I’ll never forget a beautiful sunny afternoon in 1980 when I decided to visit a shopping mall in Los Angeles. After walking around window shopping for a while I bought a soda pop and saw a nice indoor fountain with people sitting around it. I walked over and sat down with my drink.
There were no cell phones in 1980 (hard to imagine right?) so as I sipped my drink I started looking around. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man maybe in his 60’s sitting near me round the fountain. Summer in LA was short sleeve weather (daytime). Instead of looking at the man’s face my eyes immediately focused on a tattoo he had on his arm. The tattoo was very basic. The capital letter A followed by a string of numbers. For a second I froze not knowing what to do nor say. The realization that I was sitting next to a Jewish survivor of Auschwitz was overpowering. Unfortunately, memory fails me about what happened after that. I don’t even remember if I said hello or if we talked at all. Some situations go beyond what words can ever say. The story of almost all survivors of Auschwitz are pretty much the same. Starvation, misery, torture, medical experimentations, gas chambers, whole families wiped off the face of the earth.
It’s getting easier in some places to rewrite history. To say the murder of 6 million innocent Jews never happened. The number of Holocaust survivors today is rapidly approaching zero. We can no longer depend on our educational institutions to do the job of teaching our children. We must now do that ourselves for those who were not already doing so. Today is Holocaust remembrance day. Please consider doing your part. Tell someone, especially children, about the horrors that follow anti-Semitism because today it is again widespread and growing around the world. Those who fail to remember and teach their history are doomed to repeat it. Please keep that in mind when you see the 10 Commandments of Moses taken down or being challenged. History is ours to loose and repeat unless we “Never forget.”