Well…I am now back from my trip to D.C. I got my fill of museums, dancing, city life, good (expensive) food, and monuments. All in all, not bad for a break. I will only describe one experience here.
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me- and there was no one left to speak for me. –Martin Niemoller (anti-nazi german pastor)
There was a large room we walked into with nothing but shoes, piles everywhere collected from Auschwitz:
We are the shoes, we are the last witnesses, we are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers, from prague, paris, and amsterdam, and because we are only made of cloth and leather and not of blood and flesh, each one of use avoided the hellfire. –Moses Schulstein, Yiddish Poet
Quote: I know of course; it’s simply luck that we survived so many friends. But last night in a dream I heard those friends say to me; survival of the fittest…And I hated myself –Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was one of the few Jewish ‘VIP’s’ which included renowned artists, actors, dancers, and singers that were allowed U.S. VISA’s to escape the Holocaust. Other jews weren’t so lucky and eventually no country could take them.
I chose to blog about the Holocaust Museum because it was very moving and because many of us still believe in the inherent goodness of mankind, including myself ,’people are really good at heart’ (quoting Anne Frank of course). It is profoundly sad when ‘mankind’ lets us down but it gives us a lesson on refusing to be complacent when such things happen.
I will end with an interview I saw in the museum:
“…So I asked Yosef where Chaim was and he says he’s over by the quarry praying…And I go to Chaim and I ask him what he is praying. He says he is giving praise to God…and I look at him…praise?!!! In this place?!!! How can you praise God in this place, this place of starvation, beatings, rats, disease, fear, and death. Why does God deserve praise in this hell?–And he said, ‘I am giving God praise for he didn’t make me like the murderers around me.'”