An Open Letter to My Fellow Parents on Holocaust Remembrance Day
Human nature makes us want to turn away, to forget, but we can't. Not ever. We must acknowledge that humankind, as unfathomable as it is, really is capable of inflicting the most disgusting and indescribable pain, humiliation, and slaughter on one another.
Sometimes when I look at my son, my heart bleeds at the thought of other moms, Jewish moms, who were ripped from their homes and whose children were pulled from their arms, stripped of everything, including their dignity, and placed, like cattle into holding areas where the literal fate of their life rested on which group they had been separated into.
I feel sick to my stomach and although I wasn't there during the days of the holocaust, I can hear the screams of mothers, reaching for their children, clutching at them, clawing their way to them for one more hug, one more kiss, one more glance, more often than not, their final imprint of their child and their child's final imprint of their mother. I can feel their hot tears sting my cheeks and my chest grows tight in sickness and sorrow.
I feel the bile rise in my throat as I imagine the mothers who watched their precious loved one being walked into their death place. I feel my hands clench and the fire of anger run through my veins. What happened to my fellow humans during the holocaust was inhumane and we, you and I, must fight to make sure future generations never forget what happened.
The mothers, the children, the fathers, the aunts and uncles, the grandparents, and the cousins. The dreamers, the inventors, the believers. Each precious life senselessly stolen deserves to be remembered. We may not have known them, but we owe it to them to fight, not work for, but FIGHT for a better world where ALL people are treated humanely and with dignity.
Moms (and dads, too), please, when your kids are old enough to be able to comprehend and handle learning about the holocaust (most experts believe middle school is the best age at which to broach this subject), I encourage you to talk to them openly. There's no doubt that your discussion will be painful and there will likely be several times you will have to answer questions with, "I don't know" because wrapping our heads around all that happened is still impossible. However, open dialogue and education are the very least that we, as a parent, can do to honor the lives of those lost.
We must recommit ourselves to resisting hatred and violence in all of their ugly forms. It could have been any of our children.
Think about that.