Uncovering my family's history has been an exciting and important experience, the results of which I am pleased to share with any one who is interested. My purpose at first was to learn more about my father, his parents and family, and Telechan, their hometown. Over time, as I became engrossed in this endeavor, the dramatic events that befell Telechan and the Ajzenberg family deeply effected me.
In one day in August of 1941, the Nazis murdered two of my aunts, Ziporah and Bracha, together with their children. They share a common grave, with their neighbors and friends, just outside of Telechan. To this day, the name of only one of my four first cousins is known. Her name was Reyzl. She was the daughter of my Uncle Laibel and his first wife Bracha. The names of my three other cousins are lost. I find that very difficult to accept. I do not even know if my cousins were boys or girls. I have since learned that less than half of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust have been identified by name. This is a startling fact. Had my father and relatives not left Telechan when they did, it would have been me, my siblings and other cousins, whose names and existence would now be lost.
Elie Wiesel, Holocaust author, was once asked whether he saw himself as a ‘victim’ or a ‘survivor’. He answered that he viewed himself as a ‘Witness’; that we are all Witnesses. The first killers were the murderers of innocent people. Wiesel believes that if we forget these victims, we then become the second killers. I share these sentiments. I do not want my relatives to ‘die’ again when I do. As long as they are remembered, they live.
My goal is to retrieve the names and any evidence of existence of my cousins. Not to know who they were would be a tragedy.
It is to my lost family, six of the six million, that this book is dedicated.