National Days of Remembrance

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For the week starting April 27, 2014 until May 4, 2014, the United

States has set aside time to remember the people who were killed,

survived and helped rescue the Jewish and other ethnic groups that

were affected during WWII time period.

We have designated this week as National Days of Remembrance of

those who were ‘martyrs’ and ‘heroes’ of the Holocaust.

On this evening of Sunday, April 27th, in respect to the 27th day

of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, until the evening of Monday, Israelis

mark those moments in time, through prayers and thoughts of those in

the Holocaust. The term, “Yom HaShoah” is given for this period of

reflection. This was the time where protesting people were engaging in,

what is called, “The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.” If anyone is affiliated

with this, through family members and are more informed on this practice,

please feel free to add to the post, in the Comments’ Section. Thank you!

On January 27, 1945, troops entered a concentration camp in Germany,

where they found 11,700 prisoners. This camp with its gas chambers

and other horrors was called Auschwitz-Birkenau. Other camps, where

many people were tortured and killed, later surfaced and became known,

once the war in Europe ended.

In May, there will be a celebration of Victory in Europe, for WWII’s

ending. I have already made sure to include this day on my May Monthly

Calendar post. I cannot believe how time has flown and another month

has passed already!

My Grandmother Paula Haller Mattson came from Germany, immigrating

while a teenager. She denounced the behavior of Nazis and many times

denied her heritage, during the thirties and forties, since there was

more common knowledge here in the United States, even than in Germany,

at the time. She practiced English and did not sound “German” during

her adult life. She was a waitress at the Waldorf Astoria, where she

liked to say, “I waited on Kings and Queens, the Rothchild’s,

Vanderbilt’s and Presidents.” I believe she wanted to be part of our

country, assimilating more than her cousins, Elaine and Clara.

When I got married, my second and third cousins, came to my first

wedding. I noticed a distinctive difference in their accent, although

my Grandma had already passed away by then. Family was always important,

but becoming an American citizen, was equally special to my Grandma M.

The movie, “The Sound of Music,” told through the Von Trapp Family

Singers’ escape from Germany over the Alps’ story. This popular movie

depicted the foreboding atmosphere of the upcoming takeover and war.

More serious films, like “Schindler’s List,” which told about the

sympathy of other cultures towards the Jewish people are interesting

and deeply realistic.

Of course, reading history books, visiting the great Holocaust Museum in

Washington, D. C. and seeing documentaries will give you more accurate

pictures of the drastic takeover by Adolf Hitler of the German peoples

and troops.

When my brothers would watch Saturday morning movies, such as ones that

had John Wayne and others in them, my parents tried to discourage any

glorification of war, in their young minds. My Grandmother M. would get

angry when my brothers would play Americans against the Germans,

Cowboys versus the Indians and (from their cartoon views of “Rocky and

Bullwinkle”), somehow my brothers came up with the idea of American Spies

against the Russian Spies espionage ‘game.’ All of these were forbidden around

my grandparents’ house, along being within earshot of my parents’ house.

Being an English, World Literature and Spanish teacher, my Mom was pretty

strict in her use of language. One word we were not allowed to use often,

and it had to be very important to do so, was the word, “Hate.” She was

taught this by her mother, that most things in Life, can be expressed as

“not pleasant,” “dislike strongly,” or “prefer not to.” It is a great way

to raise children to be more open minded, whether it to be trying a new food,

learning about a different culture than one’s own or meeting unfamiliar

people. It is another way to show ‘remembrance’ and ‘respect’ to all

things, peoples and thoughts.

I like the way in “South Pacific,” the character played by John Kerr

sings, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” This song is in reference

to prejudice is a learned experience, taught by the ones closest to the

children or young adults. Only after researching this song, did I find it was

considered very “controversial” and “downright inappropriate” for musical

stage productions.

Interestingly enough, it was also labeled, promoting “Communistic agenda!”

I am proud that the authors of the lyrics, Rodgers and Hammerstein, the

producers, directors and actors all said that they were ‘in it’ due to

the way it expresses these emotional viewpoints. I listened to this, along

with a lot of major musicals, in person, at theatres and on the stereo, where

my parents placed a stack of records to listen to, during relaxing, ‘television

restricted’ periods of weekends or ends of workdays.

Of course, I am going to be honest about this, teens learn ‘prejudices’

from their peers, even when you (as parents) have done your ‘darndest’ to

prevent them from this.

There have been people who are ‘brainwashed’ even as adults. Don’t think

my kids are, or ever were, “perfect!” Or that I didn’t have to ‘straighten

them out’ a few times!

Even professionals, pastors and teachers hold views that are bigoted and

close-minded. I had a family member who felt the Bible “said” the “Tribe

of Abraham,” meaning people with African heritage, were meant to be slaves.

I was appalled, argued when I was once involved in a holiday discussion,

home from college on Winter Break. My parents and brothers stood on my

side, basically telling the person to table the debate.

When the Viet Nam War or skirmishes began, my brothers were close

to Draft Age. My parents seriously (sorry, if this is going to bother

you), thought about relocating to Canada! Enrolling my brothers in

college, during this time may or may not have prevented draft, but

draft ended before they needed to be concerned with it, personally.

A song which includes, “How can people be so heartless? How can people

be so cruel?” was one of my favorite songs, sung by Three Dog Night.

It is called, “Easy to be Hard,” (1969).

We still have ‘enemies.’

We still have ‘hate.’

I hope you will take some moments in this next week, to reflect and

remember the Holocaust and other people who are continuing to be

scapegoats and persecuted in the world, sometimes with the governmental

support of a country.

Adding to this post, on Monday April 28, 2014.

Will you please keep those who endured the twisters in the states of

Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, those who lost family members, and those

who are hospitalized in your remembrances and thoughts this week?

So far there have been 17 deaths in these three states. There was a

little four year old girl, who was swooped up, carried a distance

and had her legs crushed… I hope you will be including her in your

thoughts and prayers, too.

Another twister came through on Monday night into April 29th, 2014.

The states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee had houses and

properties destroyed, along with unfortunately, 11 deaths.

All of these areas have had people volunteering to assist the people

who have had to leave their homes, along with sifting through the rubble,

looking for people.

Thanks for reading some more about this tragic weather situation!

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17 responses »

  1. A beautiful post Robin. It is so important to remember the horrific events of the World War II, most notably the Holocaust. We had a speaker in our school recently who survived being in Bergen-Belsen. His story was very humbling and harrowing.

  2. Thank you for including some more details, a different concentration camp and your supportive and caring words! I am always glad when the schools include speakers who have endured and lived through the period of time, that to the kids may seem kind of surreal! Hugs, Robin

    • I appreciate this! I will have to go back and insert it in my April calendar! I try to ask for suggestions, when I publish my monthly calendars! I seem to miss a lot like today was also, Super Heroes Day! Thanks for any and all Australia special holidays, anytime you wish to mention them! Smiles, Robin

    • Thank you, Jill! I appreciate that you have been to many of the Washington D.C. museums. Me, too, but I did not go when the Holocaust museum had been built yet. I went as a teenager, which the Arlington Cemetery and the flame on Kennedy’s grave were special, but the Lincoln Memorial and the White House captured my interest the most, in those days! Which was one of your favorites there?

    • Thanks, Mark, I am glad you didn’t mind the reminder! I seem to be fascinated by the calendar, so I tend to post about these. I use the ‘umbrella’ of informing others but also, since we all are caring people, we may be happy to be reminded about these things. I was surprised to wake up and see the Channel 10 news team wearing Super Heroes’ costumes! Not exactly “somber wear!” Apparently, someone had designated today, Super Heroes’ day!

  3. very emotional post, Robin… I did meet a few survivors in France, in Romania and in the US… unfortunately, wars and genocides have taken place after 1945, too: remember the beginning of the ’90’s in ex-Yugoslavia… 😦 and they still continue: in Africa, Syria, Ukraina, etc… history does repeat itself, alas, because human nature hasn’t changed much since “homo sapiens” came up…
    * * *
    my very best, a positive week and friendly thoughts… cheers! Mélanie

    • Thank you, dear Melanie! I appreciate that you have embraced the ending of my post, the one that tells us all that hate has not ended. I am so glad that you enumerated the actual places where there still is discontent, murder and genocides going on. I am so sorry that this happens, it is unfortunate that we cannot ‘fix’ the world! I appreciate also your caring thoughts and wishes! Back at you, with all my heart! xo Robin

  4. Robin, what compelling stories, and a wonderful tribute. We had a neighbor when I was growing up who had been in a concentration camp. She was the only survivor in her family. I still choke up just thinking about her.

    • Thanks, Marylin, for letting us know about your neighbor. I wonder how that would feel? I was going to write ‘unfortunate’ neighbor, but I think it is fortunate that she lived, but without her loved ones is so sad, I would cry, too, if I were to talk to her and hear her stories. I appreciate your sharing this with us. It is good to ‘put a picture’ in our minds of the ones who have suffered and lost loved ones, too!

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