My daughter’s capstone Senior Year trip to Poland and Israel leaves in 3 days. It will be a very powerful two-month long trip. Today, on International Holocaust Remembrance day, she is packing, and we are discussing. 80 Jewish kids, who have learned about the history of the Holocaust together since elementary school, will bear witness to the death camps for themselves. They have always known that they were part of a people that was targetted and as they grew older, they learned about the horrors their family members experienced.
They know the phrase Never Again. They learn about how the Holocaust started slowly, how the discrimination began in people’s own towns. All of a sudden, civil rights were taken away from Jews. Their businesses were targetted, boycotted and eventually shut down. Kids stopped being allowed to go to school. Jews were denied services. People couldn’t believe that this level of persecution was really happening to them or would be sustained. There was a lot of denial. Of course, things progressed from bad to worse to unimaginable.
As my daughter gets ready to show up, to return to some of these sites, she and her Jewish classmates are proof that the final solution for the Jews of the 1930s and 40s ultimately failed.
But what about 2019? The irony is not lost on me that while my one daughter learns and makes a first-hand visit so that this will Never Happen Again, that my other daughter’s civil rights are being removed right now. There are discrimination laws in effect against her just because of how she was created. Here, in the United States there are hospitals where she can be denied help and restaurants and shops where she can be denied service. She can be denied employment or fired. She is forbidden from being in our military, regardless of her abilities. And this is all because she was created as transgender.
This IS happening. Today. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around how this can be our reality 80 years after the Holocaust started. 80 years after Jews, people with disabilities, gay people, gypsies and people with different ideological and political views were annihilated while the nations’ citizens stood by silently. We know this story. And it’s HAPPENING AGAIN.
Have we learned anything from history? What will we do differently this time? How can we change the outcome?