As I said in my last post, two people have sent me stories about wonderful, unplanned, and unexpected reunions following devastating separations of World War II.
The first story was sent to me by a friend whose own childhood was in Norway during the war, and who now lives in Brooklyn. She knew Golda Steinberg personally.
During the war, Golda and her husband were separated and sent to different concentration camps in Poland. After the war, Golda immigrated to the United States, earned her degree in Social Work, married and had several children. She also eventually taught at Columbia University school of social work, at 110th Street and Broadway.
One day, when she was in her 60’s, as she was walking down Broadway, she saw – and recognized – her first husband from Poland. He had also immigrated to NYC, and now lived with his wife in the immediate area. Both couples became steadfast friends.
The second story was told to me by someone who did not know the people involved personally but saw it told on a tv documentary. When a mother was sent with her young daughter to a concentration camp, she was given the opportunity to pack a few things. Like many others, she took various items of food. When they reached the camp, she took out a chunk of chocolate and gave it to her daughter.
“This is not for eating now,” she told her. “It’s for you to keep for a day when you may have nothing else to eat and may be starving.”
One day a detainee in the camp who was about to give birth was also starving, and the girl’s mother asked her if she would be willing to give her the chocolate. She did, and undoubtedly contributed to saving the lives of both mother and her new-born daughter.
Many years later, the child who had given up her chocolate had immigrated to the States and obtained her nursing degree. One day she was giving a talk to others who, like her, had survived their time in concentration camps and made their way to the U.S. In the talk, she told the story of giving the chocolate to a starving mother.
After the talk, a women who had also attended the conference, came up to her and said “I know you. I have known you all my life, because you saved my life. My mother told me about that gift of chocolate and that she believed we would have starved without it.”