Tomorrow, January 27th, is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
While I do not want to talk about Auschwitz directly, what I want to talk about in this post the hatred that poisons hearts and minds and leads to the creation of places such as Auschwitz.
I am going to feature two movies, where the theme is antisemitism.
In School Ties (1992), David Green (Brendan Fraser) is the new boy in school and the new star of the football team. In order to survive, he has to hide his Jewish faith from his classmates. When a jealous, bigoted classmate accuses David of cheating and his faith is revealed, he must make a hard choice.
Forty five years earlier, Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) was released in movie theaters. Philip Green (Gregory Peck) is a reporter who takes on the assignment of investigating antisemitism. To fully understand the subject, he goes undercover as a Jew and will soon discover the hatred that he did not expect.
Both of these movies made and continue to make audiences squirm. As far as I am concerned, that is a good thing. Being uncomfortable leads to dialogue, dialogue leads to questions, questions lead to open conversation and open conversation leads to understanding.
Today marks the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
I write this post 69 years after the end of war, in America, far from the Europe that again slaughtered it’s Jews because they were Jews.
I am the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, who saw their future and the future of their family in America. Without their decision to leave Europe, I would not be sitting here today. I am also related, through my great-grandparents to their relations who stayed in Europe and were part of the martyred Six Million.
These people were no different than you or I.
To borrow from William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice
“I am a Jew. Hath
not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs,
dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with
the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject
to the same diseases, healed by the same means,
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as
a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not
revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will
resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian,
what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian
wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by
Never Forget. Never Again