I am here because good people did something

Mark Lorch
Jan 27, 2017 · 3 min read

One of the sharpest memories of my childhood is of a picture on the wall of the cloak room. Every time I visited that smallest room I couldn’t help but read it, over and over again. It was a photograph of a poster advertising a circus troupe, showing a faded image of magnificently dressed acrobats somersaulting from one horse back to another. Emblazoned across the top of the poster were the words “The Great Lorch Family”. I wondered what made them great.

I heard stories of the family from my Grandmother. How she accompanied her husband (who managed the troupe) and the people in the photograph -her brothers and sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces - as they toured the world both before and after the Great War. I heard tales of these exotic people with the names Julius, Jeanette, Hedwig, Rudolph, Eugen, Rosa and Arthur. My Grandmother had followed the siblings as they performed their acts across Europe and the Americas. Occasionally I would wonder what had happened to these remarkable members of my family.

From left to right Julius, Hedwig, Rosa, Jeanette, Eugen and Arthur,

Eventually it dawned on me. I knew that the family were German. I knew that the family were Jewish. I knew that my Grandmother did not tell tales of their fate.

Many, many years later I searched for confirmation of what I suspected. I found out the itinerant family actually had a home in the German town of Eschollbrucken. That they had been part of friendly, loving community. But the culture of 1930 Germany turned on them. Boycotted by audiences because of their ancestry they were bankrupted. They lost their home, their troupe, their identify. Much worse was to follow. I searched for them in Shoah records. I learnt that Rudolph, Eugen and Arthur Lorch had died in Auschwitz. Julius, stripped of all he had, and hiding in Belgium died in poverty, his wife Sessie was captured by the Gestapo and murdered.

My, not very distant, family were ostracized from their previously welcoming community, they were forced to flee a totalitarian regime that portrayed them as lesser humans, they were tortured and murdered because of their race.

Edmund Burke famously said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.

And because of good people some of my family survived the holocaust.

The USA welcomed Rosa. I found her in immigration records from Ellis Island. Julius’s daughter, Alice survived the war through the compassion of another circus troupe - they hid her for years from the malevolence of the Nazis. And of course my grandparents survived, blessed with some foresight and a country that allowed them to shelter from the horrors unfolding in their homeland.

I am here because of good people who did something.

Burke’s quote is worth saying again.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

and again.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”

Prof of Science Communication and chemistry & dyslexic writer e.g. http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/ebook/978-1-78262-487-5, https://theconversation.com/

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