Lisa Kudrow Faces Traumatic Family Past
Actress Lisa Kudrow was forced to come to terms with her family's harrowing past as part of a new TV show. The former Friends star has launched an American version of U.K. show Who Do You Think You Are?, which follows celebrities as they research their ancestry.
Kudrow allowed cameras to film as she traced her own family tree - only to find that her Jewish great-grandmother, Mera Mordejovich, had been killed in Nazi Germany during World War II. The actress admits she had heard the story when she was growing up, but the program forced her to accept the truth.
She says, "My father told me that after the war his cousin Boleslaw had visited his parents' house and told them their village in Belarus had been razed to the ground. When I was young, my grandma said Hitler killed her mother, but I didn't want to know the story. I told myself that my grandmother wasn't a reliable source and that everyone got out of Europe in time."
"The show made me face up to it. The people were stripped, shot and burned. Hearing the details made it worse because you conjure up an image of what it must have been like for them."
Nevertheless, the show did bring one piece of happy news - she was reunited with her dad's cousin: "I expected he had died. It had been one sad story after another... Then we discovered Boleslaw was alive. It was an amazing end to a difficult journey."