Self Portrait

By Bronia Brandman

I am a precocious child
Discovering fairy tales at age 3 or 4
There is wonder, curiosity beyond the humdrum
There is enchantment!

I am orphaned at age 11
I am marked for death
I am a child of the Holocaust
I am one of only five children in existence in Auschwitz
I am destined for death seven times in the course of the Holocaust
People say I am so lucky to have survived
How do I measure my luck in view of the 6 million dead?

I make it to America at age 15
I am short, fat, unschooled, I don’t know the language
I don’t know how to laugh, I don’t know how to cry
I don’t know how to relate to kids my age
There are no children with my experience in existence
I work, I learn, I am a glutton for education – I earn a BA and MA
I am a public-school teacher

I raise a wonderful family
I am part of an Orthodox community

I am a compulsive traveler – nature enchants me
I have a subscription to the opera
I organize a reading group
I am a volunteer at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, A Living Memorial to the Holocaust
I am a public speaker on the subject of the Holocaust
I am a member of Club Nissim, a great resource for learning, exercise and growth for Survivors
I am passionate about Israel

I still cannot cry

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