My grandfather Arie was released from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany 74 years ago. By age 10, he had undergone more horrors than most of us will experience in a lifetime. Though he was lucky enough to escape death, close family members of his were not. His sister, at the age of five, was murdered in cold blood right in front of their mother because she cried too loudly while being separated from her. Immediately after my grandfather was released from Bergen-Belsen in 1945, he did the only thing he could do, move to Israel, the Jewish state created to avoid something like the Holocaust from happening again. Today, my grandfather is 84 years old, living in Israel with dementia.
It is now more important than ever that we understand that the last of his generation are now very old, and will pass away soon. Our children will most likely never be able to speak to a Holocaust survivor face to face. This is terrifying to me.
It is vital that we do not let stories like these die out with the people who experienced them so that we know to do everything we can in the present to avoid these atrocities from ever occurring again,no matter the group subjected to it. We must all tell our family’s stories and thoroughly listen to others’ so that we can one day pass them onto our children and make sure their stories are never forgotten.