Holocaust Survivor – Poland – Harold Gordon

The Last Sunrise by Harold Gordon

My name is Harold Gordon now! But 55 years ago I was a (10) year old boy whose name was Hirshel Grodzienski. I lived with my family in Grodno, Poland, a city of 65,000 inhabitants. 25,000 were of the Jewish faith and the majority were of Catholic persuasion . We lived side by side and in peace most of the time.

Grodno is located at the most north Eastern corner of Poland, on the Niemen River bordering Lithuania. 136 kilometers to the North was the Baltic Sea and the Polish port city of Gdansk.

Within months after the Nazis occupied Grodno, my entire family except for my father, were gassed, burned and vaporized without leaving a trace of their existence.

All those years while I was imprisoned in Auschwitz, Dachau, and other extermination camps I kept praying to God. Often, when the pain became too much to bear I would say, God if you let me live I promise to take revenge and kill every Nazi that crosses my path. I will make them pay for taking my family from me and leaving me without a burial site to visit.

On May 8, 1945, when the war ended it was time to keep my promise. I began thinking. How many Nazis can I kill before I die, 10, 100, 1000? Then what? Who will remember my mother, grandparents, brother, aunts and uncles after I am gone.

I said to God, God, please forgive me for not keeping my promise. I have another plan in its place. I will make a good life for myself. A life that my mother would be proud of. I will raise a family, leave behind descendants so that there will be grandchildren for them to remember after I am gone. I will not forget my ancestors, I will put my memories in the deepest corner of my mind to recall them before my days on earth are ended.

Suddenly and without warning, I heard a call. Something began rumbling in my brain like a volcano. I knew it was time to fulfill my second promise.

I sat down at my computer every night after work, like a video it was all right before my eyes. Two years later, my book, The Last Sunrise was completed.

I couldn’t help but wonder. Was there something else that God had in mind for me to fulfill? I was the youngest survivor from a city of 25,000 Jews. Why was I chosen to live. I was not the smartest nor the strongest. I was tormented looking for an answer.