What made the story particularly touching was that his father was born in Suwalki, the town my great-grandfather fled at the end of the Nineteenth Century to find a better life for his wife and young sons, my grandmother’s older brothers.
My great-grandfather, born Fajwel Kronberg, was one of two brothers. As the second son, he would have been required to serve in the Czarist army for a term of several decades. As my great Aunt Ruth explained, a son could escape military service only if he had no brothers, so her father took the name Friedman, posing as the only son of another family.
He and his brother saved up enough money until both could leave the Russian Empire, the older going to Australia and the younger making his way to Cincinnati. Because of that choice, my grandmother was born to freedom and I would have a number of great uncles and one amazing Great Aunt, the aforementioned Aunt Ruth, whose very life was a gift to those who knew her.
And today, let me thank Orin Kerr for helping remind me just how fortunate I am. And to my great-grandfather, whom I never knew, for making the choice that he did.
So, as a tribute to those who perished in the Holocaust, read Kerr’s post. As you learn what he–and so many others lost–you might see how truly fortunate those of us are to have or have had aunts and uncles, great and just good.