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The Hoarse Whisperer @HoarseWisperer
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I grew up in a New York City apartment in a neighborhood filled with old first-generation immigrants from Western Europe.

There was a storage room in the basement the super would occasionally let us into.

It was just filled with old steamer trunks.

Most had been abandoned by tenants who had long since left or died.

They were beautiful inside. They were designed to be stood up on their end. Many were velvet-lined with drawers on one side and room to hang clothes on the other.

The super gave my mother two of them. She still has them.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized those trunks were the only luggage of European Jews fleeing the Holocaust.

At one time, those trunks held the only possessions they escaped with.

As a kid, that room in the basement always seemed like your grandparents attic. Filled with forgotten treasures and interesting things.

Now, as an adult, I understand it as something different. Something more solemn. A room full of history and struggle and survival.

Now, it seems like another of the small tragedies of stolen lives and memories and family histories that those trunks were left behind.

There was an entire roomful of them. Each a life saved. Each a life uprooted. Both loss and life all at once.

If only there was a way to reunite them with the original owners’ family.

They were just trunks when I was a kid.

They feel like someone else’s precious heirlooms as an adult.

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