As we enter 2016, I am excited to move forward, but always cognizant of looking back.
This past month, my husband and I traveled to Israel to celebrate Chanukah with our children and grandchildren who live there. On the way, we had a long connection in Munich, so we went with a tour guide, Chaim Eytan, to see Freising and Munich.
looking down Unterhaupstrasse, where my mother lived
Freising is a quaint town on the outskirts of Munich (very close to the Munich airport). It is the town where my father ended the Death March from Buchenwald at the age of 19, walked into the hospital, and fell into a coma for 2 weeks. He was nursed back to life thereby a most caring doctor, Dr. Meyers, a German who had refused to join the Nazi party during the war. The American Zone was located in Freising at the time, and many survivors came to live in Freising. Among them were many who had survived the same Death March with my father (including my mother’s older brother). From Freising, they were able to emigrate and to leave for a new life in the States.
I was lucky to find my father’s driver’s license which had his address on it (confirmed by my mother) and also a letter that had been written to my mother’s brother, so I had the address where my mother lived in Freising with her brother, Morton. We visited both addresses and walked the streets of the town. It all came to life just as my parents had described it, uphill, downhill, the water, the forests along the water. It was amazing to be able to go back in time, to close my eyes and visualize the history and the stories that I had heard.
And then from Freising, we went to Munich, a beautiful city. We saw the Christmas markets, the opera house, the famous HofBrauHaus which is one of Munich’s oldest breweries and a famous restaurant which is still popular today. It is also the site of the beginnings of the Nazi movement, and always so interesting to me that while Hitler and his Nazi party no longer exist, I, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, am now standing there. Despite all the beauty of Munich, I believe the city will carry the black spot in world history of being the beginning of the Nazi terror, as long as the earth exists.
And then, we boarded the plane to continue our journey to Israel, to celebrate Chanukah, the holiday that commemorates the victory of the “few over the many”, the story of our history, the continuity of the Jewish people. I was so excited, because Chanukah, especially in Israel, is such a wonderfully celebratory time. And here is what I recognized; always look to the future, cognizant of the past, with hope and excited anticipation for the wonder and excitement the future holds.
In celebration of the New Year, and of looking forward, I am planning to bake a fun pastry delight, a cookie filled with preserves, Kolatchki. Kolatchki is an "old world" cookie recipe that is as colorful as your choice of preserves, and as delicious today as in an earlier era. I was given this recipe by a wonderful woman (and share it with you here with her permission) from Eastern Europe, who has worked with my mom, and enjoyed baking and cooking with her.
1 (8-ounce) container cream cheese at room temperature
8 ounces unsalted butter
2 cups flour
Preserves of choice, as needed
Mix the cream cheese, butter and flour. If necessary, add a bit more flour. Refrigerate the dough for 2 to 3 hours. Then roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick. Cut the dough into squares and place ½ teaspoon or less of preserves in the center of each. Wrap the two sides and pinch together so that it does not open. Bake at 350° on ungreased cookie sheets until the cookies begin to brown, between 15 to 20 minutes. Cool and dust with confectioner's sugar.