My Grandfathers Life
My grandfather’s name is Aron Redner. He was born in 1924 in Breslau, Germany in an orthodox Jewish family which included the Rosenbergs and the Ormianas. His family was from Poland and some still lived there while he was growing up (Today Breslau is called Wroclav and is part of Poland). My grandfather’s strong Jewish identity comes from his family and the times he grew up in.
Sukkot was my grandfather’s favorite holiday growing up (he says, “Sukkus”). Here is how he described it: “We built a beautiful sukkah with all kinds of decorations. We had a large balcony at home and the whole family used to come but not all together, it was impossible. They came in sections, some people came from 5:00 to 6:00 and some people came from 6:00 to 7:00, but they all used our sukkah. We also had people over who unfortunately weren't wealthy enough to build their own sukkah. And we decorated the sukkah, the children did, and I was a child then and we had a wonderful time. I wish we would have kept some of the decorations. You could have used them right now.”
My grandfather’s favorite Jewish tradition is the celebration of Pesach. He likes Pesach because it is when the Jewish people were freed from the slavery of Egypt. About Pesach, my grandfather said, “It’s a great time to look back and make sure that the Jewish people stay free in the future.” His favorite memory of Pesach is “Eating Matza and saying the Hagaddah for the first time, and the first time I took part in a Jewish service and the whole family at one point and we had a pretty large house and everybody came to celebrate with us because we could accomodate them and on top of that we enjoyed them.
My grandfather told me: "In my family there were the Rosenbergs, the Ormianas, Redners, and in different countries there was family there and when we still lived in Germany we had family in Poland and actually I think my father had property in Poland in a place called Krynitza… but whatever happened to it doesn’t matter at this stage. The names of my brothers and sisters were: Moshe was the oldest and Israel was the next one and Shlomo was another one, and I was the fourth and after me, I had a sister, Adina. We moved from Germany as children when things became very difficult and antisemitism at the time was very strong. A lot of Jewish families sent their children to … first of all we went to Holland, and from Holland, there was an arrangement made with England because Holland was comparatively a small country… It was easy to get to Holland because it was part of the continent of Europe and the British sent over some ships to take us to England from Holland, and I was amongst them. I was by myself… without other family members. I was close enough to 13. It was a hard period. I think the last week at home in Germany they called me up as an early Bar Mitzvah because we were pretty well known in the Jewish community down there…. that originally came from Poland to Germany… that’s a history by itself. My family was very orthodox and most of the children on the transports were not so orthodox but we became friends very easily… we were the only people who could deal with each other. German children where told while we were at home not to deal with any Jewish children…
…I was with the kids on the transport for not very long… we stopped at some places because we couldn’t travel from Germany to Holland at the time. When we got to Holland we had to wait a while and when the Germans started getting to close and invading Holland and they started making problems that’s when they started to move us from Holland to England and in England we stayed at a holiday camp. It was Jewish children from around Europe who were brought to England to be safe. When I talk about “we” I am talking about the Jewish children from around Europe…"
Later, my grandfather joined the British Airforce where he flew in over forty missions. Years after the war ended, he moved to London, where he met my grandmother who happened to have come from the same town as him. Today they live happily in Los Angeles, California. He is 93 and she is 87. I am lucky that I live so close to them and can see them on Shabbat. Sometimes they come here and sometimes we ride our bikes over to their apartment.
.Today they live happily in Los Angeles, California. He is 93 and she is 87
"I never knew that the Ashkenazi way of saying “Sukkot” was "Sukkus