Thursday, April 12, 2007

Buzz Kill

Some days it is more difficult to hold on to the promise of Eastertide than others. This Monday, April 16th, at 7pm at the Unitarian Universalist church, the Clergy Association is presenting, "The Holocaust: An Interfaith Service." I want to share with you the real testimonial of a Holocaust survivor which I will be reading aloud at the service. (When I get the information myself, I will post the title and editor of the collection this testimonial comes from.)

We began to feel more distinctly how the ghetto was being emptied. We realized our turn would be coming soon. All the lovely things we did in the lovely Terezin. It was done all under pressure, to retain our own dignity. That's what they wanted to take away from us, our dignity. That we had to fight for. And in that respect, we succeeded.

Not that we all of a sudden felt superior, but we insisted on being ourselves, no matter how hard it was, how hard the circumstances were. Each block elder had to supply the Jewish administration every morning with a number of people they selected for deportation. A miserable job, but it had to be done—there was no way out, we just accepted it, because we were completely powerless in this situation.

But we continued conducting our services. The services were held during the summer in the open, in the courtyard. Masses of people came there every Friday night, and we sang with a choir and the real music they remembered from their homes, whether Berlin or Vienna. Basically the same melodies so they could join, and they're praying. If anybody had reason to pray, it was us.

In the wintertime, because we couldn't do it outside, we went to the attic, a very, very small area, with all these beams going every which way. We squeezed in there and I haven't prayed like this in the United States, with that intensity, not one single time. Not that I want to wish for having to pray this way. And so we did this, and this was very successful. It gave people hope and faith in the midst of all things that were happening.

Kurt M.

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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