April 7, 2021 is this year’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is always the 27th of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It doesn’t synch to the Gregorian calendar, a solar one. The Islamic and Hebrew calendars are lunar based. Like the Chinese calendar, the Hebrew one adds an extra month for leap years, not a day. Next year Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 27th.
This year, Holocaust Remembrance Day is especially significant. Yom HaShoah Ve-Hagevurah, in Hebrew, meaning Day of the Remembrance of the Holocaust and Heroism, began in Israel. We remember the 6,000,000 Jews murdered by the Nazis. This number is probably an underestimate, like the statistics from the Coronavirus.
Both numbers are so vast and probably underreported, like tangential suicides. Neither does it include the millions of other men, women and children killed as well. The Nazis murdered homosexuals, non-Aryans, non-Protestants, different ethnic groups, the disabled and myriad others for no reason. It also doesn’t take into account those peripheral victims: people scarred for life, both physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The numbers of witnesses to WWII dwindle every day, but there are those of my generation, children of survivors, whose lives were also impacted.
It was impossible to single out a specific date as the “most appropriate” day of rememberance and recognition. The date was reached after much deliberation because victims of the Nazi brutality were harassed, tortured and murdered on every single day of the year. The 27th of Nisan coincides with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. This last year, however, is poignant in our country because seven decades after WWII, and other holocausts, we haven’t learned. The cruelty and injustice to people of color and Asians as well as non-dominant religions and women is still felt. Why, I don’t know.
In English we use the term Righteous for those that stood up to the Nazis, hid people, enabled them to escape and other acts of great heroism. Fred Rogers said his mother taught him to look at the helpers in a situation. Like the people today who are putting their own lives and those of their families in danger, they too gave more than expected. This is not hate but amazing love.
Today, remember, honor and love but let’s work toward NEVER AGAIN.
The New Virus
When milestones have been reached in the Corona -19 epidemic in this country I have written poems. Although many people have been vaccinated, the death toll has reached the three million mark. But now there is a new number that I have felt compelled to address.
Covid deaths are now 3 mil plus
But today there’s another virus
What’s happening, what’s wrong with us?
The shooting, looting will it cease?
The brutality of the police
With all of this there is no peace.
It’s wasteful, it’s distasteful
Why destruction? Why defacing?
These are values we’re misplacing.
Killing each other and also the masses*
In stores, theaters, concerts and classes
There’s no freedom if this passes.
What are the why, or the wherefore?
Haven’t we seen this all before?
The difference between rich and poor?
Not caring, the wealth not sharing
Causing sirens to be blaring
Constant crimes ever so daring.
The cruelty, can we not see?
Could it be you? Could it be me?
We will pay the penalty.
On the news every night is seen
Hate for others, the gasoline
Used by adults, used by teens.
The violence, so many attacks
So many numbers, so many facts
We can’t afford to now be lax.
Amidst the Derek Chauvin trial
Injury on insult added to the pile
Stirring up bile, adding anger all the while.
Earth Day — harmony with planet, each other
Make life good for us, sisters and brothers
After all, Earth is our mother.
*Four or more victims is considered a mass shooting.
Read more by Ada Mark Strausberg.