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Old 05-11-2019, 02:11 PM
Location: on the wind
6,795 posts, read 2,771,359 times
Reputation: 23136


Originally Posted by Archaic View Post
Also, the promise you made your father might die with YOU
This. YOU are the one who made the promise OP and unfortunately you broke it. Whether his story should be shared or not for historical purposes isn't the point. Also consider that you could have "shared" aspects of his experience without identifying the person(s) involved specifically which was most likely what he wanted to protect. While I agree with those who feel history shouldn't be buried, I also feel there are ways to inform without exposing something personally sensitive. Chances are nothing in his story is going to change history. I wouldn't break a promise unless it was for a profound humanitarian reason (such as sharing the intentions of some relative who planned to bomb a building, murder someone, etc).

Did your dad know about the Holocaust museum? If he did, any idea whether he might have submitted anything to them? That might help in your decision. Consulting them about the ethics/morals and your promise might be a good idea. Museum curators deal with privacy, sensitive information, and "ownership" issues all the time. They have probably dealt with this before and could offer alternatives. Accepting a sealed account for archival preservation but not divulging the contents publicly.

Last edited by Parnassia; 05-11-2019 at 02:51 PM..
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:12 PM
Status: "?" (set 29 days ago)
Location: Tucson Arizona
3,804 posts, read 1,612,024 times
Reputation: 9938
The promise wasn't just for his lifetime, it's for always.
You've broken it, but that doesn't mean you should break it again.

Tell your friend that it is absolutely NOT okay to share it, and take back the copy you gave him.
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Old 05-11-2019, 02:48 PM
Location: Pittsburgh
22,441 posts, read 23,999,435 times
Reputation: 48588
Originally Posted by nobodysbusiness View Post
"Honor thy father and mother."
Or, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." --George Santayana
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Old 05-11-2019, 03:58 PM
4,641 posts, read 3,962,883 times
Reputation: 9712
I would copy it & put it in a safe deposit box for my children (future generations) and suggest your brother do the same. Period.
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Old 05-11-2019, 04:38 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,552 posts, read 14,180,052 times
Reputation: 30140
My take: I do think you kept your promise. You’ve only showed it to others after he passed, correct? He is dead now; he does not care. And unless sharing it would hurt someone still alive, I don’t see the need of keeping it secret. I do think it would be a loss if his account would be forever lost.

Since you are conflicted about this, I suggest you find a rabbi or pastor, depending on your father’s religion, and talk with him or her about the ethics involved. This person is qualified to help you think about what your father might have feared when he instructed you to share only with family. And this person would also be able to help you assess the value of allowing your father’s story to be released.

I made a promise to a friend who is now passed. The thing I promised not to reveal is passed, my friend is sadly dead, but I have not talked about it to anyone, save my DH who finally heard it from another family member. But this thing, was never my secret to tell. It involves a living person, and it frankly is no one else’s business.

But I don’t think what you have in your possession is like that. I think it is a valuable memoir. That’s why I think you need input from someone who is used to thinking about ethical problems.

And I think you deserve credit for treating your father’s memoir with great respect.
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:15 PM
Location: Texas
9,121 posts, read 3,534,321 times
Reputation: 18932
I would honor his request.
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Old 05-11-2019, 05:26 PM
13,102 posts, read 17,661,987 times
Reputation: 19625
You broke this promise. Why? To satisfy someone's curiosity or to have something interesting to to share? What comes to mind is what else have you shared or will share? Secret keepers like that back then - use your imagination.
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Old 05-11-2019, 06:06 PM
1,115 posts, read 608,546 times
Reputation: 1698
It's hard for me to believe you're conflicted about this. I think deep down you know what to do.

But maybe you think you're going to be punished somehow for making a "wrong" choice? Sometimes that's the issue.
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:15 PM
3,162 posts, read 1,198,275 times
Reputation: 6183
it has already been broken.
do as you wish since you
have already done so.
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Old 05-11-2019, 07:17 PM
9,959 posts, read 6,261,341 times
Reputation: 8304
Originally Posted by WorldKlas View Post
My Dad wrote the story of a period in his life detailing his survival in Germany during the Holocaust. It involved where he hid, how he obtained false documents, things he witnessed. He gave a copy to me and my brother to answer the many questions we had that he refused to talk about. He asked that it not be shared ďoutside the family.Ē He passed away almost 20 years ago. I have only shared it with family ó cousins, 2nd cousins and my own kids. I made each promise not to share it and, as far as I know, everyone has complied. However, I made an exception and shared it recently with a long-time friend who I am certain will honor Dadís request not to share it.

Its a compelling story and I have been considering donating it to the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. My friend, after reading the story, asked permission to share with someone I donít know who also survived the Holocaust.

Should I honor Dadís request, or share the story?
No, promises don't expire upon death. I think they become even more important. I would honor his request and not share it outside of the family.
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