By Julius Horowitz
My Roots Grew in Linkuva
I was born in Malmesbury(Cape Province in South Africa) in 1932. My name is Julius Horowitz. I'm married to Bridget Mary and we have 6 children. My parents were Robert Horowitz (died 1963) and Rachel (nee Lurie, died 1980). My father was born in Linkuva in 1905 and came to South Africa in 1926; my mother was also born in Linkuva the same year & came to South Africa in 1927 - they were married in Cape Town in 1931.
My paternal grandparents were Simcha & Rayze Gurevicj (Horowitz) who perished in Linkuva in July 1941 together with a young aunt & uncle of mine. My maternal grandparents were Yehuda( died in 1918 aged 36) & Gita Lurie who died in South Africa in 1938. They lived in Linkuva and the entire family had emigrated to South Africa & Israel by 1936].
I suppose that, like many people reaching the 'three score years and 10' milestone on the path through life, I paused for a moment to reflect. The pause came, not as a spontaneous reaction from me, but was triggered by my son Adam's announcement that he and his family were to visit Riga in December 2001. I was almost instantaneously engulfed by a rush of remembrance which soon turned to enthusiasm. Sitting at the table, a festival table or simply a 'meal'-a torrent of conversation in Yiddish with my parents, my uncles and aunts all articulating with what seemed like a great deal of passion. I understood the Yiddish, which I had learned from 'Bobba' Gita who passed away when I was 6 - how well I remembered the 'deathly' silence that followed and which lasted for , what to me the 6 year old, seems like an eternity.
The years passed, the deaths, the estrangements, the emigration, the problems we would or could not share. Our own immediate loved ones, the spouses, the children, the grandchildren - did we forget the stories which at the time were totally enthralling? When did the fascination wane, when did it become unimportant. Was I so different, that my 'roots' became more and more obscure?
I have recently learned that there are millions whose interest in their roots is alive and which represents a very compelling pursuit. This I learned after first visiting the Linkuva website and then the JGFF website.
My son went to Riga, visited Linkuva (a 2 hour drive) and returned with of video & documentation. I am hooked!
Julius Horowitz, January 2002