"This week was the 70th anniversary of the liberations of the liberation of Auschwitz. There are not many people still alive who remember that, and even fewer who were a part of it. I wanted to share a story, not my story, but the story of someone I love very much who can no longer share it for himself. My Uncle Adam is one of the most impressive people I have ever known. He was a kind, gentle, generous, loving, innovative, creative, and complex man. I miss him so much...but this is not about me. This is about him.
Adam was a young married man, with a son when he was forced into the concentration camps. He was separated from his wife, son, and nephew. When he asked where they had taken the children, the guards pointed to the black smoke coming from the crematoriums. He survived by making himself a useful resource. When the guards would ask for people who could do a task, he would volunteer, even if he had never done the task. He learned new skills that made him valuable. These skills stayed with him until the day he died through his home made invention, many of which he patented. When the liberation happened, he found bicycle parts and built a bicycle so he could travel to search for his family. He heard that his wife was in a camp being quarantined for dysentery. He broke into the camp to reunite with his wife. Eventually he and his wife were able to immigrate to the United States and start a new life and family here.
There is so much more to the story, so much sadness and pain. But the man I met did not dwell in the past. He was not hateful, or bitter. He was a survivor, and when he died at age 99.9 I was devastated. Most people won't see 99, but I truly believe he left this world too soon because he had so much to give. I am so thankful that he was in my life, and that I was able to hear how he touched other people's lives after his funeral. Dear Uncle Adam, I love and miss you everyday, and I promise to keep telling your story."