My Family, The Holocaust and Me
Rosemary Schonfeld grew up as the daughter of a Czech immigrant in post-war UK and Canada, unaware of her father’s Jewish identity and of what really happened to his absent relatives. In adulthood she began to feel compelled to find out whether Relly, who had been married to her father's brother and survived Auschwitz, was still alive. Tracing and finding Relly were both significant turning points in Rosemary’s life. Relly was an exceptional person who lived a full, rich life without bitterness despite losing her entire family. She enriched the lives of all who knew her immensely, and Rosemary explains the incredible honour she felt when Relly welcomed her as her ‘long lost niece’. Over a ten year period, from 2000 to Relly’s death in 2010, Rosemary visited her regularly in Sydney. Through conversations with her the author started to understand not only what happened to her father, grandparents and uncles, but also began to understand the many impacts on herself, and therefore others, of being a second-generation Holocaust survivor. The number of Holocaust survivors is steadily diminishing, and many of the second generation feel a deep responsibility to give the Holocaust a contemporary relevance. Finding Relly explores the impact of the Holocaust in both the past and present, revealing how its insidious presence threatened to completely derail Rosemary’s life. There is a danger of the Holocaust being relegated to the distant past, Finding Relly will help it keep its contemporary relevance.