This photo is of the Bima of the Synagogue in Tarnow, Poland. It is all that remains of the once beautiful place of worship for nearly half the city’s population which was destroyed and decimated respectively during the Holocaust of WWII. Like all people my age, I learned about the Holocaust in history class and through various documentaries and movies I have seen since. I never doubted the horror, but until tonight I had never heard f Tarnow, and had never actually spoken with an holocaust survivor. Now I think I’m unlikely ever to forget it.
Tonight I was privileged to attend a talk by Dr. Israel Unger, a retired Chemistry professor and a child holocaust survivor. Dr. Unger shared his memories as a young child. Memories like seeing his grandfather pushed down the stairs and then shot, hiding behind a false wall in the attic of a flour mill for two years, and unrelenting fear. He put some things into perspective in a unique way. He read the names of three children who were killed during the holocaust and then told us that it had taken him fifteen seconds. At that rate it would take over two-hundred eight-hour days to read the whole list.
The strength it must take to survive the events he did, and then to relive them every time he speaks about them would be unbelievable if not witnessed. I believe that this kind of bravery will lead to real change in the world. Like the disciples who risked their lives to go out and spread the story of their experience with Jesus, Israel is doing what he can to ensure that this kind of systematic, and factory style genocide will never happen again. Bravo!