A young German couple in a sandcastle decorated with swastika pennants and banners - Summer 1939 or 1940 (© Ullstein Bild)
April 8, 2013
On this day, we reflect on the horrors of World War II and the Nazi genocidal policies that led to the killing of some 11 million Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, gays, people with disabilities and dissenters all deemed unfit or a threat.
Those of us who are Jews of European descent remember our loved ones and re-tell heart-wrenching stories of death, suffering and survival. But we do so with a steadfast refusal to be held hostage by the traumas experienced by our ancestors.
Instead, we take from these stories the lesson that “never again” means never, not for anyone.
On Yom HaShoah, we are reminded to stand against dehumanization no matter where it happens. We are reminded that our histories of displacement and persecution and resistance bind us in responsibility to others who today are considered a threat for their very existence. We re-dedicate ourselves to the belief that all people are chosen, all land is holy, and all life is sacred. May we take up the work to honor that belief today, and all days.
Plague panel with the triumph of death. Panels of this kind were placed on the walls of houses to warn against the plague (Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin).