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Alanis Morissette on finding her Jewish roots, fates of family in Holocaust

“I had no idea how super-Jewish I am,” the acclaimed singer said on the “PBS” program hosted by historian Henry Louis Gates.

Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette. Credit: Justin Higuchi via Wikimedia Commons.

The musician who rose to prominence in the 1990s with her multiple hits, including “You Oughta Know,” has now learned the truth about her extended family.

Alanis Morissette appeared on the PBS show “Finding Your Roots,” in which researchers and genealogists discover information about celebrities they ought to know.

Morissette had learned in her 20s about her mother’s Jewish background but said it was not until now that she learned the extent of her Jewish family. The rationalization? Her mother and grandmother mentioned that “there was a terror that was in their bones, and they were being protective of us and not wanting antisemitism. They were protecting us, keeping us in the dark around it.”

Through the program, Morissette learned that her two great-uncles—Gyorgy and Sandor Feuerstein—had disappeared during the Holocaust. The show’s researchers believed that they died as part of an army sent to Russia. Imre Feuerstein, her maternal grandfather, escaped and fled to America in 1956 after the Soviet Union had taken control of Hungary. Imre died in a car accident three months after Morissette’s birth.

The singer said she “always had a crush on” the Jewish community.

“I would just show up on Passover and at seder,” she noted. “Now I know why. It was like, come home.”

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