Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day. It was instituted in 2005 by the United Nations. I am putting stones, as one does in the Jewish tradition, on the graves of those who perished. These stones in the photos are in the Holocaust Museum in New York City. In the distance you can see the Statue of Liberty.
Some 80 members of my extended family died in the death camps in Poland and Germany. I am very aware of this fact and of our need to remember and to pay attention to what is happening around us. We can never forget. This article discusses the rising tide of Xenophobia in the US and in Europe. The day after the election, I got off the bus on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and was greeted by a Nazi salute from a young man in his 20s. This cannot be something to make light of. Words matter.
I wonder what Emma Lazarus whose poem is engraved on the Statue of Liberty would make of the current state of affairs in the USA.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”