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Sitting Shiva

#17, Auschwitz Album Revisited
Oil Painting by Dr. Pat Mercer Hutchens

From left: Abraham and Sheindele Jacobs, paternal grandparents of Lilli Jacobs. Gentleman with star of David still unidentified

Sitting Shiva refers to seven days (shavua) of mourning after a close relative passes. It is a time to honor the dead and help a person deal with their loss. During that 7 day period no work is done nor does the mourner leave the house, but friends visit and sit with the mourner After the week, the mourner may shower, change clothes and start a return to normal life.

When I saw these precious elderly folks sitting by the cattle train, it cried out to me, “Sitting Shiva.” Many loved ones died in route. Most of the rest would soon be dead. The look on their faces is full of “knowing.” They aren’t even strong enough to get in line – they will be killed and they already know it.