I just got home from attending this year’s Yom HaShoah service at the temple. I must say that this year’s service seemed a little less heavy than last year’s. Magda Brown usually speaks to school groups and therefore her presentation was more tempered than others I have heard in the past. Also, by virtue of living in Hungary during the war, her Holocaust experience was not like those of others who came from Germany or Poland. Hungary was a German ally for the duration of the war, and as such the Hungarian Jews were not subject to a lot of the tribulations that others were forced to deal with. She was not evacuated from her home town to a concentration camp until 1944, after the Normandy invasion.
A friend of mine came with me, and brought her son with her. He is a real WWII buff, but had never had the opportunity to hear the story of a survivor first-hand. He really seemed to enjoy himself and has already said that he would be interested in attending services next year. He is the perfect example of why Yom HaShoah is so important. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and the ones who survived that horror are starting to pass away. It is our responsibility to make sure that the stories of what happened in Europe in the 30’s and 40’s (along with what is happening in Darfur today) are never forgotten. When there are no survivors left to tell the stories, then the children of the survivors will tell the stories. And when they, too, are gone, their grandchildren and their children’s grandchildren will tell the stories.
We will not forget.