Remembering The Holocaust

This Thursday, April 24,¬† is Holocaust Remembrance Day in the United States (it actually starts at sundown on the 23rd). As the generation that lived through WWII and the Holocaust dies, I think it’s more important than ever that those of us who come after them stop and remember.

The problem is that neither I, nor most of those that I know, experienced that period of history. We have no personal stories to tell or loved ones to honor. Too easily, the struggles and horrors become abstract and unreal. Like a photo that has faded at the edges, that time becomes hard to remember much less comprehend.

Because of that, I’m grateful for those who have captured the stories of WWII and the Holocaust through writing, film, and audio. As humans, we need story to keep the past alive and to prevent us from repeating the travesties that have preceded us. Because space does not permit, I have provided a couple of links to stories and poems by Holocaust survivors. I share them to honor those who died and to thank the survivors for not letting us forget.

Lastly, I share this poem by Alexander Kimel. Despite the horrors he faced, he wrote this poem of hope and faith. It inspires me!

I do believe, with all my heart,

In the natural Goodness of Man.

Despite the blood and destruction,

Brought by one man, trying to be God,

In the Goodness of Man, I do believe.

I do believe, with all my heart,

That God gave man the blessing and the curse.

Man can select the curse of envy, hatred and prejudices,

Or the blessing of love, harmony and beauty.

Despite the painful curses of the past,

In the blessing of the Creator, I do believe.

I do believe, with all my heart,

That God created a beautiful world,

The sun and the trees, the flowers and the bees.

And the best way to serve God, is

To enjoy the fruits of His labor of love.

Despite the painful memories from the past,

In the joyful celebration of life, I do believe.

I do believe with all my heart,

That God has created man in image of His own.

And killing of man, is like killing of God.

Despite the massacres in Rwanda, the cleansing in Bosnia,

The folly of Muslim fanatics, and the cruelty of Pot Pol.

In the love and compassion of the Creator, I do believe.

I believe with all my heart,

That the Messiah and the Kingdom of Heaven will come;

When man will conquer his destructive urge,

And learn how to live in harmony with nature and himself.

When all the preachers of hate will be silenced,

And man will become his brother’s keeper.

When man will stop killing man, in the name of God,

And nation will not lift weapons against nation.

When it will be, I do not know, but

Despite all the signs to the contrary.

In the dawn of a Better World, I do believe.

 Photo by Josh