Remembering Those Who Perished is a Must


Remembering an unforgettable experience from a trip to Poland.


By: OMER SHACHNAI  
Published: May 1st 2011
in News » World


Barbed Wire, Death Camps, Auschwitz, Poland Black and White

In 2006, I had the unique opportunity to step back in time and take part in an unforgettable, profound and life-altering experience as part of an educational delegation to Poland.

 

Today we commemorate the Holocaust Remembrance Day. Every year since that journey, particularly on this day, Holocaust Rememberance Day, I find myself thinking and writing about it. For seven emotionally-charged days in Poland, we were the representatives of our our community, our people, of Israel. We toured the death camps, the concentration camps, and the infamous ghettos. Suddenly we were no longer reading about these infamously macabre places that sent shivers down our spines, no, suddenly we were there, seeing with our own teary eyes Treblinka, Maidanek and Auschwitz- Birkenau. As I do every year, I looked through the photos I took on the journey. This time, a photo, which was taken in Auschwitz, caught my attention. At first glance, you would not understand why I chose to focus on it. It is not a picture of a person, nor of a specific place. It merely captured a pile of suitcases, with one suitcase standing out at the bottom.

 

“Petr Eisler” it reads in large white letters. Perhaps it is Peter Eisler’s last known belonging, the last memory of him. But, what makes it so special is his age. The inscription states his year of birth- 1942 and his child status - “kind” (kinder). Peter was a child, in fact he was only a baby. But the Nazis had no mercy on him.

 

Unfortunately, this was not unique to poor Peter. In fact, the Nazis disposed of Jewish children with no hint of conscious, ultimately having murdered them by the thousands; the worst, in my opinion, of all of their unhuman acts of brutality.At the end of our visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, our group held a ceremony in one of the prisoner’s blocks. When it was done, we sang Hatikva before going outside to the frost. The wind was carrying feather-like snowflakes, but in our hearts, we carried a proud saying- that we are free people, free to live in our country and elsewhere, free to choose in good, free to choose in life.

 

Therefore, I ask of you two things. First, I ask of you to take nothing for granted,especially in today’s challenging climate where, threats against Israel, Jews and the Jewish way of life are becoming far too common, and supposed “World leaders” are given a forum to spout venom against us and to deny the Holocaust. And second, I ask you to remember. Remember the name Peter Eisler, and how he personified a time in our history that we must never allow to resurface. We owe it to Peter and the other six million men, women and children who were anhilated, regardless of their age. Remember that when you put you child or your grandchild to bed tonight.



Related articles: (Holocaust, Remembrance Day, Poland, )




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