Published on April 24th, 2013 | by JD0
Longtime Downers Grove family shares Holocaust survival story
Source:My Suburban Life
DOWNERS GROVE – The letters between Gerda Nothmann Luner and her family, separated by the Holocaust in 1939, are heartbreaking when read with historical hindsight, and yet the love and optimism apparent in the correspondence can’t help but highlight the human spirit.
The letters show a young Gerda, then 12, finding spiritual guidance from her father, remembering inside jokes with her mother, enjoying her younger sister Vera’s sense of humor, and awaiting a reunion.
“And as God’s will, everything that now seems difficult will seem a blessing – and we, (your father and I), will then experience the pleasure that you give us, and we will be happy,” Gerda’s mother wrote in one letter. “When we reunite, we will happily carry a lighter load.”
The family wrote each other often, beginning when parents Max and Adele sent Gerda and Vera to live with separate foster families in Holland when Berlin became too dangerous for Jews.
The letters, which were miraculously saved by a family friend during the Holocaust, and Gerda’s written memoir of her survival of several concentration camps are collected in “Gerda’s Story: Memoir of a Holocaust Survivor,” published by Elmhurst College.
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