As an intern at the USC Shoah Foundation and a student on the Problems Without Passports trip to Rwanda this summer, I’m more than familiar with the phrases “Never Forget” and “Never Again.” Sometimes the two seem like tired mottos. They’re valid and true, but oftentimes I think I miss the full impact of those few words.
I was born and brought up in a university town in the Czech Republic called Olomouc. It had a small Jewish community. My father is a writer and academic. Five years ago he interviewed Milos Dobry who was a prominent member of the Olomouc Jewish community and a long-term Holocaust survivor. His story was fascinating - about how he and his brother had survived Terezín and Auschwitz and how Milos had gone on to have a successful career as an inventor and sports personality. I went to meet Milos Dobry personally to further interview him about his history.
June 20 is World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness about refugees throughout the world, a day on which I inevitably always look back on the formative years of my life.
In 1991, my family and I were forced out of our home in Croatia because of our ethnic origin, and we began a life of exile, torn from everything known and dear to us and forced to swim in the uncharted waters of life as a refugee. Our lives had been changed drastically; a life of abundance had become a life of misery.