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  Home / Weblog / Let Us Not Forget  

Let Us Not Forget

Read at the Adas Israel Synagogue to honour the memory of victims of the Holocaust


April 25, 2006


Today, we remember deeply traumatic events that are not mitigated by the passage of time.  We remember those who suffered, those who fought, and those who died. We remember that survival or death for so many was, more often than not a matter of chance than of choice. And we remember that there are more than six million untold stories.

Together, today – alone or with others we remember in a multitude of ways –with prayers, candle lighting, the recitation of poetry, singing and testimonials, and in silence – especially silence. Today we are filled with recollection and reflections.  Today, we remember pivotal events, events that shaped the climate of terror from which millions never returned. These events are now the words and images that are our lightning rods of remembrance. They stand alone, in endless time, as symbols of oppression and hate –Kristalnacht, the night of broken glass; the Nuremberg Laws, extraordinary measure of unprecedented exclusion; the Warsaw Ghetto, for far too many people the prelude to hell before the real hell – and all the other names, labels, places, and events that burn in resonance in our history books and in our hearts, but our knowledge of which could never actually match what it was like for those who suffered through, first the labelling, and finally, the tyranny.

Today, we remember the rescuers.  Some have been identified; in fact some have been declared to be righteous; however, many more are forever unknown, unrecognized and unremembered. The rescuers appeared as if from nowhere and, at the same time somewhere. They came from every race, of both genders, of all ages and from every station of society. They risked their own lives; some failed, many perished, and only a few lived until old age.

Perhaps, they were driven to be rescuers by some unseen hand or by inarticulate emotions. Nevertheless their emotional response did not need to be intellectualized, for it was REAL in and of itself. They were selfless; and they were brave. And, they are forever honoured and remembered as beacons among the others who – not possessing beacons, simply turned their backs.

Today, we salute those that champion remembrance by defending the facts and by proclaiming the truth.  The continuing denial of what happened many years ago is the property and the perversion of a small vocal minority who seek to twist history. Sadly, there will always be such individuals. That is why vigilance, must be an ever present part of remembrance – a particularly proactive part of remembrance – a remembrance that must be broadly intergenerational in its scope.  Vigilance on behalf of the truth and the vocal championing of the truth will always remain a daunting task.

Today, we salute those that keep the candle burning – those that remind us that remembrance is a profound duty.  As each new generation is born there will be the challenge of stimulating how remembrance is renewed.  That there is a specific day, to focus on remembrance is obviously important for the fundamental mission of remembrance requires that it be both a daily task and a universal imperative. TOGETHER, we must always challenge each other to willingly and purposefully embrace this noble imperative.

Today, our frustrations and disappointments are mixed with the determination and the optimism that we pursue, in our attempts to make our world safe and our relationships compassionate.  We must and we will celebrate our shared humanity as we continue to work together to afford everyone their dignity. For surely that is God’s purpose under the heavens.  So – let us be God’s servants as we strive to live together in harmony and peace and, at the same time, promising to always remember.