In first person: Belgium pilgrimage a reminder of best and worst of humanity

On three sides of the small central plaza of the sober monument, the black granite walls were covered with the names of those deported who never returned. I searched and found the names of my family's friends.

An infinite sadness overwhelmed me to think of all the lives lost by man's inhumanity to man, to think that so many people had disappeared without a trace and that their only gravestone was the wall on which their names were engraved tightly together alphabetically.

And while our group said Kaddish for the dead, it struck me again how lucky I had been to have survived the German terror.

I also thought of the debt of gratitude that I owe to the many Belgians, young and old, poor or rich, who had risked their lives to save me, my family and so many other Jews.

It is thanks to them that I, my children and grandchildren are alive and well in California and Israel.