Thoughts on the Holocaust

As I keep exploring new places and occasionally, encounter people who have never heard of the Holocaust, I find myself gripped by emotions that, I am afraid, will never fade away.

In general, I prefer to see the good in the world, in people. I believe we are all limited to our own perspectives, connecting mostly with our own experiences and understandings.

And thus, we have to be open to others, see where they are coming from, and always aspire for a dialogue.

Very few people I met were Holocaust deniers. I could count them on one hand. A denial of the Holocaust usually stems from a very deep misconception of history, or (and I do not think of them much), Antisemitic people. Sometimes I prefer not to engage in someone’s misconception. And the Holocaust is one of those few subjects.

Below is a Facebook post I wrote back in 2017 when I was about to go on a flight from Tel Aviv to Berlin for the first time. A lot of my emotions went into this post. I don’t write or think about this subject much, it’s just in me. And I do not like it being there. 

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Next week I will be visiting Berlin for the first time. I have some days to explore it on my own before my co-workers will arrive for a staff retreat. I was considering avoiding any Jewish related places. Museum, memorial, monument. I was going to focus on art, music, fun places. But this morning, I decided to change this plan, just a little, adding the Holocaust Museum to my to-do list.

Never in my life I visited a Nazi concentration camp.

I moved to the U.S just before my class went to visit them in Poland. But I never felt the need to visit them.

I always thought our world hasn’t evolved much since then, and that the Holocaust hovers around me like a plague all the time to remind me of it.

Sometimes words on the internet tell me that the Holocaust never happened. “Only some thousands died” is another statement. “Stop whining about it for sympathy,” they say in the comment section.

Most of it is ignorance, boredom or racism. However, I also know that Israel is using the tender memory of the Holocaust. Using it well: The teachers at my school used the trauma to unite us, to keep us strong and spirited. But mostly, afraid. Afraid of the outside world, of anyone who isn’t Jewish. Isn’t us.

Israel is Israel. I am enfolded with it whenever I go. People say all sorts of things, I am used to it. I spent a long time abroad. Yet, something deep inside me falls into the hands of the conspirators who say it never took place. Because history is fun to play with, especially on the internet.

And I find myself wishing their scheme was real: I wish the holocaust never happened.

I would be a completely different person. Maybe living in a different place, speaking different languages, or maybe I would not be at all.

I wish the holocaust never happened.

I would have a larger family. I would get to know those communities and cultures that were wiped out. Villages, towns, markets. Gone. Except at times, beyond white school t-shirts, the military attire, and the strong solid images Israel planted in my vision; I can see blurry figures:
Craft people, makers of simple house tools, they are baking warm bread, reading the exact same books every year, lighting candles to pray, using their own language as well as the local one, feeling at home. I am who I am thanks to them, too, and I am grateful. We are still connected. It hasn’t been that long.

I wish the holocaust never happened.

Because millions of women, men, children, and babies would not have perished. Stripped of any dreams or memories of being human. Caged, starved, shot, gassed and burned like cattle in the well documented and organized factories of death.
I wish the holocaust never happened.

Because death is in us today and I always wanted it to leave me. Because we are losing ourselves in fear. Forever feeling like prey. Forever trapped in death. I wish we praised life the way we say we praise it, drink to it, all lives, every life.

I wish we spoke about life more than we speak about death. Much more.

I wish the holocaust never happened.

I wish it for selfish reasons. Because I cannot remember living without the horrors gripping me, stored in the darkest corners of my mind, haunting me at night: abused bodies, piled over each other in a mass grave no one will ever find, I wish I have never seen them. Broken skin, burnt hair, dead flesh, and dim souls. I wish I never met you. Little girls experimented on in Nazi laboratories, I wish I never heard your screams.

I wish the holocaust never happened.

Because we are injured and our wound does not heal.

Let’s look forward, without forgetting. Let’s say goodbye to death, for now.

 

 

On graves and love

My week started with watching my Grandmother being stored in a drawer. I visited the dead city to witness it. A huge graveyard of a town somewhere a bit north to Tel Aviv. The graves are so numerous that they started building towers for them, piling them up on top of each other.
I was horrified by it. Burn the body for all the soul cares, I think it will be much more proper. But it is not allowed in Judaism. Unthinkable, even among the non-believers.  
I wasn’t that close to my grandmother. Although she loved me. She loved me the way she knew how, which was very glum compare to other forms of love I got blessed with in my childhood. The war touched her life in a way it never recovered from. She always had a relationship with death. I could sense it even when I was very young. I didn’t like it, I wasn’t willing to face it. And maybe I am still a bit of a coward.
My other Grandmother, born and raised in Israel, has a different place in me. She was very much alive until her last breath and I still can’t believe she is not. She is buried in a forest next to the town her family founded. A peaceful place. My mom said she got a privilege. But I don’t think the dead get any privilege. You only get it in your life. My forest buried grandmother, who I love and miss so much, got the privilege of love.

I am grandmotherless now.

Greetings

I find coming here instead of comfortably rambling myself at my old Hebrew blog, the way I’ve been doing for years, rather difficult.

I always feel like I make absolutely no sense in English. Writing in English sometimes feels like a painting process with only two primary colors. Yes, I do fear someone will read this and judge me, as my language is often misunderstood, it happens to me frequently when I speak. 

Yet, I have plenty of reasons to stick with blogging, and for that, I will have to accept the challenge.
I am blogging to get some things off my chest. I am also blogging because I am so good at losing connections with people thanks to all the moving around I have been doing for the past years. Friends from Israel and other schools I went to in the US might not read here, but I like to think that they do. I like to think that I do have this one solid place where I can tell them all about what’s going on with me. Stability and a sense of familiarity are things I feel I am lacking. That is why, maybe, I stick to my old blog so firmly.

Last but not least, two months from now, I’m going to be in Japan for a while,  You have no idea how excited I am for it, and I would like to write about my experience there, here, in English.

I’m going through a significant period of time in my life. I am changing. I am slowly finding what I like to do,  as well as being part of these new places and communities.

I know there is more to come.! 

portraits of friends, Acrylic on paper:

An est em manga I am struggling to read(no furigana)

Kanji of the day:
台風 stand(stage)+wind= typhoon

絶対 to discontinue+ opposite= definitely