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< Echoes of Memory

Letter to a World War II Veteran

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By Albert Garih

Dear Veteran,

This is to express my gratitude for your sacrifice during World War II. I was a hidden child in Paris, France, pursued by Nazi invaders and their French collaborators who were doing the dirty job of rounding up people like me to send us to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. Were it not for people like you, who braved the enemy fire to liberate Europe from the tyranny of the Nazi regime, I might not be here today.

I remember that day, in late August 1944, as I was hiding in a Catholic boarding school in a Paris suburb, when one of the students came running to the school to announce: “The Allies are coming! The Allies are coming!” That was the day I was liberated; I had survived the constant threat of being taken away with my family.

I remember how we all went to the main street in that suburb to greet you, our liberators, with our hearts full of joy and love for these young soldiers who, for the first time, were not threatening us, but were smiling at us and giving us chocolate, chewing gum, even cigarettes. I still remember the smell of the Lucky Strike cigarettes that surrounded us. I was six years old, and the memory of that day will stay with me forever.

I am aware of the dangers that you were facing, with the enemy still around. I have seen the beaches in Normandy where you landed and where so many of your brothers in arms lost their lives. I have seen the cemeteries with all these white crosses and Stars of David. I am aware of the ultimate price that so many of you paid so that Europe could live once again in freedom. I have not forgotten.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

©2015, Albert Garih. The text, images, and audio and video clips on this website are available for limited non-commercial, educational, and personal use only, or for fair use as defined in the United States copyright laws.

Tags:   albert garihechoes of memory, volume 8

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