Grandmother's brooch

In Attire
Relationship: Im/migrant
My grandmother's beautiful brooch
My grandmother's beautiful brooch

My mother grew up in Vienna, Austria with her parents and three siblings.They were Jewish. In 1937 my grandfather was arrested and placed in a concentration camp where he starved to death. My mother and her sister left on a boat to Ellis Island shortly afterward. They were sponsored by an Aunt and Uncle living in Brooklyn. Due to quotas, her brothers had to leave
for England to a displaced children's camp. My grandmother remained behind hoping to follow to America but was captured and killed. My uncles did come to America 11 years later and settled in NYC.
My mother, my aunt and uncle did not easily share stories of what they experienced. They had
a lot of emotional sadness and kept secrets from my brother and I.  When I was 21 I was surprised when my mother and aunt presented me with my grandmother's brooch. I did not
know they had any of her personal items.  They both felt I was old enough to understand what
it meant to have one of their mom's favorite jewelry pieces. It gives me comfort to hold and admire it. I am too afraid to wear it because I never want to lose it.  A piece of the grandmother I never met is with me.

Place(s): Vienna NYC
Year: 1937

– Erica Elmi

Relationship:  Im/migrant Im/migrant