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(RNS) — On June 6, the world will commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of the French Normandy coast that turned the tide of World War II. D-Day was “the beginning of the end” of Hitler’s “Thousand Year” Nazi Reich because it created the second front that German generals had dreaded: Fighting the Soviet Union in the East and the Western Allies in the West, the generals had warned their demonic Führer, was certain to end in a catastrophic defeat for the Fatherland.
That day I was a youngster growing up in Alexandria, Va., a few miles from our nation’s capital. My father, a U.S. Army major, was stationed at Fort Belvoir on the Potomac River, and our family spent almost every Sunday at Mackenzie Hall, the fort’s Officers Club, enjoying the superb food, shooting billiards or swimming.
Children - Generation - Nazi-occupied - Europe - Terrifying
While we ate and played, other Jewish children of my generation were trapped in Nazi-occupied Europe. Their terrifying existence included brutal arrests, transports to German death camps in filthy crowded railroad boxcars, grisly medical experiments, wretched ghettos, widespread disease. For many of these young Jews, deliverance would only come with death by poison gas, starvation or bullets. It is estimated 1.5 million Jewish children were killed during the Holocaust.
I am forever haunted by the knowledge that had I been born during the 1930s in Transylvania instead of Pennsylvania, I would have been one of the 6 million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.
D-Day - Prospects - Allies - Parents - Older
In early 1942, before D-Day brightened the prospects for the Allies, my parents soberly told my older brother, Bert, and me that the United States could lose the war and the Nazis might occupy Washington, D.C., and Alexandria. Describing this grim possibility, my father said that as an American Army officer he would stay with my mother and fight the German...
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