Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mercy In the Midst of War | Aram Squalls

In the weeks following the presidential inauguration of 2017, I found myself returning over and over to a piece of my family history that dates back a century, yet echoes many of the dominant themes in today's political culture: war, refugees, bigotry, bravery, the American promise, and the value of mercy. Although most of what I write is about media, technology and/or music, I felt impelled to share my story (for reasons that I make clear at the end of the article). I published it in The Daily Beast, and was pleased to see how many of my readers responded positively, including many who told me they had similar stories in their own family histories. 

Sinnreichs arrival in US ship manifest

My grandfather was born in 1914 on the outskirts of Stanislau, Galicia, a town and country that no longer exist (it is the current site of Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine). His family, one of the few Jewish ones in the midst of a devout Catholic community, ran a small grocery store, behind which was a two-room home with no electricity and only a bread oven for heat. In 1913, some locals raided the store, leaving my great-grandparents utterly destitute. My great-grandfather decided to leave for America, where he hoped to make some money, then return and rebuild. He was only supposed to be gone for a few months, but unfortunately, fate intervened: While he was away, World War I erupted, rendering him unable to return to his wife Rifka, who had six young children and yet another (my grandfather) on the way...

[read the whole story at The Daily Beast]



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