We have all heard of the Holocaust. When someone mentions the word "Auschwitz" a shiver runs down our spine. "Too gross," we say, "I don't want to cry." So though we know that it was our people that this happened to, that it was our aunts, uncles, and grandparents that this happened to, we leave the subject alone. "It is too disturbing. It will give me nightmares."
But can we just leave it alone? We know about it but we don't talk about it. Perhaps we've even listened to a Holocaust survivor speak. We know that the Holocaust was infinitely more horrible than we can imagine. But does everyone know this? The deniers have become more vocal within the last decade. Their ideas are becoming more mainstream as they show up in ads of college newspapers, on official looking web sites, and even in some classrooms. Who speaks up against these false ideas? Who speaks up against the people who say it never happened? Who speaks up against those that say it is a Jewish conspiracy attempting to gain pity? Not many - for it is too disturbing to discuss.
For over six decades, the experiences that we find too difficult to even think about, have been haunting the survivors. For over six decades, the survivors have been trying to educate the world about the Holocaust. For over six decades, the survivors have been remembering and saying the Kaddish for the victims. Sadly, these men and women are now in their seventies and eighties and will not be able to continue the struggle for much longer. These survivors have fought for life when there was only death, fought for good when there was only evil, and fought for the future when there was only the past. Their struggles have not only become part of our history but have shaped and prepared our future.
The survivors are leaving us, the younger generation, with a legacy of great worth. We are left with a struggle - not an easy one, for struggles never are - but certainly a worthy one. We have been given the duty to fight for our rights and our future as well as the duty to fight against ignorance and bigotry. We represent the future as well as the past. We are to remember and to never forget.
It is on the twenty-seventh day of the Jewish month of Nissan that a special day has been devoted to the remembering of the Holocaust, called Yom Hashoah. Please spend at least a few moments to remember the victims.