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Thread by @djrothkopf: "Every year on this date my Dad would send us a note reminding us not to forget that Kristallnacht occurred on this night in 1938. The last o […]"

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Every year on this date my Dad would send us a note reminding us not to forget that Kristallnacht occurred on this night in 1938. The last one he sent just had one word on it. "Remember."
He was 12. They lived in Vienna. His father disappeared and they did not know what happened to him. Later they found he had been arrested. In the meantime, my father searched and saw the brutality and destruction in their neighborhood.
My father's synagogue was burned...weeks before his bar mitzvah. A year later they escaped. He returned to fight as an officer in the US Army artillery by the end of the war. He then went to search concentration camps for lost relatives.
Three dozen aunts, uncles, and cousins were murdered. And in peacetime he never doubted that in all societies hatreds and prejudices lie beneath the surface that can be all too easily triggered.
For he and his generation, the Holocaust was not just an unspeakable horror. It was a warning. It was proof that evil can happen anywhere anytime if we are not vigilant. These Kristallnacht notes were among his few overt reminders to us of this lesson.
Thinking about it now, my family might number in the hundreds. Those are also the ghosts of the Holocaust. The ones who were never born, the lives that never happened.
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