Tuesday, 27 January 2015

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

The 27 January 1945 was the day when Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated by Soviet troops. We remember all those who were killed in this and similar death camps: 6 million Jews, 1 million Romani, mentally and physically disabled people and thousands of homosexual men. Also others were killed.

This is not the only time humanity has deliberately killed people because they belong to another group, religion, race (whatever that is), people etc. But it is one of the worst.

As an act of remembrance we made it to the Jewish museum in Cape Town and the Great Synagogue. One interesting thing happened when we approached the buildings. Two women asked us if we knew that there was a museum and we said yes, we are on our way to visit it. Then they told us that their parents had been married in the synagogue and that they were so happy that we were going to visit the museum.

To me that was a sign that South Africa is a country were Jews are free to reveal their identity to strangers. I know that this is not the case all over the world. Especially not in Europe.

One thing we learned was that the largest groups of Jews that immigrated to South Africa came from Lithuania. Two of them were the parents of Helen Suzman, well known anti-apartheid politician. I have just finished a book about her, which I might blog about later.

When we visited Oudtshoorn recently we also learnt that these immigrants from Lithuania were very active in the ostrich business.

Today I ask myself the question:
Will humanity ever learn to respect and love one another instead of oppress and kill?
I don’t know, but I will still continue on the road to justice and peace.

This is the Great Synagogue in Cape Town.

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