It is true, I protest, each day we should remember…and never forget.
Holocaust Remembrance Day is now dated and declared as January 27th, another day to remember our fallen, tortured and murdered.
Viktor Frankl, who not only survived the nightmares of the Holocaust, in which more than six million Jews died during World War II under the Nazi Regime and Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, also wrote one of the greatest books ever written about the spirit and courage of the human condition.
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl wrote, “But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
To suffer is one of the greatest motivators towards change, and one of the greatest liberators for those who have felt they have become part of the forgotten, the lost and the un-cherished.
Haven’t you ever felt this way? When you were so blood-tired and pulled down by the rigors of life that you could only go right, if you were to survive?
Frankl also wrote:
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
You may ask, how could Frankl have written such spirited words?
How could he have sat so calmly and with such unreserved peace to have thought of words that spoke so innocently, even though he lived in the harsh world of evils—evils so heinous and foul that we still cannot wrap our heads around any meaning at all, lest any search that Frankl spoke of.
He was hungry and his freedoms were taken and yet he did not cry for only himself—his heart was swollen from his faith.
My own children often comment about how they find it amazing, wonderful and odd that people who seemed to have endured that much pain and suffering are often the very same people who not only endure what they have suffered through, but have maintained an optimistic spirit and a whole and untethered heart, speaking freely and even happily.
“For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day-to-day and from hour-to-hour,” Frankl said. “What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.”
Do you understand his words? Do they make you cry? Do you hear both the thistle and the warmth?
This is the spirit of the human condition; this is the wonderment of not just survival but of the faith of all that is bright, even in the darkest of nights.
Millions of people have been tortured, maimed, murdered and objectified in the name of politics, religion, geography and a myriad of other supposed reasons, none which can quite be understood, explained, lectured upon or philosophized down to any palpable core.
Infants, children, adolescents, mothers, fathers, grandfathers, grandmothers, the indigent, physically and mentally challenged, homosexuals and all peoples of all colors, religions and creeds are still cast away and forgotten, all over the world today, with their names mere numbers…a sea of numbers in an ocean of death.
So many children have died, so many parents have lied; lied to their bones, to survive the deaths of their babes but sometimes their tears, on brownstones were paved.
As we all sat and hoped, that we would never face ever again, the annihilation of race, we are all here for a reason.
For not just for our own blood and tears but for each other; for all of the pain as well as the joy, we are here to understand and to say: “Brother and sister, we get you,“and you…you are not alone.
“The last of human freedoms—the ability to chose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances,” said Frankl.
I shout out to the World! I am a mother you see; I have babes who are clinging to my skirt and to me. Yes, there is a marked day for the year, just another day inked and printed on calendars here and there, that the Holocaust shall be remembered…but what about all of the tomorrows?
All of the following Sundays, when moons and suns will pass away and begin with new hopes and deaths.
For all of these days, we must remember our fallen people; for all who have died, under the reigns of hate and fear, Holocaust Remembrance Day should be with us each and every day of the year. And we must remember what happened, and teach what happened each and every day to our children. This is our way to make sense of the evils all over the world.
Remembering is one thing but speaking, telling, and sharing the looming experiences and atrocities that happened is what our babes will retell.
I knew an old woman once, who looked much older than her age; she used to give my baby sister and I candy when we visited her.
She had beautiful white shiny hair and framed photographs of all of her siblings, parents and grandparents who had perished because of the Holocaust.
She was the only survivor—and yet she is not bitter—but grateful that she had the time with her family when she did, and also that she can remember.
“Love is the only way to grasp another human being in the innermost core of his personality. No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him. By his love he is enabled to see the essential traits and feature.”
~ Viktor Frankl
We are all here, together, my friends—see that it can be all up to you and me.
This miracle we call life is tangible, possible and wondrous, if you only allow yourself to also feel the human spirit and strength that is inside you.
Refuah Sh’lemah (Hebrew Prayer for Health and Healing)
Avoteinu: Avraham, Yitzhak, v’Yaakov,
v’Imoteinu: Sarah, Rivka, Rachel v’Leah,
Hu yivarekh virapei
HaKadosh Barukh Hu
yimalei rahamim alav/aleha,
V’yishlah lo/lah bim-hera
r’fu-at hanefesh u-r’fu-at hagoof,
b’tokh sh’ar holei Yisrael v’holei yoshvei tevel,
hashta ba’agalah u-vizman kariv,
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Ed: Bryonie Wise