Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Names, not numbers

Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Remembrance Day is the official name. The shorter, blunter name we usually call this day is Yom HaShoah.
At 10:00 this morning all movement stopped. Israelis got out of their car or chair or whatever and stood in silence for two long minutes. Only the chilling wail of every air-raid siren in the country was heard.
I happened to be out walking on the campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Flags were set out in the center of the plaza. Someone had just sung "Eli, Eli." Then the siren blared. Each young person went into his/her own thoughts and/or prayers but we all stood together, Jewish and Arab students, religious and secular, in uniform and in civilian. It felt right, standing with my people.
And, the greatest blessing--beside me stood my daughter and her two little sons--Jewish, Israeli, Hebrew-speakers, and very much alive! My grandkids have names: Dean and Eyal.
The 1,500,000 children killed in Hitler's death camps had learned to answer to the number tatooed on their arm. The emphasis of this year's Shoah Day is "Children in the Shoah."
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As I tried to contain my tears, our near-by siren blast came to an end. But still no one moved. We all remained motionless, listening as far-away sirens from all parts of Jerusalem tapered off and finally became silent. It was as if we all wanted to savor the feeling of standing together, united in the intensity of remembering.
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"Names, not numbers" is my contribution to today's ABC Wednesday.

18 comments:

Katie said...

Thank you for this post, for remembering what happened.

photowannabe said...

This brought tears to my eyes. A very soul searching and heart tugging experience. Thank you for sharing it today. We should never forget.

Leslie: said...

I have chills here on the west coast of Canada just remembering what we studied in History at school. One must NEVER forget!

spacedlaw said...

That is a lovely post. I love that so many years afterwards you all are still frozen in your acts in remembrance of what must never be forgotten.

Karyn said...

Awesome. Even just reading about it, I could feel the emotion, the respect. Thank you so much for sharing this experience. I cried. I rejoiced that your children have NAMES.

I actually noticed that my daytimer makes note that todya is 'Holocaust Rememberance Day'.

Meead said...

Holocaust must never be forgotten in addition to Gaza(2009), Darfur(2003), Qana(1996), Rwanda(1994), Bosnia and Herzegovina(1992-95), Sabra & Shatila (1982) and many other genocides. Hope not to see any of them again in the world.

Hilda said...

Just reading your post made my heart ache. A very strong and moving account, Dina. Thank you.

I've been posting about Corregidor these past few days. Though the numbers are nowhere near what happened to the Jews, it was still awful. And the saddest part is, it seems that people still haven't learned…

Cloudia said...

I am proud to stand with you.

Pease for israel
is peace for all.
Aloha-

Rosebud said...

Thank you for sharing this moving remembrance story with us.

Life with Kaishon said...

Wow. This was so touching. I am so thankful that your beautiful grandsons have names and will grow up being surrounded by their wonderful family. May they always know that they can accomplish anything that this life has to offer. Precious children.

Arija said...

I remember as a refugee child in Germany i 1945 seeing the newsreels of th living dead of the death camps. People with huge eyes and a bare covering of skin to thir bones...they are seared in my memory to this day.

Reader Wil said...

Dina, it was so terrible what happened and it is a part of history that we shall never forget. The problem is that the older I get the less I can see movies about that terrible time and about the German concentration camps. There is always that photo with little children and one beautiful little girl, who shows her arm with the tatooed number. It always makes me cry. Good post, Dina.

Nazzareno said...

For the good of the world I hope that the siren of the memory never does not stop to sound

Vaggelis said...

...... never stop to remember those terrible times. maybe this is the way to make better future.

Kay said...

This is such a beautiful post of remembrance, Dina. I can imagine you standing there with your grandsons and Naomi, as loving spirits float about Israel happy to not be forgotten.

mommanator said...

WOW-such unity of mind & spirit! Wouldn't it be wonderful if the world could have this unity!

Catherine said...

I've seen it in our TV news, Dina. Very moving tribute.
I think you can feel proud of being Isreali and Jewish. I would if I was.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Oh, Dina. What a moving experience. Thank you for sharing this with us.

May the world never, never, never forget!