Newspaper Archive of
Heritage Florida Jewish News
Fern Park , Florida
Lyft
August 23, 2013     Heritage Florida Jewish News
PAGE 14     (14 of 72 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
 
PAGE 14     (14 of 72 available)        PREVIOUS     NEXT      Full Size Image
August 23, 2013
 

Newspaper Archive of Heritage Florida Jewish News produced by SmallTownPapers, Inc.
Website © 2019. All content copyrighted. Copyright Information.     Terms Of Use.     Request Content Removal.




PAGE 14A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, AUGUST 23, 2013 courtesy Chana Staiman From the second-floor window frame, by the red flowers, Chana Staiman's father, Harry, and his brother Otto sometimes dangled their feet. By Hillel Kuttler BALTIMORE (JTA)--As a girl in Seattle, Anne Bush evinced little interest in the Holocaust, even though her father, Harry, was a survivor whose mother, sister and brother-in-law had been. murdered. But as a mother.in Balti- more, by then known as Chana Staiman, she gradually was drawn to the period,~spurred in part by her elder son, Ari, who as a boy read incessantly on the Holocaust--to the extent, Staiman said, that she considered "taking him to see someone" for counseling. By then, Harry Bush had already died, and Staiman came to regret not having engaged him in conversations about the Holocaust or his prewar youth. So in late July, to cel- ebrate their 30th Wedding anniversary, Staiman and her husband, Jeremy, traveled to Prague from their home in Israel. She wanted to take in the city that had shaped the character of her father, who grew up in the Czech capital as Jindrich Busch. The Staimans set out from Belt Shemesh, where they have lived since 2011 not knowing what they would find. By the end of their five days in Prague, Staiman had located many sites associ- ated with her father's youth, including the second-floor window frame from which~ the young Jindrich and his brother Otto dangled their feet after being sent to their room as punishment. The Staimans also visited Terezin, the fortress turned concentra- tion camp 40 miles north of Prague where Chana's father was incarcerated. The Nazis later infamously duped the International Red Cross into deeming the camp a model Jewish settlement. And they saw the fulcrum for the two portions of Bush's European life: the assembly point from where he was de- ported and his idyllic upbring- ing in Prague ended. To find these places, she relied on strangers in Prague and on a cousin back in Seattle with whom she hadn, t been in touch for decades. -Staiman reached Prague familiar with the basic facts of her father s Holocaust-era life: his arrest in a movie theater for not wearing the required Star of David;his being sent to Terezin at age 21; perform- ing forced labor in the nearby Usti nad Labem region and at the Kladno coal mine; and his transport to the Auschwitz - and Buchenwald concentra- tion camps. Late in the war, he sur- vived an Allied bombing of a transport train and a German death march. In the latter, the prisoners were abandoned by fleeing guards, so he found shelter in a barn in Magde- burg, Germany, where he was liberated by Russian troops in 1945. Staiman knew of the street narfie of the Prague apart- ment and its location in a then;Jewish area, but not the address. Her cousin, Andrea Harrison, who was raised in the city before moving to the United States in 1967, had informed her before the trip that the apartment was in the city's 7th District on a busy street called Obrancu Miru, across from a pharmacy and down the block from a church. Over the years, the street had been renamed Milady Horakove and reassigned to the 10th District. The owner of a kosher restaurant in Prague where the Staimans dined told them of the district's change, which helped in locating the correct street. The Staimans went to the building, No. 965, in the Letna neighborhood. An old woman would admit them to the foyer only briefly, so the couple, made do with taking photographs of the exterior. The Staimans then went to see a plaque that me- morialized the Jews rounded up there. "It was very sobering to be in the place where the family was brought before being sent to Terezin," Jeremy Staiman emailed the couple's adult sons in Israel. "We looked up and down the street, and tried to picture what had happened there." The next day, they took a taxi to see Terezin. With them was Pavel Stransky, 92, a tour guide who had been sent there on the very same transport, on Dec. 4, 1941, that included Harry Bush. Harry's sister Margareta and her husband, Leopold Raber, would be deported from Ter- ezin to the Treblinka extermi- nation camp, and Harry and his mother Elsato Auschwitz. The Staimans' stay in Prague also included some nice times. They attended services at the 13th-century Altneuschui and other his- toric synagogues, walked across the bridges spanning the Vltava River, toured the Prague Castle and strolled in the Wallenstein Gardens. No matter where they went, Staiman said, she felt her fa- courtesy Chana Staiman Chana Staiman visiting the building in Prague w[~ere her late father, Harry, was raised. ther's spirit. He'd always felt warmly toward the city, and even returned for a visit late in life. Prague helped shape his jovial, outgoing personality, which she believed accounted for his success as a scrap- metal dealer. Such ponderings beat thinking of his last days in Hawaii, where he'd acquired a lethal virus while on vaca- tion in 1995. In the hospital there, he hallucinated that the Nazis were coming to kidnap his children. Walking through Prague, Staiman couldn't help think- ing, "Dad would be so happy we did this. He would have been extremely overjoyed at us retracing his [early] life." Yehuda Bauer, an academic adviser toYadVashem, Israel's Holocaust memorial, says individuals react differently during ancestral journeys like Staiman's, and they can be meaningful Such visits are "certainly interesting and, for many people, important," said Bau- er, a Prague native. "If it adds understanding or intuition about what happened, that's fine; that's very good." In Staiman's case, visiting Prague also is helping repair a breach in her extended family. She'd long been out of contact with Harrison before consulting her prior to the Prague trip. One reason for the drift was religious: Her family branch is Jewish, while Harrison's is Catholic. "I'm happy to have recon- nected with someone from my family, Jewish or not," Staiman said. "We have the same history. I'm extremely sorry we had not been in touch all these years, but now we will be." The "Seeking Kin" column aims to help reunite long-lost relatives and friends. Please email Hillel Kut- tler at seekingkin@jta.org if you would like "Seeking Kin" to write about your search for long-lost relatives and friends. Please include the principal facts and your contact inYormation in a briefemail. "Seeking Kin" is sponsored by Bryna Shuchat and Joshua Landes and fam- ily in loving memory of their mother and grandmother, Miriam Shuchat, a lifelong uniter of the Jewish people. By Itai Reuveni SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herze- govina (JTA)--Sarajevo is a city with a rich multicultural past, but it also bears the scars of war. Take a short walk through the capitalofBosnia- Herzegovina and you will see the many cemeteries and bullet-riddled walls, which are undergoing restoration. These lay side by side with magnificent churches, mosques and synagogues. For this reason, 100 Jews and Muslims from 39 countries gathered there last month to listenand learn from one an- other at an interfaith dialogue conference organized by the Muslim-Jewish Conference. I was uneasy about partici- patingr I was concerned that as an -Israeli, a secular Jew, a combat soldier in the reserves and a Zionist activist, I would be surrounded by political activists whose sole purpose is to vilify Israel From my experience, many dialogue initiatives have been hijacked by radicals, who silence any voice that is differei~t. On the very first day, however, my concerns were allayed. I found myself sitting and talking with young men and women from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt, European Muslims, along with Jews from all over the world, each voicing their unique perspectives on conflicts, hate speech, gender relations and religious prac= tice. Miraculously, despite the Arab-Israeli conflict, the different sides succeeded in overcoming the stereotypes, biases and ignorance we all have. On the interpersonal level, itwas a great success: a diverse group of Jews and Muslims who set aside their cynicism and mistrust, and engaged in friendly conversation for a week. Many questions were asked, some of them difficult and pointed, but there was room for answering, explain- ing and listening, an attempt to bridge the gaps that for many Israelis often seem unbridgeable. Itwas iaotall rosy. Disagree- ments and tensions were pres- - ent, and groups opposing in- terreligious dialogue accused the organizers of promoting certain political agendas. We may have been successful in overcoming our personal dif- ferences and finding common ground~ but hatred, the foun- dation of violence, is still rife in many parts of the Muslim and Western worlds. The MJC has become a platform for coexistence and peace, which allowed me to present the Jewish-Zionist perspective to young Mus- lims. For this reason, Zionist activists--from the political left and right--must be more involved in initiatives promot- ing dialogue, and not leave them to groups and individu- als who are more interested in feeding the conflict. In Israel, the Arab-Israeli conflict is prominent in all public discourse, and it is practically impossible to have a dialogue without it being the focus. However, it is still pos- sible to learn from initiatives that have not been infected with a radical agenda, to try to bring people closer together, and to stop fanning the flames of hatred and alienation inside Israel, and between Israel and its neighbors. The true chal- lenge is to bring those furthest apart closer together. The conference in Sarajevo proves that it can be done. An Israeli talking to a Pakistani, courtesy CMJ Jewish participants of an interfaith con(erenee in Sarajevo saying the Kaddish over the graves of 1985 Srebrenica massacre victims, July 2013. a Shiite listening to an Ameri- can Jew, Jewish participants (religious and secular) saying the Kaddish over the graves of those murdered at Srebrenica in 1995 (where more than 8,000 Muslims were murdered while U.N. soldiers stood by). When people are willing to hear criticism, talk about it and initiate practical mea- sures for cooperation, there is still hope for dialogue. One Friday, we visited a mosque to experience the day's prayers there and then to the synagogue for Sabbath services. At the end of the prayers, I found myself Calling across the room to my Paki- stani friend, "Osama! Shabbat Shalom!" a phrase that in any other context would be impossible. Itai Reuveni, a researcher at NGO Monitor in Jeru- salem, participated in the Muslim-Jewish Conference in Sarajevo.