International Holocaust Remembrance Day – In memory of my beloved grandparents

We all have childhood memories that stick with us and became a part of our life no matter how old we are. One of my memories is the blue numbers that were tattooed on my grandparent’s arms. I never had to ask why or where they came from because I knew who did it to them and I could sense that it was too emotional for them to talk about it. However, the tattoo of an unknown woman’s face on my grandfather’s shoulder always remained a mystery to me and I was never able to build up the courage to ask him who it was. Only after his death did I discover that the face of the woman engraved on his shoulder was in fact that of his first wife who was murdered along with his five year old son, in a Nazi concentration camp. My research into his past revealed that my grandfather was one of the “lucky” ones. He survived Auschwitz and during this ordeal he met and married my grandmother (who had also lost her first husband and children in Auscwitz).

International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which will be observed this year on the 27th of January 2015, is an international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust. The Holocaust is the genocide that resulted in the annihilation of six million European Jews as well as millions of others by the Nazi regime.

January 27 is the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp (Auschwitz-Birkenau), was liberated by Soviet troops. This camp was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II.

I am of the second generation Jews to be born in Israel (my father was the first). I am alive today because of the extreme courage demonstrated by my grandparents more than 70 years ago. The pain and suffering my grandparents, together with millions of other Jews, endured during the Holocaust should never be forgotten. Only through remembering can we be certain that such a tragedy will never occur again.

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