Tuesday, September 25, 2007


On Saturday I was showing my new roommate Katasha around downtown. We were playing tourists for the day and Katasha was taking pictures along the Freedom Trail. One of the places we stopped at was the Holocaust Memorial near the North End.

We read the quotations and took some pictures. I explained to her that the ring I've worn on my finger for 7 years is the Hebrew word for Remember (לזכור) . I got the ring while I was living in Jerusalem. Before we left Katasha took a picture of my small ring next to large Hebrew word remember chiseled into the sidewalk. It stirred some amazing memories I haven’t shared in years.

This got me thinking that most people that read this blog don't know much about my life pre-Boston One example of this is that at one time years ago I was a Docent for a traveling Anne Frank Exhibit. I would explain to people the model house we had on display, where Anne stayed, talk about her diary, and answer a million questions about Jews and the Holocaust--I loved it! I loved it so much that I spend countless hours there reading about human struggle, human triumph, human hatred, and human dignity. I talked to thousands of people and I learned a lot in my time volunteering as a Docent.

In fact I spent so much time volunteering as a Docent that I won an award. Unbeknownst to me, during my time of being a Docent, one of my teachers nominated me for the Thousand Cranes Peace Award at our school. I didn’t even know there was such an award until I received it. After learning about the history of the Thousand Cranes of Peace I felt truly humbled.

All of the above was background for me to introduce you to a place I will never forget! I can only think of few times that I have wept unabashedly-tears streaming down my cheeks with no end in sight. Upon entering Yad Vashem this was one of those times. It could have been that I arrived there on the Holocaust Day of Remembrance, it could have been because of my history (see above), it could have been because of the loss I felt from my brother’s recent death, but mostly I think I cried for mankind.

A memorial to the Jewish soldiers looks like a hollow hexagram (star of David), dissected by a sword. It has inscription in Hebrew, English, Russian, French and Yiddish: "Glory be to the Jewish Soldiers and Partisans who fought against Nazi Germany."

I cried for all the heroes, I cried for all those killed, I cried for all the pain, all the courage, all the hatred, all the faith. I cried for those who had never ending hope, for those who lost everything—and then some. I cried because I was in Jerusalem surrounded by Jews who were weeping around me at their relatives and their people.

I cried in a corner of one of exhibits because I found out the girl I was given (you get a passport at the beginning) watched her parents executed. I cried because I almost didn’t cram into a Sherut (sort of like a mini van taxi of death) with a few of my friends to spend a few of my precious “free” hours checking out the “Holocaust Museum.” I cried because I was overwhelmed, I cried because I didn’t know what else to do. It felt horrible—then great—then cleansing!


K. Marie said...

Those are beautiful sentiments, Ky, thanks so much for sharing. The world, so often, is tragic and glorious at the same time and it's good to, as you say, remember.

Kris said...

the Dachau concentration camp is one of the most humbling places I've ever been, most of the times I was torn between crying, and throwing up and being so proud of so many brave people.