They Came to Remember


Remembering Crystal Night


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Remembering Crystal Night

By Sidney S. Fink

They came. They came from far and wide as it is said. They came they came in remembrance. To Berlin. It was September of 2007.

Some came with their children and their children's children and their children. They had been babies, or infants back then. For some then it was a homecoming and for others an atonement for their families misgivings and misjudgments back then. Now for whatever their reason, or need they came in remembrance, remembrance of that time and to be together as Berlin. To the Rykesstrasse and the largest synagogue now in Berlin. The original one and the others in Germany and Austria had been set ablaze by "them" on Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, November, 9-10, 1938 after a speech by Joseph Goebbels.

It was now Friday the 22nd, 2OO7.

The synagogue had a 1,299 person capacity and was quickly filled by the people following behind the rabbis and behind Rabbi Chaim Roswaski bringing a Torah to be installed in the ark. There were many standing attendees. Rabbi Roswaski in speaking to those now present called the reconstruction a miracle. It had cost more than 4.5m euros ($6 million) and it was the start of a current Jewish Culture Festival in Berlin.

There were many tales that could have been told by those present and that evening at the celebration dinner tables many people were telling stories. Yet, only a few were old enough to have been in Germany and Austria in those years now long ago history. Would some names from the years that Schindler made his list be honored somehow on the walls of this new edifice?

Perhaps only time will tell.

Age, has no race, color, or religion---only a hope for a tomorrow. As time passes the face changes to another form, the hair turns to gray, then white and then thins We have aged. Time has passed and we are not what we once were and soon we return to the earth.

Chapter two.

What was yesterday is not today. What is today is not tomorrow, or the day after.

He came with his children and theirs. His parents had wed there and he had been named thereWolfgang Kohn. Now he was William Cosgrove. He had just recently told them about their family history. He had not told them anything before then and he truly did not understand why he had behaved in this fashion, but he knew that he had not much time left to him and his beloved wife had already preceded him. And so he told them and they all felt it was a proper trip to make to the former family home areaBerlin. Their father, his siblings and parents, had left as a family in 1938 on a supposed family business trip and vacation by the business firm by which he was then employed and the recommendation of a friend in Heidelberg, a prominent university professor and a fellow officer in the Great War. Both had won Iron Crosses for their acts of bravery and heroism for the Fatherland.

He wore the ribbons openly on his suit and the border guards seeing them said nothing and let the family leave without a word, or looking at their passports which were faked anyway, just in case of a problem.They were all blue eyed blonds anyway.

From there family and business contacts got them in to see the American Embassy, who provided them with the necessary means to come to the United States. They then boarded a ship in France, the Normandie, which carried then to New York City.

While in Switzerland the father made business arrangements for himself in the music box field. The Swiss were to make and send pieces containing classis and the then popular movie and Broadway show tunes to then for insertion into various small venues for sale to numerous dealers of the devices in the United States and elsewhere. The family was quick in their learning of English. The children did well in their schooling.

Wolfgang, with his parents approval, became William and he began college at New York University, but then the war came and by 1942 he was drafted into the army. When his background and knowledge of German became known he was sent to officer's training school and then to Europe, first to England to translate the German data that was being intercepted and then he was sent on June 6th, 1944, D Day, to France...

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from the January 2008 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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