Emily Meg Weinstein | Longreads | December 2017 | 22 minutes (5,522 words)
For Ruth Weisenfeld Diamond (1921-2014) and Samuel Meyer Diamond (1919-2008)
First, it came for my grandfather, then for my grandmother. Death comes for us all, but still Jews toast, l’chaim! To life!
When my mother and her brother cleaned out their dead parents’ apartment, they found their father’s Bronze Star from the war.
“Do you know what was in the box with the Bronze Star?” my mother asked me.
“A Nazi Iron Cross.”
“How did you know that?”
“Grandpa showed it to me a bunch of times.”
“Where did he get it?”
“Off a dead Nazi.”
That makes it sound like my grandfather killed the Nazi, but he didn’t. He never fired his gun, not once in the whole Allied advance.