Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers and history

A Father's day thought: my father was born in Prague; as a teenager he got out ahead of the war on a Kindertransport to Britain where he took a very English name. He served with the Jewish Brigade and after the war made his way to Chicago, where he attended UC, worked as a machinist and later an executive with a grocery distributor. The rest of his family were missing and presumably murdered by Nazis -- he never wanted to talk about them. He was never able to kick the smoking habit that everyone had from those times, and he eventually succumbed to heart disease.

Which is too bad, since he would have made a great grandfather. For me it's kind of amusing and amazing to see some of his traits reflected in me and in my kids. I consider them (and myself I suppose) sparks of life rescued from the relentless jaws of history. I miss the guy, and miss having the chance to understand how or if he missed his own parents, who he had to leave behind.


David said...

Was your father a Republican or a conservative?

mtraven said...

Not particularly, although in his later years he used to wax nostalgic for the British Empire (only half-seriously I think). If you were educated and Jewish in that era, you were a Democrat (if not a socialist), I don't think there was any other option.

Anonymous said...

Nice to read about your dad, I like the idea of "sparks of life rescued from the jaws of history."

-Sabrina, convalescing.