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Minerva's Breakdown

"Family Secrets"

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Dear Minerva,

My mother recently died and I have had hard the task of going through her things. I didn't expect it to be easy. I also didn't expect to discover that there appear to have been Nazis in our family. Mother never spoke of it to me at all so when I happened across old photos I'd never seen before in an old box, it was startling. I'm having a hard time processing it. She isn't here to ask about it and I don't have any family left on that side. I'm also feeling a lot of guilt. What can I do?

-Sincerely, Disturbed

Dear Disturbed,

Family secrets always find a way to the light of day. If I were to guess, your mother was trying to protect you from these very feelings. She may have even intended to tell you, but that day never came. She may have already dealt with the fact that it wasn't her fault that her family included Nazis. If you want to know more, we live in an amazing time for researching genealogy. If you have children of your own, talk to them and try to heal from this shock through the best medicine, the truth. As for guilt, don't take on the burden of the crimes your distant relations may have committed. Look into the work of Eva Mozes Kor for a perspective that has helped many heal. You cannot change the past but you can help stop it from repeating itself.