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A Piece of My Mind
June 6, 2001

The List

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2001;285(21):2692. doi:10.1001/jama.285.21.2692

On a recent cold and overcast Sunday afternoon in Poland, I carried in my pocket a handwritten list of 207 names and walked over the snow-covered expanse of a place once described by Nazi SS military surgeon Thilo as "anus mundi."

Seven years ago, after 20 years in practice, I began compiling a roster of my patients who survived the Holocaust. I'm not sure what prompted me to begin listing these people's names, along with their places of birth, and, eventually, 977 of their murdered relatives. Perhaps it was because I was born in 1943, the very year in which tens of thousands of Jewish infants—like me—began to be murdered at the death camp Auschwitz. I probably began logging the names of survivors while pondering how fortunate I was that my grandparents left Eastern Europe in the early 1900s. Perhaps it was simply a desire to create my own private memorial to the slain.

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