For many people, holocaust is just a story they heard about in the news. WWII is a distant thing; many of us didn’t even live at that time. It’s all grandparents rambling, historical books, old movies, etc. It’s all fading memory. But for thousands and millions of people it’s part of their history. It’s part of my history. I’m not Jewish by birth. Judaism is my chosen religion and I wish to convert in the future. It is part of my history because of my nationality. I’m Hungarian. Hungary as many country during WWII took part in deporting Jews due to being allies with Germany. My grandparents lived through WWII and my father was a child during WWII. All their stories live in me.
While people in the Western European countries and other parts of the world have mostly seen refugees who tried to escape from the Nazi occupation or survived the terror of the war. For me it was real. The stories I heard, people I met, people I talked to, they were there. They survived. They knew people who died. Some tried to help Jews, some gave them up to save their own lives. I’m not here to be judged. There were different times then, and only a few had the courage and the opportunity to help. I don’t know I’d be courageous enough to risk my children’s lives to save people I don’t even know. Or I know. I hope I would be. I can’t judge those who turned their eyes away. War is terrible and people tried to survive. What happened to Jews during WWI and other nations other groups of people during history it’s an outrageous shame on humanity. It’s a shame on those who dictated the rules, and those who did nothing against it.
Last year I visited the Great Synagogue in Budapest.
(further info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doh%C3%A1ny_Street_Synagogue ) It was one of the most shaking and terrifying visit I have ever had. All the beauty of the synagogue and the history and then you enter the part where you remember the victims of the war. Leaflets, notifications and various papers from that era. Some dreaded yellow stars. It was a sin to trade with a Jewish merchant. If you traded with them, even if you only bought a loaf of bread it counted as an outrageous crime and you were branded a traitor. Human against human. Neighbours against neighbours. Nobody did anything. Nobody could do anything. the synagogue eventually became a part of the Jewish ghetto in Budapest. Around 10,000 people died there of hunger. Illness. Cold. They were buried in mass graves, nameless many times. Photos of the dead around. Destruction of the war.
In the following link there are stories of holocaust survivors; stories that should not ever be forgotten:
I’m not ashamed to admit I cried. The terror I learnt about in school became real within seconds. Cold and dark terror. I felt despair. How could humans do it against other humans?! How could we let devoted extreme people rule us? How could we let terror to take humanity over?
I felt I was suffocating.
I don’t think I will ever have the power to visit Auschwitz. I have seen enough to remember what happened 40 years before I was born.
Today is the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. But the memories are still lingering around. The cruelty. The inhuman way we treated other human beings. Valuable lives. Children. Adults. Babies. Elderly. Shoes on the bank of Danube, a memorial for those Jewish victims who were killed by fascist militiamen during WWII. They were shot at the edge of the river so their corpses were carried away. (photo credit: “Shoes Danube Promenade IMGP1297” by Nikodem Nijaki – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Shoes_Danube_Promenade_IMGP1297.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Shoes_Danube_Promenade_IMGP1297.jpg)
That moment Anna Frank’s quote gained a whole new meaning:
“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
How could someone still believe in people’s good heart against all these bad events?
Let’s not forget other nations, groups, pure human beings killed during various genocides in history. Just to mention a few from the 20th century the Armenian, the Greek, the Chinese, the Chechen, the Iraqi Kurd, Tibet. These all happened in the last one hundred years. Even after WWII we do nothing. We have worldwide associations, assemblies, organisations, charities, etc. We lost one thing though: humanity. People seem to be unable to learn from history, they seem to be unable to understand discrimination, hate, anger, violence, racism will only bring more suffering to those who share this planet. You cannot judge someone by their skin colour, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, hair colour, height, weight, or anything else other than their actions. Will humanity ever reach to the level of intelligence that life is a miracle and we ought to live in harmony so we can live in our full potential? I doubt. I hope but I doubt it will happen in my lifetime or in my children’s lifetime. Just think of all the hate, the terror and war that’s ongoing now. No, we still haven’t found our lost humanity, the one crucially important thing that raises us above plants and animals.
“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”