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“Hear, O Israel, Save Us” “Oh God Almighty! Help us! Take care of us, give us your blessing.”
Last week I was given a copy of the November issue of Smithsonian magazine, featuring a story on a young Jewish girl in Poland named Renia Spiegel. She created a diary right before she unknowingly entered Hell, as the horrors of the Holocaust infiltrated her innocent world. It’s a miracle that this diary survived at all if you read how it came to be found, and how it traveled over 70 years to become a powerfully troubled voice once again in 2018. The Smithsonian translated it in its entirety.
She is being compared to Anne Frank. My friend who subscribes and shared this issue with us said she cried as she read her story. The entire issue is dedicated to remembering. Let Us Never Forget.
Sept. 22, 1939: “My dear diary! I had a strange day today. Iwow surrendered. Not to Germany, but to Russia. The Polish soldiers were disarmed in the streets. Some, with tears in their eyes, just dropped their bayonets to the ground and watched the Russians break their rifles. I feel such grief. Only a small handful are still fighting. Despite the order, defenders of Iwow are continuing their heroic fight to die for their homeland.”
Another story in this issue is called “Finding Her Voice, about the discovery of a young Jewish poet and her Holocaust Diary”:
“I don’t know why, but my future flashes before me and it is so sad and so painful that without even realizing it, I crumple in pain….That is the restless souls like me: We wander from one place to another, hoping to find some peace.” — Matilda Oikin
Again, the words scream, Save Me!
Also, in the November issue of Smithsonian Magazine, another article is titled, “World, wake UP! Young people caught in the crossfire of history provide fearless accounts of the horrors of war — and shatter our complacency in real time.” These words were written on June 11, 1944, by an anonymous boy in Lodz Ghetto, Poland. Again, he is screaming, “world, wake up!”
This past week, yet another terrorist attack took place in France, right on schedule between Hanukkah and Christmas. Have we woken up? Even the term “woke” now has a new and very disturbing meaning.
I came across the last ten minutes of a concert on PBS by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in the beautiful Heinz Hall, where I grew up and visited on many a school field trip. I was stopped in my tracks, it was so moving. It was called a concert for Peace and Unity, in honor of those that lost their lives at the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre on Oct. 27. The concert features the amazing Itzhak Perlman and funding was made possible by the Freida Berlinski Foundation (A Claire relation?).
I hope they re-air it, but here is the beautiful and reverent audio concert tribute.
This is Pittsburgh, in an America I remember and believe still exists, that we all remember. Is the attack on a peaceful synagogue in a suburb of Pittsburgh, a newly discovered Holocaust diary, or another terrorist attack in Europe, or the continuing antisemitism that we’re seeing in our country and around the world, or the constant reminder of the evil that seeks the elimination of Jews and Christians, a mere coincidence? It is well-coordinated. Talk about it, write about it, educate, push back, never accept, and never forget. Peace and unity?
World, wake up!Published in