Since the beginning of our species, humanity has evolved in ways that our ancestors could have never dreamed of. But there is one aspect that is unchanged: hate.
In Myanmar, the official policy against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority has been discrimination and violence. On a recent episode of the WNYC show, The Takeaway, the subject was the brutal treatment of this specific group, which has escalated in the last five years.
The similarities to the Holocaust are too scary to not ignore.
Spreading lies and slowly dehumanizing a specific minority.
Enacting laws that strip them of their rights as citizens and human beings.
Removing access to educational and professional opportunities for both children and adults.
While the world looks away, those in power continue on their path, knowing that nothing and no one is standing in their way.
Destroying homes and taking material possessions at will.
Forcing many to become refugees and ramping up the persecution of those who stay.
While I was listening to this story, I could feel and hear the cries of the six million murdered. Their souls reach through time and space, asking why it is happening again. I wish I could answer them. But I cannot.
Maybe this time, the rest of the world will pick their head out of their asses and stop this madness. But knowing what has happened in the not too distant past, I highly doubt it will happen.
May the memories of everyone who has been killed by hate be a blessing. Z”L.
P.S. In the English city of Norwich, human remains were recently found in a well. Tests revealed that the victims (three of whom were young girls) were all murdered in a medievalpogrom simply because they were Jews.
Mental health disorders have a way of isolating those who suffer. Logically, they know that they have a solid support system of family, friends and partners/spouses. But mental illness and depression specifically says otherwise. It makes that person feel alone, that everyone around them is lying. The only thing that is honest is their depression.
Recently, the rock band Disturbed released their latest song and accompanying video, “A Time To Fight“.
The thing that strikes me about this song and the video is that it negates the idea that those who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses suffer are alone. There are millions of us who wake up everyday with this weight on our emotional shoulders.
Knowing that we are not alone, that there are many out there who suffer from this disease is important not just for those who live with mental illness, but for those who love them. That knowledge, from my perspective, is the most important aspect of not just treatment, but living a full life.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Today. Today is the day that remember the millions of innocent souls who were murdered because they did not fit in with the Nazi ideal.
This day is particularly personal for me. I am an Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jew. Though my family has been in America for more than a century, they lived for many generations in Eastern Europe before immigrating to America in the early 20th century.
My mother’s grandparents came from Dobromil, a shtetl that in their time was in Poland. Today it is in the Ukraine.
My mother’s maternal grandmother, Ida Miller (née Lowenthal), came to this country with her then entire immediate family when she was a child. My mother’s maternal grandfather, Saul Miller, came to this country as a young man by himself. His widowed father, his siblings, their spouses and their children are among the martyred six million.
While we mourn the loss of millions of innocent lives, we are reminded every day that the Holocaust is not just another historical event. The sentiments and forces that led to the Holocaust have not disappeared into the ashes of history and under the cries of “Never Again”. Antisemitism is once again on the rise. A poll of 2000 people in the UK has revealed that one out of every five respondents believe that the Holocaust never happened and one in twelve respondents believe that the number of victims in inaccurate.
We need to keep telling the stories of the survivors and the victims. We need to keep saying never again so that one day, never again will truly mean never again.
I count myself among the lucky ones. My family has been in this country for more than a century. My great grandparents left Europe in the early 20th century, looking for a better life for themselves and their families in America. My grandparents were born in this country, I am a third generation Jewish American. But that does not exempt me from The Holocaust. Most of the family that my great grandparents left behind were slaughtered.
In the late 1970’s, one of my mother’s uncles added his grandfather, my great-great grandfather to the list of Holocaust victims at Yad Vashem.
While I will go about my business today, my heart will be breaking a little.
May the memory of those killed be a blessing and a reminder of what happens when we forget that the person next to us is first and foremost just another human being.
One of my new favorite songs is actually a classic. Disturb’s cover of The Sounds Of Silence is one of the most beautiful, haunting songs I have heard in a very long time.
It reminds me that this song, is still as powerful in 2017 as it was in late 60’s. The basic message of the song to be quiet and listen to one another. Given our present fractured political climate, it feels right to re-introduce the song to a new generation. Instead of yelling over each other, this country and this world would be a better place if we actually understood what it is to listen to others.
Songs are more powerful than we think they have. Songs can move mountains, change the world, change an opinion. This song is one of those songs.
That is the reason it is one of my new favorite songs.
Today we remember the 6 million Jewish souls whose lives were taken simply because they were Jewish.
There are so many angles that I can use to approach this post.
Today I want to talk about the possibilities that were lost.
The six million that were murdered, the possibilities of their lives were endless. But we will never know what directions their lives could have taken.
Especially the children. 1.5 million Jewish children were killed at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. An entire generation was lost before they truly had the chance the live. The children who did survive and grow to adulthood were forever changed. Imagine what these children who were murdered might have accomplished as adults. Imagine what their children and grandchildren and perhaps great-grandchildren would have accomplished as adults. But we will never know.
Every year, we say never again. But sometimes it feels hollow, just another statement without action to back it up, especially considering that antisemitism is one more rearing its ugly head.
I’m going to say it again and perhaps it will stick with one person. I hope that is not too much to ask for.
May the memories of those murdered be a blessing to all of us, so we can remember how inhumane we can be to our fellow human being.
The last survivor of Treblinka passed away on Friday.
Samuel Willenberg died at the age of 93.
A member of the “organizing committee”, Mr. Willenberg was part of the revolt by the prisoners in Treblinka.
It’s been 71 years since the end of World War II. The number of survivors still living is dwindling fast.
We are the last generation to hear the testimony of the survivors in person.
When we speak of the Holocaust, we say Never Again.
There are many in this world who question why we continue to speak of the Holocaust.
The reason we continue to say Never Again and repeat the testimony of the survivors is that I hope that one day, the phrase Never Again is unnecessary.
But the world we live in and history of our species is littered with stories of hatred, destruction and murder based on the external factors that were used as an excuse to kill innocent human beings en masse 71 years ago.
RIP Mr. Willenberg, may you be reunited with those who you lost all of those years ago.
May your memory be a blessing not just to those who knew you personally, but to the rest of us rely on you and your generation to remind us of the best and word of humanity.