Tag Archives: Dobromil

Today is Yom Hashoah

Today is Yom Hashoah.

Today we remember the six million Jews who were tortured, starved and slaughtered merely because of their faith.

Over the years, we have said never again. But the phrase “never again” feels empty. Between the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue last fall and the shooting at Chabad of Poway synagogue this past weekend, I am reminded that antisemitism is alive and well in our world.

The same lies and hatred that killed my relations decades ago are responsible for the murders at both the Tree of Life and Chabad of Poway synagogues.

 

The picture above is from a memoir that my great-grandfather wrote about Dobromil, the shtetl that he grew up in. One of the reasons that my family is here today is because he immigrated to the United States in the early part of the 20th century. When he left for the United States, he left behind his widowed father, his siblings and their families. They all perished in the Holocaust.

I wish we could say never again. I wish that we could say that antisemitism or hatred/prejudice of any kind is the past. But it is still part of our present. Until we face this kind of hatred and erase it from our world, the phrase “never again” will continue to feel empty and worthless.

 

 

 

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Thoughts On Holocaust Remembrance Day

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.

 

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Yom HaShoah

Today is Yom HaShoah, the day we remember the 6 million Jews murdered in The Holocaust.

I normally prefer to talk about The Holocaust in general terms, but I feel like today telling my family’s story.

In one sense I am quite lucky. My great grandparents settled in this country well World War I. By the time World War II started, their children, my grandparents, were growing up couched in the freedom and safety of America. The families they left behind were not so lucky. On my mother’s maternal line, both of her grandparents were born and raised in Dobromil, Poland (which is now in the Ukraine).

In the late 1970’s, at the urging of his children, my mother’s grandfather published a short book about the shtetl of his youth. It was called Dobromil.

The book is dedicated to the memory of his father, his siblings and their families who lost their lives because they were Jews.

Meyer (or Meir in Hebrew) Treiber was registered by one of my uncles on the Yom HaShoah database 40 years ago. Meyer was my mother’s great-grandfather.

The survivors are starting to pass away. Their first person accounts of the horrors they experienced will soon be a memory.

It’s important to remember all of the victims. Not just the Jews, but the Gypsies, the Homosexuals and everyone who was killed because they did not fit into the world that the Nazis envisioned. It’s also important to remember because the Holocaust is not the first, or the last mass slaughter in modern memory of human beings who were killed because they were different.

At the beginning and end of the day, we are all human beings. No matter what labels are used to define us, we are the same inside.

I’m going end this post with a quotation by Martin Niemoller that is as true today as it was during World War II.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Z”l

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Holocaust Rememberance Day

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.

Dobromil Dedication

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.

Never Forget.

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