I just posted an Instagram collage where I would understand if there were no likes whatsoever. It is composed of Sorrow, with a touch of hope.
Today is Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Day, and I am thinking of six million innocent lost lives.
The images are from the Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation / Deportation Memorial, and the Mémorial de la Shoah / Shoah Memorial in Paris.
The depth is, of course, more than I can express. Not enough words, not enough pictures. Too many words, too many pictures.
Top row: the Deportation Memorial, honoring the 200,000 French deported to concentration camps.
Entering, interior, and exiting.
For me, the space adds to the gravity of what each lighted crystal, bars on the wall, photo displayed, and engraved quote represent. The light, the dark, the narrow passage. It is both thought provoking and uncomfortable; it should be.
Middle “Forgive, do not forget.”
Bottom: One of the plaques in the Marais, this one on a school, honoring the 11,000+ children deported from France during WWII.
“To the memory of the little children of this nursery school deported from 1942 to 1944 because they were Jews, innocent victims of the Nazi barbarism with the active complicity of the Vichy government.
They were exterminated in the death camps.
Let us never forget them.“
This was dedicated December 15, 2001. One source I found said there are over 300 similar plaques in Paris.
Part of the facade of the Shoah Memorial.
I was alone in the crypt at the Shoah Memorial. Ashes collected from the concentration camps and the Warsaw ghetto were buried here in 1957. A moment I will always remember. Makes me well-up to think of it now.
The Wall of the Righteous is also on the exterior of the Shoah Memorial. 3,900 people who risked their lives to help Jews in France are honored here.
Some of the first recipients:
The first day I was in Paris, I took a tour of the Marais. The guide was a history teacher and researcher.
In front of the Wall of Names at the Shoah Memorial, she shared two stories from her friends and family about WWII and Occupied France. One was a family history that is not my story to share. And one was about the grandmother of one of her closest friends.
The grandmother is one of the heroes named above.
The guide then asked the tour group, “What would you have done?”
and then very earnestly, clearly in present tense “What will you do?”
I will never forget. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and to feel sadness, anger, horror, heartache and respect.