Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yom HaShoah

Today we remember all those who were victims or were killed in the Holocaust in Europe during the reign of Adolf Hitler.  I encourage you to follow THIS LINK to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and watch the video, "Why We Remember the Holocaust."  

I say we remember the victims because the type of mass murder carried out by the Nazis has left permanent scars on the psyches of millions.  It makes the Biblical admonitions about the sins of one generation affecting those after a very real truth.  Even though we are now a few generations removed from Hitler's rule in Germany, the suffering he inflicted on Jews and non-Jews who were viewed as "others" to be exterminated (gypsies, gays, disabled, communists, even Free Masons...), not to mention the bombings of other countries, has touched the lives of those who were not yet born during those years.   I will never forget the first full-blown conversation I had with my German exchange student as we sat next to each other in the back seat of my parents car.  She asked me if I knew who Adolf Hitler was.

"Ja, natürlich,"  I said.

"Not all Germans are like that," she told me.  The fact that she felt the need to explain this made me realize the devastation that had been done to more than Jewish people, but to the generations of Germans since the end of World War II.

As the video notes, we still as a species struggle with prejudice that has led to horrific crimes against humanity.  Bosnia. Rwanda.  Dafur.  And those are the ones that the media has exposed.

We must never make peace with oppression.   We must never look away from how we contribute to the degradation of others through our silence.  This Day of Remembrance must be a day where we again commit ourselves to never allow fear and hatred of the "other" to destroy and disrupt humanity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you learned German and had a chance to travel over there and have friends from another country. It has rounded you out and made you a better person.