Why Auerbach?

Posted at Jun 26, 2015 8:27 pm

Readers often ask if I am related to Red Auerbach, the legendary Boston Celtics coach. Um . . . no. Sorry, never heard of him till I was enlightened by indignant sports fans (I’ve been known to confuse a basketball team for a baseball team a time or two. Or three). But . . . some of you know that Auerbach is my pen name; my actual name is Potocky. How did I come up with Auerbach? Funny you should ask.

Auerbach was my late father’s original surname. My father was Jewish, living in Czechoslovakia before and after World War II. Basically, not a good place to be Jewish at the time. In order to assimilate, in the 1950s he changed his name from the Jewish-German Auerbach to the Czech equivalent Potocky. The two names mean the same thing: “by the creek.” So in English, my name would be Creekside!

remakeblackangelposterbMost of my father’s family perished in the Holocaust. This year it will be seventy years since my grandparents were gassed in Auschwitz. So I use the Auerbach name as a way to give the finger to the Nazis! They tried to exterminate the Auerbach family and the Jewish people, but we are still here seventy years later – and will be for seven thousand more!





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