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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


This post was guest blogged by Dan Tanner of dan-ruth-tanner.com

OK, I’m white and I was born in the USA. What, if anything, can I possibly have in common with the wonderful people of Dominica, among whom we plan to live in our retirement? Well, like them, my forebears were enslaved and murdered. Yet still the spirit of those who endured or survived remained unbowed and unbroken. And the generation of their children, of which I am among the first, achieved and thrived.

This was brought to my mind again yesterday, when I received an amazing e-mail from a distant relative whom I have never even met. She had found me on the Web though the Jewish Generations Web site. Related to me on my mother’s side, she had researched back to a common ancestor born in 1825 and she sent me copies of a 14-page fax listing his descendants with names, birth place and date, death place and date, and marriage information dating all the way to the present.

I had known that nearly all of my relatives on my father’s side who did not escape the Holocaust other than two girls died. I don’t know most of their names or even for certain how many; I just know it was many – nearly all. Now I know the names of three more murder victims of the nazis on my mother’s side. (Her family escaped Europe a bit earlier.)

Many of the Holocaust victims were simply killed. Many more were enslaved and worked to death while they starved.

But arriving in America at the age of 15, my father became an engineer and inventor. I went to college and became a physicist. Our daughter has attained a master’s degree.

Along the way, I lost any religious belief. (Many who did and many who did not still ask how God could permit the Holocaust.) But that does not matter to those who did the hating and enslaving and murdering, because they regarded my people as a race. Even a Jewish girl who had converted to Catholicism before the Nazi party existed, and had become a nun, was hunted down by the Nazi murderers and killed.

My wife is not of Jewish origin, but under the nazi racial laws, our daughter is a member of the Jewish race, and would have been condemned to die. I feel like Barak Obama, he is called black because one parent is black; never mind that the other is white. In my case, our daughter is considered “racially” Jewish because one parent is so considered, never mind that the other is not. It is, of course, insanity.

Viewing the Bible as history, it is factual that the Jews were held in bondage more than once. But we remained unbowed, unbroken, and free in spirit. Like the people – all the people – of the beautiful land called Dominica.

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