Here an email from Canada, reproduced with permission, from Esther’s nephew Phillip. Esther and her brother Perec were the only two members of their family to survive the Holocaust. Her oldest brother and her father joined the resistance but did not survive. Her mother was killed at Auschwitz.  Phillip walked same distance his father walked death in April 1945.

I feel almost guilty at how pleasant a walk it was. I started from my house and walked four km west and then four back. It is a very nice day and I live in a very nice part of town.  I have good shoes and comfortable clothes. I started off properly nourished. It took me under two hours and I felt good when I got home and got to sit down.

Then when I came home I picked up Dad’s memoirs and read about April 10/45 and his walk. Thousands of prisoners walking the same distance, but under guard by the Nazi guards. He doesn’t mention dogs but as I put my own images to his words the guards have vicious dogs to control the marchers. The stragglers are being shot. They are being forced to walk because the railway siding has been destroyed and I imagine signs of destruction all around them. And at the end their destination was the boxcars – the trains of Hell.
So I’m not sure that I really commemorated the event. But thanks to you I took a moment to think about it.

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