Silence speaks volumes and actions speak louder than words. People can say whatever they want, but words mean nothing.
Tuesday was the 79th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. When the world turned its back on Europe’s Jews, it gave the Nazis carte blanche permission to persecute, starve, torture, and murder my Jewish brethren. The only way we could survive is if we saved ourselves. It was a f*ck you to those who decided that we were not worth fighting for.
In the years since then, Jews (and Israel by extension) have had to keep the figurative middle finger raised. Because once again, we have been told by actions that we should remain sheep to the slaughter.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I believe in the sacredness of the sites and the holidays within my faith. Earlier today, militant Palestinians decided that one of the holiest sites in Islam, the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, was to be used not as a site of prayer, but of a battle. This is during Ramadan, which I think deserves a little more respect. Not only did they attempt to physically destroy the building, but they used it as a base to attack innocent people.
In my mind, that is akin to Jewish worshippers destroying the Western Wall during Yom Kippur to spite our neighbors. It is something I cannot comprehend.
Given that the basic concept of Jewish history is that we are still here despite many attempts at assimilation and extermination, I personally think that it’s time to not give a shit. If living means fighting for ourselves when no one else will, so be it.
During war, especially when one is forced to live under the thumb of an enemy invading army, its easy to give in and give up.
Its difficult, dangerous and potentially life threatening to fight against this enemy invading army. But for some, it is the only thing they can do.
In 1943, as the Nazis were getting ready to “liquidate” the surviving Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Their destination was the death camps and concentration camps. Yesterday was the 77th anniversary of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
For nearly a month, Jewish fighters held out against their captors using whatever tools they had at their disposal. Though few survived the battle and even fewer survived the war, their legacy lives on. They knew that they had no chance of winning, but even the smallest dent in the fight for life and freedom was worth the cost.
77 years later, we remember the martyrs. We remember their bravery and their courage in the face of unspeakable horrors.
Tomorrow is Yom Hashoah. We remember the millions of lives lost and honor those who survived. Though we are facing a worldwide pandemic via Covid-19, the lessons from the Holocaust are as relevant today as they were nearly 80 years ago.
The museum is emotionally heavy, as is the story of uprising. Neither dances around The Holocaust. It is in your face, as it should be. It is a reminder of the duality of human beings: how on one hand, we can see past labels and see another person as they are. On the other hand, it is also incredibly easy to judge a person based on that same label and devalue them to the point of murder and destruction.
If nothing else, The Holocaust is a reminder that we are each other’s keepers. It is up to us to remember what hate can do to a person and how beyond important it is to see someone else as a human being before judging them based on factors such as skin color, race or religion.
On a personal note, I found Dobromil on a list of communities desecrated during The Holocaust. Dobromil is one of the shtetls my ancestors called home.
The 2001 television movie, Uprising, is the story of the fight by the ghetto’s inhabitants against their oppressors. Starring David Schwimmer, Hank Azaria and Leelee Sobieski, the narrative tells the story of how Jews, crammed into the old slum of Warsaw, fought back against the Nazis for a month in 1943.
I think that this movie is important to watch. It’s important because not only does it dispel the myth that Europe’s Jews were mere lambs to the Nazi slaughter, it also is the story of how a small band of people can fight against tyranny, prejudice and murder.