Ever since I was a small boy, I had always wanted to go to Czechoslovakia, this exotic and faraway place where my grandfather was born and raised. Even at a young age, I was aware that the former Czechoslovakia was home to the great cities of Prague and Bratislava, that it was a place of rolling hills, lofty mountains, castles, forts and history, pretty much all that is necessary to enchant a young mind. But none of it appealed to me. I had only one motive, a fixation almost, to see where my grandfather, a man for whom I have infinite admiration, had come from.
His grandfather came from the small hamlet of Mosovce, "in the Turiec region of northern Slovakia, nestled up against the Carpathian Mountains." Says the author, the closest population center with a recognizable name is on the other side of the Slovak-Polish border: Oswiecem, or Auschwitz.
In 1938, his grandfather left Mosovce, fled to Italy and then to the Dominican Republic.
Going to a place like Mosovce is an inimitable experience. Those of us who have survivors in our families have heard the stories. But that is the problem, they are just stories to us. What does the Warsaw Ghetto really mean to someone living in New York? Lvov, Vodzh and Lublin are just names with a stories attached to them. But to go there, to see, to experience and to honor what the survivors among us have been through is an experience that will stay with you forever. This is what I have learned here, and these are the lessons I leave here with.
Read the story here.