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
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
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!