Tomorrow is Yom HaShoah. It is the Holocaust Remembrance day. In my area the memorial service will be Sunday. I intend to go. I can do nothing but go. It is my personal feeling, just mine, this is only my opinion, that for me to forget what happened, to allow the memory to become comfortably cushioned in the soft cotton of foggy faded distant memory is folly and disrespectful.
Folly because those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. I’ve learned some pretty painful long term physical lessons working with my horses. Weather changes bring about certain reminders, very clearly. Care to place a wager on me forgetting how I got them and what needs to be done to prevent a repeat performance? I don’t forget.
Disrespectful because the nazis* goal was to erase Judaism from the earth, to blot out all the names of the victims, to resign them to the faded pages of distant memory. As long as I have breath and am able, I will not be part of that. I will be there, I will pay my respects and I will try to keep their memory and their fate plain. The horrible cost of trusting and disarmed people.
No, I do not mean all of them, but too many. hitler* was elected after all. Not all those that died were Jews either. Estimates are six million Jews died, and five million others made up of groups of gypsies, Poles, Political dissenters, mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals and communists. I’m guessing some of those that died and their family members voted for hitler. Someone pointed out to me last year basically, the Holocaust wiped out the population of Israel. Israel’s Jewish population in 2014 was 6,218,000. The total population was 8,296,000.
Last year I was in Israel during Yom HaShoah. I went with my girlfriend that I stayed with to Ben Gurion University for the memorial service. Since she worked at BGU (אבג) getting in was not a problem. The courtyard where the ceremony was held was packed and people were standing in the windows of surrounding buildings to see the ceremony. We got there early and so sat in the chairs in the courtyard. One thing we noticed, of all the Arab and muslim students that attend there, none that we could see attended the services. It was a profoundly moving services. I didn’t understand a lot of it, it was all in Hebrew of course, and I would only catch words from time to time. But somethings go beyond words. They are universal. One was a dance that was performed.
The dancers were dressed in either white or black, and it was very very clear what the dance was about as the dancers dressed in black appeared to flog, beat and kill the dancers dressed in white. At one point during the dance one of the dancers dressed in white quietly slipped off the stage and disappeared behind a column. When she came back out in a bit it appeared she was being comforted by a staff member. She was unable to finish the dance. The dance finished with the dancers gathered around a pile of their shoes they had all taken off and placed in a corner as they came onto the elevated dance stage. Yeah, like that.
It was very emotional. I can speculate on what those around me felt. I know what I felt, and I suspect it might be different than the majority of those around me.
Following that was the portion where Holocaust survivors or family members came up and read something. I apologize, but my Hebrew just wasn’t/isn’t good enough to recount the stories. But at the end each of the six people went over and lit a candle. Each candle represented a million people. As they read their speeches you could hear something in the background. At first I thought it was suppose to be the sound of muted rifle fire. But then with each person it seemed to be a bit louder and more clear. Not rifle fire. Trains. The sound of trains on the tracks. Damn.
I was already angry from my visit to Yad Vashem just a few days before when I had been livid about the miniscule display of “Resistance during the Holocaust”. It was a miniscule display for more than one reason, but what was going through my mind was that the elected nazi government used all branches of government to target a group of people. And then they used already on the books common sense gun laws like universal background checks to more easily eliminate them.
An article recently appeared that brought to light that among those who tried to help rescue the Jews, were other Jews. They feel that the concept of Jews saving themselves has been muted or lost. The article stated
Part of the mission of the Jewish Rescuers Citation is to re-instill the idea that Jews are not only capable, but prone to be hardened heroes.
The article raises some very interesting ideas. Even if you don’t read the linked article, you might want to check Yad Vashem for a short list and photos of nine people who served in the Resistance, many of them at the greatest cost to save lives. Their names and their lives deserve to be remembered. Their price was large, perhaps you can spare a couple minutes to meet them?
For people to live in freedom, freedom from slavery, from poverty, from annihilation, the first thing we need to do is to quit committing suicide.
By that I mean there is ONE JEWISH state, in all of the world, there is ONE. Look at your elected officials attitudes towards that one state and you will have an idea of their attitudes towards your group.
Look at remarks made towards your group, are they accurate and fair? I’m thinking of the last two years worth of comments at the annual prayer breakfast here.
Are branches of the government targeting certain groups of political dissenters?
Do you put money into the pockets of people that urge you to become disarmed and vulnerable to any of the above? Harry Weinstein, Babs Streisand, Tim McGraw or any of the many other anti-gun entertainers that will then use their bully pulpit to disarm you?
Saddle pads and skirts folks. Check your patterns
There is a stone in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations, it is to ALL, not Jewish, or non-Jewish, but ALL.
Please G-d, may we need no more of them. The cost is far too dear.
* Some things and some people do not deserve capital letters. Not a typo.