70 Years Since Liberation – International Holocaust Remembrance Day 2015


When talking with my grandma about what happened 70 years ago today, she usually mentions two things: how lucky she was to be left behind and how young some of the Soviet soldiers were. Nothing else. She tells us about life in the ghetto, life in the camp, but never talks about liberation without prompting, and then only says these two things.

70 years ago today the Auschwitz death camp was liberated, and since 2001 January 27 is the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Let us remember the millions, whose only crime was being Jewish, Roma, LGBTQ, disabled, or politically disagreeing with the Nazi regime. Let us remember those, who had no one left to remember them. Let us remember those branches broken off of family trees that would have blossomed. Every holiday dinner we gather around the table we feel the absence of those cousins, who were never born.

Never again.

Five for the Weekend – Week 4


1. I started to think about making a button/graphic/logo for this feature of my blog, but currently I’m too lazy to do so. And addicted to Bitstrips, so I live out my creativity with that. I don’t even know what to include in one, other than a big 5. Oh well. Life takes priority.

2. I, once again fell in love with American Idol. Of course my primary reason for that is the three judges. I missed last season, so I didn’t know Harry Connick, Jr. joined the show, because I was so disappointed in season 12. Now I think JLo is cute (and beautiful), Harry is hot (he has the Jewish looks and Catholic charm’s perfect mix), and Keith is also just awesome (and hot, too. But Harry is hotter.) I believe that half of the show is the judges, 2/3 in the casting episodes. If they work together well, that is half a win. I also like the contestants who got their tickets already. There were only two or three that I didn’t really care about, and I do think some of them will be eliminated in the next round.

3. As a side effect of watching AI again, I managed to spend most of the $$ I was saving for Ivri Lider’s new album on songs by Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban on iTunes. You know that Harry has a wonderful recording of O Holy Night? And his album Star Turtle was one of the first CD’s I bought with my own money? And that he was so cute in Memphis Belle? And that he is just awesome? I’m seriously fanboying him here. Listening to his CDs 20 and 25 inspired one of my kids to continue with piano, taking jazz after he had had enough of classical.

4. Just registering Yonah for his semester abroad this weekend. It involves $5 Starbucks tumblers, eating at a pirate themed restaurant, getting overpriced chocolate and sleeping on the floor. It is lovely. I feel like a college student hanging out with him and his boyfriend. Sometimes it is fun to feel ten years younger.

5.This coming week we will be remembering the liberation of the Auschwitz concentrationwpid-Photo-2014.03.21.-903.jpg camp on its 70th anniversary. It will have been 70 years since part of my family finding freedom again. It was 70 years this summer since so many others of my family were murdered at the same place. And soon after it will be 70 years since the last Shoah death in my family. 70 years means that the survivors are now aging, and there are fewer and fewer of them. The memory lives on in their children and grandchildren. It is important to talk about what happened, because we can only build on their experiences to prevent it ever happening again. And we need to learn from it–all of us.


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Never Again


It was a great crowd. Jews of every age. A few children hanging onto their mothers, lots of teenagers and young adults, and plenty of gorwn ups. Some clean shaven, some bearded. Some wearing kipot and hats, some don’t. They are from all walks of life, making the march from Auschwitz to Birkenau. An elderly man started to hum Ani Ma’amin, I Believe with Perfect Faith. A teenage boy raised the Israeli flag above his head, letting the wind get caught in it, flying the flag strong and proud.

It was the March of the Living.

Many many thousands made many of the death marches from their homes to certain death as part of the “final solution” during the Nazi regime. 70 years ago this year many of my relatives made this same march. A few lived, most perished. They were killed for the sole reason of being Jewish. Thousands were murdered for being Roma, Communits, disabled, or gay. Others were killed for trying to hide the persecuted. So many sensless deaths!

One of the most powerful parts of the exhibit in Auschwitz is in one of the baracks, displaying the belongings of the victims, that were stored, resold or reused by the Nazis. One display shows thousands of shoes. It always reminded me of the memorial in Budapest: shoes on the quay by the Danube, shoes of Jews who were shot into the water by Hungarian Arrow Cross people.

Today, in 2014, anti-semitism is on the rise in Hungary and elsewhere in the world again. Was 70 years enough to forget?

At sunset today Yom. HaShoah, the Holocaust Remembrance day begins. The flag of the State of Israel will be lowered to half mast. Six survivours will light six torches in memory of the six million. At the synagogue we have a special prayer meeting, and we recite the mourner’s kaddish, for those millions who had no one left to do it for them.


7 Quick Takes – 12


— 1 —

We are in the middle of spring cleaning. I'm a pack rat, and I have to clean the house out twice a year, or stuff would overtake us. Let us not forget that we have absolutely no storage space in this house. For the past three months a set of boxes and cases were neatly stocked in front of my wardrobe, so I never opened the doors. I removed the boxes yesterday, and I found a bottle of Zubrowka on my summer shirt shelf. I was saving it for Purim, nut I completely forgot about it! Good thing that Purim is an annual thing, it will roll around in 5775 as well.

— 2 —

This week marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the mass murder of the Jews of Hungary. There is quite a kerfuffle about the Holocaust Memorial Year in Hungary right now. The current Hungarian government blames the German take over for the Hungarian Holocaust and refuses to acknowledge any responsibility on the parts of Hungarians. The major Jewish organizations thus refuse to take part in the official memorial year. It's also election year, so everyone is trying to chime in on the issue, but without any real effort, lest they lose votes. It's ugly as usual.

In the mean time a Jewish cemetary was vandalized, with a message spray painted: “There was no Holocaust, but therewill be.” Just lovely. Of course now there is no German “invasion”. But no, there is no anti-semitism, and no, there was no anti-semitism in the remark just recently made by representatives if the governing party….

— 3 —

In connection with the above, it has been 70 years since my family was rounded up and forced to the ghetto near the Great Synagogue. My great-uncles and grandpa taken to forced labour, it would be only a few weeks before the rest of the family was deported to Auschwitz, where most of them would perish.

— 4 —

Did I mention a stomach bug striking just last night? Yep, just what we needed right now. So far it has found Kevin and I, but Bella assures me it was brought home by my grandson. Lovely. Truly lovely. Not. So today is the day when we have store bought challah and gefilte fish from a can, and take out chicken for Shabbat dinner, because I really shouldn't touch food.

— 5 —


— 6 —

We, as a family, are watching the second season of Bron Broen (The Bridge), a Swedish-Danish show that was both remade by the Americans (The Bridge) and the British and french (The Tunnel). I haven't watched The Tunnel yet, but I have blogged about season one of both the original and the American versions before.

Season two is following a similar pattern as season one: you can never be sure who is actually important for the story, who is not, who will survive and who won't. By episode four not only are my kids able to distinguish Swedish and Danish being spoken, but about half the characters I'd thought to last through the season are dead. It's quite awesome, to be honest. I mean their deaths are giving twists to the story at places where I'd least expect it.

So Saga and Martin are back, and Saga is still displaying signs of Autism and Martin is still dealing with grief and anger. And they still have that great chemistry. And I just wish Americans would watch this instead of remaking it… The American show became enjoyable at the point it deviated from the original story, and I'm looking forward to season two, which, I hope, will have nothing to do with the original show. Not that I don't like it, but why watch it twice?

— 7 —

On Tuesday, after confirming with my beloved family members that no one plans to give me Amazon gift certificates for my birthday, I will order the iPod Touch I've been eyeing for months. If you have an Amazon affiliate link, please comment with where it is, so I can use one of my readers' links. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you, everyone, who shopped through my links!

I am excited to get it by mid-April. It will make life so much easier, and my backpack lighter. I am excited about the freedom in communication this little thing will provide me with. Not to mention the much better camera than my current phone. Instagram, I'll be back!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


Never Again




69 years ago the concentration camp in Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army. ย Among the survivours were my grandparents.

6 million others, Jews, Roma, Communists, gays and other opponents of Hitler’s regime were murdered in the Holocaust.

Let’s take a moment to remember them today.

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