Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yom HaShoah and Survivor Voices

We say: Never again!

Still we see: Rwanda. Bosnia. Cambodia.

And then we realize.  We have failed to heed this sacred call.  We have failed to teach the world the universal import of the Holocaust.  Never again must mean an end to all genocides.  Evil still persists.

One need only read the newspapers or search the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website to discover the demonic hate that we fear might become future atrocities.  How many more such instances of human beings slaughtering other human beings must our children and grandchildren read about in their history classes until never again becomes a reality? 

And yet for the Jewish people never again has become real.  Because of a vibrant and strong Jewish state, the Jewish people are no longer victimized.  Antisemitism to be sure continues.  Individual Jews are harassed.  Jewish communities are under attack.  But the Jewish people can no longer be persecuted.   Now we can defend ourselves.  Today we know that Jewish life will never again be cheapened.

This is a remarkable turn of events from the tragedy and destruction of a prior generation.  We recall their sacrifice.  We remember the six million lives destroyed for no other reason than they were Jews.  While there are many reasons why the Nazi evil was different than other genocides (factories were built for one purpose alone: mass murder), it remains distinct in our hearts because it happened to our people.  The Shoah stings because it remains our loss.

We recall on this day.  Six survivors. How many millions were silenced?  How many voices stilled?  Let their words be our remembrances. Take a few moments to watch Yad Vashem's torchlighter testimonies. 

Six voices.  Let their survival give us hope. 

Shela Altaraz.
Avraham Harshalom.
Eggi Lewysohn.
Ephraim Reichenberg.
Dov Shimoni.
Sara Weinstein.

Let the world never again know genocide.

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