Personal Narrative: My First Girl After World War I

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The first girl I ever kissed was the daughter of a woman who frequented my parent’s hat shop. I was thirteen years old and we had escaped into the alley beside the shop. Her mother was taking her time perusing the hats: hats with wide brims, big feathers, funny textures. My family was very successful; hats were an important commodity to the women of Vienna, even to those that typically upturned their noses at my family. The approaching war distanced itself further from me each time a woman bought a hat and exited the shop with her lips upturned in a satisfied smile. How could there be war, I had thought, when these women could be brought happiness by a simple hat? The girl’s name was Ingrid. She had beautiful blonde hair that wisped around her shoulders in smooth, unhurried movements. I remembered how badly I wanted to run my fingers through that hair. I knew it would bring me the kind of happiness my family’s hats brought women. Ingrid became the first girl I touched, too, when a few years later we were both …show more content…
After liberation, my life became a whirl-wind of self-actualization. I worked as an interpreter for the Allies until the end of the war in 1945. During that time, I realized how lucky my family and I were to have escaped life, or death, in a concentration camp. The stories I heard and the things I saw with my own eyes in the aftermath of liberation shocked me to my core. I spent my days in a hotel pondering when I would have another opportunity to kiss a girl while thousands of others perished. I was disappointed in myself, yet relieved. I suppose this is what led me to work for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. I helped resettle Jewish refugees in Palestine for the next three years. I truly think this work liberated my soul and helped me become a humbler person. I came to terms with my experience during the Holocaust and was determined to make a difference in the lives of those who

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