Sunday, April 15, 2007


Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. I took the bus down to Pioneer Square this afternoon and stood for twenty minutes in front of a tent under which a man at a microphone read names from a book. Names of people killed in the holocaust. I was one of a handful of people, loitering around the tent and listening. There were chairs set up in rows, but hardly anyone sat.

What do you do on Yom HaShoah? What do you say to people? Seems like a time for lighting candles, being still, grieving. It felt jarring to stand in Pioneer Square, the bustle of a Portland weekend happening all around, people in the sun, walking and laughing, playing hacky sack, enjoying the weather. Then us, a few somber-faced folks listening to names, trying to imagine the people behind the names, the lives and deaths. Trying to make something real of it.

I just finished a really gorgeous book called The Lost, about a man who set out to find details about the deaths of six members of his family during the holocaust, his uncle Shmiel, his aunt Esther and their four daughters, Ruchele, Frydka, Lorca and Brunia. He starts with hardly any information, just fragments of stories, bits and pieces, and he manages to track down an almost whole narrative. He interviews survivors and flies all over the world to find them. It's a sweet, gorgeous, moving book. It's also a really smart book. Well-written. Engaging. I loved it so much, I read shorter and shorter installments as I neared the end, to try and make it last. Everyone should read it.

And everyone should remember. So we don't do it again.


Blogger stumptown dreamer said...

sweet heart...

thank you for remembering, for taking the bus downtown and standing to listen and remember...


12:46 AM  

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