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Booklet of essays, Kibbud of the Holocaust Survivors and Children of Survivors of Southern Nevada, June 2005



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K I B B U D Of The HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS And CHILDREN OF SURVIVORS Of SOUTHERN NEVADA June, 2005 Issue Anita and Henry Schuster Presidents 256-9277 Bruno Borenstein, Editor and Vice-President How is the Holocaust dealt with by the world? 1. There is "Holocaust denial" by those who try to achieve "Holocaust inconsequentialism", that the consequences of the Holocaust are not as important as we think. 2. There is "Holocaust shame", which attempts to shame those who describe the horrors of the Holocaust by accusing them of exploiting the Holocaust for Jewish purposes. 3. There is "Holocaust "equanimity", which claims that it doesn't matter that the Holocaust occurred?it shouldn't affect how one thinks about history and human nature. We should get on dealing with the Palestinians, be prepared to trade land for peace. 4. If we don't, "Holocaust inversion" will occur, with Jews being portrayed as the new Nazis, causing the same kinds of crimes as those which were committed against them. Recent books continue to describe the impact of the Holocaust upon Survivors, as well as confirming the intolerable degradation of its victims. The Nazis denied their victims any semblance of human dignity. There is no sure-fire path to emotional calm, no set of ground-rules for emotional recovery from such dehumanization. Ultimately, it is the richness of interactions provided by other Survivors which brings about a new time, helps to enliven the quality of our survival. The Holocaust Survivors Group of Southern Nevada has been one such source, chaired devotedly by Anita and Henry Schuster. Its reach extends far beyond geographic borders, and is offered with love and compassion. Second generation survivors have begun to do likewise, to restore the integrity of the victims and reclaim in absentia their worth as human beings. It is time for the Second Generation of Holocaust Survivors of Southern Nevada to form its Group, to preserve what has been saved and enhance life for those who remain in need. As we raise our children, so we raise our awareness and that of succeeding generations, and all who hear our words, to the magnitude of what the world permitted, and must never permit again. There is no escape from awareness of the physical and emotional destruction we as a people have experienced. Our task is instead to remedy, to heal actively, what wounds can be healed, to prevent all others, to denounce those who would deny history and identify those who would resume the racist taunts of anti-Semitism. Our children, and those who follow, must never doubt that this Second Generation responded and is prepared to respond for as long as needed, that our voices proclaimed loudly that mankind must not again allow itself to trust misguided alliances and pseudo-philosophies based on hate. The time for the Second Generation of Holocaust Survivors of Southern Nevada to begin has arrived. Our Group will assume its rightful place in our community, associate with proven regional and national resources and provide solace for its members wherever possible for their betterment. We are ready. AUGUST, 200^ THE SECOND GENERATION OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS If someone says to me: Your Parents were not in concentration camps, nor was your Brother. You were born in America. How can you say you are a Holocaust Survivor? My response is: My parents and many others were prevented from living the life they had planned by those who sought to destroy them, their families and their way of life. Their home was stolen from them My father's business was stolen from him. Everything they knew, the life and the people, was annihilated. Those are the plain facts. But words alone cannot tell you how their lives were shattered, how everything they understood and recognized as making up their lives? each day's activities, friendships, families?was ripped from them how the nations of the world turned away, as they tried to establish new lives in new places. We, their children, couldn't help them Even though we offered love and understanding?we tried to reach out to them. They couldn't talk about what happened, what they saw or felt. We were angry because they didn't talk about their experiences, didn't take the time to understand our needs, our aspirations. But inside ourselves we knew. We sensed what they had gone through, We knew our job was to build a better future for ourselves, to make our lives as good as they could be. That was what they hoped for. As children of Survivors, we ponder how to define ourselves. By teaching what the world allowed the Nazi Germans to do-by being responsible for furthering Jewish life and tradition. We have been victimized, but we are no longer victims. We turn to the future while remembering the past, and those whom we have lost. We know we will succeed If our own children will understand and remember If the world will always remember what occurred. The people Israel lives and flourishes. There is no choice?we must proceed, and insist that memory accompany us. Bruno Borenstein. BOOK REVIEW Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred, by Robert S. Wistrich, 1992. When Jews became equal citizens before the law as a result of the Enlightenment, those bigoted against them faced the dilemma of popularizing their hatred in terms which sidestepped this new status acceptable to the times. It was then that anti- Semitism based on ethnic and racial differences became the chosen method of attack. The Enlightenment aimed to emancipate individual Jewish people, not the Jewish community as a whole. Once individual oppression was eliminated, so went the argument, Jewish group identity would disappear and Jews would become useful citizens of that country. Nonetheless, despite this apparent equality offered to Jewish people, Jews were soon accused of maintaining unchanging national traits which would make it impossible for them to participate freely in society without their particularism threatening the very foundations of that society. Tracing the development of anti-Semitism to Hellenic times, and examining its characteristics over the centuries, Robert Wistrich, Professor of European History at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, tells a terrifying tale of Christian writings and practices following on ancient paths of hatred, emerging in the Middle Ages with the forerunners of Nazi stereotypical thinking. The resulting Holocaust sought the "cleansing" of German, and world, society through the elimination of Jewish genes. Neither conversion nor adherence to other faiths could accomplish this. Only the destruction of all who carried such genes would lead to a thoroughly sanitized world in which the German genius would emerge to dominate the world. This could best be justified by the degradation, and resultant dehumanization, of the Jewish people by a vigorous anti-Semitism, allowing those doing the killing of Jews to visualize them as sub-humans undeserving of any semblance of human consideration. Nonetheless, the Holocaust did not lead to the disappearance of anti-Semitism. The Muslim masses now united against the "Zionist threat" use canards popularized by the Nazis and their predecessors. And European capitals gleefully applaud these efforts silently, for they are no longer portrayed as the sole purveyors of hatred against the Jewish people. These efforts seemed to justify what their own philosophers had alleged for so long, the alleged "truths" of Jewish practice and theology. We are warned not to take lightly the unceasing propaganda by Arab spokespersons. This material, long discredited in the West, has made significant inroads into the psyches of Arab masses and allows adequate justification for terrorist actions against peoples the Arabs consider have usurped them from their lands and maintained them in poverty for many years. Deja vue. The struggle is not completed; a new chapter is emerging and we must remain vigilant, prepared to respond to new challenges. This book is a must-read. Its Clark County Library Number is DS 145.W55. MEMORY In the section of Genesis entitled Va-Yeshev, Joseph finds himself in jail with one of the King's officials. As the latter is about to be released, Joseph urges him to put in a good word for him. The official promises to do so but the Bible relates that the official "did not remember" Joseph, and then adds, "and he forgot him." Why the double statement about the official's lack of action? Surely not remembering means forgetting. Why tell us what seems obvious? Perhaps the Bible is telling us something else--remembering is an active process, and requires commitment. If done casually, without real dedication to remembering, the attempt to recall, especially if unimportant, will fail. The official didn't simply fail to remember; he made a conscious effort to forget. Joseph's request was unimportant; his promise to remember Joseph's plight was merely a cursory "yes," without real intent behind it. So soon after the Holocaust, the world at large would like to forget what it allowed to happen to the Jewish people and to so many other innocents. They claim, the rumors of Jewish concentration camp suffering were difficult to believe. And what could have been done even if the rumors had been believed? After all, all available resources were tied up to overcome the Nazi German armies. We know the result? The Jewish people were not remembered; The Jewish people were forgotten. Now some say the Holocaust never occurred. Now some say that Israel acts the same way to the Palestinians; Just as the Nazis did to Jews. And, they say, Zionism is just another form of racism; Jewish power, in Israel and elsewhere, is conspiring to destroy Islam. The Jewish people must remember, not merely by acknowledging but by acting on our responsibilities; by learning our tradition; by working with organizations assisting Jews in need; by reading the world press; by contacting our Representatives on issues pertaining to anti-Semitism and the fate of Israel. Or will we forget, busy with our work, our families, our enjoyments? Nothing like the Holocaust could occur again, we believe. We believe that others will protect us if threats emerge. Israel is strong; it will protect us and is capable of protecting itself in the Middle East. Anti-Semitism is declining. So we delude ourselves. Remembering is an active process, to which we must commit ourselves. And we must remember the truth, not our watered-down version of it. Without that commitment to the truth, we will surely forget?and nothing could be more lethal to the future of the Jewish people. Bruno Borenstein.