Preserving the memory of the Holocaust

I often write about the uniqueness of the Holocaust and state that the Holocaust is completely different from other genocides.

This position is controversial to some people. There are those who believe that the only way to preserve the memory of the Holocaust is by making it a universal lesson regarding the tribulations throughout the world.

Whether I am right or wrong, only our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will know. Seventy-five years from when the last of the Holocaust survivors are gone I predict that regardless of Yad Vashem, the United States Holocaust Museum, and all the other museums and books, the memory of the Holocaust will not be preserved. It will be regarded as just another genocide in the history of genocides.

Unless we preserve the memory of the Holocaust and tie it to Jewish observance and ritual by including the Holocaust in prayer service or, as I have done, creating a Holocaust Siddur and Haggadah (which is available free on line: holocausthaggadah.com) the Holocaust will become a mere date in history. It has to be tied into a revitalized Judaism to keep it alive.

I for one, at this point in my life, no longer stress the pain, suffering and horrors of the Holocaust. Today I speak of the importance of learning about the heroic individuals who survived the Holocaust to make better lives for themselves and their families. Many Holocaust survivors have created synagogues, yeshivot and day schools and still support them financially.

We need to learn about those who resisted the Nazis, not only about the crematoriums. The memory of the Holocaust will be kept alive by future generations if we have pride in the accomplishments of the survivors and preserve Judaism.

Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

About the Author
Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Beth-El, Edison, New Jersey received his ordination and doctorate of Education from Yeshiva University in New York. He also possesses A.A., B.A., M.A., and M.S. degrees in communication and education. He possesses a Doctor of Divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary, New York. He taught at Rutgers University in New Jersey and Yeshiva University in New York. His books include: “Theological and Halachic Reflections on the Holocaust,” “Contemplating the Holocaust,” “The Holocaust as Seen Through Film,” and "Echoes of the Holocaust."
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