Hanna and Judit would have been 81 now, if they were still alive. Who would their children have been? Where would their grandchildren be living now? How many children would they have had? How many grandchildren? Maybe they would have had careers? Maybe one would have been a doctor and the other a writer? Maybe it would have been the other way round and the other would have been the doctor? It's almost certain that they didn't know each other aged 6 but maybe they would have met later in life and become friends, or colleagues, or even sisters-in-law?
So many questions without answers. So many children who never got to live their full lives (estimated at 1.5 million, most of them Jewish). And their baby brothers and sisters, and their big brothers and sisters and cousins, and young adults, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, classmates, the children next door, the man from the grocery shop who always made jokes, the teacher who gave too much homework, the scary dentist and the kind doctor. And all these people's families and friends until you add up 6 million lives .... stopped. Quashed. Murdered. Gassed.
DD and I watched a film about Anne Frank and I told her how Otto Frank was the only one to survive and how he came back and Miep had saved Anne's diary. Then I told her how he went to live in Switzerland and he married another survivor, Elfriede (Fritzi) Geiringer, who had a daughter called Eva (The author Eva Schloss). Fritzi and her family had lived in the same street as Anne Frank in Amsterdam and Eva and Anne, born only a month apart, had been friends. The Geiringers also went into hiding and were also betrayed. They were sent to Auschwitz. Erich Geiringer and their 19 year old son, Heinz did not survive. After the war Eva went to live in London. In Stanmore in fact, where we also lived. "And Grandma knew her, and her daughter, Sylvia, went to my school. She was in the year above me, Anne Frank's step-niece whom she never met."
DD understood. Real people survived and we know their grandchildren and, now, great-grandchildren. Real people perished and we have to remember them because they didn't get to have children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren.