For many of us born between 1946 and 1964, World War II was relegated to the history books; not because veterans didn’t live among us, but because too many who had served had experienced a private hell on earth. They had seen too much, and could not speak of the horrors without reliving the moments; so they spoke seldom and far too little. War widows, like my youngest aunt, moved forward, raising her young son with help from family until she remarried; and my cousin once again had a father.
Apart from personal stories like this, much of World War Two’s history came to some of us baby boomers from the printed pages of encyclopedias and historical textbooks. I emphasize some of us. I didn’t know my grandparents because they had passed away years before I was born. But my friend Elaine Karen – whose Hebrew name was Elka – never knew her grandparents because they had died in the Holocaust.
Thank God Eisenhower requested that Congressional members and Allied leaders visit the death camps. As Commander of the Allied Forces, he desired no more than all of humanity be reminded: such atrocities were real and had occurred from the hands of men. One quotation featured in the Hall of Remembrance of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is from the man who was known affectionately as Ike:
|The things I saw beggar description…The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were…overpowering…I made the visit deliberately in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’|
Written by General Eisenhower after his visit to the Ohrdruf Concentration Camp, it is one of many quotations featured in the museum. This year, from April 7th thru 14th, marks the 75th official Day of Remembrance, also signified by the motto, NEVER AGAIN. Take a few minutes, in between checking emails and other daily routines, to peruse the United States National Holocaust Museum’s website .
Because we are all one; and today we are all Jews…