Monday, May 3, 2010

Review of Lesson Two (Beyond Never Again)

Thank you for joining us for our second lesson of Beyond Never Again: How the Holocaust Speaks to Us Today.

The number six million is so large that we cannot picture or imagine it. Thus, there is the danger of Holocaust being reduced to no more than large number. In this context, we must remember that when discussing the Holocaust, the most important number is “one.” Recognizing that each life is an entire universe, we may characterize the Holocaust as the murder of one whole world, six million times over. The only way to get any sense of what was lost is only by looking closely at particular stories, trying to imagine the experience of one individual.

Although many people of all nationalities and faiths perished in World War II, we focused on the particulars of the Jewish experience— both because studying the Holocaust is only meaningful in the context of particular stories, and also because the Nazis singled out the Jews as targets of annihilation. Moreover, the Nazis planned to eradicate not only Jews, but also Jewish values.

Given the Nazi goal of ridding the world of Jews and anything Jewish, any Jew that continued to believe in life and attempted survival was resisting the Nazis. Furthermore, the refusal to adopt Nazi values, instead remaining fast to a world-view, was also engaged in a potent form of resistance.

We looked at some striking stories that illustrated this resistance of the spirit, a power that can be accessed and utilized even under the most dire circumstances.

Thank you for joining us for this class. I hope to see you next week for our third lesson, In Their Death They Were Not Parted: The Mitzvah of Kidush Hashem.

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