I have just come out of the shower when the siren sounds. I close my eyes and stand at attention, nearly naked, listening to its wail. Like they were, when they entered a very different kind of shower, their last shower, a shower from which they never emerged.
I think of the things that occupy my mind, what kind of cushions for the couch, what to cook for a Shabbat meal, what to wear to work, and it all seems so trite and trivial. And privileged.
There are evil people in the world. You encounter them too frequiently, as they lie straight out about matters both meaningful and meaningless, as they abuse animals and children and the elderly, as they drop chemical bombs on cities of innocent people. But what is so completely incomprehensible is how entire nations were swept up in evil’s momentum. The exceptions, that handful of amazing people who endangered their lives in order to do what was right, are just a drop in the bucket of those who collaborated, either actively or through their passivity.
I stand, with my eyes closed, nearly naked, in my living room, until the last echoes of the siren fade. The scream of those millions whose voices were silenced.
Most survivors who are still alive are now in their nineties. If we don’t make our voices heard, if we don’t make noise, scream history from the rooftops so that all the generations will know the face of absolute evil, that silence will very soon be complete.
Yom Hashoah, 2017