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My husband thought that I was crazy to go to Washington DC.  The weather on the East Coast has been horrific.  Sunday’s flight was canceled but we, my Sister, Mom and I were re-ticketed on the Virgin America #90, on Monday.  Monday was indeed a snow, sleet and frigid temperature day but since we were 35000 feet above the earth, we missed all the weather. The cold is very apparent when you venture outside.

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Mom and me on the back side of the Capitol building.

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There is still lots of snow and frigid temperatures.

This morning we were scheduled for a White House visit (canceled) and a Capitol Tour (excellent – thank you Congresswoman Anna Eschoo.)  In between we went to the Holocaust Museum.  When you start the tour, they give you a paper passport that is about a real person who lived during the Holocaust.  Here are 2 stories.

“This card tells the story of a real person who lived during the Holocaust.”

“Name: Hilda Kusserow

Date of Birth: July 9, 1888

Place of Birth: Demborgora, Poland

Hilda was born in a territory ruled by Germany until 1919.  A teacher and a painter, she married Franz Kusserow and moved to western Germany before World War I. There , she gave birth to 11 children and became a Jehovah’s Witness.  After 1931 the Kusserow home in the small town of Bad Lippspringe was the headquarters of a Jehovah’s witness congregation.

1933-39: The Nazis repeatedly searched our home because our family remained openly steadfast in our devotion to Jehovah.  i continued doing missionary work even though it was banned.  In 1936 I was arrested and imprisoned for six weeks.  When I was released I continued hosting Bible study meetings in our home, even after my husband was imprisoned.  In 1939 the police took away my three youngest children to be “reeducated” in foster homes.

1940-44; Two of my sons were executed for refusing induction into the German army. My husband returned home on August 16, 1940.  Because we kept hosting Bible studies, I was arrested along with my husband and our daughter Hildegard and Magdalena in April 1941.  I served a two-year tern.  When released I was told that I could go home if I signed a statement renouncing my faith.  I refused and was deported to the Ravenbrueck concentration camp, where I was reunited with two of my daughters who’d already been there a year.

During a forced march from Ravenbreuck, Hilda and her two daughters were liberated by the Soviets in April 1945. When the war ended, they returned to Bad Lippspringe.”

2nd story

“Name: Ester Morgensztern

Date of Birth: Ca. 1927

Place of Birth: Kaluzyn, Poland

The fourth of five children, Ester was born to Jewish parents living 35 miles east of Warsaw in the small predominately Jewish town of Kaluszyn.  Ester ‘s mother and grandmother ran a newspaper kiosk in the town, her father worked as a clerk in the town hall.

1933-39: Next year would have been my last year at school,but I won’t be able to graduate.  War has broken out between Poland and Germany, so the schools have closed.  A big battle took place here in Kaluszyn.  The town was heavily shelled and many houses, including our building, were destroyed.  My parents have decided to move to Minsk Mazowiechi, 10 miles away, where my father has relatives.  We’ll have to live with them for a while.

1940-44: When we first moved in with my relatives, it wasn’t so bad.  But now the rooms are so crowed that my grandmother, who came with us, has decided to return to Kaluszyn to live with my Aunt Raizel.  The Nazis have forced more than 5,000 Jews in Minsk Mazowiechi to live in one small area of the town.  There aren’t enough houses for everyone, so families are doubling up.  Typhus, carried by lice, has started to spread, and my mother is always worrying that we’ll come down with the fever.

In 1942, 15-year-old Ester and her family fled to Kaluszyn to escape deportation.  Soon after, however, the Jews in Kaluszyn were deported to the Treblinka extermination camp.