Tag Archives: Holocaust

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today in Israel was Holocaust Memorial Day.  It began last night at sun-down, when everything closes for the night. There are memorials running on television and the city is quiet remembering those who lost their lives during the horrors of the Holocaust.

At 10:00 am, a 2 minute-siren rang throughout the entire country, where everyone literally drops everything to stand in honor. What I think is so amazing is that even if you are in your car, you must pull over and get out to stand.  It was a pretty amazing site. I felt honored to be a part of a wonderful tradition of honoring and remembering.

The truth is this:  The number of Holocaust survivors is rapidly dwindling, as they are becoming older and older.  Their stories, pictures, documents, and memories will soon be all we have.  Its so important for all of mankind to remember the atrocities that occurred in the past in order to prevent it from happening again.

Here is a tiny clip (even though its not from today) of what it looks like all over Israel….

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

 

Striped PajamasThe Boy in the Striped Pajamas

….If you haven’t seen this movie, then you must. 

A story of WWII from the eyes of an 8 year old boy.  A German 8 year old boy.  A son of a high ranked Nazi officer, German 8 year old boy, who befriends an 8 year old Jewish boy on the other side of the fence.

If you don’t think that the way we raise our children, teach our children, or pour into our children makes a difference then think again!  Everything we say and do influences them.  Whether we realize it or not, they are watching us.  Our choices affect them directly or indirectly, and sometimes the consequences are more than we could ever imagine.

Powerful, yet tragic message!


Book Review: Schindler’s List

slPushing through nights of tears and heartache, I finally finished reading Schindler’s List. Crying while reading books is not new to me; I often cry during a good book, but these tears were a bit different. The book gives a life account of Oskar Schindler, who saved thousands of Jews during the Holocaust of WWII.  While the account shows that he was definitely no saint, what he did for the Jewish people was above and beyond any question.  

The book starts out a bit slow, talking about pre-war issues and giving a background into Schindler’s up-growing. Some of it was hard to follow, but as this was a story about him, I understood why it was necessary.

Once the war began, and his antics were unveiled, it was evident to see how he un-selfishly gave all he had to save as many as he could.  Oskar was an extremely wealthy man, and used all his material wealth for the good of mankind.  What I found interesting was that after the war, he lost everything: job, factories, money, etc. and was basically poor from that time on.  He moved to Argentina for a brief stint, but returned to Germany to live out his last days.  

There were a couple moments in the book that I was so overwhelmed… where the tears were flowing and I just sat to take a moment in order to grasp the realness of it all. One time was during the very end of the war, when Schindler had just found out the Germans had surrendered and he was making the speech to all his Jewish survivors. He told them he had to now flee Germany in order to escape being killed by the Russians (he was still German, after all).  The Jewish men got together and made him a gift, to repay him for all he had done to save them.  They had nothing to make the gift out of so one of the men, Mr. Jereth, opened his mouth and insisted they take out the gold fillings.  With it, they melted down the gold and made a ring for him…engraving in Hebrew a Talmudic verse, which was quoted to Schindler at the beginning of the war by his Jewish friend/manager.

“He who saves a single life saves the world entire.”

It is said that when they presented it to Oskar, he put the ring on and could not even speak as he was so filled with emotion.

The other moment was at the end of the book, when it tells of Oskar’s post-war days.  He was so poor and had nothing, and by this time many of his Jews had gone on to become successful and wealthy. Many of them came together and ended up supporting him, financially, until his death.  He had paid for them and kept them alive during the war, and now they believed it was their turn to do so.

The book is very graphic and definitely not for the weak of heart.  It is written to tell the truth about what really happened, and at that time, the truth was extremely hard to swallow.  For me, it was so important to read it in order to have a tiny, sliver of a glimpse into the history of the lives I am now living alongside.  But, even if you do not live in Israel, or are not Jewish, I would still recommend you to read this book.  It is after all, a part of our world history!


Everyone has a story

I am currently reading the book, Schindler’s List.  I saw the movie years ago, but anyone who loves to read knows that the book is always much better…so I’m finally diving in.

Reading it over here has such a different impact on me, its incredible.  It’s one thing to read a story or event from the past and be touched by it, but its another thing completely to be living in the midst of a remnant of that event.  I am serious when I say that everyone I meet either has family, friends, relatives, or even they themselves were involved in some sort of way with this time in history.  Reading this book (and others like it) gives me a more thorough understanding of why hearts are hard, why minds are closed, and why many are suspicious.

It’s true that everyone has a story, but the story of Oskar Schindler is one that has made international headlines (mainly due to Steven Spielberg), but nonetheless is definitely worth reading about.  I’m only on the 2nd chapter, but I’m already finding myself wanting to read it during any spare time I have.  Review to come when I finish…..


Yad Vashem

Today I took the bus to Jerusalem to spend the day touring Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum located on the Mount of Remembrance.  It is the memorial of ALL memorials to see; its absolutely incredible!  We opted to invest in the 20 shekel headsets, which explain each exhibit you come to and more.  I learned so much about the stories behind the story and personal struggles from videos and pictures. The museum is set in stages and time frames from the very beginning to the present day.  I wish I could show the magnitude of impact this place has, but no photos or videos are allowed to be taken inside the museum. 

Many stations along the way had videos playing of testimonies from survivors who lived through that particular moment, looking back and explaining details that go along with the exhibits.  They had artifacts, pictures, monuments, and even a re-created street of what one of the ghettos was like.  They had imported the exact street lights, cobblestone paths, wagons, and railroad tracks from the ghetto itself. It was mind-blowing.

My most memorable moment though, was when an older lady was being wheeled around the museum by a younger lady.  She was crying at many of the stations, explaining various points of presentations to her helper.  I found out that she was one of the survivors and the pictures were of people she actually knew and loved.  I felt overwhelmed!

I urge anyone who has the chance to visit Jerusalem to take half a day and go to Yad Vashem, even if you aren’t Jewish or have any relations to anyone in the Holocaust.  Its a huge part of our history and an important one in making sure we don’t ever repeat this horrid act of hatred again.  

 

Since we couldn

Since we couldn't take pics inside, we took one outside before we went in


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