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My parents' story from which I am inspired each day

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

Optimism and happiness isn’t the art of building a trouble free life. It’s the art of responding well when trouble strikes


On January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as part of a global campaign, more than 40 buildings and monuments across Canada and in every province will be illuminated to remember and pay tribute to the six million men, women, and children who were victims of this senseless atrocity and to acknowledge the horror that was the ultimate consequence of anti-Jewish hate. Let us remind the world that it is this light that will dispel the evil and prevent it ever happening again. It is imperative that the truth be understood and shared, in perpetuity, with future generations.


Each of us bears a responsibility for the world we live in. Our challenge is to live our lives with real intent and with the courage to assert the best of our humanity. Of course being human encompasses violence, death and fear as well as creativity and life.

What is required is for us to focus on hope and happiness, not our fears and for us to identify our particular anxieties, face our feelings of fear and mentally and emotionally reframe them so they empower us to make positive changes in our lives.


It was passion for life that enabled my parents to survive. Their ability that comes from a deep appreciation of life, the ability to see the world as a good place even when sitting in a work camp. I learned to be positive and optimistic.


My family story from which I gain my strength from which I am inspired.


My parents lived some difficult years during their young lifes. They were living in Liege, Belgium in 1942. (my mom came from Germany at the age of 2 and my dad from Poland at the age of 16) They fell in love and set their wedding date for June 18 1942. The wedding was to take place in my grandmother's home. During the ceremony, the Gestapo came knocking on the door to ensure that everyone who was Jewish was wearing their yellow star.


My parents, uncle, along with father's sister and family decided to leave Belgium as soon as possible (before they would be rounded up) to a safer country. (the rest of the family of 10 were in Poland).


Within 2 weeks they set out to climb the Alps and go to Switzerland (a neutral country) However, the border was closed to refugees, especially Jewish refugees. After much discussion the border guards allowed them in but placed them in a hard labour camp, near Lauzanne, where they stayed until the end of the war in May 1945. Both my parents entire families were killed during the war and all that remained was my uncle, a cousin (hidden by Catholic friends during the war ) and my family of 4.

It was passion for life that enabled my parents to survive. Their ability that comes from a deep appreciation of life, the ability to see the world as a good place even when sitting in a work camp. I learned to be positive and optimistic.


When my family came back from the labour camp, my father locked himself up in a room for 30 days . When he emerged, he decided to live his life to the fullest. He said we must live a full life everyday as we don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. I was taught from an early age to embrace life to its fullest and they certainly lived by example even when they had no means.


What power grants the strength to overcome fear? One power that is very strong is the passion to appreciate life (love). Fear impacts us to survive; the passion of life (love) enables us to thrive. This complementary pair of feelings has been the driving force of human history.


Optimism and happiness isn’t the art of building a trouble free life. It’s the art of responding well when trouble strikes.


Let us remind the world that it is this light that will dispel the evil and give us hope for the future


Monette



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