They were always my dad’s family. Every Holocaust Memorial Day we would talk about them. My dad’s aunts, uncles, cousins, who were murdered in the Holocaust. An entire family perished, men, women, children, babies, all because they were Jewish. The only survivors were those who fled before the war. Every Holocaust Memorial Day would spark a discussion about them, and a renewed interest in where the family lived, what they did, who they were. But they were still my dad’s family.
That changed when I was in High School. I went to Poland, as part of a school trip to learn more about the Holocaust, learn more about the camps, to understand our history and appreciate the present future, as to declare, “we remember, no more, we arise out of the ashes”. To declare victory and show we will not allow this to be repeated. At that trip, I realised my dad’s family, was mine. It was my family which was taken and murdered and the realisation that I could walk in to the camps, and out, represent my country and show that we continue, we live, we have a country, was immense.
Next week Israel celebrates 70 years of Independence. 70 years showing God’s grace and mercy, sovereignty and love in sustaining and protecting Israel. Yet once more, Israel’s enemies try to hurt her and throw accusations when she tries to defend herself. All this while in the neighbouring Syria, thousands are being murdered by their own leader. Yet, the world remains silent, just as it did during the Holocaust. Pictures and reports of the people being gassed as the world remains silent, are a sore reminder that history repeats itself.
Israel will celebrate it’s Independence soon, remembering the painful history that led to its establishment and not only knowing, but living out the responsibility it has to help others and remind the world “never again”. Israel does its best to help the Syrian wounded arriving at its borders, yet the world sees neither that, nor the wounded in Syria.
How long? When will the world start caring about the men, women, children and babies who are being killed there? When will the world open its eyes?
© Hannah Kramer