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If you were beaten and bullied as a child, if you lived for nine years in constant fear of being tortured or killed, if you and your family fled your home, losing everything, and were forced to live in a tent, would you call yourself ‘lucky’?
I used to be somewhat ambivalent about the “celebration” of Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27; in one sense, I felt it was important to remind the world that six million Jews and six million other folks were killed by the Nazis and their enablers. The phrase, “Never Forget” is embedded in my psyche. On the other hand, I wonder if this particular memorial day serves as a devastating reminder to many people—survivors and their families–who want to forget that horrific time. And ironically, I also wonder if it is an irritant to those people who experience resentment or even hatred toward the Jews, exacerbating their negative perspective.
Still, Abraham Pizam is the man described at the beginning of this post by a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel. Today he is the founding dean of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management. He survived the Holocaust and gave a presentation at the January 27 event about his own experience. It was the first time he had spoken publicly about the Holocaust. Here’s a report on part of what he shared: