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Kaddish, Commemoration, Remembrance – 10th of Tevet

The 10th of Tevet, Hebrew Calendar date, is very significant as a Day of Remembrance, on which to recite Kaddish, a memorial prayer, for all those whose day of their brutal passing is unknown, both from the time of the Holocaust, but, also, of more recent times. This is being promoted by Michal Cotler-Wunsch, a former Knesset Member and International human rights lawyer.

When I was the Department of Justice Coordinator of Evidence for Canada of Second World War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, I found an archive in closed, unknown boxes, of twenty thousand more names, than the six million often specified. These were compiled with the help of the Washington archivist, Donald Singer, with whom I remain in contact, due to my appreciation of his relentless drive to ensure that the memory of as many individuals, as possible, remains alive.

These names are from the associate camps of Buchenwald: Langenstein and Zwieberg. They were written on cigarette boxes when the Nazis had run out of paper, near the end of the War. The Nazis were so proud of the demise of these extra twenty thousand precious souls that they wanted to ensure that every last name would pay tribute to the designed purpose of the Final Solution which they had put into motion, when according to their plan, the world would be free of Jews.

When the list of the twenty thousand names was completed, some fifteen years ago, as it took time for Donald Singer, to locate all the boxes, after I had initially found the first five thousand names, which had been dispersed amongst hundreds of boxes in the Washington, World War ll Archives. All the names have been since provided to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and the International Red Cross.

I have said Kaddish daily for these twenty thousand holy souls by also including two additional names of the slaughtered from other sources:  the names  of Rabbi Sissel Steinfeldt  and of Rabbi Frankel, both of whom I ask, in prayer, to appropriate each day’s Kaddish to the right person, as per the passing of each of the twenty thousand names.  That is the original find of the initial five thousand names, I found in 1987; and, as of fifteen years ago, for all of the twenty thousand names together, by asking in my prayers for those in the Heavenly sphere, Yeshiva Lemala to pray for all of us, in the earthly sphere, Yeshiva Lemata.

It is important to remember, not only that these individuals were killed, but also to recall, as the late, Dr. Lena Allen Shore, (pen name for Dr. Therese Shore) poet, author and professor, my Mother, always said and wrote in her books: the dreams, aspirations and hopes of all the victims; and, thus, the legacy of the lives of these individuals, must be remembered by future generations, as a treasury for the lives which they had led before they had been killed.

My maternal grandfather, Dr. Jacob Herzig, a human rights lawyer and writer, survivor of the Holocaust in Poland, won a key prize from Yad Vashem, of which we learned only after his passing, in 1956, for his book “Matzevot”. He wrote, if there are no tombstones, the only monuments which remain are the memories, which we recall of these souls, when they were alive and that which they gave to the world.

A special program now exists in Gratz College, in Philadelphia, now coupled with Carleton University in Ottawa,  founded by my brother, Jacques Shore, a former Chair of Carleton University, Board of Governors,  in memory of my Mother, Dr. Lena Allen-Shore Shore, who as a Professor at Gratz College, taught graduate programs for over thirty years to more than six thousand graduate students, with her instructive and literary seventeen books; that is in addition to her many taught subjects by which to build bridges, after the Holocaust, recalling the Holocaust; also bringing forward the literature, music, art and heritage which these individuals had left us. They left a most significant legacy by which to create a better world through the work they had accomplished. Their work has the very foundations for articulated hopes and aspirations for an enlightened, better future, filled with promise.

As my Mother further wrote in a book of short stories of the perished, entitled, “Roots and Wings” with my grandfather, Dr. Jakub Herzig, one cannot  have wings, if one does not have roots. That is why we say kaddish, yes; but also, we must find the roots of these holy names; and, thus, our own, to be able to soar to a better future through hopes and aspirations that are timeless; and cannot be extinguished.

The Honourable Irwin Cotler, former Justice Minister, human rights lawyer and now Special Envoy for Holocaust remembrance and the fight against anti-semitism, recently, gave a lecture at Gratz College under the auspices of that program of Holocaust Studies, dedicated to the work of my mother.

I have shared with you the above reflections in support of Michal Cotler- Wunsh, who, in one of her multiple works, is promoting the date of the 10th of Tevet, as a day of remembrance.

This date is most worthwhile, not only by which to remember the past, Al Kiddush Hashem, in sanctification of G-ds name, but also to contribute to a most promising future.

About the Author
Michel M.J. Shore is a retired judge of the Federal Court of Canada and recently made a home in Israel. He is the writer of several published books and poetry collections.
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