By April 12, 2018 Read More →

Yom Hashoah 2018: Optimism, Strength and Faith – Holocaust survivors share their stories at ROI and the Ramban BM

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With each Yom Hashoah that passes, there are less Holocaust survivors  to share their stories. This is tragic. I always think that listening to a Holocaust survivor tell their story and how they had the courage to go on and marry and have children is one of the greatest lessons in life we can have.

Throughout Israel on the evening of Yom Hashoah, they have gatherings in people’s homes, organisations and shuls where Holocaust survivors share their personal stories. They called these gatherings ‘Zikaron B’Salon’.

This is a world away from all the pomp and formality of the official ceremonies and speeches, that also is part of Yom Hashoah and so much more meaningful and memorable.

Last night at ROI and the Ramban Bet Midrash I heard 2 survivors tell their story. Yes, on the one hand each story is different. But on the other hand, you often come away with the same feeling.

Hearing the stories of survivors: The traumas they went through as children – Watching their grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles and aunts, cousins and other family members being deported to the camps and never seen them again, having their schooling and education taken away from them, having to acclimate and start again in new countries despite the fact they didn’t have the familial support, language or professional skills, and most of all to keep their faith in G-d, man and life itself despite seeing such horror each year makes me think how much we have to learn from them and pass on their values to the next generation.

The ‘1st generation’ never spoke. The ‘2nd generation’ didn’t know what to say. Now, the ‘3rd generation’, can’t stop speaking or at least thinking. But, what can we say? – There was silence. We can share the values and ideals we saw and learnt from them, from the 1st generation. They kept their faith in G-d, even though things made so little sense. They kept their faith in man, despite seeing such evil.

That is – The generation of our grandparents, the survivors and refugees, went through hell and yet kept their faith in G-d and humanity. Our parents, the second generation, may not have known how to relate to the Holocaust, especially whilst their parents were alive. We, the third generation have a responsibility to share these values we learnt from our grandparents who survived and rebuilt their lives, becoming grandparents and great grandparents, of optimism, strength and faith.

Here are photos from last night:


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