Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lest We Forget

Every year when we Jews celebrate Yom Hashoah to commemorate all those who perished during the holocaust, I am reminded that there are still those who want to deny that it ever existed.  And I wonder how this ignorance can persist decades later.

Tonight we heard a moving presentation by Michael, a member whose father was a survivor of Buchenwald.  In fact, his father Otto is on the left in the above photo, which depicts a hideous form of punishment in which prisoners were hung on trees by their arms tied behind their backs.  Amazingly all three of these victims survived their years at Buchenwald.

The son shared with us photos he and his family took on a trip in 1995 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation.  They traveled to the bucolic town of Weimar, the home of Goethe.  Michael wondered how a place that had produced someone of the caliber of Goethe could have also lived in “ignorance” of what was going on just down the road from 1939 to 1945.  Michael and his family boarded a city bus with “Buchenwald” or “Beech Forest” as its destination.  By 1995, Otto had died, always proclaiming that he had been given a gift of 40 years.  But one of the other men in the photo was there and could personally tell them what life had been like for their father/grandfather.

For many of us, those 6 million are faceless victims whose lives were cut short under Hitler’s reign.  But tonight we were introduced to Otto, who lived to tell what had he had witnessed during his imprisonment. 

Six members went up to light candles for their parents or grandparents, all survivors -- the lucky ones.  We then said a special version of the kaddish, which interspersed the names of the various camps with the words we say at ever service in memory of the dead.

We were asked to depart in silence after once again being reminded of the atrocities that happened decades ago and quietly vowing never to let it happen again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbara...I was weeping before I'd read a word of your post, staring at the photograph. I can't say anything coherent beyond "thank you" for this eloquent, moving post.


3:29 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

I find holocaust denial incomprehensible too - what happened also seems incomprehensible. This is very moving Barbara

6:37 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

powerful images and words.

It is with posts like this and sharing stories, photographs, memories, etc that we will not forget.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

The numbers as a whole are so hard to fathom; it's the individual stories that make it almost too much to bear. The Holocaust Museum bears evidence to the individuality of so many of the victims; I can't imagine what it would be like to hear the story in person.

9:19 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home