I learned a lesson tonight that I of all people should know myself... the value of bloggers and the Blogosphere. The spell checker may not recognize the Blogosphere but it is here to stay and of tremendous value.
Take today. Take my life... a good example.
My daughter Rivky is currently on The March of the Living in Poland and I her mother... am unaware of exactly where she is spending Shabbos, what city she is in and only has vague information as to the schedule. Why you ask? Because it is considered a security threat and for security reasons they keep a news black out as much as possible. So, I have no way of knowing what is going on with my daughter and her friends and the whole entire March and how the sudden, tragic death of the President of Poland may or may not effect their schedule, their security or they sensitivities. They have spent months in classes, giving up Sunday activities to learn about the Holocaust and to prepare themselves for what they will see at the Death Camps and Mass Grave sites where Jews and whole towns of Jews were slaughtered and buried in mass graves.
In an odd twist of fate, the President of Poland, his wife, heads of the armed services and the Bank were killed today as they tried to land in fog on their way to their own memorial of a dark moment in Polish/Russian History. Just as the March of the Living has many survivors and families of people who were killed with them on the March to tell the story... so did the plane that crashed have survivors and families of survivors with them when it slammed into the ground at a military airfield in Smolensk, those witnesses to the terrible tragedy known as Katyn were also killed today.
The Katyn Massacre was classic Stalin, Stalin at his best or worst consolidating power 70 years ago. He ordered prisoners of war from the Stalin invasion into Poland to be taken out to a forest and killed one by one and then covered up the entire mass murder of approximately 20,000 poles who after the war could become the heads of a new Polish nation that could become a threat to his power. Many of those killed were considered the future of Poland, elite academics, politicians and simple soldiers all marched off to die and then ....Stalin covered it up and acted as if it never happened. A sad, horrible chapter in history that has hampered current day Russian/Polish relations to this day. The Polish President, Lech Kaczynski was on his way to a service there today with the heads of his Navy, Army, Air Force, Bank... his wife the First Lady of Poland and over 90 people who perished today in the tragic plane crash.
My daughter is somewhere in Poland, she is just 18 years old and as fate would have it a distant relative of Anne Frank who is abroad for the first time in her life with the March of the Living to witness and remember the history of the Holocaust. My ex-husband was from a German family on both sides that went back to Frankfurt Au Maim and on Omi's side they were Franks from the Frank side of the family that did not go off with Otto to Holland but stayed in Frankfurt until the last minute, the very last minute. Germans unable to believe that Hitler would stay in power and that they would not be safe and that the nightmare of Nazism would not go away. Thankfully, Omi and Opa and a close family friend found their way out of Germany through Shanghai and to Los Angeles. Amazingly, our side of the Frank family lived out Anne's dreams. Anne wanted to go to America, she wanted to be an actress or a movie star or whatever young girls dream of always no matter if they live in a small town in Kansas or are hiding in Germany from the Nazis in the 1940s.
Rivky, more than my other girls, always reminds me of Anne. She is smart, verbal, creative, writes well and passionate on the rights of all people. She won an award in grade school on Black History and prejudice. She doesn't like to think on her connection to Anne but it is there in her mind. She was raised in Florida worrying on hurricanes, playing at the beach, learning at the Hebrew Academy, hiding in the hibiscus plants playing games with her brothers and the youngest girl in a large family. Her dark eyes eat through me sometimes, her smile is Omi's smile. She laughs, she dances, she runs, she parties... she has the life Anne and Margot Frank could only dream of and yet tonight she is somewhere in Poland with her best friend and other friends and people who will become friends in a country that is mourning the tragic death of the President of their country who was on his way to a memorial similar to the March of the Living.
Life is funny. Life is odd. Life is beautiful and wonderful and amazing and it can turn overnight into a tangled twist of mysteries and a mother sits in America unable to guard her from the harsh realities of life. At a crossroad in history for Poland it ways, a country in mourning and I am unable to watch out for her, protect her nor even know where she is tonight... as for security reasons I am not allowed to know her exact whereabouts. For security reasons they don't allow the high school students to use their phones, keep their phones, go online... etc, etc, no texting, no facebook. Kids being kids, a few sneak through phones, a few facebook but the ones afraid of getting in trouble and following rules don't. And, my Rivky seems to following the rules, her blackberry turned off and tucked away somewhere.
In August of 1992 Rivky was a little baby just 8 months old. I was on Miami Beach in an old two story, 1920s house with my ex-husband and my ... nine children. Honest, really. Rivky was my baby. We spend the night of Hurricane Andrew upstairs in the hallway that was protected and closed off from windows high above any possible flooding. The wind howled, I could hear the ocean several blocks away roaring in the night through the wind... the howling of the hurricane, transformers popping and Rivky lay a small infant below me, protected a bit by my body as I watched over her and tried my best to protect her as the hurricane raged outside on it's way inland miles away from me to my south in Homestead. I tried my best to protect her. I knew where she was... right there, beneath me, sleeping peacefully.
Tonight Rivky is miles away, somewhere in Poland and I have heard nothing from the March of the Living (as expected) and they have not yet posted pictures from Friday and in the news black out that I knew would exist... the only information I have is from bloggers.
Thank God for Bloggers.
During hurricanes people have written me many times thanking me for help and things that I posted online when their loved ones were in the path of this storm or that storm. I wrote back, got to know a few but never really appreciated my role as a blogger or the Blogosphere in general until tonight.
Because I turned to the Blogosphere and voila.. there was news, here and there from a few people on The March but not with the High school students from Miami. But still news. And, beautifully written descriptions of their experiences upon hearing of the tragic death of the President and First Lady. Because of bloggers, tonight I have a little bit of peace of mind, a little bit of news and tonight I am on the other side searching the Internet for news on my daughter Rivky.
This is the picture I have on my computer tonight.. Rivky at JFK (second from the left) on her way to her big adventure, the same trip her sister Miriam and her brother Levi went on a few years back. Never in a million years did she ever think she would be there when Poland was plunged into a week of mourning.
The other picture I keep staring at is this one... Rivky on the March with her friends, sitting and staring at a mass grave in Treblinka I believe. Lech Kaczynski was on his way to a mass grave as well yet he didn't make it and yet because of the odd twist of fate of his tragic death, many people across the world will learn of the Katyn Massacre and of the horrors of life in Stalin Russia and how important it is to remember, so that NEVER AGAIN will such a tragedy happen or at least never again will it happen easily because we will witness and remember and commemorate the tragedies of the Holocaust and all other mass murders and war crimes.
It is time for the Soviet Union to stand up and say they are publicly sorry and admit and take responsibility for what happened at Katyn.
And, I owe Joshua Hammerman a very big thank you from one blogger to another for posting news and showing pictures and keeping people far away informed and comforted in some way. Thank you.
As for Rivky, I will remember what my son Moe told me, that one third of the budget on the March is for security and she is safe and soon they will post some news, some pictures and I will keep the faith and tonight on the 6th anniversary of my father's death ... while Miriam was in Poland with a news black out and I was unable to tell her that her Grandfather died... I sit waiting again through the news blackouts.
She's so cute Rivky, she has Omi's smile. I don't even know the math on the generations of if her grandfather was Anne's first cousin or her first cousin once removed or second cousin, I was never good at that genealogical cousin math but Omi was a Frank and Rivky has her eyes and her smile. I was always better at meteorology and know that Passover has past and life is going back to normal I will be posting again regularly on the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season... and life as it comes and goes.
Besos Bobbi and Thank you and Bless you Joshua Hammerman for being a blogger and posting and showing me a blogger the value of blogging up close and personal in a very real way. Forgive me for any typos tonight I'm going to check my email, talk to friends and read any bloggers I find who might have some information from the March of the Living.
Some links below to stories from blogs and news sites around the Globe.
Katyn Massacre: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article7094338.ece
www.drudgereport.com (bloggers of all bloggers)