War always brings pain, suffering and despair. It’s a tragedy for whole nations and individual people, who for years remember the dramatic events and their loved ones whom they lost or are still hoping that by some miracle they survived.
Among those who were lucky to survive World War II and the Holocaust that came with it, is Miriam Shapiro. The woman was born in West Germany to a Jewish family and when Hitler began military operations in Europe, she was barely 4 years. Although she was still very small, she has a vivid recollection of her parents and siblings, and when she grew up she did everything to find any and all information about their fate. Unfortunately, she had to wait for the answer for almost 80 years.
The Shapiro family had 5 members: the parents and three children. The eldest was a boy named Otto, the middle child was Miriam and the youngest and sweetest was Edith. Their drama started before the 1st of September, 1939, because on the night from the 9th to 10th of November, 1938 a slaughter of Jews took place in Germany, later called “the Crystal Night”. That was when the Nazis arrested Mr. and Mrs. Shapiro, Otto and Edith, but Miriam hid from the enemy.
Old photographs are the only reminder of the pre-war times.
Miriam was separated from her relatives and became one of the thousands of children who managed to avoid the Nazi executioner. Being a girl, it was easier for her to hide her Jewish origins. The Flux family took care of Jewish orphans and helped her survive the war as well as let her stay in the years after it. When Miriam grew up, she began to search for news about the fate of her loved ones.
Miriam missed her older brother named Otto the most.
Over the years, she managed to determine that her mother went missing and that her father died in a concentration camp less than a month before its liberation. Unfortunately, the desperate woman never came across any mention of the fate of her siblings. And when she had lost all hope of ever finding out what had happened to them, she accidentally came across photographs that gave her the answer as to what happened to her brother.
Miriam’s father died in the Dachau concentration camp.
What did the woman find out? The rest of her story is on the next page.