45 Aid 2nd & 3rd Generation – Yom Ho Shoa 8 May 2016
This afternoon I speak on behalf of the second and third generations amongst all of us here and beyond
Our parents and grandparents -my zaider amongst them - came to this country from the ashes of the Shoah with nothing except each other. So, when I describe our survivor - parents and grandparents here as a family, (as mishpochah) it is self-evident. I use that word deliberately. In any family there are benefits and responsibilities. In ours - we second and third generation - there is an awesome responsibility. A mission we all have an obligation to share in; that we remember and honour our parents and grandparents and that we teach the lessons of the holocaust to the wider world.
It is the very essence – the very purpose - of Jewish family life; to remember and to teach our children. It is the resounding decree of the shema - a prayer shared by us all and the last words from the lips of those silenced. We, all of us, are charged with the duty of bearing witness to those who perished, to remember the past and to teach its lessons.
The best answer to those who would seek to deny the holocaust is not to point them in the way of a history book, it is to be able to say, I know that this happened because I was there, because my father was there, because my grandfather was there, because my family were there!
The best way to preserve and honour the memory of those who were murdered isn’t to leave it purely to archivists or historians but to consider each person, each un-mourned victim as our family. There was, in countless instances, nobody left to say kaddish for them. It is our personal responsibility to honour and remember them. We are the custodians of their memory; we are their family.
The best way to teach the lessons of the holocaust is to share the values of our family with the wider world. To be ready always to extend a hand to the oppressed wherever they are and whatever their religion, colour or creed. They too are our family.
And so our family make this pledge. We will remember. We will teach our children and our children's children. We will share your memory with the world. Our promise is that your promise may have been lost but will never be forgotten.