THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A "HIDDEN CHILD" HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
Over the years many people have asked me to write about my experiences during my life. I have waited too long. Memories fade over the years and I know that I have forgotten many events and nearly all the names. Even the sequence of events has slipped my mind. So, I sit here and dig deep inside my subconscious in the hope that I will be able to recall at least some of my youth and the major events of the rest of my life. I intend not to exaggerate or invent anything but to record things as I remember them now.
This book is written mostly for my children and my children's children. I have never discussed my life during the war years with them but they should know. I was always reluctant to talk about it. I never really considered myself a Holocaust survivor and I still resist that term because I, thank G'd, never ended up in a concentration camp. I do not like to be categorized, so I even dislike the term "Hidden Child" even though that describes precisely what I was during the Holocaust period.
I dedicate this book to my mother, Judith Groenewoudt, who suffered so much and worked so hard to make my later teen years as "normal" as was possible under the circumstances, and to Uncle Michael van Lieshout, the man who saved my life and that of my mother and one of my brothers and also to my oldest brother, Hans, who disappeared during the Holocaust.
I apologize for any mistakes or omissions which may occur in this book. These definitely are not intentional and can only be blamed on the passing years and a busy life. I decided not to use a ghost writer but to describe these episodes in my own words and as I remember them.
I want everybody to know that, except for the war years, the death of my father at a young age and the tragic sickness and death of Anita, my wife of nearly 40 years, I have had a wonderful and exciting life with much good fortune and with many reasons to be extremely appreciative and grateful. So, when you feel sad while reading these three periods of my life, keep in mind that, over all, my life has been full of positive accomplishments and events and that this book should be read with this in mind and in a good and positive spirit.
To simplify matters I decided to call Naftali by his birth name "Mark" up to the time when he went to Israel and changed his name to Naftali.
I will be forever grateful to all the people who helped me putting this book together: Vera, my present wife, who reread the book countless times and edited it so efficiently; her son, Michael, who spent hours downloading the book and the pictures in my web site; Vera's daughter, Iris, who helped me any time I was in trouble with my web site; my daughter-in-law, Judy, who also spent many hours editing this work and my son Robert, who not only helped with the editing but also spent many hours printing the pages from the web site and putting them together in a binding. Without the help of all these wonderful people I could not have finished this book.
Finally, to the Holocaust deniers I can only say that I wish that they were right. More than ninety percent of my extended family and circle of acquaintances disappeared between 1940 and 1945 and I cannot find another explanation for that. That is my answer to them. Other than that I feel that they are missing a great lesson of history and they are the poorer for it.
CHAPTER 1: THE EARLY YEARS
CHAPTER 2: 1940-1942
CHAPTER 3: MY YEARS IN HIDING
CHAPTER 4: REUNION AND RECOVER
CHAPTER 5: MY FIRST ADULT YEARS
CHAPTER 6: MY LIFE IN THE NEW WORLD
CHAPTER 7: MY FIRST CAREER IN THE NEW WORLD
CHAPTER 8: IN TRANSIT
CHAPTER 9: MY ADVENTURES IN KOREA
CHAPTER 10: RETURN TO CIVILIAN LIFE
CHAPTER 11: THE START OF A NEW CAREER
CHAPTER 12: STARTING OUR OWN BUSINESS
CHAPTER 13: OUR BIG MOVE TO PHOENIX
CHAPTER 14: MY CAREER AS A SUCCESSFUL HAIR STYLIST
CHAPTER 15: PUTTING OUR LIVES BACK TOGETHER
CHAPTER 16: TRAGEDY STRIKES
CHAPTER 17: ENJOYING OUR RETIREMENT
CHAPTER 18: MY LIFE AS A WIDOWER
CHAPTER 19: THE HEALING PROCESS
CHAPTER 20: A NEW LIFE
Contents & Images, Copyright © 2000 Fred Greenwood. All Rights Reserved.