During the Holocaust 11 million people did not die. During the Holocaust one person died 11 million times. We must never forget!
In such staggering numbers, it’s easier to forget; impossible to fully embrace. In such staggering numbers, the monstrosity is too overwhelming to imagine; too unthinkable … to think about.
I- SHOUT-OUT! Each was a mother, a father, a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother, a cousin, a friend. Each was a unique, separate human being. And over six million of those were brutalized, beaten, starved, mutilated, tortured, gassed– exterminated in concentration camps simply because they were Jews in a world gone mad.
Once I am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews. I will have gallows built in rows— then the Jews will be hanged indiscriminately until they stink. Other cities will follow suit until all Germany has been completely cleansed of Jews. – Excerpt, Adolph Hitler, 1922, to Major Joseph Hell, a journalist
I- SHOUT-OUT! Each was far more than a single human being. There are the children, grandchildren, generations — unborn. Those who would have existed, thrived, contributed … and loved!
I may here in this closest of circles allude to the Jewish question … I ask of you that what I say in this circle you never speak of . The difficult decision had to be taken, to cause these people to disappear from the earth.—Excerpt. Himmler, October, 1943, to Nazi Party officials in Posen, Poland.
During the Holocaust 6 million Jews did not die. During the Holocaust untold generations were lost to us. We must never forget what might have been; what should have been!
FROM THESE ROOTS: The Survivors
Many of the records had been hidden by the Nazis, and are therefore incomplete. The exact number of camp and death march survivors, still unknown, has nevertheless been exhaustively researched, and estimated at approximately 200,000 to 300,000 when the war ended on May 8th, 1945. (Sources: Zoe Vania Waxman, Writing the Holocaust, Oxford University Press, 2006; John Lemberger, National Israeli Center for Psychosocial Support of Survivors of the Holocaust and the Second Generation).
Let’s look at but a few of these survivors.
Elie Wiesel: Author, humanitarian, Elie Wiesel. In 1944, The Romanian village where he was born and raised was invaded by Nazis, its inhabitants were deported to the camps. “Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me, for all eternity, of the desire to live,” he wrote. Wiesel had dedicated his life to reminding the world about the inhumanity of the Holocaust.
Simon Wiesenthal: Architect and Nazi hunter. Lying in a ditch and weighing less than 100 lbs., he was liberated. Wiesenthal played a critical role in the capture of Nazi war criminals for the next 30 years, exposing an estimated 1,100 Nazi war criminals.
Imre Kertesz: Hungarian novelist, author of Sorstalansag (Fatelessness), Nobel Prize winner for Literature (2002) “for writing that upholds the fragile experiences of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history.”
Viktor Emil Frankl: Austrian psychiatrist/author of the ground-breaking Man’s Search for Meaning. His 32 books on existential analysis and logotherapy have been translated into 26 languages. He held professorships at Harvard, Stanford, Dallas, Pittsburgh and San Diego, along with 29 honorary doctorates from universities around the world and among many other honors, was awarded the Oskar Pfister prize of the American Society of Psychiatry.
Primo Levi: Italian Chemist/Writer, notably If This Is a Man (published in the United States as Survival in Auschwitz, regarded by many as one of the most important books of the 20th century.
Alexander Grothendieck: French Mathematician. Considered one of the greatest mathematical minds of the 20th century, his contributions included among many, his work on algebraic topology, algebraic geometry, number theory, Galois Theory and functional analysis.
Simone Veil: French Politician and Lawyer. She was Minister of Health under Prime Ministers Chirac and Barre (1974 – 1979) and member of the European Parliament (1979 –1993). In 1998, she was appointed to the Constitutional Council of France, and in 2003, elected to the Board of Directors of the International Criminal Court’s Trust Fund for Victims.
Bruno Touschek: Austrian Physicist. He conceived the idea of radiation damping of electrons circulating within a betatron, which laid the groundwork for powerful particle accelerators.
Wladyslaw Szpilman: Polish Pianist and Composer. He wrote both symphonic and popular music. At least 100 of his compositions are popular today. His account of his survival, Śmierć Miasta (Death of a City), was republished in English by his son in 1998 as The Pianist. .
Roman Polanski: Polish Director, notably of the 2002 film, “The Pianist,” for which he won the Oscar for best director.
The List of Notables Goes On. Among them …
Lustig, Arnošt; Roth, Westheimer, Ruth; Frank, Otto; Klemperer, Victor; Kosinski, Jerzy; Kralj, Vladimir; Lengyel, Olga; Lewis (Lezerkiewicz), Victor; Jakob “Coco” Sendler, Irena; Goldschmidt, Victor; Librescu, Liviu; Mandel, Ernest; Engleitner, Leopold; Gold, Ben-Zion; Lau, Yisrael ; Sobolewski, Sigmund; Taub, Menachem; Avigdor, Yaakov; Feuerwerker, David; Goldman, Chananya; Halberstam, Yekusiel Yehudah; Teitelbaum, Joel; Weissmandl, Chaim; Wiechert, Ernst; Bartoszewski, Władysław; Heilman, Anna; Blum, André; Bratteli, Trygve; Cyrankiewicz, Józef; Draxler, Ludwig Geremek, Bronisław; Gerhardsen, Einar; Goldstein, Kurt ; Kossak-Szczucka, Zofia; Vrba, Rudolf; Wetzler, Alfréd; Helfgott, Ben; Ladany, Shaul ; Epstein, Kurt; de Levie, Elka; Sláma, Miroslav; Lesser, Ben
These are but a few who survived, and changed the world.
Imagine the world if 6 million of us and five million more hadn’t been the victims of unparalleled, targeted genocide.
I- CRY-OUT for the past; for my people, lost; the generations wiped out when two thirds of Europe’s were Jews massacred.
I- CRY-OUT for the future.
I- SHOUT-OUT! NEVER AGAIN! Never again shall we accept murder by those without conscience and souls filled with hate. Never again shall we allow the world to stand by … and do nothing.
The Talmud, and the African Masai tribe both teach “Sticks alone can be broken by a child, but sticks in a bundle are unbreakable.” If we bundle together, we shall be unbreakable and we shall overcome madness with tolerance, with reason, and with rachmones.
On Yom Hashoah sirens all over Israel sound at 10 a.m. for two minutes. During that time, I- SHOUT-OUT … Zachor! But more … Hatikvah!
Dedicated to Survivor Ben Lesser, Founder of Zachor.