You: Man Leben – your foreparents


Shrivelled face

Autumn leaves on the ground

Furrows of life

The first part of the description of your life is about your foreparents and parents before you came in their lives. You tell about you foreparents:

“About 4500 years ago my foreparents entered our history. Before this period they have lived an immeasurable time on earth. A coherent history of this first period is missing. During excavations, in wall paintings, in the landscape, in habits, in behaviours and in words we still see fragments of their lives. The last part of the history of my foreparents is described in the book Wanderings – The History of the Jews [1] by Chaim Potok. As far as I am aware, around 2500 BC my foreparents moved from Mesopotamia to their “Promised Land”. After a brief period in Egypt, they turned back to Jerusalem. Around 600 BC, the Babylonian King ordered to destroy Jerusalem. My foreparents were exiled as prisoners of war to Babylon – the world city with the hanging gardens, where they were treated surprisingly well. A part of my family remained in that city, but around 500 BC my foreparents moved back to Jerusalem – after the destruction Jerusalem was a place where the sheep grazed. Until recently, these old family ties with Babylon continued to exist: we have helped and advised each other through the ages.

[2]

[3]

After the fall and destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans around 70 AD – only the Western Wall of the temple remained – my ancestors moved away to Europe.

[4]

Probably until the Crusades they were involved in international trade. At the beginning of the Crusades they have established themselves in Islamic Cordoba. Around the year 1000 AD, Cordoba was a city with more than half a million inhabitants. It was an important financial, commercial and cultural centre of the world and its library contained 400,000 books [5]. They probably were writers and bookkeepers.

In 1236 AD the Spanish King took possession of Cordoba: this was a downturn for my forefathers. They tried to escape persecution by converting themselves to the Catholic faith. This was to no avail, because the persecution was severe against converted Catholics – former Jews and Muslims – who secretly practised their traditional faith.

Finally, around 1500 AD my ancestors moved to the Baltic region in Northern Germany, Poland and Lithuania. They became traders.

A few years after the retreat of Napoleon from Russia, my ancestors moved to the centre of Germany. My mother’s family established themselves in Frankfurt am Main. The family of my father lived in several German cities. In 1927, my mother met my father when he studied at the University in Frankfurt am Main. Erich Fromm [6] was a distant acquaintance from the university. We will encounter his books [6] on our Odyssey. In the beginning of 1933 my parents married. In that same year another regime was established in Germany: Erich Fromm first left to Geneva and afterwards to the United States, and my parents moved to Amsterdam”, you say.

“Little is known of the history of my foreparents”, I say.

“That may be a blessing; many stories end with the words – and they lived happily ever after”, you say.

In the following post we continue with a description of the beginning of your life.


[1] Potok, Chaim, Omzwervingen – De Geschiedenis van het Joodse Volk. ‘s-Gravenhage: BZZTôH 1999

[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Wall

[5] Sources: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%B3rdoba_(Spanje) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cordoba,_Andalusia

[6] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Fromm

[7] Fromm, Erich, Escape from Freedom. New York: Rinehart & Co, 1941

Fromm, Erich, The Forgotten Language. New York: Rinehart & Co, 1951

Fromm, Erich, The Sane Society (1955)

Fromm, Erich, The Art of Loving (1956)


– “Who are you – Part 1″ ready for download –

– Please, see page: “Who are you – Part 1”

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