When his mother revealed his family’s Jewish heritage and gave him a suitcase filled with photographs, letters, and documents, Jim began to look for answers to his family’s history — and his own identity. Researching his genealogy, talking to previously unknown relatives, and examining the contents of his beloved grandmother’s suitcase revealed far more about the family stories he’d grown up with. The uncovered saga, ultimately stretching over 120 years and three continents, was more complicated than he’d ever imagined, leading him to explore aspects of his family’s relationship to world history.
Celebrate Grandparent’s Day on September 11, 2022. Honor those special people who have had such an impact on our lives.
Jim Van Buskirk is a retired librarian (San Francisco Public Library, Jewish Community Library), Jim currently works as a book group facilitator, writer, editor, public speaker, exhibit curator, and collections manager. Jim frequently writes articles and/or presents programs related to Jewish, literary, film and/or queer history.
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