Saturday, December 22, 2007
My maternal grandmother's mother was born in Dittersdorf, East Prussia. My grandmother had always told me her mother spoke Hoch Duetsch (High German). This is a very formal and gramatically correct German. Of course, until I went to college and studied German, the entire family only spoke English.
For years, I've wondered if my family on my mother's side weren't hidden Jews. I was sure I'd never find any definitive proof.
My grandmother told me what her grandmother would say they met. The words hurt my ears because the grammar was so awful. Earlier this year, I discovered that the phrase was actually Yiddish. I had been right; my family were hidden Jews. I made myself a menorah so I could celebrate Hannukah this year. Finally, 117 years after my family left East Prussia for New York, it's safe to be openly Jewish.