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February 21, 1986 - Image 21

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-02-21

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


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The Genocide Of The Holocaust-The tFini a' I li H §Olution


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What Shall I Tell My Grandchildren?. And When?


It was Friday night (Erev Shabbos)
Eva had already "bencht licht"
I had just finished that heartwarming
"Yom ha she, she"
We were ushering in the bride,
our Holy Sabbath.

Suddenly our beloved, sparkling
brown-eyed 9-year-old granddaughter,
Elizabetta (Lizzy)
Turned right into my face
and asked, -
Grandpa - What's a Holocaust?
And why did the Germans kill
all the Jews in Europe?
Grandpa - will they come
to our house soon
to take us away
and kill us all?

It was more than just
a mere question
There was real, actual
fear written all over her face.
Her pupils were widely dilated..
I don't remember the rest
of our Friday night dinner.

No, no, I answered as
quickly as I could
My answer was an
instinctual reflex.
I wanted the thought
To be destroyed immediately.
Abolished from her inquisitive

I was in total mental
and physical shock
I did not want this
horrendous brutal thought
To be harboured in her mind
even for a split second.

It cannot happen in
our country
Here in the United States
Ours is a country founded
• on freedom
A true working democracy
Furthermore, we are ready
to fight
To defend our freedoms
At anytime - if it is threatened.

All this from a 9-year-old
Our beloved Elizabetta
She actually lived with us
for the last 4 years (part time)
Her father, Bruno, and younger brother
My only male grandchild, Danny,
were killed in an auto accident
4 months-after I brought them
from Venice,.. Italy to our country

Bruno died on July 11, instantly
Danny, 3 years old, died on
the day of my birth (July 12)

It took me 3 years before
I could bring myself to write
A poem about it.
Finally I did - called it, "Who Will
Say 'Ah Main' For Me."
This child, Elizabeth; was -
Not a complete stranger
to death. _
But what it meant to her
I could not be exactly sure
I know she had very disturbing
For the next 11 months.

The moment her question
struck me
I recoiled as if struck
By a bolt of lightning
My mind, when I cams to,
Raced off in all directions
at once.

What should I tell a 9-year-old

Had rubbed off against me.
My generation and more particularly
Those born after the 2nd World War
Will have to face this problem
it cannot and must not be
Where will I start?
What shall I say to begin with?
Certainly she cannot absorb
The total picture of our Holocaust
Nor should she be subjected to it
at the tender age of nine.

child so eager to learn
An answer that would be
To satisfy her mind?
'Lizzy, you're too young to
But I caught myself
just in time.

This was not an answer
This was a stonewall cop-out
It belittles the little person
Who is anxious for a proper
answer of fulfillment.

First, she must be fortified
Back to basics. Our proud history
Beginning with Abraham, Isaac and
our forefathers
The exodus out of Egypt
The end of Egyptian slavery
The teachings of our Lord
Through the Ten Commandments
The Chosen People - Mt. Sinai
Stressing all the hardships -
along the roads of destiny
Of our great leaders - Moses
Who changed the course of history
of all mankind
By the introduction of a living God.

was stalling for time
I did not know exactly
where to turn
I was boxed into a corner.

Should I take her to the
Holocaust Wiesenthal Center
And let her see the
visual horrors
Beyond all human understanding.
Certainly not
My heart is still scarred
from my last visit there

To inflict these horrendous scenes
Upon an inquisitive developing
child's mind
I squelched it almost as soon
as it entered my mind

History of our great periods
under I(ing David and Solomon
The proud warriors of Israel
the Maccabees
The wisdom of the prophets
Jerusalem, the-beating heart
of Israel
That has stood the test
of time
Two thousand years of harsh
Under vicious conquering despots.

Torn asunder trying to get
my mind re-organized
I knew then two things for sure
I wanted Lizzy to know
all about the Holocaust
And if possible I wanted to
Be the one to tell her
in my own way
But I also knew time was
not on my side

Yet the love of the Torah
Has sustained and keeps us alive
The constant and unyielding
Because of all the peoples
That dwelled (conquered) Jerusalem
The Jews have loved her
the most
The People-of the Book
Remain so - even unto today.

We, the Jewish people, are one
We had already lost
one million of our children
Slaughtered by the heinous hordes
of Hitler
One complete generation of
our youngsters
Had been purposely marked
for complete destruction
This was history, now, beyond us.

Lizzy must be fortified
Taught the history of her people
Who brought the ignorance of
darkness (paganism)
Into the light of day.

My grandchildren - this generation
is entirely in our own hands
And here we cannot afford
Even to harbor one single thought
of failure

The book, "Jerusalem" by
Jill and Leon Uris
Is one of the best historical
guides of Israel
And when Lizzy is 16 or 17
I shall see that she reads it
Then will she know how proud
she can be and hold high
her head

If our children and grandchildren
do not
Learn and know of the Holocaust, .
Then we, the Jewish people
the world over
Have failed miserably and ignomini-
Beautiful buildings and monuments
And one day set aside to mourn
the Holocaust
are not enough
Knowledge is the only proper approach
Knowledge is our history of our people
And has been one of our fortifications
• all through our outcast wdnder-
And most assuredly through
our Holocaust
but - again
or - our
When and how

The future of my grandchildren's
is now in our hands
we dare not let it fail
This is my answer
To prepare all our children
To study and learn and know
the horrors
Of the so-called Final Solution
The genocide of the Holocaust.

And now comes the big lie
it didn't happen
And a great many people-will
accept this explanation
because they want to
It brushes aside their deeply
embedded guilt feelings
So horrendous is the destruction
of Six Million innocent Jews
that the human mind cannot
fully believe it.
The decent human mind
is so torn up in shock
that it has a strong tendency
to remove it from their conscience
because it is painful and is almost
beyond human understanding.

We, the Jews, do fully understand it
We do not need any persuasion.

The Holocaust must be taught
in all history books
With all its agonizing truths
Since the Holocaust involves
all mankind
The Jews, the Christians and all
of Western Civilization.

Although the rest of the world
Did their best to ignore and
feign ignorance
Of the plight and destruction
of the Jews
Their nostrils were reeking with
the odor of burning flesh
Which they still continue to ignore.


Martin Gilbert's book, "The Atlas
of The Holocaust" is excellent and
instructive. It deals largely in
numbers and geography. It con-
tains 300 maps and 60 photographs
of the Nazis' destruction of the
European Jews.

It is not practical to review
the entire history of our people here
It would require several volumes.

Since time is not on my side
I am now 78 yeard
I shall leave a letter
To guide her as she
Develops into a true
Daughter of Israel

Then she may be able to face
the knowledge of the Holocaust
It will, undoubtedly, leave
some scars.

This problem has been torturing
For the last 6 months
Because I did not have an
adequate answer
That even begins' to satisfy me
If only just one remnant of
the wisdoin of Solomon

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But this I know for sure.
When my days have run
their allotted course
It will be a proud heart
I shall take with me
Still full of prayer, locked in
For our future generations,
our children.

But then our history is one
of scars (pogroms)
ne greater than the previous one.
My heart is full of them
I don't know how many more
my heart has room for.
What is the upper limit of
emotional cardiac trauma?

1.41P PIP~~11046.101•410110rIfIlf.411441104~11.1~~f~lItiMIKIII1101 41;

Raul Hilberg has devoted 36 years
to his book entitled, "The Destruc-
tion Of the European Jews."

It is made up of 3 volumes and has
a total of 1274 pages. He stresses
the need for continuous teaching of
the Holocaust. He further states a
lifetime is not sufficient.

Mr. Hilberg is the John G. McCul-
lough Professor of Political Science.
The book was very favorably re-
viewed in the book section of The
New York Times — August 11,

The book was reviewed by David S.
Syman, professor of history at the
University of Massachusetts. He is
also author of "Abandonment Of
The Jews: America And The
Holocaust 1941-1945." •

We owe a great deal to these out-
standing researchers and authors.

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