Four of my relatives survived Auschwitz. Two of them were freedom fighters who saved thousands of lives. Many relatives went from concentration camp to concentration camp, until they were completely lost to us. If my numbers are wrong, I will come back and correct this, but these are the facts as I know them.
Here’s the truth; the world at large ISN’T “pausing to remember”. That’s a political statement, it is NOT the truth.
There are people in my own age bracket who don’t even KNOW what the Holocaust IS. They were never taught about it. And when you are told, “Six million Jews were exterminated”, that’s not an accurate depiction.
In Belarus, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, and Ukraine (I have family ties to all of these countries.), there are still mass graves being unearthed. The body count is staggering. My cousin is an archaeologist and has been to some of these locations. She had to leave the first one because, after losing her Grandmother two and a half years ago, it was too much and she couldn’t stay and do her job. She was hysterical. It hit her hard as she was listening to her colleagues counting, and trying to figure out how many people were in this particular location. She called and couldn’t stop crying.
The Holocaust was not, “Just Jews.” It was ANYONE who was branded as, “other”. LGB, because back then there were no transgender people. Yes, as many as they could find. As many as neighbors would report in order to save themselves. Gypsies? Yes. The sick and elderly? Yes. They targeted pregnant women and shot them in the streets. They experimented on people like they were rats in cages. And that’s not even close to the deeper horrors. Many countries murdered their remaining Jewish population after the concentration camps were liberated. If Jews returned, they were killed. And to this day, they deny it, but many of us know the truth. Poland was one of the worst offenders, but not the only one.
Please understand that this was not, “Just Jews.” Just some random killing spree. No. It was sickness borne out of hatred. This hatred is now in every major city, and many small towns. It has somehow survived far beyond the years of our history as a people. Attacks on Jews are in the news almost daily. People now seem to accept this as just another day. The only people who talk about it are other Jews. If I walked up to someone of another faith and shot them for no reason, I’d be in jail for the rest of my life. It would NOT be labeled as a hate crime. I have friends who have survived attacks that the police refused to label properly. For me, a hate crime is a hate crime. It isn’t about the color of your skin; it’s about right and wrong. Apparently some people don’t know the difference, and it is 2020. They should be ashamed, but they aren’t.
The Holocaust was the ultimate hate crime (just like other forms of mass genocide). When we say, #NeverAgain, it’s because we mean it. Nothing silences the hatred targeting us quite like an armed Jew. Armed with knowledge, armed with intelligence, armed with self-defense tactics, armed with any number of things; weapons included. #JewsFightBack, and they also provide advanced technology (Look at the phone you are using. It’s Israeli technology.), advanced medicine, advanced medical treatment methods, actual cures, and their contributions to science, music, entertainment, health, and society at large is so much more. It is a legacy and a gift.
So the next time you, regardless of faith, ask yourself about what you hear on the news or read in your paper, know that THIS Jewish woman has got your back. I do what I was raised to do; be a better person than I was yesterday. I’m color-blind until you give me reason not to be. I use my voice, because if ever there was a weapon, it’s the truth that comes out of my mouth. That will not stop.
If you read this until the end, my sincere thanks. 🙏 #NeverAgainStartsWithMe
copyright © 2020 by Lisa Marino and Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.