Can we be serious for a second?
So here's the thing. I am not a Yom-Hashoa kind of person because I don't think that things should be--or could be--relegated to a one-day-of-the-year. Kind of like every day is Mother's Day? Every day is Yom Hashoa. Because it happened, and my grandparents bore the scars and the numbers until the day they died. And so do we, whatever those scars and numbers mean to you as an individual and also as part of a nation that has suffered so much and yet remains cherished, chosen.
So with that in mind, on Yom Hashoa, I do reread my own account of my grandfather's story that I published on aish.com years ago at the request of my father, and I do look through Yad Vashem archives, and scroll through everyone's personal memories and pictures that they want to share with the world via social network. Because just because every day is Yom Hashoa does not make Yom Hashoa any less than the every day.
And I need to say that I am disturbed by a new trend that I see creeping through Facebook and from the mouths of people and popular bloggers whom I respect, such as popchassid. Actually, it is his photo essay that I take the most objection to.
He wants us to see the Holocaust differently, through a set of pictures that we rarely see. Color me intrigued. I clicked on his link. http://popchassid.com/photos-holocaust-narrative/
Click on his link first, then continue reading my rant.
Or click on it and then go for a long walk.
Or don't click on it--oh, just do whatever you want, I can't sit here and list all the options before you.
If you chose to click on it and read it and now want to continue reading my rant, here it begins:
Rant (clearly labeled to avoid confusion with say, a long walk)
He posted beautiful pictures, so many filled with power and light and beauty. He says that through his handpicked photos, we should come to view those who suffered through the Holocaust in a different light, not as helpless, downtrodden victims.
But here's the thing.
We were helpless. We were downtrodden. We were victims. Millions of us died in fear and misery and without a spark of hope, help, or love.
Why are we so set on denying that? Why are we so afraid of that truth?
Yes, there were moments in which light lit up the darkness. But those moments were few and far between the utter misery and degradation that we suffered.
We can and should choose to remember the moments of human triumph of spirit, of mind, of body. But it is of equal--and perhaps, dare I say of greater--importance to remember the truth. We were spat upon. We were raped, girls and boys alike. We were tortured by horrific medical experiments. We were lined up naked and trembling before pits that we were forced to dig with our bare hands and then shot in the back of the heads.
Yeah, I know. Ugly. Horrifying. The stuff of nightmares.
But it happened. It happened to so many of us. It happened to millions of us.
We should remember our moments of personal triumph, our own family miracles that shone for one brief moment. But they shone so brightly because of the darkness all around us.
My Bubby died and her secrets are buried with her, horrible secrets, secrets that made her scream in the night until she died, decades and decades later. My Zeidy lived miracles and shared them with us; and shared as well was the endless days spent in the sewers, the forced labor, the liquidation of the camp, the killing of his only friend.
So much darkness. I can see why we are afraid of it.
But remember; in order to see the sparks of beauty and light, we need to first acknowledge the ugly and the dark.