Monday, April 12, 2010

Remembrance, and the righteous among the nations

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. So, remember. On Passover, we're injoined to remember as if we had personally been there, and we should remember this as if it had happened to us personally.

Last night there was a documentary on PBS with a Ukranian survivor, Fanya Gottesfeld-Heller. As a teenager, she entered into a sexual relationship with a man much older than she. If it hadn't been necessary to survive --he was her protector-- it would have been remarkably creepy. Her father softly encouraged her, "Be nice to him." With her parents and brother, she hid in a ditch big enough only for 2 people, for 2 years. Without even the most basic sanitation. Without the freedom even to get out of the ditch. With barely any food. And when the Nazis left and they could get out, her father disappeared. She'll never know what happened to him, but she's sure it was her lover who murdered her father.

My grandmother, born in Kiev, left after the Revolution, but it's not hard to imagine it could have been my family. Actually, I imagine my grandmother left some family behind. Cousins or such. If they were so lucky to survive, they probably had similar stories.

Tonight, PBS airs a show, The Righteous Among the Nations, about Arabs who saved Jews. There are clips here.

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