Today is Yom HaSho'ah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. We set aside this day on the Jewish calender to honor, mourn, and remember the 6,000,000 Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust.
This weekend in Boston there will be a public ceremony, as there is every year. This year, about two-dozen neo-Nazis intend on showing up in protest, denying the Holocaust.
Within a decade or so, all of the survivors will be dead. It is important that we remember their stories not only for their sake, but for the sake of future generations.
My grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, and I'm going to share her story. Please read it. Please bear witness.
My grandmother was born in Poland, but she grew up in Austria. She was a young woman in medical school in Vienna when the war broke out, training to be a nurse.
The night that Hitler arrived in Vienna, was her older brother's last night in Vienna. The next morning he would be leaving for Israel (which wasn't a state at the time). As a going away gift, his parents gave him tickets to the opera for that night. When the Nazis came, my grandmother and her sister rushed through the dangerous streets, staying 5 feet apart so as not to attract attention, to the opera house to get their brother. He scolded them for doing something so risky, and they went home.
Her father was taken away by the SS. She never heard from him again.
One day, an SS officer showed up at her door and told her to come with him. My grandmother obeyed, shutting the door behind her before the Nazis could realize that there were other people in the house. Her mother, who was in the house, would eventually meet her fate in a death camp.
It just so happened that one of the Nazi guards in the concentration camp where she was taken was a classmate of hers at the medical school. He facilitated her escape.
She and my grandfather fled. They ended up in Manila, in the Phillipenes, where they lived until they were put in a Japanese concentration camp. After they were liberated, they came to America.
That is one story. My grandma's story. And I'm sure that that's not even the full story.
If anyone else has any stories to tell, please do.