Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness

It's my birthday today. I was born exactly 25 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, which anniversary is now marked every year as Holocaust Memorial Day. Today we remember the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis, and all the other people that regime set about systematically annihilating because they were gay or Roma or mentally 'defective' or Communist or or or. We also remember those who died in subsequent genocides, in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Darfur. Et al.

HMD was first marked in the UK in 2001. Until then, I had no idea of the date's significance. Initially, I was pretty pissed off that it was on my birthday. But I've been coming round.

This is me and my grandma in 1988, when I spent three months in Israel during my year off. She was born in 1920, and left Germany for Palestine, with her father and siblings, in 1928.

So she survived. My dad got born - during the war, when Auschwitz was still in full swing. Some years later, I got born too.

Today, I missed my mum a bit, had a lovely lunch with M and my dad, had a brief love-in with Otto the dachshund, bought some chicken noodle soup in Booths, and came home to do an hour or so's work. I could have gone to the HMD event in Lancaster, where one of Anish Kapoor's 70 candles for 70 years was being lit. But I went to yoga instead, and did my remembering there.

Check our matching noses. Keep the memory alive.


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Blogger Ben said...

I was at Yad Vashem the day before HMD last year. They didn't seem to make a big thing of the day - but then Yad Vashem is one long HMD all year round.

9:26 am  
Blogger Jo said...

HMD is a UK thing actually... in Israel they have Yom HaShoah which is a specific day in the Jewish calendar, usually in April (not sure why that date). I was there for it the year of this photo, sirens went off all over the country, like an air raid siren. It was pretty chilling.

5:29 pm  
Blogger Ben said...

That makes me feel less foolishly unobservant. I think sirens at any time of year in Israel would chill me.

According to the infallible Wikipedia, Yom HaShoah was originally to mark the date of the Warsaw uprising, but was then moved because of Passover clashes.

7:06 pm  

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