We took this photo when we were in San Francisco celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I was reminded of it on Holocaust Memorial Day this last week when the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was celebrated.
Holocaust survivor Roman Kent, included his message for the future: “And yet, in view of the current participation and awareness of so many world leaders, there is visible proof of compassion and involvement instead of indifference. This is progress …. it is now up to the leaders of tomorrow. But there remains so much more to be done. We all must be involved and stay involved …. no one should ever be just a spectator! I feel so strongly about this point that if I had the power, I would add an Eleventh Commandment to the universally accepted Ten Commandments: “You should never, never be a bystander.”
Does our picture make me look like a bystander? I hope not. We aim for it to express solidarity, to stand alongside not bystand. We have taken students to the UK holocaust memorial centre and Auschwitz is one of the more sobering destinations on my bucket list. In the meantime, what else can we do? To take any and every opportunity to share the stories of 5 million human beings dehumanised and murdered. I am not sure how I can stand in solidarity with a persecuted people who experienced such a tragedy beyond words or understanding. But I commit myself to stand alongside and commit myself never to forget and speak up at embryonic repeats. I am reminded too of the importance of, from time to time, reading or watching the boy in the striped pyjamas to see the ultimate solidarity of childhood.