My earliest school years were spent in Germany, where the country was as much my teacher as instructors in the classroom. My parents drove me throughout the country, to castles, villages, and most permanently in my memory, Dachau. As a six-year-old, I had no idea that more than 6,000,000 Jews were murdered by the Nazis in concentration camps (I don’t think my young mind could have comprehended the number at the time—it barely can now), but even then, I understand the gravity of it all.
I remember visiting the crematorium and asking my dad what the structures in front of me—chambers made of brick and wood—were.
“Ovens,” he replied.
Timidly, I responded, “What for?”
“The bodies,” he answered.
After that visit, I knew that my life would somehow, in some way, involve the Holocaust. And though years passed and that visit largely fell out of my memory, the connection remained…