Recalling Grandma W.

I finished reading Russian Fairy Tales: A Collection of Muscovite Folktales this last week. It was not that long, but I had troubles concentrating. I also went to a movie today… I started thinking about the Holocaust, and about the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg, who saved 100,000 Jews from the Holocaust before being captured by the Russians (then supposedly our allies) because he worked for the O.S.S. (the organization which would later be replaced by the CIA) and the whereabouts of his death remain unnamed. I came to find myself wondering if I couldn’t do a Holocaust series at my synagogue–I haven’t asked the rabbi, next. Part of it would be listening and then discussing music from Theresienstadt–though I seldom listen to them they are beautiful, dark and mysterious, harsh as the fate of the inmates. Theresienstadt, for the initiated, was a “model concentration camp” window dressing for the Red Cross and the World, where educated, affluent Jews were taken till very close to the War’s end. Most of these people–particularly the children–died the same way as their peers who traveled to the camps before them. However, while at Theresienstadt, the adults tried to ease the suffering of the children by having them produce children’s art and children’s theater. Some people see this as collaborating. Regardless, the adults had little choice but to comply. So it was that out of this the books I Never Saw Another Butterfly and Ela Stein’s The Cat with the Yellow Star about Brundibar, a popular children’s opera during the time before the adults and children were finally sent to the camps.

Naturally enough, I thinking about Wallenberg made me think of my Swedish ancestry… and I got out some of my things… I was planning on writing a book A Biography of Frances Westin Williams. I am thinking perhaps I can somehow work on both it and work on Tales of the Land of the Firebird. Perhaps I shall read The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History. After that I shall read the histories of:

A Warrior Dynasty;
Gustav Adolphus;
Christina, Queen of Sweden;
King Carl XII;

I have some other books on Swedish American History, but most of these I shall read over weekends. In the meantime, after finishing the books about Sweden, I shall read:

Moscow and Muscovites;

The Chronicles of Novgorod;
Medieval Russia;
Peter the Great: His Life and World;
Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman;

Das Kapital;
Main Currents of Marxism;

Russian Philosophy Vol. 1-3;

Russia: Under the Recent Regime;
Revolutionary Russia (Figgs);
Stalin’s War;
A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution (Figgs);
The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union;
From Cold War to Hot Peace;
The Plot to Hack America;
The Plot to Hack Democracy;
Central European History
Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe;
Heart of Europe: The Past in Poland’s Present;
The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine;
Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine;

Surviving Katyn: Stalin’s Polish Massacre and the Search for Proof.

I have other “to-read’s” (I know the list is long) but because my book list for Grandma William’s biography is smaller, I think I can slug through them both at the same time. I feel guilty but torn: I must get all of what I want to get read for my book read. And: Mom is feeling ill and I want to make sure she sees Grandma’s book at all costs. So it is current day tragedies (like the War in Ukraine, but also the ones in Afghanistan) comingle with the primacy of honoring the woman we all treasured and loved in my mother’s family: Grandma. Luckily (?) Swedish at it’s zenith played a major role in Russia’s history and vice versa: they fought several major wars against each other. It was Peter who destroyed Sweden’s position as a world power, and it was Catherine who reduced Poland (I know; a different country) to a puppet state. Later one, scores of Swedes travelled across the Atlantic for a new home–including my Grandma’s parents and one set of her grandparents. Around that time and afterwards, the Napoleonic Wars took place. During that time I had two grandparents fighting for Sweden against Napoleon, whereas in America, I have ancestry that fought both the British (in my Grandma Alderson’s ancestry) and later one (in 1812 in my Grandpa Williams’) the British. Though my book A History of Frances Westin Williams, focuses on my Grandma Williams and her family, I will mention some of these facts in the book.

Published by hadassahalderson

I am a professional author who lives in Wichita, KS. I went to Friends University and spent one year at Claremont Graduate University. My published work includes: The Bible According to Eve I-IV and Faust in Love.

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