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'The Hands of War': A Washingtonian Reflects On Childhood Consumed By Conflict | 8 March 2013 |

Marione Ingram, 77, says if it weren't for one of the 20th century's worst firestorms, she may have been lost in the 20th century's worst genocide.

Ingram grew up Jewish in Hamburg, Germany in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and recounts the infamous 1943 bombing of her town in her new memoir, "The Hands of War: A Tale of Endurance and Hope, From a Survivor of the Holocaust."

"We had gotten a notice to report to the place where all the Jews were rounded up," Ingram recalls. "My mother tried to commit suicide, and I found her and managed to pull her away from the gas oven."

As the bombing began, Ingram says she and her mother were barred from the bomb shelters because they were Jewish, a fact made evident by the bright yellow Stars of David they were forced to wear on their clothing.

"We went into hiding for a year-and-a-half for the rest of the war, and miraculously survived both the genocide as well as the 10-day and 10-night bombing of civilians," she says.

Surviving war as a child

Ingram begins the book by describing herself as a child of war: "As a tree may be forced by fire or lightening to bloom in winter," she writes, "a child can be compelled to become an adult long before it is time. I was such a child."

"Starting as a 5-year-old, I was aware that there were forces that wanted to kill me," Ingram explains. "And because we were so isolated, because all of my mother's family had already been exterminated, there were no children to play with.

"So you start asking yourself as a child: `Why is this? Why are people trying to kill me? What have I done? Why is being Jewish a reason to kill me?' All of these things add to the sense that you have to be more grown up than your years would indicate."  

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Mar 2nd, 2024 at 09:20:07 PM EST
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