In commemoration of Yom Ha’Shoah, I thought it best to let you read the letter I wrote to my 16 year old who recently visited Poland with her entire 11th grade class. They had been preparing the entire year for this trip, with speakers, discussions and many hours of classes dealing with the Holocaust. As a final preparation, they spent close to 10 hours at Yad Vashem studying what had happened. My daughter told me that while she appreciated all these preparations, nothing would ever match the experience they had by witnessing – first hand – the horrific atrocities up close. They walked into the gas chambers. They saw the mountains of hair. They smelled the ovens and they felt the chill in the air by the Forest of the Children. This will never be forgotten by anyone.
An interesting thing done by the school was that they asked each parent to write a letter to their daughter, which would be given to the girls as they were leaving Auschwitz. Here is the letter I wrote:
“On this very important trip you are witnessing horrible things that were done to our nation. We want to tell you two things: First of all, it is ok to cry. Crying means you feel their pain and you identify with your brothers and sisters who were killed only because they were Jewish. Never before was such terrible things done to our people and every day of your trip is like Tisha B’av. Therefore, here is what we want you do: Cry…cry LOTS of tears. Make the disgusting ground of Poland wet with your tears so that your tears will mix with the blood of the 6,000,000. And then, when you want to just keep crying, here is the second thing we want you to do: STOP crying and start BUILDING!! A Jew doesn’t cry forever – he/she builds, grows, settles and fights back! A Jew stops crying and starts taking revenge by having LOTS of babies and building LOTS of houses in a strong and proud State of Israel.
Therefore, our sweetest daughter, turn those tears into positive action. Come back from this incredible experience and make every Jew-hater pay for the pain they inflicted on us. Make every one of them burn in hell by looking at you and how connected you are to our Father in Heaven. Make sure that all the children of these beasts see how happy you are in Israel and how dedicated you are to our land and our Torah and to a life of holiness!!
Our nation needs wonderful, good, holy Jews like you and your friends. We need your strength, your spirit and your motivation. May you never forget what you saw and may you turn those sad memories into positive actions – now and forever!!
We love you and are so proud of you!!
May we all dance together in the Bet Ha’Mikdash!!
Mommy and Abba”