The meaning of lilacs

My Dad was not a gardener, and yard and garden chores where never a major interest for him. Lilacs, however, were special. He would always stop to comment on the scent and beauty of blooming lilacs. Here, in his own words, is the explanation.

"When Hitler came to Vienna, I was in medical school. Then life in Vienna fell apart, as did my own. I felt destitute. On a beautiful Spring day, March 13, 1938, the day after Hitler marched into Austria, I walked to the main square in Vienna (Heldenplatz) with the Habsburg Palace and the two equestrian statues of Prince Eugen of Savoy and Prince Charles of Lorraine. Here, in this square, stand many historical sculptures among which lilacs bloom in perfusion. The lilac was in full bloom and the entire square had the scent of lilacs. For one moment I felt outraged about this magnificence in the face of my life (and its) crumbling state. But within seconds I had the thought (that) the lilacs are telling me something! These flowers bloom and die and then return every year. Hence, there is a future, and hope. I felt sure this was a sign that I, too, could survive. Lilacs (have) ever since been my reminder of survival and hope."


 

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