I have been watching with great interest Brian Cuban’s lead to pressure Facebook to remove the Holocaust denial groups from the site. While I do not have a personal story to share about my relatives perishing in Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau or any of the other camps, I have compassion for the 12 million people (yes, in addition to the 6 million Jews, 6 million Gypsies, homosexuals, the disabled and others were also exterminated).
You see, the last of my family (my infant grandfather) arrived in the United States in 1905. We got out of Dodge (or, in his case, Kiev, Ukraine) just in time. The legacy of the Holocaust and Pogroms, however, does linger within my family. For us, the Morses, Mosses and Eisners, it’s all about the silence.
My family has no family history before arriving at Ellis Island. Other than “Romania,” “Poland” and “Kiev,” I cannot tell you where my family is from, what their professions were, what their history entailed. I know nothing about the family that they left behind, or why the came to America in the first place. We Americanized in that first generation and never looked back.
Whatever happened in the “old country” was so horrible that my family rejected their culture, their religion, even our name is lost to history. My family embraced all things Americana to the point that my immigrant grandfather married a Mayflower descendant.
But I do remember quite vividly visiting Yad Vashem in 1974 when I was just nine. I can still recall the photographs documenting the horrors of the Nazi atrocities that a girl from the San Fernando Valley, CA could never imagine. I will never forget the crying survivors as we walked through the museum. The silence as people mourned. The trees that had been planted in memory of those who had perished. The photographs.
“Never Forget” is the mantra for those preserving the legacy of the Nazi atrocities.
As fewer and fewer survivors remain, standing up against the holocaust denial groups becomes more important.
For this Jewish girl, who has nothing to remember, never forgetting has its own special meaning.