Elke: My story
I grew up in Germany with a German Catholic Mother in a very Catholic small town and was taught by nuns.
I tried super hard to be a perfect little Bavarian girl, but my Dad was a Jewish concentration camp survivor, originally born in Poland. Nobody talked about this, but everybody knew it. People liked him, because he was a likeable guy, warm, genuine and smart. He was a great businessman. He was also horrifically traumatized. At the age of 15 he lost everything. He was separated from his parents and 5 siblings, he was in the worst concentration camps for the next 5 years, he lost his wealth, which was substantial, and he was unable to find any of his family after the war. He also lost his chance for an education. He came from a highly educated family. Two of his brothers were rabbis’. Very educated wealthy families have rabbis in their family, they are the influential people in town. Those two brothers were shot first by the Nazis. One of the rules in genocide is to do away with the influential people first.
Interestingly enough, my dad was also somebody not to be messed with. He built and commanded a deli with many staff and a production team. But yes, his vulnerability was palpable. He was tortured, stripped of everything – there isn’t one photo, one item of childhood memories. What that meant for me is that there were no grandparents, uncles or aunts from his side for me. I imagined what they could have possibly been like, but they weren’t able to materialize in my world. Not until I wrote my book for the German publisher and then “Identity” -from Holocaust to Home – which was published in North America in 2021 – was I able to give my ancestors form, a voice, a life. That book became an Amazon bestseller and has received some awards – my ancestors must be relieved wherever they are resting.
In the Fall of 2016 I got a letter from a German editor to let me know that the publisher gave immediate approval to publish this book and they were very enthusiastic to get my story published for the German audience. The book publishing process with the publisher was exemplary. I enjoyed writing for the German audience - I certainly don’t assign blame to a race or a religion. Many Germans helped my father after the war. And he was above prejudice, he was the one who taught me to differentiate between good and evil people not between races, or religions. That motto has served us very well as a family.
After Germany I took my book to North America. My book “Identity – from Holocaust to Home” was released on Holocaust Remembrance day 2021 and has received some awards since. You can find out all about it by visiting my website www.elkebabicki.com and buy it easily on Amazon. I hope you’ll come away with more ways to thrive whenever the going gets tough. And I hope it gets you to laugh and to cry.