It’s just another day here at the office…
or is it?
Holocaust day, April 24th, 2017.
No matter where I look or what I listen to, I see and hear memories, harsh, beyond understanding memories of people who have been through the worst, to say the least.
My people. Jewish people.
No matter how many years we curate Holocaust Day, it never becomes a routine, it can’t. It only seeps through our skin deeper and deeper each year and we are left with our tears. Many tears.
Tears of anger, frustration, sadness, fear, strength, pride.
Tears of victory.
Because you know what? We are still here!
Yesterday I had the great honor of listening to the remarkable story of twin sisters, Lia and Yehudit Barne’a, who, along with their mother, Miriam-Rachel, survived the horrors of Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.
Chosen by infamous Nazi doctor and torturer, Josef Mengele, known for his deadly human experiments on prisoners, the twins were able to survive because of their beauty and the miraculous courage of their mother.
Alas, I do not have a picture to show.
73 years later, keeping silent for years, unable to share these dreadful memories with their families, Lia and Yehudit did us a huge honor of telling us what they have been through. They finally spoke.
Out of hundreds of “patients” Mengele selected, only 80 survived. Twins were separated, sometimes only one would survive, some lost their ability to speak, hear, walk, see, give birth… some lost their sanity, and some held on to it against all odds.
They described the Death March from Auschwitz, the starvation, and tortures, and the maternal strength of the only sibling left, stealing whatever piece of bread she could find to keep her daughters alive.
Miriam- Rachel Barne’s saved her daughters and two more children from the vile claws of Nazi murderers.
And so, I listen and I am filled with fury, which I can’t do anything about, and my mind starts wandering what if Hitler was killed as a baby, but then I ask myself how can people be so sadistic and demonic as to take part in genociding 6 million Jews, how could they murder children, how can you survive and stay sane?
Lia and Yehudit answered this last question for us and said they simply hated the assumption that if you survived the holocaust, you probably left your sanity behind. Seeing what you saw, living what you lived, there’s no way you have your reason, common sense, and normality any longer, right?
You do, and you live to tell, and you love again, you marry, have kids, grandkids, and they keep you going. “They are”, and I quote Lia Barne’a, “your victory over Hitler”.
I am not usually one to write about Holocaust Day. I don’t know what made me eager enough to share this post. Perhaps it was Lia and Yehudit Barne’a, or the YouTube video I saw a few minutes ago containing rare recordings from 20/4/1945, of inmates at Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp sing the anthem of hope, Hatikva, which is now the Israeli national anthem.
Please, dedicate 2 minutes of your life to watch the video.
I am Jewish. I am proud to be Jewish.