Tomorrow, April 15th, 2015 is Holocaust Remembrance Day. We remember the millions of lives who were needlessly taken and the survivors who lived with the emotional and physical scars that come with being a Holocaust survivor.
I can state with a fair amount of certainty that I am lucky. Like my parents and grandparents, I was raised in the United States. We were comforted and supported by the laws that guaranteed our rights as citizens and human beings.
That is where my luck ends. My great grandparents joined the millions who left their homes and families before World War I to reach for the opportunities that America represented. No one back then could have foreseen what was to come.
Imagine, if you can, ten people of Ashkenazic (Eastern European Jewish) descent in a room. If I were to ask them to raise their hands if their families were untouched by the Holocaust, I would guess that none of them would raise their hands.
My luck ends with World War II and the extermination of the family members that my great grandparents left behind when they came to America. On one side of my family, one of my great grandfathers lost his entire family. His father, his siblings, their spouses, their children and countless others perished in the Nazi Holocaust. Persuaded in his later years to write a book about his boyhood and the shtetl that he grew up in, it is not the stories of his youth that hits me every time I read it. It is the dedication before the story begins.
Tomorrow I will go about my business as if it was any other day. But my heart will be little heavier and I may shed a few tears.