I remember the first time I went to a Holocaust Museum. I was angry, livid even, that for so many years I had been raised and hadn’t heard about such an atrocity like the Holocaust. It was an Anne Frank exhibit but much of the photographs were from ghettos being liquidated prior to deportation to the concentration camps. There were pictures, real pictures, of people being shot. That second before death frozen in a black and white photo. I felt sick. As I wandered through the gallery I felt like the room was beginning to spin. How could such tragedy happen? How could people support this?
The second time I visited a Holocaust Museum was in Washington D.C. Walking through the large, multi-story museum I wasn’t prepared for everything I witnessed. Real clothing, books, and shoes were on display for the world to see. Belongings stripped from those that perished were stacked, like a ransacked pile of treasure, before their owners were slaughtered like cattle. Benches are placed throughout the museum and I quickly understood why, because several times I needed to take a moment to compose myself before moving on. A large, glass atrium filled with light hosts names from floor to ceiling about every Jewish shtetl (village) that was abandoned and liquidated during the Holocaust. Entire towns…. gone.
As I watched clips of video footage made about the Holocaust my heart sank. As a mother I could not bear to witness the death of my child. As a human being I am outraged that such things happened. Why did no one speak up? Why were such things allowed to happen? Babies thrown from windows. Mass graves lining fields. Things that happened between 1933-1945 were absolutely unspeakable. The conditions of the concentration camps were deplorable at best and made hell seem grand. I wouldn’t wish what happened there to my worst enemy.
So now it is 2015. It has been 70 years since survivors were liberated from the concentration camps. Why do we pause to remember those lost? Why do we take a moment for reflection in remembrance of the 6 million Jews who died? Because that could be us. All over the world hate crimes against the Jewish people still occur every day. The hatred for us didn’t stop in 1945. The Holocaust was a defining moment in Jewish history that made the passing on of our religion that much more critical. Yet, we carry on. Every time we light the Shabbos candles we carry on. Every time we bless our children and say our prayers, we carry on. The Holocaust did not, and will never, break our spirit. Today we remember and honor the 6 million lost. We pray for their peace and the peace of ALL people being persecuted. May the world one day find everlasting peace. Have a blessed day everyone. ❤