Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Holocaust Memorial Day - Yom Hashoah

Tonight begins the Jewish holiday when we remember the victims of the Holocaust. It is called Yom Hashoah. In Israel tomorrow morning a siren will sound for two minutes and the entire country stops. People stop walking. People stand in their spots. Students stop learning. People stop driving. The radio and TV become silent. No one and nothing moves inorder to remember those murdered for the crime of being born Jewish.

As I mention every year at this time, Yom Hashoah means alot to me not simply because this is a  fiercely proud Jewish household, but because before the Nazis began to kill the Jewish people of Europe, they practiced their genocidal tendencies on those considered mentally and physically infirm...the disabled. While autism is never specifically mentioned in any detail in the Nazis archives, we as parents of autistics know full well that our children would have not survived the Nazis onslaught.

The irony is that in many ways things have not changed in society. The lives of the disabled are not valued as equal to the lives of the neurotypical. 70% of all hate crimes in the USA, alone,  last year were directed at Jews or Jewish institutions. Worldwide antisemitism is at a height not since since the Holocaust. Please read once again Social Justice, Humanity and Autism. It is important to always remind ourselves how precarious is our children's place in this world.

It is also important to remember that the Nazis were successful only because others not only turned a blind eye as to what was happening, but because the world actively helped.  The world willingly sacrificed the Jews and the disabled in order to garner peace with is called appeasement. Genocide does not happen in a bubble. Not 70 years ago and not today.

Today we mourn those that perished not because they committed any crimes, not because they wished harm or death upon others, not because they declared war on others. But they perished merely because they were and they had no way to stand up for their own right to exist. From the great movie Judgement at Nuremberg

This is the picture so indelibly associated with the genocide of the Jewish people....

This is today....
Israeli female combat battalion.

Eleanor Joseph Arab-Israeli army officer.

I prefer today. Whether the world, or trembling-Israelites, like it or not. Meanwhile HERE is the working definition of antisemitism from the European Union. Take note that antisemitism  includes but is not limited to denying the Holocaust, accusing the Jewish people of world-wide conspiracies, accusing Jews of being Israel-firsters, denying the Jewish people the right to self-determination or that Israel is a racist endeavor. 

Related posts:
Holocaust Remembrance Day
Last Thoughts on Holocaust Remembrance Day
Teaching About Prejudice
Racism: The Danger of a Single Story

Until next time,