Today I stand with my brothers and sisters all around the world to commemorate the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, a day remembered around the world. It was today January 27, 1945 that the Soviet troops first entered the death camp Aucshwitz-Birkenau in Poland January 27, 1945; they were the first to enter the camps.
Both my mother and father were holocaust survivors, each the only survivor out of their entire families. In 1940 in one minute in time their entire life as they knew it was turned upside down and changed forever. Everyone and everything they loved was ripped out of their heart and they were thrown into places where hell itself would have been paradise instead.
They survived five years of starvation, torture, degradation. They lived in fear of being chosen to be killed, or to be taken and used for experiments, every single second of every single day for five years. They saw with their own eyes the horrors for which I have no words to describe.
My mother spoke about her life, the horrors that she endured that others endured every single day from the time I was born till the day she passed away. The only thing I know about my father is what my mother told me, he never talked about it, his pain did not leave his heart and he passed away when I was 13 years old.
As a child I didn’t understand the words but I felt her pain, the tears that ran down her face, her words those were the fairytails I grew up with.
She was the most courageous woman I have ever known. She was sentenced to be killed three different times, and each time she escape her death sentence by some miraculous way. I don’t know from where she mustered up the strength to live when each second for five long years seemed like an eternity.
My parents biggest dream was to live in peace, to come to America where their children could have a better life. My father never saw that dream come true. My mother sacrificed everything she had to make this a reality for my brother and me. When we came to America was the first time I saw my mother smile really smile and laugh and sing. She was the most generous woman I know, always giving of herself and she always loved me unconditionally even through the years that I didn’t understand.
Today I light a candle in remembrance of all the more than 6 million Jews and the non Jews who were killed at the hands of the Nazis. I honor their memory.