That's the experience of an Arizona woman whose story is told here. There's also a video here.
Terri Brahm discovered that her father Ralph was really Uri Hanauer, one of 15,000 children who entered a prison camp in Germany between 1941 and 1945. Only 132 children survived.
The secret was kept hidden for years until she decided to do some digging and the puzzle pieces came together.
From the very beginning, Terri had an intriguing story. She grew up in the Hollywood Hills and her parents lived a rather glamorous life.
Terri's dad owned a limousine company and became friends with many famous people. She even has a picture of her dad, Ralph, with singer Tom Jones. But beneath the surface there was a lot more to this story.
Terri admits, “It's very emotional for me.” It wasn't until her father died in a tragic accident that Terri released just how intriguing her life really was. It was a mystery that began to unravel slowly and painfully. “When I found out my family was in a Jewish concentration camp I wanted to know more. I wanted to know everything there was to know about my family.”
He had kept the secret from everyone, including his wife and children. His daughter has spent the past five years discovering the truth.
Her research revealed that her grandfather Hans was sent to Auschwitz and uncovered a postcard he had written on the day he was deported. The translation read, “Always know that there is someone thinking of you. Someone who loves you. I just hope all will be good once again.”
Her grandparents never saw each other again, as Hans Hanauer was murdered at Auschwitz at age 34.
Eventually, she discovered thousands of letters and original documents dating back to early-20th-century Germany.
Psychologist Kim Popkey is quoted in the story. She says uncovering family history is very therapeutic: "Our life is like a puzzle and as we grow the more wisdom we get the more pieces we get. We want to become a complete and whole person. It took years for Terri to put the pieces of her life together. She wanted to do it for herself but also for her father."
Terri shared the resources she used to trace her family history:
- My Heritage
- World Vital Records
- Gene Tree
- Ancient Faces
- German Genealogy Database
Read the complete story and see the video at the link above.