I scan the textbook looking for any flickers of familiarity, of words I might have seen before or words that resemble English in some way. There are a few of those like Sohn, son, Bruder, brother, Mutter, mother. Would the unfamiliar words make more sense if my grandfather had kept his native tongue rather than disown it when he arrived in Australia?
His name was changed from Pollnow, German, dating back to the eighteenth century, to Peters, assigned with little more than an up and down glance. My grandfather, along with seven other young Jewish refugees, was cautioned against revealing any trace of their foreignness. Assimilation has always been Australia’s policy.
I open the folder and a frail wisp of paper flies out, caught in the gust. I catch it and read the headline: AUSCHWITZ: TRUTH TOO PAINFUL TO BELIEVE.