So much of what we deal with does not have a happy ending, said Rebecca Erbelding, the archivist who oversees the museums material.
I work with people who had a happy childhood until.
Or who can tell me about their parents until.
said, is a story that starts out sad but is redeeming in the end.
To Rebecca Erbelding, the Holocaust Museum archivist, Weir Courtney seems almost like a fairy tale, too.
I cant tell you how long Ive stared at these photos, she
said, referring to the images of children dancing, painting, playing with puppies, riding bikes, doing headstands and playing dress-up.
When you stare at them long enough, you know them.
had spoken and corresponded with Weir Courtney
survivors but had never met any of them.
In late October, she
accompanied Andra and Tatiana on a tour of the Holocaust Museums permanent exhibit.
The sisters had never been to the museum and appeared stunned by the cattle car, one of its most noted artifacts.
A similar train car had carried them to Auschwitz.
told them that there were two ways through the exhibit one through the car and another around it.
That was done specifically so that survivors dont ever have to be in a cattle car again, she
The sisters took the way around.
After the tour of the museum, Rebecca
led the sisters to the archival offices and showed them the Weir Courtney
The next Saturday, I attended her memorial service with Rebecca, the Holocaust Museum archivist.
, too, spoke and remarked that she
was perhaps the only person in the room who had not met Manna.
To be honest, she
said, I couldnt have imagined that Manna was still alive.
Perhaps thats one of the problems with being a historian we assume that the people we read about live only on paper.
held up one such piece of paper a bright drawing of a smiling lady wearing a dress the color of the rainbow.
The drawing was from the museums Weir Courtney
collection, and it was labeled with a name: Manna.
The children needed her
They clearly loved her
, and she
loved them in return.
Thats in the records, too.