Landmarks in life…writes Garry Fabian

November 23, 2017 by Garry Fabian
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While well over seven decades have passed, many of ones life the experiences are deeply embedded in our mind and specific dates have a significant impact despite the passage of time.

Garry Fabian

While the aim in life should be take each day as it comes, and generally always be forward looking, occasionally a significant date that brings back a past even into sharp focus when it happens falls on a significant date on the calendar and cast a glaring spotlight on the connection of one’s past, and the impact they leave on one’s life.

This week, on the 20th November 2017, was one such landmark that will come sharply into focus for me.

Seventy five years ago, on the 20th November 1942, I, together with my parents and 997 others took a train journey, which lasted just under two hours. Perhaps in the normal course of events there is nothing special about such a trip.

But this particular train trip travelled from Prague to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, with the return trip not taking place until June 1945.

It was a bleak, grey day of early winter, with little knowledge what would await us at the destination of this relatively short journey. While it was just another stage of our journey through an uncertain future, which had commenced some four years earlier, in September 1938, when German troops marched into the Sudetenland, \

While we were unclear what would confront us there, it was to be just another phase of the events that were to develop over the next few years. While my parents and I were fortunate by some strange twist of fate to survive there until liberation on the 5th May 1945, very few of the other 997 passengers on the train on that fateful day in November 1942 survived the deprivation and subsequent removal and murder in extermination camps of Eastern Europe.

So indeed for me, the 20th November 2017, marking the 75st Anniversary of the trip will have a special significance, a stark reminder of two very significant landmarks. One the arrival in a place of deprivation and despair, but more importantly the miracle of my survival and being granted an additional 75+ years of survival and life, a gift that the very large majority of my fellow travellers on that fateful journey were not given.

It indeed proves that random chance which ever one impacts on ones journey through life plays a major part . But it also imposes a duty on us who survived keep the memory of the six milion who perished alive. If the are forgotten, they will have dies a second time.

Garry Fabian, Melbourne.

November 2017




One Response to “Landmarks in life…writes Garry Fabian”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    Thank you for sharing your memory, and your thoughts, Garry. Indeed, it behoves us as Jews to keep the memory alive of the six million who perished by paying respect to it, continuing to relate it to others, and always remaining aware of the meticulously planned barbarity that was HaShoah, the depths to which men and women of a ‘civilised’ society can fall.

    I was in Prague some ten years ago and spent a lot of time in the Jewish Quarter, where there are many synagogues, beautifully maintained. The most affecting for me was a small whitewashed one utilised as a Jewish museum, within which the walls had all the names in alphabetical order of Jews who had been taken off to Nazi concentration camps and lost their lives. The simplicity of it was such that it had a similar effect to the Yad Vashem children’s memorial.

    I wish you good health.

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