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April 28, 1989 - Image 74

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-28

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

Survivors' Children Have Special Mission

By CHARLES SILOW

It was only one generation ago,
in 20th Century modern Europe,
that the Jewish people experienced
its greatest loss, the murdering of
six million human lives. This
modern day catastrophe, known as
the Holocaust or the Shoah, sent
shock waves throughout the world.
The world was stunned as it
discovered the horrors of the
concentration camps and death
camps where millions died. The
enormity and the magnitude of the
murders coined a new term —
genocide, the attempted murder of
an entire people. Humanity's
innocence seemed to vanish as it
witnessed the evil committed by
human beings toward other human
beings.
With the passage of time,
however, many people wanted to
forget. Many people did not like
being reminded about the painful
and unpleasant feelings that the
Holocaust stirred up. Holocaust
survivors were often naively told that
the war was over and that they
should simply forget the past, as
though that could be so easily
achieved.
Many survivors often felt no one
cared or wanted to hear about their
loss and pain. They kept their

Many survivors often felt
no one cared or wanted
to hear about their loss
and pain. They kept their
thoughts and feelings to
themselves as they
attempted to rebuild their
lives in a new land.

thoughts and feelings to themselves
as they attempted to rebuild their
lives in a new land. With the further
passage of time and the perspective
that time brings with it survivors
and non-survivors seemed more
able to talk about the Holocaust
more openly.
As children of Holocaust
survivors grew to maturity, many
began to talk more openly and
directly about the Holocaust.
A question often asked of
children of survivors, now in their
adult lives, is whether they feel a
special responsibility to remember
the Holocaust.
Speaking as a child of
survivors, I have come to believe
that there are two important
responsibilities that need to be
considered. First, that it is indeed of
vital importance to know and to

Charles Silow is the president of
C.H.A.I.M.

L 8

-

FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 1989

remember the Holocaust. Through
our experiences with our mothers
and fathers, we know how the
Holocaust was a personal tragedy.
We witness the anguish and
pain that our mothers and fathers
went through. We grew up not
having grandmothers and
grandfathers, uncles and aunts, not
having family because of the
Holocaust. To us, the Holocaust is
not just a piece of "history" that
happened some time ago. To us,
the Holocaust is very real and very
personal.
The Holocaust itself was the
end result of a campaign of hatred
against the Jewish people. Because
we know directly,about these
effects, we know how crucial it is to
speak out against anti-Semitism and

all forms of prejudice and hatred. It
is essential to combat all campaigns
of hatred not only against the
Jewish people but against all
peoples, to prevent other possible
genocides from occurring in the
future.
Such an activity is already
taking place in our area through
C.H.A.I.M. — Children of Holocaust
Survivors Association In Michigan,
an organization composed primarily
of children of Holocaust survivors
and others who are dedicated to the
importance of remembering the
Holocaust and teaching its lessons.
The second responsibility
relates to how we should live life
itself. The Holocaust denied six
million precious Jewish people their
very lives. Had the Holocaust not

occurred, how would these six
million European Jewish people
have lived? We can only speculate
that they would have continued to
love, marry, have children and
grandchildren; they would have
worked, created, studied and
prayed; they would have danced
and sung; they would have
continued to love and cherish life
itself. Our second responsibility,
then, should include the knowledge
that we should also live and cherish
life.
We are the direct continuation
of life from a people that was
almost entirely destroyed. We will
always remember, how can we not.
We are also the continuation of a
people that lived and cherished life.
We remember this too.

Yizkor Books Key To The Past

By MIRIAM WEINER

For family historians, a book
about their ancestral towns can lead
to a deeper understanding of the
'historical period in which their
forebears lived and in many cases,
direct information about family
members.
Following the tragedy and
devastation of the Holocaust,
various towns and shtetlach,
primarily in Poland, but also in
Hungary and Czechoslovakia, were
memorialized in yizker bikher, the
memorial volumes written by
survivors and emigrants:
Most of the books are about
one community, but some do
include the surrounding towns as
well, many of which were
completely destroyed and literally
disappeared off the map.
Written by people from all walks
of life, these first-person accounts
document people, places and
events. The selections describe
entire Jewish communities which no
longer exist.
Each memorial book generally
begins with the history of the
community up to the Holocaust and
its Jewish institutions while
including stories about the
residents, memoirs, and in many
cases, lists of those who perished
and those who survived. Many
volumes include maps and photos
of people and places.
Although most memorial books
are written in Hebrew or Yiddish, a
few have an English section.
Unfortunately, few include a name
index.
The individuals who wrote the
various portions of the book often
belonged to landsmanshaftn,
benevolent societies of Jewish
immigrants from the same

hometowns who gathered together
to remember their towns and seek
out other community members lost
during the war.

Very few Russian towns are
included. The majority of the
memorial books are for Polish
communities.
Many facets of the community
are memorialized including the
Jewish marketplace and the
yeshivah, Jewish porters and Torah
students. However, the tragic end of
the communities is ever present.
The largest collection of

memorial books (now more than
1,000 titles in print) can be found in
the library at Yad Vashem in
Jerusalem. In New York, YIVO
Institute, the New York Public
Library, Yeshiva University, the
Jewish Theological Seminary and
Bund Archives of the Jewish Labor
Movement have substantial
collections. When these books were
originally published, primarily in the
1950s, genealogy research had not
reached its current peak and these
books were printed in small
quantities, primarily for members of
the landsmanshaftn societies.

Our Great Loss Must Be Remembered

27th NISAN - YIZKOR DAY

DESIGNATED BY THE STATE OF ISRAEL

1945

FORTY FOUR YEARS AFTER

1989

SHAARIT HAPLAYTAH

of Metropolitan Detroit in cooperation with Holocaust Memorial Center,
Jewish Community Council, Greater Detroit Interfaith Round Table of Christians
and Jews, the Ecumenical Division of Archdiocese of Detroit
and Jewish Community Center

invites the entire community to join in a

MEMORIAL ACADEMY

Tribute to the Six Million Martyrs

OF THE UNPRECEDENTED NAZI GENOCIDE

THIS SUNDAY — 1:30 P.M.

JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER

6600 WEST MAPLE ROAD — WEST BLOOMFIELD, MICHIGAN

JEWISH WAR VETERANS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA — DEPARTMENT OF MICHIGAN
MILTON KLEIN. Commander

Join us in Individual Candle Lighting and Memorial Prayers at the
Eternal Light, Holocaust Memorial Center

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