How Geddy Lee's Grandmother Saved Her Family During the Holocaust

 

Geddy Lee and his iconic band Rush are anomalous in the world of music for their staggering longevity and unprecedented level of success. 

But the good fortune of Rush's career pales in comparison to the courage, determination and luck that made it possible for the band's bassist and front man Lee to exist today at all. 

The son of two Holocaust survivors, Morris and Mary Weinrib, Geddy joins Q104.3 New York's Sonstein Sunday with Shelli Sonstein this Sunday to tell his family's incredible survival story on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Unlike some Jewish families, Lee's did not hide details of the horrors experienced on a daily basis at the infamous Nazi death camp at Auschwitz. His grandmother and mother knew their story needed to be told so hopefully it would never happen again.

"How they survived in there, I don't know," Geddy tells the show, before relating a story from his grandmother.

"They would line them up every day. They would go 'left, right, left, right.' If you went to one direction, you went to the gas chambers. If you went to the other direction, you went to work. So my grandmother would rearrange them in the lineup so they all went in the same direction. She believed that if they were all going to perish, they would perish together, and if they were all going to survive, they would survive together. My grandmother was an amazing person, she kept them alive throughout their time in the camps."

Geddy says his earliest memories are of his mother telling her survival story. While those conversations definitely scarred him, he says they also deeply affected his worldview and gave him some much needed perspective on the importance of love, trust and family.  

You can hear the full interview Sunday, January 27, at 7 a.m. on Q104.3 New York or here on your iHeartRadio app

Geddy's parents were eventually separated when his father was transferred to the Bergen-Belsen camp. In the clip embedded below, Geddy relates the story of how they found one another after being liberated.


Photo: Getty Images

 
 
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