WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — It is Holocaust Days of Remembrance Week, a time where the nation pauses to remember the millions of Holocaust victims who tragically lost their lives.
It also honors the survivors, like Marija Fine who spoke at an event at Fort Sill Thursday.
She was seized by Nazis as a baby and was later saved and adopted in America, never knowing who her real parents were until a few years ago.
“Emotionally I could understand what both of my parents went through and love them all the more,” Fine said.
In her book Wide Eyes: A War Orphan Unlocks the Mystery of her Latvian Roots after Seventy Years, Fine details what little memory she has of her roots and that which were unlocked from the family detective in recent years.
“Even the orphanage that I lived in I went back to, it didn’t ring any particular bells but the one thing that I did remember coming in on that flight into Riga in 2014, I felt I was home I just had that feeling, this is home to me,” Fine said.
Fine said she has tried hypnosis to try to reach some memories but haven’t had much success.
Thursday she shared those stories and what knowing her identity means to her at a Day of Remembrance event at Fort Sill.
“Image or taste is is probably all that I can point to that I remember from the early years before I came to the United States and I don’t know what that says about the memory of children that are so young and grow up in a war zone area,” Fine said.
“It’s important to recognize these events to allow us to learn from the event that happened to better our future and help those who don’t know to understand the events that happened,” Sgt. 1st Class Refugio Johnson said.
Fine said despite the tragedy, she believes she was blessed.
“I just landed in a wonderful place with the people who adopted me and that’s all I know, I guess the only regret I have is that I never got to actually meet my parents,” Fine said.
“Knowing someone’s story can really humble you and humble your future experience as well,” Johnson said.
For 70 years her past was unknown to her, but now fine said her goal is to remind others about the importance of knowing your roots.