When starting your family history research, you never know where it will take you and what you will find. Family skeletons and difficult situations lurk behind every corner, waiting to pop out. Imagine making a discovery that changes everything you knew about your parents and family history. Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve as U.S. secretary of state, made such an incredible discovery.
She was baptized and raised in the Catholic church. When she became secretary of state, she discovered that her family was Jewish, and that many family members died in concentration camps during World War II. As secretary of state she had the opportunity to visit Terezin, the camp in Czechoslovakia where her family was. I had occasion to visit Terezin myself in 2005 and found it to be incredibly eerie and very moving. I can only imagine what the visit was like for her.
This is the entrance to the camp at Terezin(Theresienstadt). The slogan over the door was placed over the entrances to a number of the camps. It translates to “Work makes one free.”
Albright recently published a memoir, Prague Winter, in which she explores her family history, putting them in the context of the holocaust. You can watch a video of an interview with her about her experience researching her family on the MSNBC website.