The dizzy dancing way that you feel.
An incredible thing happened on Christmas Eve... my father and I were invited to join a zoom with relatives who we've managed to trace back to the early 1800s…they were Peczeniks and originally from Brody in the Ukraine.
Brody was formally part of the Austrian Empire and Poland up to 1939 and at one point was the oldest and most well-known jewish community in Eastern Europe...until the Holocaust when almost 75% European jews perished.
The call included about 30 descendants of holocaust survivors - some whose parents and grandparents had been in Auschwitz, and others who were in hiding during the war.
My great grandmother Clara Peczenik was one of 11 children - Julius, Dovid, Joseph, Clara, Rochella, Charles, Dora, Eva, Janey, Bessie and Hylda... hence the call with so many.
I met my second and third cousins who live all over the world - in the UK, Brazil, Argentina, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, Israel and many in the US...each one told their story - lawyers, doctors, educators, historians, journalists, bankers and musicians… it was amazing.
Peczenik means warrior and apparently I'm a descendant from a long line of strong women survivors.
It was lovely to hear people say Auntie Essie, when to me she was my Grandma Essie... I remember Auntie Bessie would pop round to tea when I was little... I have a vague memory of her being quite statuesque and formidable in her furs.
One of the most remarkable things about the zoom, besides the gift of connection of course, was the path the conversation took... someone asked, whether any of us had experienced the intergenerational consequences of the Holocaust on our mental health and our relationships.
My father and I both suffer from anxiety and my grandmother smoked over 20 B&H a day... so possibly.. and I've been pondering this now for two days...
I've always thought of myself as a survivor...always.. it drives me to want to succeed... I always thought I was just ambitious... but maybe, just maybe, it runs a lot deeper than that...