International Holocaust Remembrance Day

This piece was originally posted several years ago…


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Today, January 27, 2015 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust, estimated at 6 million Jews, 2 million gypsies, 15,000 homosexuals, and countless other millions like Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe, and Bronisław Czech who gave their lives to resist one man’s unfortunate choice to eliminate a people from the face of the earth.

The United Nations established this memorial day in 2005.  The date coincides with the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau – the largest Nazi death camp – on January 27, 1945.

I have written much on memory and ‘remembering’ on The Vitruvian Man website.  Several years ago, I wrote that the major Jewish festivals today remain the same as they were 2,000 years ago.  They are festivals of remembering  As we quoted from David O’Rourke’s book about the people customs and religion in the Holy Land at the time of Jesus,

“More than anything else, [Jewish children] were taught to remember.  Remember who you are, remember what God has done for you and for us, and live as though you remember.”

I think the final phrase is the key phrase:

LIVE AS THOUGH YOU REMEMBER.

It is important to remember both good and bad.  As we remember the Holocaust, we remember what evil the human heart is capable of realizing.  By remembering, our generation and generations in the future are less likely to repeat the mistakes and bad choices of our past.

Acknowledgement of the Holocaust prompts the world to say, “Never Again,” and that each man, woman and child will hold the other accountable for our actions.

The entrance to the Hall of Nations at the United Nations in New York City is graced by the words of the Persian mystic poet Saadi Shirazi,

“Human beings are all members of one body.
They are created by the same essence.
When on is in pain, the others cannot rest.
If you do not care about the pain of others,
You do not deserve to be called a human being.”

Today we honor the millions who died in the Holocaust.

Teach your children well.  Teach them to remember and teach them to

Never Forget.

Merry Christmas

Writing a book is an act of creation.  I hold a special place in my heart for each of the seven works of fiction I have created.  I would be hard-pressed to say I like this one more than that one.  Each work has its strengths… and weaknesses.

E.S. KraayOne sequence that I am particularly fond of is the Nativity sequence I wrote for Gaspar, Another Tale of the Christ.  One of the highlights of my literary career occurred in January 2015 when my friend Alistair McKenzie came to Tucson and read the sequence at weekend masses at the Redemptorist Renewal Center in Picture Rocks, Arizona.

As Christmas rapidly approaches, I want to share Alistair’s reading of that sequence again with the thought that it might help strengthen our convictions and purpose as we conclude one year and move forward into another.

Merry Christmas

Leon Uris and Love of Country

Fifty-one years ago – nearly to the day – I read Leon Uris’s novel of Berlin in the aftermath of WWII, Armageddon.  I still retain that first edition though the dustcover no longer exists.  I read the book over a weekend in the spring of my senior year at the United States Air Force Academy.  I am a slow reader, but I devoured this 632-page novel in two days, a personal record. Continue reading Leon Uris and Love of Country

Chapter Six, The Last Jew in Vinnitsa

I read this morning – March 6, 2022 – that the Russians have completely destroyed the Vinnytsia [Vinnitsa] Regional Airport in Ukraine.  Whenever I hear the name of the town – Vinnitsa – I think of this photo.  It has been many years since I first discovered this photo.  Five years ago, I wrote this post.  I have quoted Holocaust survivor and the late Elie Wiesel many times.  I am compelled to do it again… Continue reading Chapter Six, The Last Jew in Vinnitsa