Grandpa Bela, who died in the snow of the concentration camp, had one child. That one child has two children, and these two children have five children today. In the sick tournament he still competes in versus Hitler, grandpa Bela leads by an 8-1 score.
We tend to lament over the fact that the memory of the Holocaust is becoming blurred, yet the fact is that the opposite is true. The Holocaust never had more presence in our lives.
In the past decade we have seen an unprecedented wave of books and films and commemoration projects and museums and academic research papers that deal with the Holocaust in an almost obsessive manner.
Grandpa Bela’s eight descendents belong to the first generation, where history is not just a story printed on paper. His photograph hangs on the wall in my house, my children’s schools will be screening films featuring mass graves out of which shockingly thin limbs stick out, and the testimonials of the survivors are being immortalized on DVD with the aid of numerous foundations.
The ultimate triumphEven the fact that Israel haters – ranging from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to excommunicated Bishop Richard Williamson – see a need to engage in a venomous public debate regarding the Shoah proves how powerful it is in the conscience of the world.
To a certain extent, this ongoing debate constitutes a tikkun. This is because today we know that the Holocaust did not take place on a different planet, but rather, it happened here. It was not carried out by monsters, but rather, by incited people who were convinced that the Jews are not human beings like they are; that they are different – and it is easier to murder the different.
Such people still exist, and apparently they will always exist.
From his unmarked grave, grandpa Bela commanded us one thing: Never agree to die in the snow just because we are Jews. Grandpa Bela’s descendents were born in a state without snow, where the Jews are able to defend themselves. This is his ultimate victory over the final solution.