What am I doing paying tribute to Instagram that troublesome, frustrating social media platform?
Sometimes I wonder about the hours I’ve wasted scrolling through cats, dogs, selfies, checking likes.
And then I remember opening a message from
@dr.amywilliams. Amy was responding to my post about the Kindertransport. I could not have imagined how our lives would intertwine and the way she would introduce me to so many others, historians and the descendants of holocaust survivors.
Using IG and zoom Amy connected me with her professor, Bill Niven and her fellow researcher, Imogen Dalziel.
All three, Amy, Bill and Imogen joined us in Germany October 2022 to be part of the documentary film, telling my reconciliation journey.
I will never forget all of us sitting together around the table in the dining room of the large Orthodox synagogue in Köln.
Rathenauplatz, Roonstrasse synagogue
Amy, Imogen and Bill watching as Julian and I meet on the green space between my former home and the synagogue.
The Roonstrasse synagogue is the only one of five synagogues to be restored after 9/10 November 1938 Kristallnacht in Köln. My family was relocated from our home town, Gemünd, in the Eifel region to Köln. When we reached our new home, an apartment building opposite the former synagogue, we must have seen the rubble left after the destruction. I don’t remember that frightening sight.
How can it be that Amy, Bill, Imogen and Julian, the grandson of our former neighbors the Schild family, were sitting together eating a kosher luncheon?
Imogen was doing research for Julian when she discovered that Julian’s grandparents, Martha and Julian Schild were deported on the same train as my parents to Lodz and to their deaths in Chelmno, Poland.
Instagram surprises don’t stop, they continue, one after the other.
Recently, Amy introduced me to Laura Nathan, a textile artist who is creatively exploring her family roots. Laura’s grandmother, Alice Rubinstein, escaped Germany for England with the Kindertransport. We are finding friendship and fresh understanding as we open our stories to each other.
And now there is Ben Wood, who is a triplet and a Visual and Public artist.
Ben just messaged me on Instagram, with a link to a recent Holocaust Remembrance speech that Bryan, his brother, a Rabbi, gave at the Royal Borough of Greenwich Council Meeting in the UK.
Imagine my astonishment as I hear Bryan describing their great grandparents’ gassing in Chelmno and the burning of their bodies in the Polish forest.
How can it be? This unravelling, this knitting together of our stories, surely there is a Master Weaver tending our souls.