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Volume 18, No.1 / Fall 2004            
Yehuda Bauer, Historian of the Holocaust (Part 1)
A Memory from the Boyhood of Yehuda Bauer


Section 1
Memory of a Boyhood
A History of the Holocaust
Section 2
Portrait of an Historian
Second Issue

     Some years ago, writes Dr. Bauer, I went to the Czech Republic (former Czechoslovakia), where I was born, with my wife Elana.  We drove to the town where my grandparents had lived, Teplice-Sanov.  My grandfather had a stationery shop on a street I remembered very well, because as a kid I used to spend hours there playing with pencils and paper.  The distance from there to my grandparents’ house was not great, and I remembered:  it went through an alley, kind of up a gentle incline, until it reached a local rail crossing, and just beyond that was a small two-story villa, with my grandparents on the top floor, and another Jewish family—the Baers—on the lower floor.  There was a lovely little garden around; my grandparents were not rich, but quite comfortable.  Elana and I found the street of the shop, and then I drove up through the alley to the house, and was very proud that I had remembered exactly how to get there.  We stood at the garden fence, and I was explaining to Elana where my grandparents had lived, and as I was talking, two boys were looking out of the window of what had been the dining room, and they watched us very suspiciously.  Then they called their mom, obviously telling her there were two odd strangers pointing at the house and gesturing, and so on.  When the lady came to the window, I called out, in Czech, which I speak, that my grandparents had lived there.  She asked what their name had been.  I said, Rudolf and Camilla Bauer.  Whereupon, she said she was coming down.  They opened the gate and welcomed us into the garden—it was summer, and very nice.


     It turned out she was Jewish and had relatives in Israel.  Her brother, she said, was coming shortly and asked us to wait.  Sure enough, he came and we spoke about their relatives in Israel.  There were less than ten Jews in Teplice, and they were a  part of that  number.  And then they asked me whether I knew who the downstairs neighbors had been.  I said, “Yes, the Baers.”  “Did you know anything else about them,” they inquired?  “Yes,” I laughed.  “My grandfather, a hefty man of village stock, went every Saturday night to the pub for beer.  He and Mr. Baer were chums at the pub.”  “ I know said the woman because I am Mr. Baer’s daughter.  My father who survived the Holocaust used to tell me of his friend.”  “Your grandfather,” she continued, “died before the war.  How lucky he was.”  The history of our families had come full circle.



Dimensions Online
Volume 18, No. 1, Fall 2004
Yehuda Bauer

Volume 17, No. 2, Fall 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust--Part II

Volume 17, No.1, Spring 2003
Using Testimonies for Researching and Teaching about the Holocaust-- Part I

Volume 16, No. 1, Fall 2002
Remembrance and Commemoration of Two Catastrophes: September 11th and the Holocaust

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