Rebuilding the Fachler Tribe After the Holocaust
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"Dear Papa and Mutti! I have chosen to write my personal history in the form of a letter to you. I have been conducting a one-sided dialogue with you for some sixty years, I feel that this is an appropriate way to record my thoughts about my life both before and after we were parted." Thus begins the journal of Eli Fachler, written six decades after he caught a last glimpse of his parents as the Kindertransport train taking him to freedom in Britain pulled out of the station in Berlin in May 1939.
Eva Fachler (nee Becker) had a different motive for writing her story. Frustrated that her parents didn't know enough about their family histories, she promised herself: "When I am a Mama and my children ask about my background, I'll be able to tell them."
With the exception of Eli's younger sister Miriam, and two branches of the family who survived in hiding or in flight, the entire extended Fachler family in Poland was wiped out in the Holocaust. The list includes Eli's parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. With the single exception of one Communist cousin, Eva's entire family managed to escape the Nazi killing machine.
On their wedding day in a field in Buckingham, England, in 1944, Eva (born in Frankfurt in 1922) and Eli (born in Berlin in 1923) made a vow to re-establish the Fachler tribe that had been decimated in the Holocaust. By early 2003, their tribe included 50 direct descendants: 7 children, 24 grandchildren, and 19 great-grandchildren.
With Eli and Eva's encouragement, their writer son Yanky has recorded their story in The Vow, which offers a fascinating view of the 20th century through the prism of one Jewish family. This is a story that will make you laugh and make you cry. It is a story of miraculous escapes as well as tragic deaths. It is a story of hope, of determination, of faith and of love. Above all, The Vow is the story of two remarkable people.
-Letter sent by Dovid Meir Fachler in Poland in the last week of August 1939 to his son Eli in Scotland, just days before the Nazi invasion of Poland.
- Trafford Publishing, August 2003
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