Holocaust Memorial Day - Personal Reflection
Today, Friday 27th January, 2017 is Holocaust Memorial Day. In a foretaste of her upcoming OPRP, our Youth Coordinator, Steph Gutmann, reflects on what Holocaust Memorial Day means to her, and why it is so important we #NeverForget.
Steph reflects: “I’ve never been able to look at the photos of the survivors of the concentration camps – mostly taken when the camps were liberated – to show the horrors of what the millions of Jewish people had to endure. This is because I can’t bear to visualise the potential conditions my own family would have suffered in the days, months or hours before they were murdered, along with the 6 million people who died during the years of the Nazi campaign against God’s chosen people.
Holocaust Memorial Day is a key to never allowing the Holocaust Deniers the opportunity to be heard, as the stories of those who died, and the voices of those who survived are given a day to shout louder about the true horrors of what man did to fellow-man. As the grand-daughter of a man who somehow managed to escape, I am so proud of the determination, resilience and strength Franz Gutmann demonstrated as he left behind the land, family and friends he loved, in order to make a new start in the UK. I will never fully know his story, as he died when my dad was six years old. But the very fact I am alive is a living testimony of how God – true to His promise to always keep a remnant of His people – saw fit to keep the Gutmann family line going.
We can never allow the voices of those who try to say the Holocaust didn’t happen, to ever drown out the stories of people like my great-grandparents, Heinrich and Henrietta Gutmann. And while the generation of survivors dwindle, it is the turn of the 3Gers to make sure our families tales are more than just the stuff of myth and legend. The reality from back then was so much darker than the stuff of fiction. The depravity of humankind so much worse than we could have dared believe.
So while you may not fully understand the purpose of Holocaust Memorial Day, I really thank you for taking the time to pause and reflect, even for a moment, to remember the millions of people who were killed just because they were Jewish.
WeRemember and as long as I have breath in my lungs, I will endeavour to keep the memories of the Holocaust more than just a fictional tale. This is my heritage. This is my foundation. This is me.”
For further reading: Steph is writing a research paper on the impact of the Holocaust on third generation (3G) survivors. This will become available through CMJ at the beginning of March.