Dear Megillah Family,
Last week we honoured Holocaust Remembrance day; a day with such deep and soul
wrenching meaning that it is almost impossible to imagine the reality
surrounding that heinous "Final Solution" Hitler and his henchmen devised in
their sick and twisted minds.
Megillah family member Ella Gaffen had the privilege of knowing Bebke Trepman,
who wrote a personal testimony of her Holocaust experience and losses. Bebke was
a tremendously motivated and brave woman who decided to put her thoughts and
observations to paper. This piece is far longer than what we generally publish
in the Gantseh Megillah, but I firmly believe that what she gives testimony to
is well worth the time it takes to read and think about her experiences. You
will find her entire written testimony, totally in her own words
I trust you will be as touched as I was upon reading this elegant description of
what might easily be called the most inhumane tragedy the modern world has ever
known. We must all live by the words "never again."
Here is the introductory letter Ella sent to me along with Bebke's remembrances.
Some of you probably have not heard from me in a long time.. I am fine, working
and enjoying life in Israel ... however today in Israel, we marked Holocaust Day
- and it's been on my mind .. and many people are discussing the fact that maybe
"we overdo the Holocaust bit" - Restaurants and entertainment places close early
on the eve, TV is Holocaust documentaries, movies, personal stories etc..
however, I feel as long we there are enough people who want to make sure "we
never forget' then we really must make sure the next generation together with
our generation will "never forget" ... so I share with you my thoughts at 1:00
I cannot sleep - I watched the different TV channels - Holocaust movies, songs,
individual, incredible stories, horrific documentaries .. and I cannot sleep..
Now that I am a grandmother I realize and think 'I never had grandparents and
most of my friends never had grandparents, and if lucky a couple of cousins,
aunts and uncles.." and it finally dawns on me - the Holocaust is so much closer
to me than I ever thought. We were lucky indeed.. we were not in the Ghetto or
Camps... we were very lucky ... but we still lost so much..
I had the privilege of knowing Bebke Trepman for many years... she came from the
same "school" as my mother Dora Wasserman .... The School that says:
1) you do as much as you can in your lifetime and when you do you do with
2) never give up on culture even if you have only one cent left
3) This life is the real thing - this is not a rehearsal... and
4) there's no such thing as tired!
I worked with Bebke as a kindergarten teacher in the Solomon Schecter School and
I learned more in those couple of years than in all the years of university and
teacher's college.. she was a powerhouse - we made a terrific team... she
created and wrote songs in Hebrew, she convinced me to do the same in English ..
she wrote plays and poems - I did the same in English .. she played piano
straddling a chair so she could see the kids at the same time.. and I copied and
did the same... and like Dora, my mother - there is no such thing as tired. At
that time, I was the mother of my precious son Bradley .. Bubby Dora babysat so
I could "get dressed and go out" and together with Bebke they insisted that I go
out and teach, work with Bebke as a kindergarten team and that's how my
kindergarten teacher years started.
I last saw Bebke at my mother's funeral - she had walked all the way from Cote
St Luc to Paperman's - at least 10 km .. and that's how I remember her .. always
independent, active, full of life. and always there where she has to be .. she
never carried her monstrous past with her on "the outside"!
I was privileged to know her and her family , especially Charlotte who has
become a special friend - and we keep in touch even from far .. Charlotte who
together with her wonderful husband is carrying the torch of Jewish life,
passing on the importance of Jewishness, the importance of "never forget" and
the importance of Eretz Yisroel to her children and in her community.
Paul Trepman, Babey's husband, was a Yiddish teacher at the JPPS and he wrote
his memoirs which was published as a book, just as my friend Chana Broder's
mother had hers published. And now Charlotte sent me her mother's brief
testimony - which is now on my desktop and think as many people as possible
should read and share this personal memoir .. so much pain, grief, suffering and
incredible endurance and passion for life - so in spite of one's past one can
build a great future ... I pass it on... and hope you will read and pass on...
one person, one life, one wonderful magnificent example of a real human being
who outlived and outshone the monsters of her nightmares.
Our parents (who suffered those terrible war years, each their own hell, because
war is hell .. who were uprooted, on the run, hungry, fiercely fighting for the
right to live, protecting their children) .. our parents and all the other
survivors are the true heroes of this world and I am truly grateful for having
the privilege to be their legacy. I hope my children will be the bearers of
their torches... for this is our responsibility - never to forget.
See the attached memoir of
Babey (Bebke) Trepman... I have passed on the various comments I received to