So today is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel and throughout the world. In Israel there is a moment of silence. There are ceremonies in many if not all Jewish communities in the rest of the world. But for those of us directly affected by the Holocaust it’s not nearly enough.
My father was “the lucky one”. He survived due to the kindness of a truly amazing man Chiune Sugihara. And his brothers Henry and Pinchas survived. But the entire rest of the family were slaughtered. Not killed or died. They Were slaughtered.
Think about your grandparents aunts and uncles. And cousins. And imagine the horror. My grandfather, a majestic businessman with a well cropped beard, was slaughtered in the courtyard of his apartment building in Warsaw. As an example to the rest of the community to go like sheep to the slaughterhouse.
My grandmother was a beautiful woman. In the 2 pictures my father had of her I can stare at her blue eyes for hours. She stood straight and tall. My uncle Leon was movie star handsome. He had a wife and a child. I don’t believe I ever saw a picture of my aunt Gittel or her husband and child. And my uncle Reuven Noach was just 12 years old when he was slaughtered. Just a boy.
I asked my father many years ago when did he find out that his family was slaughtered and how. He told me that in 1946 someone from his town Warsaw showed up in Shanghai to search for his relatives. He ran over to this man and before he got to him the man saw my father running toward him and shook his head. He said he saw the family walking together in the line heading towards the gas chambers. I asked my father what did you do next. He said he cried. For a long time. And he stared at the few pictures he had of his family.
Amazingly he picked himself up and found a way to rebuild the life the Nazis destroyed. And he gave my siblings and me a fantastic life.
But he never forgot his family. Not one day. Not one hour. He sometimes made a mistake and called me by their names. And I tried not to correct him. Because those were memories I would never take away.
So on this Yom Hashoa appreciate each one of the remaining survivors. They are all heroes. But also think about the 6,000,000. One by one. Each one had a name and a life. Please