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Although no one in the Orloff family ever spoke directly about Adolf Hitler, yemach shemo, he was a constant presence in their Brooklyn home. Like many other “survivor households,” the horrors of the Holocaust were all-pervasive, casting a heavy shadow on even the most mundane events in their lives. But the impact went beyond childhood fears and nightmares. Though they didn’t realize it then, many children of survivors acknowledge today that in some sense, they, too, are survivors.
The Egged bus pulled up and a short woman wearing a blue sweater and brown fall climbed on, swinging her bag over her shoulder. “Boker Tov,” she said to the driver as he punched her card. As usual, the lady wearing a trim beret and a vest over a flowing skirt sat on the right. Behind her, the chassidishe woman with the sheitel and hat rested her head against the back of her seat, Tammy located a seat across from the chassidishe lady and put down her stuffed bag. They were all regulars on the 7:30 bus.
In the summer of 2003 my husband and I were offered the opportunity of a lifetime: to accompany my father-in-law, Rabbi Paysach Krohn, on the first of his inspirational trips to Eastern Europe. He would be traveling to places I had always longed to visit, and now my dream would finally materialize.
From when I first arrived in Tzfas, I knew about Judy Knauer — everyone did. She was the one who helped produce the community’s amazing plays, acting and singing in them with dramatic professionalism. Later, I got to know a different side to Judy, the passionate, fearless side that brought her back from New York during the Second Lebanon War to run around delivering food and toys to families trapped in bomb shelters. I was curious to get the full picture.