...  To clarify, Maria was actually not my grandmother but my grandaunt. She was my maternal grandmother's sister. However, I always called her Grandma Maria. Having no children of her own, she took care of my mother (also named Maria) when she was little, then me, then my younger sister, Eva Maria. She was a role model to all of us.
I think her life is a quintessential experience of twentieth-century Europe. It can also be a handbook on how to lead a healthy, productive life and still have lots of fun.
I feel it's my duty to tell her story.
With racism and xenophobia still an issue in Europe, the U.S., and elsewhere, my grandma's story illustrates how arbitrary the concept of race really is. A white European, during the Nazi occupation of Poland she was considered to be of an inferior race and confined to the back of a streetcar.
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