Monday, April 10, 2006

Support Holocaust Remembrance Week

Last week the children and I watched the movie “Paperclips”. If you’ve never heard of this story please go to their website and read about it. They explain much better than I ever could. I have always been interested in the Holocaust- all aspects of it. For me it has been a lifelong struggle to understand how so much evil can exist and how so many can suffer because of close-minded views and hatred. Each time I read a new story, see a new movie, meet a Holocaust survivor I truly feel a deep pain in my heart. I think this more than anything else has brought me to tears too many times to count. So much lost and for what? What is even sadder is that our world seems to not have learned much of anything from it all. Racism, Anti-Semitism, and Hate still reign supreme in the world today. We dishonor the millions of lives lost each time we refuse to learn and grow.

One thing that stuck with me about the movie (besides the immensity of it all) was the fact that during World War II, Norwegians started wearing paperclips in protest against the Nazi occupation, anti-Semitism, and as a sign of solidarity (since a paperclip’s main purpose is to “bind” things together). The paperclip was also chosen because it was patented by a Norwegian and thus a product of their own country.

So I got to thinking, how could the children and I show our support against the atrocities of the Nazis during World War II? How could we show our pain and sorrow at the knowledge that over 6 MILLION Jews (over 1.5 million were children) were killed by their Nazi oppressors? How could we honor these lives so sadly taken too soon? I had always felt before that there really wasn’t much I could do besides teach my own children about the Holocaust so they in turn could teach future generations. Now I found there was more I could do.

After researching, I found out that there is a Paperclip Campaign that goes on every year. This year it will be during the week of April 23rd according to one site but others are doing it on different weeks throughout the month of April. The idea is to wear a paperclip on your collar or lapel to show your support against racism, prejudice, and hate crimes.

Not only will we join in by wearing paperclips on our collars (for the entire month of April I've decided) but I also plan on taking the children to the local Holocaust Museum, asking the libraries to participate in Holocaust Remembrance Week, and the children and I will also be handing out small cards with paperclips attached to everyone we meet in hopes of spreading awareness.

Let us also not forget the over 5 million homosexuals, Muslims, gypsies, and other victims of the Holocaust. Yes, the Nazis destroyed more than just the Jewish community. They destroyed pretty much anyone in their path. Did you also know that most of Europe AND our own United States was extremely anti-Semitic before, during, and after World War II? It was not just the Nazis who wronged all these people and we need to think about that as well.

I hope that you will join us and I would love to see pictures or posts on other blogs about this. Let’s not forget those who died because their beliefs differed from those who were intolerant to anyone and anything not exactly like them. Let’s honor those who survived the Holocaust and continue to tell about it so we don't forget. Let’s remember that very easily and quickly things can change for the worse. Let’s not forget that EVERYONE has a right to follow their own beliefs whether we share them or not. It’s not about what you believe but that you believe. Hope, faith (both religious and non-religious), and love are truly what gives humanity a chance.

To those who survived the Holocaust- you are forever my heroes. Your strength, forgiveness, and will to live amazes me daily. Bless you for everything that you are.

Below are some websites to check out having to do with the Holocaust. Also please check to see if your local library carries any books on the Holocaust. If not, try requesting that they attain some.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Jewish Holocaust Resources
Candles Holocaust Museum

If you know of anymore please post the link in the comments section so I can add it. Thank you.


contemplator said...

Wow. A woman close to me is writing her memoir of growing up in Germany during the war, and it's amazing what she had seen and heard. I was also stunned at some of the things Americans did in Germany during the war. She reports bombing of civilians, not being given supplies to the point where people were starving to death and raping and murders so that German civilian bodies were being loaded onto trains either from starving, bombing, being shot, etc. A terrible, terrible time. The paperclips thing is neat, and something I will be following up on.

Anonymous said...

momof3feistykids said...

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momof3feistykids said...

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Robin said...

I don't have any idea why you thought this would ever be considered an offensive post,Jo. It was beautiful and as usual,straight from your heart.

When I lived in Israel,I went to the Holocaust museum there. The saddest part wasn't how many people were killed. It was how PROUD the nazis were of what they did. They took tons of pictures to document the naked,starving men, women and children. All you could see were their ribs. They were tortured. It was unbelievable and yet,the Nazis were pleased by all this.

I love the paper clip idea. I'll have to read more about it but it sounds wonderful!

Rebecca said...

Thanks for visiting my blof so I could find yours! I appreciate this post. My family were gypsies that fled Europe around the end of the first World War. I will chekc out some of your links to share the message with my children.