Holocaust remembrance – Memory, the path to immortality

Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.

None of us will ever comprehend the horrific chapter in humanity’s history referred to as the Holocaust. Even those who lived through this nightmare cannot understand how human beings can be brought to such a level of monstrous proportions.

Each year we stand and remember those who have no candles lit for them on the anniversary of their death, or prayers recited as their names are not mentioned because no one really knows all the names. There are no monuments erected to mark the spot where once lived people who were sacrificed for the sake of hatred. Their unmarked graves bear witness to the disgrace that is the legacy of man’s darkest hour. All of this happened because to be different in any way, was the mortal sin of depravity.

The systematic degradation, dehumanization and physical destruction are testaments to the evil that lurks inside the dark side of the human spirit. Humankind can sink to the depths of depravity when Godliness is replaced by Godlessness.

I am always reminded of a poem written by a boy named Frantisek Bass, born in 1930, deported to Terezin in 1942, murdered in Auschwitz on Passover, 1944, when he spoke of the children, the innocence of our youth who were murdered before their flowers could bloom. I repeat it each year at our Seder table because the joy of our deliverance should be tempered with the reality of life:

One and one half million little boys and girls, and over five million men and women, more than six million victims of the whim of monsters are no more. “That little boy,” wrote A.M. Klein, a German poet (1909-1972), “my cousin, whose cry might have been my cry in that dark land-where shall I seek you? On what wind shall I reach out to touch the ash that was your hand?”

Each of us, whether Jew or Gentile are left to remind the world that this heinous act cannot, and will not ever be repeated again. More than 60 million people from all walks of life, all corners of the globe, were also sacrificed on the altar of indifference. That is why we should always and forever remember the blood soaked earth, the stench from the ovens of mass destruction, and the cries of the helpless.

On April 19 at 3:00 p.m. at the Sun Lakes Chapel, the entire southeast families of man will unite to consecrate the memories of loved ones whose journey is no more, with a special service of Remembrance. All clergy have been invited to participate as have all Temples and churches. This is where our emphasis should be as we recall all those who have none to remember them and those who we recollect that were part of our lives. All of them affected us in ways yet to be determined. The legacy of their lives is the monument to their immortality. So long as we live, they too shall live, in our hearts and minds, in the unfulfilled destinies.

The sky, which was gray, is now blue with hope and faith and the sun is now shining on a new day – a day that contains a future for all people and all mankind. We are capable of good things, of heavenly things and our survival attests to that goodness which is part of our connection to the Divine.

Each time we remember, we resurrect a soul, which symbolizes the re-birth of values and benevolence and blessing.

May we never lose sight of our responsibility to these souls of distinction. May we never waiver in our resolve to NEVER FORGET.

Join with us and all your friends in this momentous occasion when we come together as one community, one destiny, to hold hands and sing the immortal words of songs of years past. It is important given that we are now experiencing, all around the world, the hatred and murder of innocent people because they refuse to surrender to the idiocy of murderous thugs.

The Chapel will be open no later than 2:00 p.m. to light candles in remembrance of the six million, and the 60 million. A table will be set-up with candles – come early – light one or more.