To bring the Germans to a level of deep hate for the Jews, which led to the systematic, bestial murder of Jews, the Nazis brainwashed the German nation, convincing them that the Jews were vermin, nobodies, worthwhile killing so the world was emptied of them, and thus cleaner.
On the Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, website (http://www.yadvashem.org/yv/en/about/index.asp) it is stated:
“…Yad Vashem safeguards the memory of the past and imparts its meaning for future generations…For over half a century, Yad Vashem has been committed to four pillars of remembrance: Commemoration, Documentation, Research and Education.”
As much as the past is a guide to the future, I see it vital that the future is safeguarded to prevent another Holocaust from happening.
This was the underpinning of this year’s American Society for Yad Va’shem, Leonard Wilf Chairman, ) http://yadvashemusa.org/(, in cooperation with Phil Blazer and Jewish Life Foundation/Jewish Life TV (JLTV) (http://www.jewishlifefoundation.org/wordpress/), Saluting Hollywood Benefit Gala, held at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Beverly Hills and emceed by super model Bar Refaeli. Among the many distinguished guests Hollywood noticeable were actor Jon Voight and singer Pat Boone.
The line of honorees was extensive. Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, Haim and Cheryl Saban and Jona Goldrich received the Leadership Award; actor Kirk Douglas received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Edward Czuker, Kenneth Pressberg and Patricia Herskovic received the Legacy Award. Mira Becker and Aron Bell (Bielski) received the Courage Award. Harry Ettlinger – the real-life Jewish ‘Monuments Man’ – received the Remembrance Award, honoring the film “The Monuments Men” starring George Clooney, Matt Damon and John Goodman and actor Liev Schreiber received the Ambassador Award for his role in the film “Defiance,” the story of the Bielski Partisans who saved 1,200 Jews from being murdered in the Holocaust.
My issue is the Jewish people’s future. To remember the past and prevent it from recurring.
Many young people attended the event. I asked some of them, USC students, age 22, “why are you involved?” They replied in unison: “because it has deep meaning.” They mentioned having grandparents who survived the Holocaust. They all visited Yad Va’shem and were deeply touched by what they saw and are “great supporters of the museum,” they told me.
Not remembering those who perished in the Holocaust is like killing them again. That is why they do what they do at Yad Va’shem. At present they have already 4 million names memorized and documented for eternity.
There are galas and there are galas, but there is no gala like the American Society for Yad Va’shem gala and it is a mitzvah to attend the event. It is sad, it is shooting right into one’s heart, especially when there are still survivors among us who tell the story as if it happened yesterday. Time is marching on and who will hold their memory alive?
It is now the 1st and 2nd and even the 3rd generation’s responsibility to never stop telling the story of the Holocaust; it is vital that we tell the truth and never stop telling.
The concern is how to tell the Holocaust story to the next generation. I say, start by saying, “I am a Jew, I am a human being.”