Monday, May 02, 2016

We the Living Must Remember

Kudos, to Jeff Jacoby for his thoughtful editorial in the May 1, 2016 Boston Sunday Globe (linked below) entitled "The End of Holocaust Remembrance." There has been no other event in my historical memory that has had more of an impact on me than the Holocaust. The near annihilation of the Jewish people hit me hard as a Jewish child of 10 years old when I watched my first documentary about it as a prelude to a movie in a local movie theater in Framingham.

The sight of human remains pilled like refuse one on top of the other so that those Allies who liberated the camps could do so quickly with bulldozers lest the stench and disease dead bodies could spread would threaten the living was more than a 10 year old child could bear. I became literally nauseated and nearly threw up especially because I, a Jew, was looking at something that could have befallen me. On some level I knew that one of those bodies could have been my relatives had they not had the foresight to leave Eastern Europe for America at the turn of the 20th century. The Russian pogroms against the Jews of the late 19th century from which they fled in a strange way saved my grandparents from an even worse fate that would have befallen them forty years later.

A relative visited Yad Vashem Memorial in Israel and looked up the statistics of my grandparents' small village of Shepatovka, Ukraine from where they emigrated. 50,000 souls perished there. Luckily they were not among them but they surely could have been.

There is no other single event in history that did more to shape my liberal left of center politics than the Shoa as later after considerable thought I knew the extremist right wing spelled fascist inhumanity. I discerned then the difference between leftist politics and those of the right. It is hard, in view of our people's torturous history during that period for me to understand how anyone with a shred of humanity could attach themselves to that side of the political spectrum for which inhuman cruelty is its logical extension.

The Holocaust shaped who I am, what I believe, and shaped even what side of the political spectrum I was to sit. It is hard for me to see how any Jew can feel comfortable taking a seat on the American right with its racist saturated thought even prevalent today in one of our nation's major Parties and the cruel brutality of it in its extreme. For those of us who must and will remember until we ourselves die it is mandatory that we who can only account for what we do never forget our own people's experience at the hands of man's inhumanity to man lest it be repeated over and over again. We the living must tell of it through the ages, always to remember and never to forget.

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