Stolpersteine (stumbling blocks), discreet cobblestone memorials embedded into the sidewalks outside establishments owned by Jews in Germany before the Holocaust, serve as reminders that “this may never happen again.”
Marion Blumenthal Lazan was just 4 years old on Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) – the night in November 1938 when Nazis broke windows in Jewish owned homes, businesses and synagogues. She was 9 years old when held, along with her family, in the Bergen-Belsen German concentration camp.
By her mannerisms it was obvious that her story was not easy to tell. Yet she acknowledged how important it was that she tell it to us, that we hear a first-person account of the atrocities rather than read about it in a book or watch a documentary.
I’ve heard it said that we are just a generation away from the farm and from Christianity. That it takes just one generation to not pass on the lessons learned from living on the farm and being involved in the church… One generation for those lessons to be lost for all future generations.
In the United States, only four states require that the Holocaust be taught in school. Four states. No wonder there are people who believe that the Holocaust is a hoax – that it never really happened. In Germany, according to Mrs. Lazan, all schools are required to teach it.
It is a painful story. It’s so hard to fathom that people would actually treat other people like that. It’s easy to understand why one would prefer to say it never happened instead of acknowledging it as part of our global history, learning from it so that this may never happen again. To any group. Ever.
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