The article which appeared in the April 9 edition of JTNews (“Opting out”) was offensive to me as a Holocaust survivor. Other survivors who read this article shared some of the same feelings with me that a Jewish paper supported by Jewish people would be so insensitive to publish this opinion in the week of Yom HaShoah.
When we commemorate Yom Ha-
Shoah, we pay respects to those who have perished during the Holocaust. We also pay respects to those survivors who have risen from the ashes and come to America without knowing the language or customs. As survivors, we worked very hard to raise families for years, and many of us kept our past inside. In the last few decades many have decided to share their experiences by going to schools and sharing their stories to prevent future Holocaust from happening.
We survivors tell students about love and compassion and the quest to live and never to give up. We are the witnesses to some of the worst horrors—we don’t teach hate, we teach compassion and love for each other.
Therefore, when we commemorate Yom HaShoah we have to see the positive — that each human is special and that each one of us is different. Personally, I am alive because one person risked her life.
In Germany today, before you graduate from high school, you have to visit a concentration camp. I personally speak to thousands of people each year because educators feel it is important to teach the history of the Holocaust.
I hope that survivors are helping put an end to genocide by telling their stories.