Tuesday, May 03, 2016

03-May-16: Impossibly painful loss and those who survived: Remembering the Holocaust

Melbourne, Australia, where we lived from soon after we married until August 1988 when we moved in Israel, is frequently said to have one of the largest concentrations of Holocaust survivors per capita of any community outside of Israel.

Jewish Care, the Victorian Jewish community's welfare arm, has created and now begun showing this short film, focusing on the recollections of about a dozen quite elderly Melbourne Jews who survived and rebuilt their lives Down Under, as a tribute to the imperative that we never forget.

Video clip from Jewish Care, Melbourne, Australia - 16 minutes

For viewers who are not made of rock, it may be moving in the extreme to see how, confronted with recollections of the terrible losses they suffered almost eighty years ago, the men and women speaking into the camera relive the reality and the extreme trauma in ways that remind us how such tragic events are never forgotten by those who suffered them.

These people were once young, once had bright futures, once had loving relationships with parents, lovers, siblings, spouses, friends. We don't possess lexicons rich enough to capture what it must have felt like to be part of the uniquely cruel process that forever and in unimaginably cruel ways took all these relationships and experiences away from them forever.

We are left to recite the dry facts: that between 1933 and 1945, the German government led by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party carried out the systematic persecution and murder of Europe’s Jews. This genocide is now known as the Holocaust. All we, the survivors and children and grandchildren of the survivors, can and must do, is remember.

The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, a date selected because it marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943. In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom HaShoah. This year it starts tomorrow evening, Wednesday, May 4 and ends the following evening.

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