you find stuff like this waiting for you when you arrive at work, it sets the tone for the entire day and beyond. All of the petty stuff fades away pretty quickly. You soon realize that there is no need to react negatively when kids don’t act as you would like them to- THAT’s the stuff that DOESN’T matter.
I spent more quality time with my more difficult kids today than I usually do-and that was enriching for all of us. Don’t get me wrong, they sometimes (frequently, actually) need a “kick in the butt”, and they know it. But today was a day just to be with them and to listen to them.
It was this picture. The photograph is heart wrenching, the grief of a 12 year old boy who still mourns deeply for his mother, who passed away either shortly before or just after her liberation.
Soon, I’ll be putting Micha and his dad in touch with the liberators, George and Carrol, as well as the rest of the survivors. And I pose the silent question to myself once more-how did I, a high school teacher from a little town, get to witness the unfolding of the power of love that has so transcended time and space?
I don’t really get it, but I am so grateful for it. In the words of one survivor, there are no coincidences.