As a result of my genealogy work, I have learned in the last few years that there were many members of my extended family who were victims of the Nazis. I had always assumed that all my relatives had left Europe before Hitler came to power—long before he came to power. So learning about the many members of the Seligmann family who were killed and then more recently about the many members of the Schoenthal and Hamberg families who were killed has been very painful.
The Holocaust touched us all, whether we know it or not, whether we are Jewish or not. Our world lost millions of people. As each generation learns how cruel and inhumane other people can be, there is once again a loss of innocence. I dread the day when my grandsons also have to learn this horrible truth.
That list has grown since last spring. One of the most recent names I’ve had to add to the list of those who died at Auschwitz was Liesel Mosbach Lion, granddaughter of Rosalie Schoenthal Heymann, my great-grandfather’s sister. Liesel was my father’s second cousin.
I recently posted about Liesel and her family and what happened to them. Most of what I knew came from the memoir written by Liesel’s husband Ernst Georg Lion, The Fountain at the Crossroads. I was so moved by his book that I have decided to see whether there is a way to get it published in a format where it will be accessible to more people. I am now in touch with Ernst’s son Tom. He sent me photographs of Ernst and his family, including my cousin Liesel. With his permission, I am posting a few of them here to honor their memory this Yom Hashoah.
The first three are of Ernst’s parents, Leo and Bertha (Weinberg) Lion. Bertha died from the stress caused by the Nazi treatment of Jews during the 1930s. Leo was killed in one of the camps.
This is the last photograph taken of Leo Lion before he was arrested and sent to a concentration camp.
On the left below is my cousin Liesel Mosbach Lion; she was killed at Auschwitz. On the right is the wedding picture of Liesel and Ernst, December 18, 1939.
Liesel, her sister Grete, both of her parents, Helene Heymann Mosbach and Julius Mosbach, and her aunt Hilda Heymann were all killed during the Holocaust. Her grandfather Willy Heymann was arrested and taken to Dachau and died soon after being released.
They were all my cousins.
These are various photographs of Ernst from childhood through the war years and afterwards in the US. His story of suffering and survival is unforgettable.
We live in a time when once again hatred and fear permeate our world and demagogues are seeking power. We must be vigilant and remember what happened then. We must do all we can to ensure that genocide does not occur again anywhere.
We must never forget. Never again.