Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Never forget

6 million is a number so large that it's unfathomable. I was analyzing timelines earlier this evening, milestones from the Holocaust, numbers of dead transposed over corresponding dates on the calendar. Thousands shot in a field. Tens of thousands gassed in the backs of trucks. Hundreds of thousands marched through gas chambers, then burned to ash, as if they had never existed. Because they were Jews.

The numbers continue to boggle, as does the inhumanity. The years haven't erased the monstrosity. Nor have they answered our questions. Or the one question that stands above all.


I'm guessing if we knew the answer, we wouldn't have to continually remind ourselves, "Never again." Because if we truly believed it couldn't ever happen again, we wouldn't feel the need to be as vigilant as we are, wouldn't feel the need to teach our kids at a too-young age to watch out for those who would single them out because they're different, who would hurt them. Or worse.

Sadly, it has happened since, and it'll happen again. Because we never learn. Because simply saying "never again" is no longer enough. Because the ingredients are all around us, masquerading in forms that may not be wrapped in swastikas and Zyklon B, but whose ultimate aim - removal of others from the face of the earth - is no less insidious. Or real.

Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, starts tonight. Today and every day, I simply can't forget.


lissa said...

A great documentary for everyone to try to fathom the number is Paper and adults alike should see it, and every time I do, I am moved to tears.

I took a photo of my Yom Hashoah candle, and included the words we were given to recite when lighting it. Link here

Thanks for your post, matter how many decades have passed, we must never forget.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Years ago, Spielberg documented the people who were lucky enough to escape.. He compiled hundreds of interviews... My husband's boss as well as their secretary were recorded... I had heard how the secretary witnessed the killing of his children... Jack (boss) and Arthur (secretary) found each other at Ellis Island.. Arthur joined Jack's business.. Jack also made sure his grandchildren knew of his past.. He would take them back to the encampment... The strength he and Arthur have (had) is unbelievable... Arthur and his wife passed years ago and I still remember them... Jack is a widower and he is still playing tennis at the age of 80 something.... I for one don't understand why we would need remembering.. Its ingrained in me... I know it was more so for them.

Cloudia said...

We must remember
lest others forget;
it is already denied
and minimized. . .

Warm Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>


cactus petunia said...

We must never forget, and yet be ever vigilant. You're right, Carmi: it still happens today, all over the world.
Let's remember the Holocausts in Europe, in Nigeria, Cambodia, Kurdistan, Bosnia, Rwanda, Congo, Darfur, and all the millions who died because others couldn't celebrate or even tolerate our differences.

Thanks for the reminder.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Carmi, you'll get this one. I was sitting at Yom Hashoah services my temple did during the usual Tuesday night classes, and it dawned on me that we only talk about the victims who died. We don't talk about the fact that the survivors were victims, too -- and that in many ways, dying would have been a blessing rather than having to live out a long life with this always pressing on them.

Maybe it's because I've seen first-hand what the legacy from the survivors can be, and how families are screwed up for generations, just because someone survived this horror...

I don't know. Maybe you do because you're farther removed from it than I am. All I know is that we only talk about the victims who died, not the victims who survived.

And that, yes, never again. No one deserves to be put through this Hell -- the one they lived, and the one that lingers all these years later.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

One place I determined to visit before moving away from Washington, D.C., was the Holocaust Museum.
I went, taking the older kids with me, and spent hours there, trying to take it all in.
Never, ever, ever forget.

mmp said...

the magnitude of the Holocaust, helps me certainly to remember that there is the potential for horrendous sadness round lots of corners

evil crouches...and as one who has worked with people who have committed atrocities....we would do well to remember that the human heart is capable of appalling destruction

and i wish with all my heart that this was not the case