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Sunday, February 27, 2011

By saving a young couple....

By saving a young couple…..

My parents were 17 when the Second World War broke out in all its horror. They knew each other well, but when their parents decided to hide from the Germans, their host insisted the young couple get married before arriving. And so, on a gray morning in January 1943, they married in a quick ceremony. With pure luck and thanks to one Christian family they survived the German atrocities, only to find out that hundreds in their immediate family got slaughtered by the Germans.

With effort and pain they restarted their life in 1945. During the years thereafter five children were born, of which I am the last. Some of the children went to live in Israel. I myself went to Israel in 1973 and knew from the first moment here that this is the country where I will live my life.

During my military service I met a soldier girl and we married two years later. We were blessed with three children. In the meanwhile, back in Holland, my family grew: all five children got married and my parents became grandparents of 13 grandchildren. But it did not stop there: the grandchildren grew up and found partners, so great-grandchildren were added to my parents' family. This week their 17th great-grandchild was born. Number 17 is called Yoav, named after one of the officers of King David and it means: God is Father.

Yoav is the son of our eldest daughter and her husband and he made me a grandfather. I will need some time to get used to this title, this honorary title. His brand-new grandma will also need time to get used to this, but in the meanwhile our cheek muscles ache, as we cannot stop smiling.

My parents, married 68 years, live in Holland. The two of them survived the Holocaust and built a new life and family. With 5 children and their partners, 13 grandchildren and their partners and 17 great-grandchildren, a family-party has 55 participants. But not for long, as great-grandchild #18 is on its way and will join the gang in about two months.

The Snelle family from Sevenum, Holland joined the small minority of Dutch people during the Second World War and resisted the Germans. They hid my parents (among many, many others) which allowed my parents to survive the German killing machine. Which allowed me to be born, and allowed our children to be born. Which allowed my grandson to be born.

The Talmud says: "Saving one life is as saving a whole world.

And so it is.