Sunday, April 11, 2010

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today has been designated as Holocaust Remembrance Day. Yes, there will be plenty of arguing that frum Jews already have dates on the Jewish calendar that are more appropriate for such remembrance. I'm not getting into any halachic arguments here nor any philosophic ones either.

As the European-born child of Holocaust survivors I don't need today to remember the Holocaust--there is no day that goes by, none, that the Holocaust does not pop up in some form or another. In ordinary daily conversations with my sister and other family members the words "grandchildren," "great-grandchildren" and "grandparents" are common as we catch up on who is doing what. And yes, whenever I hear those words I think about how lucky my children and my nieces and nephews are to have that which I never had, couldn't have because of the Holocaust--grandparents. And yes, even for those of the grandparent generation who are no longer alive there is something that our children have, that I do not and will never have: the knowledge of where those grandparents are buried and the ability to visit those kvorim to pay kovod ha'meis.

But there is also this: read or tune in to any news source and what is heard on a regular basis is a denial that the Holocaust ever took place, or didn't take place the way "they" say it did. There are many, many people in the outside world who have bought into this lie in a big way, for a variety of reasons. We are now many years past the actual Holocaust and the generation that lived through it is almost gone. If we are not to let the Holocaust slip into being a faint footnote in history, then a Holocaust Remembrance Day is a necessity, perhaps not for us who intimately still have a connection to the Holocaust, but for all the others. It is a time to point out, loudly and clearly, that the Holocaust was "real" and that we won't let anyone forget that. And let's not forget that old saying: those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, c"v.

If not for ourselves then for all the others out there now and for the generations to come whose connection to the Holocaust will be a far one, let's stop complaining that there is a Holocaust Remembrance Day and do some remembering instead.

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