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Remembering the Holocaust

Today is Yom Hashoa-Holocaust Memorial Day.

It is hard to confront the reality of the Shoa.  Six million Jews murdered.  Seven million others murdered by the Nazi killing machine.

Gays, Jehovah Witnesses,Roma, the disabled and mentally ill, political prisoners, labor unionists and everyone else who did not fit the so-called Aryan model of perfection.

There are so many people who still think the Holocaust was fabricated.  How wrong they are.  But the eye witnesses to the events are old and dying rapidly.  So the testimonies collected by the University of Southern California Shoa Project are critical to preserving the memories of that gruesome reality. This was a visual history project started by famed producer and director Steven Spielberg.  But in 2005 the Spielberg Visual History Project was turned over to USC for preservation of the thousands of hours of video testimony by survivors and liberators.

You can watch and listen to many of the stories if you click on the link above. Or for click on the link here of the online exhibitions at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

That seems fitting for a day like today.  A day to remember. A day to mourn.  A day for thinking about the human capacity for evil. A day for looking around and wondering whether or not we have learned anything at all from those horror years.

Bosnia, Rwanda.  Sudan. Congo. Cambodia. Kurdistan. Iraq. Liberia.  And just look at what is happening in Libya today.

Our technology enables efficient killing.  But our human nature unchecked will let our fears and hatred and jealousies to rule us.

So today is a day of remembrance and reflection with the sincerest prayer that our reflection will cause us to keep that part of our human nature in check.

May the memories of those who perished in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Dachau, Sobibor, Maidenek, Sajmiste, Ravensbruk,Buchenwald, Chelmo, Warsaw, La Vernet, Mittlebau, Mathausen, Jasenovec, Janowska, Drancy, Flossenberg, Falstad, Kaiserwald, Belzac, Terezin,  Sachsenhausen, Bergen-Belsen and Gross-Rosen be kept alive to remind us of our duties to our fellow human beings.  For the hundreds of thousands of Jews who perished in their towns and villages without ever being sent to a concentration camp we say we remember you.

May your memory inspire us to speak out.

At 4pm today join me and Congregation Kol Ami and the City of West Hollywood for a program of remembrance of the Holocaust  at Plummer Park in West Hollywood.  1200 N. Vista is Fiesta Hall.

I hope to see you there. May the memory of the righteous live for a blessing.