Holocaust day and bravery

May 1, 2011

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In Israel the day marking Holocaust Memorial Day is also named for the bravery or heroism of those who perished.

We bow our heads before the suffering and the genocide of the millions, and we raise our heads to honor the courage of those who fought back.

As well as saluting the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto and the pockets of Jewish resistance throughout Europe, we also salute those whose resistance was spiritual, and cultural. We remember the astonishing archival work conducted by Emanuel Ringelblum, the painstaking and brilliant halachic rulings that Rabbi Ephraim Oshry continued to produce throughout the war, and the overflowing of Jewish performance arts created in Nazi Europe right until the end.

These heroes knew that for a community to thrive and not just survive, it could not wait for the fighting to finish.

As we stand to attention in honor of all the victims and survivors of the Holocaust, let us remember that while fighting a deadly enemy must never be avoided, the spiritual and cultural well-being of a People must also be tended.

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