Monday, April 28, 2014

O remember, remember

My calendar tells me that today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. 

Why? Because those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin

"For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." Elie Wiesel

Underneath the Holocaust memorial are three rooms highlighting various aspects of the Holocaust. The first room had excerpts from letters. 
"That was but a prelude; where they burn books, they will ultimately burn people as well." 
German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine

A window in the ground on the Bebelplatz, a little square on Unter den Linden in downtown Berlin. It's a reminder of Kristallnacht, the night the Nazis burned books. It is simply empty shelves.

"Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions." Primo Levi

The memorial at Dachau. Jews, gypsies, gays, residents of Eastern Europe, the mentally ill and political and social dissidents all fell victim to the Nazi regime. Doctors conducted medical experiments on the living and dead alike. 

"We are alive. We are human, with good and bad in us. That's all we know for sure. We can't create a new species or a new world. That's been done. Now we have to live within those boundaries. What are our choices? We can despair and curse, and change nothing. We can choose evil like our enemies have done and create a world based on hate. Or we can try to make things better." Carol Matas
Dachau, outside of Munich, was the "model" concentration camp for Hitler's regime. It was in operation from 1933 to 1945. Mass gassings didn't happen here, but thousands of people died of starvation, physical abuse and hopelessness. Many were dumped in mass graves, others were cremated. 
"Love is larger than the walls which shut it in." Corrie ten Boom
In the completely dark tunnels underneath the southern Dutch town of Maastricht, Jews were smuggled out of nearby Germany and to safety. One of those Jews, who scratched his name into the wall, returned in the '80s not as a victim but as a survivor.
"If we bear all this suffering and if there are still Jews left, when it is over, then Jews, instead of being doomed, will be held up as an example." Anne Frank
Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam. Of the eight people who hid here for years, only her father survived.
"The Holocaust illustrates the consequences of prejudice, racism and stereotyping on a society. It forces us to examine the responsibilities of citizenship and confront the powerful ramifications of indifference and inaction." Tim Holden
A weeping willow behind the synagogue in Budapest -- the largest synagogue in Europe.
This area used to be a Jewish ghetto. 
"Escape was not our goal since it was so unrealistic. What we wanted was to survive, to live long enough to tell the world what had happened in Buchenwald." Jack Werber
Memorial to the European Roma (the gypsies) who also were herded into
concentration camps and systemically wiped out.
"Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander." Yehuda Bauer
A memorial in Berlin to all who have been the victims of war and tyranny.

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Elie Wiesel

 "It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say." Primo Levi

1 comment:

  1. On the Holocaust Memorial in Portland, part of the sign reads, "Such crimes spring from the darkness recesses of the human spirit. They require planning, collusion, and massive public indifference."