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June 24, 1983 - Image 16

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-06-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

16 Friday, June 24, 1983

Orthodox Life

NEW YORK (JTA) — A
series of projects to more ef-
fectively document the Or
thodox Jewish experience in
America has been com-
pleted by the Orthodox
Jewish Archives of Agudath
Israel of America.

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Post Publishes Gathering Commemorative

By SISTER
CAROL RITTNER
Mercy College

"Holocaust: The Obliga-
tion to Remember" is an an-
thology of newspaper arti-
cles about the North Ameri-
can Gathering of Holocaust
Survivors, written by the
staff of the Washington
Post. People may wonder
what this slim volume con-
tributes to the ever-
expanding library of litera-
ture, memoirs and re-
sources about the
Holocaust. That is, they
wonder until they read the
SISTER CAROL
editorials and essays, arti-
cles and speeches collected lion to Remember" chal-
in this publication intended lenges us to fulfill our
for the general reader.
"moral obligation" by
The point of the anthol- learning from history.
ogy, like the "point of the
Although the editors do
gathering" itself, held just a not identify or group the
few short weeks ago in our various kinds of articles in
nation's capital, is to re- the anthology, it is possible
mind us that "There is a .to do so. For example, there
moral obligation to re- are speeches (President
member — always."
Reagan's and Ben Meed's),
"The Holocaust," accord- survivor memo_irs and
ing to the April 11, 1983, editorials.
Post editorial, "will neces-
There also are articles
sarily have a special mean- that raise historical ques-
ing for Jews, but it would be tions (e.g., Why did't we
deeply wrong to let the bomb Auschwitz? Who was
memory of the death camps the German industrialist
be consigned to an exclu- who told Gerhart Reigner,
sively Jewish heritage. The World Jewish Congress
message of the Holocaust representative in Geneva
deserves the most careful during the war, about Hit-
consideration of everyone of ler's order to exterminate
any religion or none at all."
the Jews of Europe?)
This is so because the
Likewise, there are arti-
death camps are part of
collective human history, cles asking more contem-
and the habits of mind porary questions (e.g., Why
and spirit that made them is the U.S. government will-
possible can be. found ing to commemorate the
elsewhere as well. All of victims of the Holocaust, to
us — Jews, Christians, honor the survivors in this
people of good will gen- country, and to underwrite
erally — must face and the creation of the new
grapple with the ques- Holocaust Memorial
tions the Holocaust Museum but unwilling to
raises, or should raise for put the weight of law and
us as human beings. the moral authority of that
"Holocaust: The Obliga- same government behind a

UN treaty committing the
United States to opposition
to genocide?).
There are pieces about
theological issues, armed
resistance in the Warsaw
Ghetto, the "painful legacy"
inherited by the American
children of Holocaust sur-
vivors, and at least two arti-
cles giving details about
how the Holocaust Museum
project was born in the par-
tisan politics of the Carter
White House and nurtured
in the political milieu of the
Reagan Administration.
No anthology focusing
on the North American
Gathering is complete
without at least some
mention of Elie Wiesel,
the president of the U.S.
Holocaust Memorial
Council. Although his
speech at the opening
ceremony of the Gather-
ing is not reproduced, in
my view an unfortunate
lack, there is an article
about him, "Elie Wiesel:
Four Decades After Au-
schwitz." Phil McCombs,
the author, captures,
poignantly, I think,
Wiesel, the witness:
"Though a busy man,
Wiesel is content to sit
quietly. It seems his natural
element, as natural to him
as the world of words. . . .
"How clearly does he still
remember Auschwitz?
" 'Everyday . . "
"Holocaust: The Obliga-
tion to Remember" is a
memorial book; it also is
more than a memorial book.
As Wiesel himself said in
his address at the opening
ceremony, "My friends, we
use memory for the sake. of
mankind. We use words for
the sake of future genera-
tions."
And that is the purpose
of this anthology: for the
sake of the future, a fu-
ture in which we tell the
tale of the Holocaust, and
learn from it. Our obliga-
tion is to tell the tale of the
Holocaust "not to divide
people but, on the con-
trary, to bring them to-
gether, not to inflict suf-
fering but, on the con-
trary, to diminish it, not
to humiliate anyone but,
on the contrary, to teach
others to humiliate no
one."
The staff of the Washing-
ton Post have rendered all of
us a service by reminding us

Halevy Depicted
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Jewish Repertory Theater
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"My Heart Is in the East"
begins as the 50-year-old
Halevy has just completed
"The Kuzari," his epic
philosophical work which
explains Judaism within
the tale of the king of
Khazars and how he chose
this religion rather than
others.
In the musical, Halevy
embarks on a dangerous
voyage to Egypt and then
heads for Palestine, never to
be heard from again.

that "There is a moral obli-
gation to remember — al-
ways."

TERRY I. BERLIN

Attorney At Law

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