Tag Archives: Holocaust Remembrance Day

Anne Frank, our world today, and the responsibility we have on Holocaust Remembrance Day

 

Anne-Frank-row-REXSometimes as a writer you have to look for a topic to write about, while other times the topic is put in front of you on a silver platter.  As the son of Holocaust survivors, more specifically Holocaust survivors from Holland, with the existing quarantine we live in and the continuing conversations about Anne Frank that some seem to think is relevant to our current state of affairs, I have been presented with that aforementioned silver platter.

It’s been somewhat fascinating to me and even more alarming that there are people out there who feel being quarantined in the comfort of their own home, with food to eat, entertainment available, the freedom to leave their house without fear of being killed by a ruling force is comparable to what Anne Frank experienced.  Those among us who are most likely to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day are sufficiently educated to the point where we understand how wrong that thought process is.  For me, this whole discussion takes me back to last July when I spent 6 days in Amsterdam and had the ceremony where we retrieved the violin that belonged to my uncle who was murdered in Auschwitz.  BRAM’S VIOLIN

I have a confession to make.  In all my trips to Holland, including last summer, I have never visited the Anne Frank house.  This is not because I do not recognize its importance, nor is it not because I do not recognize the tragedy of her life, but more because, having been raised by a mother who was in essence, as she put it herself, the Anne Frank that lived, it was not as important for me to go there as it is for others.  However, while there last summer it was somewhat prevalent in my thoughts, because while taking in much of what Amsterdam has to offer, and looking at what people called the tourist attractions, Anne Frank’s house was often mentioned.  While I recognize the importance it has to society, there too lies the problem.  For so many all it really is is a tourist attraction.

It may be very powerful and accurate in its presentation. Having never been there it would be inappropriate for me to say otherwise. For me the issue is not in what Anne Frank’s house is designed to be, it is more about how people choose to look at it.  And it so clearly is relevant in the discussion that has recently emerged when using it as a frame of reference.  In fairness, if people use it as a comparison without mocking or purposely minimizing Anne Frank’s plight, they are guilty of only one thing. Ignorance.  And to be even more direct, if so many are ignorant, they are not the guilty ones, we are.  Decent people who understand things incorrectly are people willing to listen and learn.  People who are sad, depressed and scared over our current state of affairs should not be criticized or ridiculed for their feelings, but if they incorrectly compare themselves to a 13 year old girl who could never leave the house in fear of being killed by Nazi soldiers, was stuck in small quarters with her family with minimal amounts of food, and ultimately died of disease in a concentration camp designed to ultimately kill Jews, it is our sacred responsibility to educate them.

Much of our cry of “Never Again” has appropriately been directed at those who are evil and would be prone to once again partake in the mass murder of Jews and other groups different from them.  But if this quarantine we are in and the reaction of a segment of the population has taught us anything, “Never Again” also means we must educate and, to use some very relevant words in today’s world, “mitigate the disease” known as ignorance.

May the memories of the 6 million be blessed and let us never forget.

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BRAM’S VIOLIN

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A Letter to my Mother, A Survivor, on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Mom2

Dear Mom,

Normally I keep our most meaningful and personal interactions private.  After all, you are my mother and our conversations are not meant for the ears or eyes of others.  However, today as we remember those who perished in the Holocaust, in light of our most recent conversation I write this letter, a letter I will first read to you and then with your permission share with others.

There are some emotions so personal that there is nothing constructive nor appropriate in sharing them with others.  But when these emotions are generated by something so universally understood and accepted, sharing them is not only appropriate, it’s positive and even beneficial to make them known.  I write this only a few minutes after having spoken with you and having heard the deep sadness and emotion in your voice. As someone who lived in Holland through those horrific years of Nazi occupation, and being someone who lost loved ones, it is not only normal for you to feel as you do, it reflects a balance and sanity I dare say is partially responsible for the fact that you are still alive and well at 94.  I write this however to relay something positive that is most certainly lost on you as you partially relive and acknowledge the tragedy of 1940-1945.

You are not only important to those who love you.  You are important to the Jewish people and to all of civilization.  You, my mother who I love dearly are the symbol of strength, courage, decency, but most importantly on this day, survival.  You look at the book of names of the Dutch Jewish victims, more than 100,000 of what was once more than 140,000, many of them children, and ask why?  Why did they have to be killed? Why did you survive?  No one can ever answer the question of why they were killed, but I will venture to give an answer as to why you survived.

The life you have lived is a life that has been representative of hope and continuation. None of this has anything to do with with merit.  There are many who died who did not deserve it, as there were Nazis that survived who did not deserve life.  However, you have lived and thankfully continue to live a life in which you not only have given honor and respect to those who were lost, you also have made your days count. You together with Dad, of blessed memory brought a wonderful family into this world that continues to not only grow, but to contribute positively.  Your life and your actions are more of a sacred testimony and remembrance to the victims than any prayer you will say tomorrow in synagogue.

No one can ever change what happened, but your life as it has been and continues to be is everything it should be from someone who was fortunate enough to survive the Holocaust. I am honored to be your son and love you very much.

David

 

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Margaret Thatcher

Margaret_ThatcherI have no long tribute to write on the woman known as “the Iron Lady”, but as a Jew who today is commemorating the murder of 6 million, interjecting a post of any kind not related to Holocaust Remembrance is my own personal tribute.  Her accomplishments were important not just to her country but to the entire world and she always conducted herself with a dignity and decency hard to find in today’s world and government.  Rest in Peace Margaret Thatcher.

 


Our Responsibility

yad-vashem-hall-of-remembrance-israel-holocaust-memorial-in-jerusalemIn the 68 years since the end of the period in which the horrors of the Holocaust occurred, much has been written and said to honor and remember those who perished and survived a time so terrible words cannot really do it justice.  Rightly so, the day set aside to commemorate what took place is called Holocaust Remembrance Day.  There is nothing we can do to change what happened and nothing we can say to make it better.  All we can do, and hopefully cause others to do, is remember.  That is our solemn obligation and moral responsibility.

There should be no guilt in living a happy and healthy life.  Those who are blessed with the good fortune of a happy life have every right to enjoy what they have and live that life to the fullest.  However, every single one of us needs to remember what happened from 1933 till 1945 when Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany was in power.  The crimes against humanity defy every decent person’s sense of reason and to forget must never be an option.  The systematic murder of 6 million Jews must be something we carry with us in constant remembrance, for lest we forget we allow their honor and memory to die as well.  Our responsibility is to see that their honor and memory live on forever, not just in our lifetime but in the years to come.

Enjoy your lives, have your fun, but never shy away from this responsibility.  All that we have today was made possible by their sacrifice.  Never ever forget.


Yom HaShoah-Holocaust Remembrance Day

Holocaust Remembrance Day begins sundown Wednesday April 18, 2012.  On all Holland’s Heroes posts we welcome any comments you may have.  This specific post is specifically for that purpose.  Please share any comments you may have regarding this day and the events it commemorates.