Lake Worth donor’s story

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Local -

Helga Careskey, 93, of Lake Worth, re­cently do­nated a col­lec­tion of fam­ily pho­to­graphs that de­pict life in Breisach, the Ger­man town where she grew up. Her fam­ily man­aged to es­cape to the United States in Oc­to­ber 1938, miss­ing Kristall­nacht by a week or two.

The pic­tures de­pict an idyl­lic life in a vil­lage along the Rhine River bor­der with France, where Careskey’s fa­ther, the owner of a depart­ment store, was on the city coun­cil, with friend­ships that ex­tended be­yond their small Jewish com­mu­nity.

An­other set of pic­tures show Careskey’s brother Wal­ter re­turn­ing to his home­town as a mem­ber of the U.S. Army tank com­pany that lib­er­ated Breisach. One photo shows Wal­ter in the Jewish ceme­tery where his grand­fa­ther was buried af­ter the fam­ily had fled, its grave­stones rid­dled with bul­let holes. Careskey says Wal­ter later or­dered the mayor to re­pair the ceme­tery, which he did.

The de­ci­sion to do­nate the pic­tures to the Holo­caust mu­seum was dif­fi­cult, Careskey says.

“When I gave her those al­bums, I felt like my left and my right arm were sev­ered. I was so close to those pic­tures,” she says.

The 30th an­nual meet­ing of the World Fed­er­a­tion of Jewish Child Sur­vivors of the Holo­caust and Descen­dants will gather eye­wit­nesses and loved ones from around the world Nov. 9-12 at the West Palm Beach Mar­riott Ho­tel.

Careskey will be there, as will Ruben­steen, on the search for more sto­ries and ar­ti­facts.

The re­cent resur­gence in the idol­a­try of Nazi-era pro­pa­ganda and sym­bols makes such meet­ings and sup­port for the Holo­caust mu­seum even more crit­i­cal, Ta­nen says.

“It’s im­por­tant for us to con­tinue to tell the truth. We’re a his­tory mu­seum, and we’re telling the truth of this his­tory, in all its facets, so that de­niers and dis­torters will al­ways con­tinue to be pushed to the mar­gins,” Ta­nen says. “They’re here now. And, un­for­tu­nately, they will cer­tainly be here when the Holo­caust and eye­wit­ness gen­er­a­tion is no longer with us. Which, again, makes us want to re­dou­ble our ef­forts to­day to make sure these sto­ries and these pieces of ev­i­dence from this his­tory are pre­served for­ever.”

For in­for­ma­tion about the United States Holo­caust Me­mo­rial Mu­seum in Washington, D.C., call 202-488-0400 or go to USHMM.org.

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