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A Discussion of Holocaust Remembrance Day

April 22, 2009

Bernard Henri-Levy, well known French philosopher and writer, pens a thoughtful meditation on the meaning of Holocaust Remembrance Day. A sample:

It is April 20, 2009. We could have, when it was decided fifty years ago to inscribe this day of commemoration in the calendars of nations, chosen the anniversary of the opening of the death camps. We could have chosen the date of the Wansee Conference. We could have decided on any other day–and they are legion!–commemorating the Jewish martyrdom across the ages. But no. It was the 27th of Nissan of the Hebraic year that was chosen. In other words, this year in particular, the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. And, in the lively discussions that presided over this choice, in the debate, notably, between Ben Gurion and the religious supporters of Judaism, this detail surely escaped no one. What was it meant to mean? That we had to dismiss the cliché of a Jewish people going to their deaths like lambs to the slaughter. That we had to celebrate, at the same time as the memory of the crime, this heroic episode in Warsaw that was followed by the revolts of Sobibor, Birkenau, Treblinka. That it mattered, in other words, to commemorate a massacre, but also a resistance. For me, the son not of a deportee but of a member of the Resistance, this will to act is essential. I invite you to remember that there is always, even in the darkest night, a place for insurgence and for hope. We are here to remind, far beyond ourselves, all the people of the world, that it is always possible, always, to revolt.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 22, 2009 10:33 am

    On such a day, do Israelis and/or Jews remember their crimes against humanity and Palestinians?

    The Victims of the Victims of Europe! That’s what the Palestinians face under the new era of Nazism dressed in Zionism.


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