Today was the Yom HaShoah, the Israeli day of remembrance for those who died in the Holocaust.
When events are put into the history textbooks, they are instantly made distant and unreal. That is a sad fact of history, when we do not realize how close this was. It’s only sixty-some years ago. Yeah, that does sound kind of far away. But is it? Those young men and women who lived through the holocaust are now ageing grandparents. Their children are now the working men and women who run society. Imagine being raised by one who survived the horrors of the holocaust. It leaves a mark. Even though they had not experienced first hand the pain and the horrors, the holocaust is still very, very real to those whose parents and grandparents went through it. Memory is passed down in many ways, and the nightmares cannot be wiped away in a generation or two.
So many years ago, 6 million Jews were slaughtered, for the mere reason that they were Jews. 6,000,000. It would be as if six out of every eight New York resident were killed, be they man, woman, or child. No, let it be 6,000,001, for one of the great crimes of Hitler and Stalin was to reduce the pain and humanity of their victims to mere numbers. Let us return their humanity to them, for we must not reduce their pain to mere statistics.
Find some time, perhaps, and simply read through a short list of the many victims. Read through their names. Some will be familiar Hebrew names we have learned from the Bible, smoothly rolling off our tongues in familiarity. Others will sound strange and foreign, causing us to stutter in uncertainty. Each name has a story of pain and tears. Each name represents a man or woman who has gone through so much, and is now being forgotten by history. It should not be so.
As I have implored so many times of so many different tragedies of history, Let us not forget.