27 January 2014

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: A Lesson in Forgiveness

I do not forget any good deed done to me and I do not carry a grudge for a bad one.
~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Beginning in January, I am participating in the One Page a Day Challenge.  Hopefully by the end of the year, I'll have 365 pages worth editing.  I’m also trying to follow My Plan for 2014.  I may need therapy by December.  Oh wait…

y father is alive today in part because a German soldier shared his lunch with him on a regular basis.

Even though he spent six agonizing years in a German labor camp during WWII, I am sure that soldier’s kindness is one of the reasons my father doesn’t hold a grudge against his German captors.

To have lost everything: your home, your family, your dreams, your nation and yet avoid bitterness seems an almost superhuman feat.  I struggle with regular interpersonal conflict and my father is at peace about his life-changing ordeal.

It helps give some perspective.

Not that his experience didn't affect him; of course it did.  But he did not let it embitter him; he did not let it strip him.  His old dreams may have died, but new ones took their place.  

He went on to learn seven more languages, to own and operate three businesses, one in South America and two here in the States, and to marry and raise three (somewhat normal) children.

So today, on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, I’d like to remember that soldier, whose name my father probably never even knew, for keeping my father alive.   

Thank you ~ your kindness helped shape him, and in turn, shaped my life as well.

Working in a Tunnel at Melk
Image credit: David Olère

by Barbara Sonek
We played, we laughed
we were loved.
We were ripped from the arms of our
parents and thrown into the fire.
We were nothing more than children.
We had a future. We were going to be lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers, mothers.
We had dreams, then we had no hope.
We were taken away in the dead of night
like cattle in cars, no air to breathe
smothering, crying, starving, dying.
Separated from the world to be no more.
From the ashes, hear our plea. This
atrocity to mankind can not happen again.
Remember us, for we were the children
whose dreams and lives were stolen away.
Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

Did the Holocaust personally touch your family?  How do you remember it?

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