Wow, is all I can say. This show really is getting better with each episode. I did however tell Hubby last night I wanted to do genealogy this way, find a new place name, hop on a jet plane and research with people who already seem to have my records pulled when I get there. How cool would that be? I mean seriously? How cool?
From someone who is a North American born and bred for many many generations, heck I am a seventh generation Tennessean, it’s hard to imagine having a great grandmother who died in the Holocaust and never having met her. My great grandmother lived about 40 minutes away and we went and saw her every weekend until she died when I was 12. I adored her. Like me, she was a native Tennessean who knew her roots back many generations. Her great grandfather, founded the town of Shelbyville , TN. I grew up around cousins and second cousins and third cousins and well, I had to go back to a sixth cousin before I found someone in my area that I wasn’t related to so I could get married. LOL
But Lisa Kudrow’s WDYTYA episode was the most moving so far. Imagine an entire town of Jews being brutally right in front of the rest of the towns people and there was nothing the people who’d known them all their lives could do to help. All they could do was watch and then create a memorial later. How incredibly touching was that memorial that a town full of Christian people would take the time to memorialize their Jewish friends and neighbors who’d been murdered that day. It was a small tribute, but it told of a time when at least not everyone had gone mad.
Like most genealogists, I am also a romanticist and I was glad this story had a happy ending. It was good to see the two sides of the family reunited across the ocean. It was good to see the two cousins be able to reach out and touch each other and share photos and family stories and heal the hurt that was done that day so long ago. It’s hard to believe that 60 years have passed. It makes you wonder how different our world would be if those millions of minds had lived. What great discoveries would have been found? What medicines? What cures for diseases?
One thing researching our ancestors does is makes us aware of who they were. It also makes us aware of who they could have been. If they’d lived longer, made a different choice, lived in a different time, had different parents. For Lisa’s great grandmother, her family emigrated but for some reason she stayed behind. Maybe she felt she was too old. Maybe she didn’t want to leave her homeland. We’ll never know her reasons. Had she left, her story would have been very different. Had her family stayed, Lisa’s would have been very different. We all make choices in life. Sometimes the most benign choices are the ones that affect us most greatly. Unfortunately it’s only in hindsight that we get to see how those choices affect us at all.
My great thanks to Lisa Kudrow and her family for sharing their story along with Emmitt Smith who shared his last week.