|Relic 2 at Warsaw Ghetto Square, the site of Holocaust Rememberance Day.|
How can you come to Israel without remembering 6 million of these people were slaughtered less than sixty years ago? As my Judaism teacher explained today, the world is obsessed with the Holocaust. But why that particular genocide? Stalin killed more people, yet the only time he was mentioned was in a European history class. I'm not sure why, but it is an interesting thought. What I learned today from visiting Yad Veshem, the Israeli Holocaust site, is that I believe everyone, everyone, is created equal, and I am more determined to love those around me.
From books, movies, and high school, I've learned alot about this chilling time in history. But hearing stories, personal family stories from my Hebrew teacher Mrs. Goldman, a Jew, put a new light on it.
|Relic 1 at in the Square. Portrays Jewish people as downtrodden.Compare with Relic 2.|
Mrs. Judy grew up in California and after public school spent a few hours after that in Hebrew school. She married an Israeli and has lived here over thirty years. She shared her personal stories about Yishev, the holocaust, in class and gave me permission to share them. (We were all wiping our eyes by the end)
One of her earliest memories is of going to the beach with her cousins at 5 years. She saw a long black number inked on her arm, which frightened her. Later at home, when she asked, her Mom wouldn’t tell her. How do you explain how some people find your people describe your grandparents death?
Most of her family died in Auschwitz. Her husband is a child of 15 and 3 survived. In 1996, she went with a group of 5,000 college kids and instructors to visit Auschwitz, the most well-known concentration camp. The walk from Auschwitz 1 to Auschwitz 2 was traumatic and called the "March of the Dead." This group of Jews went to do the "March of the Living." As they were waiting for a bus to arrive, two boys stood on the steps to the buildng where Josef Mengele experimented on nearly 1,500 sets of twins.They wrapped an Israeli flag around them, and began singing the Israeli national anthem in Hebrew. Mrs. Judy describes this as the height of a moving, poignant moment. Sadly though, as these Jewish people wearing blue jackets with the Star of David walked in silence to commemorate their people, a local Polish village on the side came to the road and began yelling obscenities---anti-Semitism is still alive today.
Here are two stories from my two Jewish teachers illustrating that.
At work a few years ago she heard the number of a bus that was going to be bombed—the one her son rode home from school on. She raced home, feeling as scared as she ever had, and thankfully the Lord spared him. Many students however, were not.
Coming home from the Passover Seder dinner at the Center, he was stuck at a red light at a main intersection. A small group were rioting around the car, and somehow they could tell his family was Jewish. They began throwing rocks at the car, and a cinderblock was thrown at the car. His little girl and boy were in the backseat, and it hit the trunk. Right then the light turned green and they were able to drive away, but he said if they'd been stuck, he's not sure what would have happened.
Picture your family in the same situation. Paralyzed yet?
Ten children, 7 dwarfs, studied music in Transylvania and started their own orchestra. Joseph Mengele "subjected them to painful and degrading experiments." After the war they dug up their buried instruments and began playing again!
|Bread rations card|
|Crematory Ovens replica in the museum|
This video I took in the Children's memorial.
It's a building full of mirrors and burning candles. What you see on the video is exactly how it was. While there I thought about my precious nieces, Annabelle and Savannah, and thought how impossibly difficult it would be to forgive anyone who hurt them.
After spending hours reading, watching, and seeing the atrocities of the Holocaust, it's hard (especially as a Jew) to not walk out angry. These trees are carob trees. Each one is planted in remembrance of someone who risked their lives to save a Jew.