I saw the above artwork at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington D.C. A child survivor relates on paper what’s happening in his or her own life at the time, God’s happy children playing in God’s good creation. Or… wait… They are not playing at all. They are happy not to play but to have survived, and then now have each other, arms locked to protect each other. The dog – can you see it? – is a German Shepherd that they would have seen in the extermination camps. That dog’s tail’s position is only to be seen like one second before an attack to the death. That German Shepherd was trained for killing. The children are happy to protect each other. The moral capacity of children is bigger than the universe, as big as the very heart of God.
It was at the entrance of the Israeli Holocaust Memorial Museum (Yad vShem [The Power and the Name]) just outside of Jerusalem, that the video below was made. These are the words written over the entrance which counteract the words written over the gates of Auschwitz. The audio you hear are the names of the exterminated children being read inside the Childrens’ Memorial.
The picture below was taken outside of the Jewish Synagogue in the “Jewish Ghetto” in Rome:
It refers to when the Nazis stormed the Ghetto in Rome, brutalizing and kidnapping Jewish “neonati” (new-borns) who were brought to Nazi extermination camps. The words at the top – which just now filled my whole body with shivers in solidarity with these youngsters and in horror of what happened – are as follows:
“… and they didn’t even begin to live.”
Here’s another survivor, now deceased, the husband of a good friend, recounting the times…
Skip to 1 hour 29 minutes: 52 seconds mark (I tried to copy the URL at that time, but I’m not techy).
There are a number of memorials throughout the year around the world. Really.
There are certain things which you just can’t misspeak. There are words which just can’t issue from your mouth unless you mean them in your heart and soul. This seemed to be one of those times when I myself overheard Hillary loudly make her exclamation with such a sing-song bright and effervescent rejoicing all-is-well-with-the-world declarative town-crier type of voice:
♬ “It’s so NICE to be here!” ♬
The scene is burned into the mind, into my heart and soul, so surreal was it. She was obviously looking for affirmation about her magnanimity for having bothered to make the trip to the peripheries of Jerusalem that morning. She could have quietly said: “It’s all so sad. We must do everything to stop such aggression. Today, I am Jewish.” But, no. Not at all. She did NOT say that. She exclaimed: ♬ “It’s so NICE to be here!” ♬
The Secret Service and Israeli representatives literally scattered and froze and stared at her for like five seconds, which, in that situation is really difficult to accomplish. Her statement was so coldly inappropriate. All heads dropped, but hers. I’m sure everyone was trying to figure out if she was simply stupid and oblivious to her surroundings, or perhaps she was some kind of Nazi. Did she intend this ultra-exaggerated and very loud sing-song voice to make a calculated insult? No one could figure it out. But it seemed to eviscerate any hope of anyone for any progress that might be made. She just ripped everyone’s heart out of their chests and stomped on them with such a gregarious smile. I myself felt so nauseous.
A visual might help to convey what happened when she said this. It was like a break shot on a pool table, the 8-Ball staying still and the others running (from 0.55″)
Solidarity means taking the misery of another into one’s own heart and soul and mind and being. Misery of heart = miseri-cordia = mercy.
Solidarity means protecting the ones you love.
My mom and her mom and her mom’s mom are Jewish. I’m a Catholic priest. But today, and everyday, I say,
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day of remembrance, a day of sorrow and grief, and day of thirsting for justice, and day of agony, a day just like any other day.
Here are some of the names of the children, and their ages, as read at the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. As you listen to these names, know that there are those who have Styrofoam souls upon their own choice, and they cannot understand the significance of what has happened. They would make it happen again and absolutely not know that there is anything wrong with murdering children:
When I was in Rome for decades of my life, I would frequently walk by a memorial to the children who were taken to the camps from the Ghetto in Rome, often going way out of my way to do so.
This following video, sent in by the widow of this gentleman, is queued to a most incisive section of seven interviews spliced together, is a statement of history presented to the ages…
To have a “day” dedicated to remembrance is O.K., I guess. I guess it means that special events and activities might take place while articles and photos with salient captions might be published while gripping short-films might be released while field trips might take place, and so on. O.K. Yes. That’s all good. It’s a day that jars us weak human beings out of our distraction and brings back the urgency to the fore. O.K.
But let’s also remember that there are those for whom this is never just a “day”, for it is burned into their hearts and souls and minds 24/7/365. They never forget. They carry this with them. And they schedule this day for the rest of humanity which needs such a day.
Let’s also recognize, however, that no matter what one does to tell the story, there are those who just won’t get it, who simply will not understand. I remember making my way through Yad vaShem in Jerusalem when a massive motorcade entered the compound. I didn’t know what this was about until I was at the Warsaw Ghetto wall of remembrance at the same time as Hillary Clinton and her entourage. I was first of all shocked that none of the Secret Service payed attention to me, though I was the only one there not belonging to their group. And then I noticed she had stopped walking so as to make a statement, short and sweet. No, really. Sweet. It was like she was in an ice cream store at the beach. She said ever so glibly and giggly and dancy and effervescently and with such sing-song-ness: “♬How♬wonderful♬it♬is♬to♬be♬here!♬” Surreal is not an adequate word.
I remember when coming back from Lourdes that an air marshal sitting next to me made the statement – after quite a long conversation – that Catholics should just take what is coming to them for not agreeing to the Obama Administration’s imposition of a direct payment into the abortion superfund when people pay their Obamacare Insurance premiums. The air marshal said that Catholics should be as submissive as the Jews were when being brought to the extermination camps. Mind you, air marshals are covert anti-terrorist federal agents. I’m so happy that Hillary did not win the election.
I will persist. My impatience is growing. Long time readers know that I made this simple video at Yad vaShem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The sound track consists of a recording of the names of the children put to death during those years of the Shoah. Children. What enabled this?
The more I find out about my Jewish ancestry, the more impatient I am to get my hands on a letter dating from the 1940s in the Private Correspondence archives of Supreme Pontiff. It’s what prompted the wonderfully, incisively, terribly utterly sarcastic letter not to the original letter’s authors, but instead to Emmanuel Célestin Cardinal Suhard in 1948. This is ever more significant to an essay I would like to write which I think will go a long way to promote dialogue between Jews and Catholics. Two months ago I asked you readers to wish me luck as I look for some preliminary forays about this, some correspondence, back and forth, to the Prefect of the Holy Office and then to the Secretary of State. I have not quite moved into the “new” (1952) rectory in Andrews, things not being in order, so, the task is nigh impossible. Pray my impatience becomes so great I will turn my little world upside-down to find these preliminaries. Time is short. Always.
Update: This video, sent in by the widow of this gentleman, is queued to a most incisive section of seven interviews spliced together, is a statement of history presented to the ages…