Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Overlooked Anniversary

There is a certain pall to this day on the calendar and it has nothing to do with the weather outside our windows. It is a day that hangs over us not just for what happened but also because the majority of those reading this post have no idea what happened on this day in 1942. While the results of this day will never be forgotten, the day itself seems to have been lost. 73 years ago today the Wannsee Conference took place and the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” was officially put into action.

There is little that I can say about this day so rather than write at length on the atrocities that resulted from this meeting I will simply encourage you to talk to a Holocaust survivor and/or someone who was at the liberation of one of the concentration camps as there is little time left to hear their accounts first hand. I have spoken with people from all perspectives and the realities revealed are more horrible than that which you can read in a book. Seeing the memories in their eyes cannot be replaced by words on a page or images on a screen.

In addition to the human connection (which directly contradicts the actions of this anniversary), learn about what happened during this meeting, on this day. The movie "Conspiracy", while no means a replacement for research, offers as thorough an overview of the conference as you can find on the screen. However, the historical fiction on the screen should only serve as a reminder not as an actual recounting of facts.

Seek out local holocaust memorials and museums. You do not need a special day or anniversary to mourn what happened but it days such as this do offer additional meaning to those visitations. Having been to Yad Vashem and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (as well as exhibits in a few other countries), they are powerful places that envelope you and bring you as close as you can get to the actual items and stories of the victims and survivors as possible. Many of these places of remembrance also have survivors who volunteer their time to tell visitors of their experiences. Don’t miss the opportunity to speak with them.

Lastly, probably the best way to remember what happened and to ensure that conferences such as the one held in Wannsee can never be successful is to support the State of Israel. This must serve and always be the final solution of the Jewish question. We are united with a place to forever call home; we are able to support ourselves; and we are able to defend ourselves. That is the final answer of the Jewish question!