I had never imagined visiting Eastern Europe, a place toward which I felt no attraction, or, if anything, a deep aversion. To my mind, these were the killing fields, where six million Jews, Roma, political prisoners, homosexuals, and others were massacred by the Nazis during World War II. As a bisexual Jew, a dark-skinned Middle Easterner sometimes taken for a gypsy, why would I want to go there?
But my husband, who was raised Catholic in Chicago, is of Polish and Lithuanian descent. He and his two sisters have talked for years about visiting the villages from which their grandparents, escaping economic hardship and military conscription, had emigrated early in the twentieth century. It remained wistful talk until Mike and I made plans to attend a yoga retreat in rural Denmark. We’d be so close, we reasoned, why not cross the Baltic to explore his ancestral homes? His two sisters readily agreed to join us. Continue reading ““This Golgotha of Modern Times” by Joyce Zonana”