Friday, July 23, 2010

Mindfulness and Respect

I despise ignorance and disrespect.

Yesterday, I overheard a guy and a gal discussing something so frivolous that I can't even recall what it was about. What did grab my attention was when he said that he felt like a Holocaust survivor and laughed. Someone told him to watch what he was saying. I turned around and said that my grandfather was a Holocaust survivor and not to joke about that. He became defensive and said he was quoting South Park. A fool quoting a foolish show.

My paternal dziadek (Polish for "grandfather") was one out of six in his family to survive the Holocaust (a word of Greek origin that means "sacrifice by fire"). Dziadek Liwsze (God rest his soul) spent most of his time in two (Buchenwald and Dachau) concentration camps (eight in total) where he was forced to make V1 missiles for the Nazis.

He did not talk about the war for the longest time until he finally broke down one day and told my father. He cried as he spoke of the horror and the tragedy, of the hatred and evil capable of humanity.

Imagine watching your parents and siblings get slaughtered because they were Jewish. Imagine being a child and losing everything because you were Jewish.

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed....Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never" (Elie Wiesel, Night, chapter 3, pg. 32).

Even claiming to "innocently" joke about the genocide of six million innocent Jews(or the genocide of Rwandans or others) is no laughing matter. You should be downright ashamed of yourself.

Remember how your mother always used to tell you to think before you spoke? And how it was important to respect others? If only we would heed her wise advice more.

1 comment:

  1. There's no accounting for ignorance. Great article. In spite of what he lived through, Dziadek was a wonderfully kind, sensitive and caring man.