Wars – so futile – my family’s ‘blood’*

WHEN … HOW … IF ONLY …

I am almost lost for words so I’m borrowing the Jimi Hendrix quote …

“WHEN THE POWER OF LOVE OVERCOMES THE LOVE OF POWER, THE WORLD WILL KNOW PEACE”.

I’ve wanted to write about my feelings over this war. I wanted to write something worthwhile, something moving, poetic perhaps but I feel nothing I can say can do enough justice to this situation and the terrible suffering of the Ukraine people. I’ve been so lost for words that all I can do is to write what is in my heart …

This Russia – Ukraine war … any war … is futile. It’s awful, appalling and totally heartbreaking. I watch the news on television a couple of times a day; I hear the news on the radio – every hour and it just gets worse and worse; it gets more and more terrifying and horrific and I fear for the innocent and brave Ukraine people. However, I’m trying to take a break from the news today because it’s beginning to break me but I feel guilty at not keeping up with the latest developments knowing that the situation is likely to get worse. I feel helpless to do anything other than to send money which I have done. All war is brutal and barbaric.

The Second World War broke out on my birth date in September 1939. I wasn’t born then but so many of my family members were. My birth religion is Jewish; my grandparents and the generations before them lived in Poland, Lithuania, Russia and Hungary. They were caught up in the war when Adolf Hitler invaded and began to send the Jews to Auschwitz during the Holocaust. All Jews were made to wear armbands with their religious sign of The Star of David on them. This included my family. This is their story …

The Jewish people were made to wear this badge on their armbands. It’s the Star of David (their religious symbol). This was so they could be easily recognised and made targets of.

Many of my family members died in the horrific and inhumane internment camps in Auschwitz. There are chunks of my family tree that are missing. We’ll never know how our family died other than to say it would have been an atrocious and pitiless ending of their totally innocent lives. It hurts me to think about it and yet somehow, it helps to ‘talk’ here. I should say, it’s definitely not my aim to upset of offend anyone reading this.

One of my grandmothers (and my grandfather) was living in London with my mother and her sister (my aunt). My grandmother chose to remain in London, running a terminus cafΓ© for the bus drivers to enable to get people around. Fortunately, their house, nearby, wasn’t bombed as so much of London was. The school over the road was hit but was, at the time, empty of children, thank the Lord. My Mother was eight-years-old and got evacuated to the country for safety. She wasn’t happy and missed being with her mother and my aunt who stayed together in London. My aunt stayed home being only a baby at the time. My Mum had been sent to stay with an elderly couple with no children. They treated her badly because they’d been forced to take a child off the trains but didn’t want to. My Mother had many miserable years there. She was forced to go to a church which practised a different religion to her own.

When my Mum was alive (up until six years ago), she talked of those times. She talked of bomb shelters in the garden; of hiding in basements, (a painful parallel with the besieged Ukrainians now). She talked of rationing when a banana was like Christmas come early. However, she never talked of our missing ‘blood.’*

When I lost my Mum in 2016, my sisters and I decided that I would take all the family photos to sort through them to share them with my sisters. These photos have been sitting up in the spare room ever since. There must be a hundred, at least – I can’t bear the thought of going through them knowing that our missing relatives will be painfully and obviously absent. My sisters are very understanding and supportive which is a blessing. I will do it one day … I owe it to them … I will … when I’m ready …

*’blood’ refers to the blood of our family, our past, our history, our ancestors.

8 thoughts on “Wars – so futile – my family’s ‘blood’*

  1. We spoke of this on my blog, so I won’t add anything other than to say you should go through those photographs. Sort them out, make copies for your sisters. Identify who they are – that way you will keep their memories alive, make them real for those who never met them.

    1. Thank you, Mick. Yes, you are right and perhaps, having written this post (and getting a lot off my chest) and on reading your comment, I’ll make a start on them. There are easily over 100 (if not several hundred) so if I start this week, it’ll still take some weeks or months to go through them all. I know my sisters will appreciate it and on thinking about it, although they are very understanding about my hesitancy, it’s only fair on them. I’m not sure about the younger generations these days (and whether they want old black and white photos) but I’ll ask my son and daughter particularly as my son has recently been trying to piece the existing members of our family tree together. Mind you, he seems to have lost interest in it lately. I’m going to ask him if I can carry on where he left off. Thanks so much for your encouragement, Mick. Ellie x

      1. If your son’s anything like me, he’ll regain interest in about thirty years time. I helped my dad with some of our family tree when I was in my twenties, but wasn’t that interested. It was only in the last few years I did become interested, partly because I was so conscious of the passing of time and that there was a lot to put in order to pass on to my own children and grandchildren.

  2. War do no good to the people!
    I feel sad seeing all the people fleeing from their home. It’s war between 2 countries, but people are losing everything they have. Still there’s no peace and the result is absolutely nothing.

    1. I totally agree with you. There are always people who want more power than they already have. It’s so wrong and it’s so terribly sad when you see all the people in these places losing their lives, livelihoods and homes. It’s tragic and shouldn’t be still happening in this day and age. Do these men never learn from the past? When will these power-crazed people come to their senses? I do wonder whether they are actually sane but sadly, I think they know exactly what they are doing. Ellie

  3. Powerful, full of history, thank you for sharing this, brought tears this morning as I read these both harrowing and life-giving moments , what an experience and still believe in love – blessings to you Ellie πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸŒΉ hugs to you

    1. Thank you for such a kind comment, Krissy. My Mum, when she was alive, used to share with us lots of family history and her experiences. It’s not until you lose a parent that you realise there are so many more things you wished you’d asked or talked about. Sadly, it’s too late now. I will always treasure every moment I spent talking to my Mum. I wasn’t able to see her for several years before she left us because of disability access problems for me. Mum’s house was up a very steep flight of stairs and I was unable to get my wheelchair up the stairs. And Mum was too poorly to leave the house for many years. Perhaps, I’ll write a post about how I stayed in touch with my Mum during those years. She was a blessing to me and I miss her very much as I know you do with your mom. Love and light to you, Krissy xx ❀ ❀ ❀

      1. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ˜Š What you have endured and yet you are here with such resilience thank you. I feel these words very deeply… so many things I wanted to say but I didn’t….goodness love, you have gone through the thickets and yet your love for your mom outweighs everything…Yes indeed I miss hearing my mom’s voice, as we both -know all to well what that void feels like, thank you for sharing this with me…. πŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’œπŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸŒΉ

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